Principal Charlotte Kelly invited me to spend the morning with the students at St. John’s to help them to better understand that they can make a difference in the lives of children around the world by using the two pillars of HCA membership – prayer and sacrifice.
While the children at the school were not surprised to know that by praying for children in the missions they can change lives, the idea that even saving pennies for others can be life giving.
“How many of you have ever found money on the ground?” I asked. All hands went up.
“How many of you have walked by a penny thinking that it wasn’t worth the trouble to pick it up?” was my next question, followed by “How many think you’ve done that 25 times?”
Again, all hands went up.
My mission was to change their minds. Since it was my first visit to their school, I showed them a dvd of my first mission trip to Haiti in 2003, well before the earthquake. Students were amazed at the conditions in which the people were living in the slum of Cite Soleil – no electricity, running water or school system. Without the presence of the missionaries, many of the children they saw on camera would have gone hungry and have been without the opportunity to go to school.
While at the mission school, the children are fed a simple meal at noon time, usually of rice and beans. Occasionally, there are a few chickens to be spread out among the hundreds of lunches served. When I told the students at St. John’s that the meal’s cost was only 25 cents, and yet unaffordable to most families, they couldn’t believe it.
As we discussed their HCA Lenten Mite Boxes and ways that they could fill them to help children around the world share in their blessings, I could see the light bulbs go off.
One child of God raised his hand; “What if we just never walked by a penny again?”
Those common cents would add up for the missions.
-Maureen Crowley Heil
NB: The Students at St. John the Evangelist School used their Mite Boxes to sacrifice $1000.00 for their brothers and sisters in Christ in the missions during Lent. That's a lot of common cents!