Her passion and dedication to nurture children were contagious.
Published on: 03-01-2019
Aao kahani sunte hai, “Come, let us listen to a story.” That’s the invitation extended every Sabbath afternoon to the little ones living in makeshift homes rising up next to every larger construction site. As we went from house to house calling out for them, the children, recognizing our voices, would wiggle out of their mother’s laps or leave their toys and playmates to join the branch Sabbath School.
Like little wanderers, these children followed their parents from one construction project to the next. The branch Sabbath School was probably their only exposure to some form of education. It was exciting to sing, share, and teach about the good news. The children loved the action songs and music. They were captivated by the pictures. But most of all they waited for the little sweet treats and food we brought along.
It was wonderful to see their eyes light up as they heard Bible stories. One of the all-time favorites was the story of David and Goliath and the Hindi song that went with it. Their eyes were fixated on the characters as they laughed and giggled while the story was being enacted.
“Children are a heritage from the Lord,” writes the psalmist (Ps. 127:3). These little ones were precious! I recognized this as I helped Grandma Margaret Nathaniel in the branch Sabbath School and Adventurers Club she had organized in various parts of the town of Hosur, located in the state of Tamil Nadu, in India. Her passion and dedication to nurture children were contagious. She would plan for the activities during the week: gathering material for the lessons or honors; preparing the material needed for the activities; and sending them to the respective teachers. She never failed to involve me in her ministry even during my brief visits to Hosur. Grandma Margaret, as I called her, inspired not only me but many others too. She taught me the importance of caring for these little ones with their impressionable minds.
The gift of mentorship is priceless. I was able to care for and love the children living in abject poverty next to the many construction sites in Hosur because of the values instilled in me while helping Grandma Margaret. I also learned how to organize and execute plans that would benefit not only the children but their parents too. Most of all, I learned of her dedication to God’s love for the people surrounding us. She taught me to be salt as we walk and live in this world. That’s one thing I will always cherish and possess.
Inspired by Grandma Margaret, I joined EYES, a youth group of the Hosur English church that focuses on touching the community around the church. We frequently visited the Love orphanage, which helped form a special bond between the children of the orphanage and the teens and young adults of the church. We organized an outing to the Science Museum in Bangalore, the nearest city to Hosur. The children, beaming with excitement, were glued to the windows of the vehicle as they absorbed the sights and sounds of the city. They also enjoyed discovering new things at the museum. That day those orphans experienced the gift of time and love. This was made possible through the often unseen efforts of the adults supporting EYES, who helped foster a sense of responsibility and care in the youth of the church.
Every Timothy needs a Paul. Legacy happens when we pass on the passion to serve our Master from one generation to another.
Beersheba Maywald, originally from Tamil Nadu in India, is working on a Master of Arts in religion with a New Testament emphasis at the Adventist International Institute of Advanced Studies in Silang, Cavite, Philippines.