Shirt, Shoes and Children’s Education

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The blazing sun beat down on the 30-odd missionary kids as we handed out colorful Swahili brochures depicting stories from Jesus’ life. We were in Ongata Rongai, a town located a few miles outside Kenya’s capital of Nairobi, sharing Jesus with the community around Maxwell Adventist Academy. As students ran out of brochures, they made their way back to the old blue bus, shaking hands and praying with residents on the way. The academy pastor counted us to make sure everyone was on the bus, but one was missing. Then we saw him. Kris was walking carefully, avoiding stones and mud puddles. Instead of his designer t-shirt and basketball sneakers, he was wearing a white undershirt and dust-covered socks. When he got on the bus, he told the pastor he had seen someone who needed his shoes and shirt more than he did, so he had given them away.
Kris’s story is an example of the value of Seventh-day Adventist education, which reaches beyond academic learning and emphasizes service to others. The Children’s Education Fund (CEF) makes it possible for AFM missionary kids to attend Adventist academies and universities. It’s a vital part of our ministry. Without it, many of our missionary families couldn’t afford to stay in the field.
“Nine years ago when we were considering joining AFM, one of the questions in the back of our minds was how we would pay for our two daughters’ college education. It was such a blessing to discover that even though our salary in the mission field might not allow us to put away much in our children’s college fund, God would provide what we needed. I believe that the Children’s Education Fund is one of the ways He fulfills His promise. It also gives us comfort to know that other people care about our children’s education. Thank you for caring!” —Steve Erickson, AFM Gogodala Project
This year, the CEF will help five AFM missionary kids attend Adventist universities—more than we’ve had at the post-secondary level for many years. Rising university costs make the need greater than ever: $96,000 for 2014.
Karin Erickson is studying dietetics at Andrews University. She had the following to say about the CEF:
“Do I appreciate the Children’s Education Fund? Yes, I do! Before I went to college, I prayed, ‘Lord, if You want me to go to college, then please make it possible.’ In Papua New Guinea there are very few opportunities for earning money, especially for me as a teenage expat. AFM’s Children’s Education Fund has covered a portion of my school tuition. When I graduate, I want to be ready to go where God wants me and do what He wants me to do.”
As we draw close to the start of the school year, please consider the educational needs of the children whose parents serve the unreached. As Ellen White wrote many years ago, “Our heavenly Father has a thousand ways to provide for us, of which we know nothing. Those who accept the one principle of making the service and honor of God supreme will find perplexities vanish, and a plain path before their feet” (The Desire of Ages, p. 330).
Will you be part of God’s provision for AFM missionary children like Karin? Your gift to the CEF will make Adventist education possible for them. That education will change lives, just as it did for my friend Kris and those with whom he shared his shirt and shoes on that sunny afternoon many years ago.

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