Gateway to the Future
Adventists in India are using education to build the church.
By Rick Kajiura
Despite its ancient history, this country of more than 1 billion people is moving rapidly through a new gateway, a gateway into the future—a future that looks to its children.
In India, the Seventh-day Adventist Church is investing in the future through Adventist education. Today the church operates some 129 secondary schools with more than 93,000 students.
At Adventist schools in Khurda, children are getting an education that will better prepare them for the future. Here students live their daily lives, eating, studying, and doing their daily chores. They are fed physically, intellectually, and spiritually, while learning about a God who loves them. Even though many students come from poor families, they still give their offerings to help others learn about Jesus. Of some 900 students attending this school, only about 400 come from Adventist families.
Behind the dreams and hopes of each child are stories of loss and pain, of hope and miracles, of love and happiness. And their stories are still being written.
JyotiJyoti, Fulmani, Menka, and Aishish are four students at the school who are studying hard to make their dreams a reality.
When she was 6, Jyoti remembers her mother getting sick and going to the hospital. She never came home again. Jyoti’s father and aunt sent her to a Christian boarding school where she learned about God.
Eventually she came to this school and became an Adventist. Jyoti prayed that her parents would become Adventists too. Then Jyoti’s father was sent to jail. While there he gave his heart to God. Last year Jyoti’s father and stepmother were baptized.
FulmaniFulmani remembers when she was 7 years old trying to take care of her two younger brothers while herding the cows and buffaloes. Her father had died, and her mother had remarried. Then her mother died also. Fulmani was invited to an Adventist school to study. But when she turned 12, her uncle wanted her to get married. Fulmani didn’t want to get married so she worked hard doing manual labor to earn money to stay in school, but it wasn’t enough. Fortunately, this school was able to offer her financial aid. Now she’s already planning for life after she finishes her education. Fulmani says, “My aim is to become a nurse and help others, just as I’m getting help.”
When Menka was young her father moved away, and she lived with her mother. She remembers that one day her father took her away without telling her mother. Menka wasn’t happy with him. Her only friend was a dog she called Rahni. One day at school she saw Rahni and followed him to the train station, where he disappeared. A voice told her, “get on board,” so she boarded the train.
The rhythmic sound of the train going down the tracks put Menka to sleep. When the train came to its next stop and she disembarked, she had no idea where she was. She spotted a kind man who told her the name of the village. Menka was amazed to find herself back in her mother’s village. The man knew her mother and took her to her home. (Menka’s full story is told in Mission, the church’s quarterly mission magazine, also available online: www.adventistmission.org/article.php?id=45.)
Thanks to her furry “angel,” who put her on the right train, Menka was able to live with her mother, who sent her to study at an Adventist school.
When she grows up, Menka wants to be a doctor, but not just any doctor; she wants to be an eye specialist.
Protected for a Purpose
AishishAishish was doing afternoon chores at the Adventist school campus he attended as a student. A violent storm the night before had scattered branches and debris throughout the grounds, and a drizzling rain was still falling. Aishish picked up a large branch and threw it over his shoulder and dragged it to a trash heap. He tried to throw the branch like a javelin, but as he lifted it, it struck a high tension electric wire. The surge of electricity knocked him unconscious, and he fell to the ground.
A staff member in his house heard the crackling noise and ran outside to find Aishish lying on the wet ground. Picking Aishish up he was still able to feel the lingering electrical charge in his body. He carried Aishish to the closest classroom and started praying and applying first aid. A few moments later Aishish coughed and asked, “What happened to me?”
Today Aishish is an active young man. He shows where his hand and feet were burned. He doesn’t know why he survived, but he believes God has a plan for his life and he’s dedicated his life to serving Him.
These are just a few of the many stories of children in India who attend Adventist schools, children with hopes and dreams for the future. Thanks to Adventist education they have opportunities for a better future.
But not all children have hope. Not all of India’s children have the opportunity of receiving a Christian education. Many generous individuals and Adventist organizations have supported this school and its students with their donations. Thank you for your prayers and financial support of Adventist mission work around the world. Thank you for investing in the future of India.
And thank you for supporting the Thirteenth Sabbath Offerings, which benefit projects such as this one in India.
Rick Kajiura is communication director for the Office of Adventist Mission. For more information about this ministry visit:www.AdventistMission.org.