Power of a Smile
By Dale Wolcott
The Chinle Seventh-day Adventist Church isn’t exactly located in the best neighborhood on the Navajo Reservation in the U.S. state of Arizona.
As the pastor, I live in a trailer beside the church building. Several well-respected neighbors, including a Navajo Nation police officer, live in nearby trailers. But one house is looked down on as the local “drug house.” Its unkempt yard and constant stream of random foot and vehicle traffic lend credibility to its reputation as a supplier of illegal liquor and more.
The church board has discussed how to best relate to those neighbors. We have prayed for them and even visited, praying with them and sharing literature and invitations to church events. The family’s children have occasionally attended children’s programs. But we have not seen any breakthroughs.
Then along came the Covid-19 pandemic. The church was closed, and our public meetings moved onto the telephone. Although the church has access to the Internet, many families here don’t have Internet at home.
One day, Catherine walked across the church yard with a big smile. She wanted to apologize for missing our call-in midweek prayer meeting because she had joined her husband and their two daughters, Katelyn, 11, and Kallie, 9, in organizing their own evening worship by a creek.
“Oh, and we took the neighbor kids with us,” Catherine said.
“Which ones?” I wondered aloud.
“The ones right next door here,” she replied, gesturing toward the infamous “drug house.”
Surprised, I asked Catherine how she had managed to invite the children.
Catherine smiled proudly. “Their big sister noticed how happy our girls seem to be every day when they walk by their house on the way to the church to do their schoolwork,” she said.
The girls usually live at Holbrook Seventh-day Adventist Indian School, located about 90 minutes away by car, but were sent home because of Covid-19. Since the family did not have any Internet, the girls were studying at church.
“The big sister wanted to know why Katelyn and Kallie smile instead of looking mostly sad like her own little sisters. She also wanted to know why Katelyn and Kallie are always singing. So we invited them to evening worship,” Catherine said.
“How did it go?” I asked.
“When we finished, they asked if we could do it again the next day,” she said. “My children have been touched by the Lord, and they can see it.”
Part of this quarter’s Thirteenth Sabbath Offering will help Holbrook Indian School. Thank you for planning a generous offering.
Produced by the General Conference Office of Adventist Mission.
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