Weekly Trip to Mission Field
By Andrew McChesney, Adventist Mission
Some children in the U.S. state of Texas don’t just listen to the mission story. They also fly to faraway countries to experience the story firsthand.
On Sabbaths, the children check in at Missionary Airlines when they arrive for Sabbath School at the Grandview Seventh-day Adventist Church. Each child presents a passport marked “Grandview Sabbath School Passport” at the airline’s check-in desk to receive a visa for the destination country. On one Sabbath, a visitor from Adventist Mission had prepared a mission story from China, so the airline representative Primary teacher, Luly Wicklund, stuck a home-printed sticker of the red Chinese flag into each passport. Each child also can receive up to three stars in the passport: for showing up on time, for bringing a Bible, and for inviting a friend.
The first 10 children who arrive on time are issued first-class boarding passes, which allows them to choose their seats in an airplane in the next room. Late arrivals receive economy boarding passes with assigned seating. The children also have frequent-flyer cards with memory verses on the back. The plane, constructed by church members, consists of a metal and wooden frame covered with white canvas. Oval windows line the sides of the fuselage.
Once the children are seated, Luly plays a recorded message. “Thank you for choosing Missionary Airlines, where a new adventure awaits you every Sabbath!” says the male voice of the plane’s captain. “Please remain in your seats as one of your attendants has prayer before our flight departs.”
After the announcement one Sabbath, Luly asked the 11 children onboard for their prayer requests. A boy pointed to a gaping hole at the back of the plane and exclaimed, “Let’s pray that we’re not sucked out of this plane during the flight.” After the other children laughed, the boy added seriously, “Please pray for my dog. She isn’t feeling well.” Then the plane took off for China.
Upon landing, the children exited the plane and sat in nearby chairs to listen to the mission story from China. Afterward, they flew back to Texas. During the return flight, the teacher asked quiz questions about the mission story.
Luly, who developed Missionary Airlines at the suggestion of her 11-year-old son more than a decade ago, said she has found it useful to develop a Sabbath School theme each quarter and to make mission stories part of that theme. Previous themes have included a submarine, a cave, and a rocket that took children around the world. Luly said the trips personalize the mission stories.
“Children see that these are normal people who go to these places,” she said. Normal people used by God.
Produced by the General Conference Office of Adventist Mission. Find more mission stories at adventistmission[dot]org
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