Mohammad looked at the old school building and wondered what his parents had done to him. Mohammad and his parents live in Zamboanga, a city in the southern Philippines.
A friend had told Mohammad’s parents about the Adventist school, and they went to inspect it. They found an old building in serious need of repair. The school’s principal assured them that the entire school would be replaced soon. But Mohammad’s parents didn’t see the leaky metal roof or the holes in the screens. They saw happy children who loved their teachers and teachers who really cared for the children. They decided to send Mohammad to the Adventist school.
Reluctantly Mohammad stepped into class wondering whether he would make any friends there. Even before class started, several children welcomed him. At lunchtime, some boys invited Mohammad to eat with them and join their games at recess. Maybe his new school wasn’t so bad after all! He discovered Pathfinders and learned to love camping and mastering new skills such as knot tying.
Near the end of the school year, Mohammad’s teacher announced that when they returned from summer vacation they would have a new school. The children gladly helped their teachers box up the textbooks, clear out the closets, and empty the shelves. Then on the first day of vacation, the students stood a distance away and watched their old school building tumble down.
When Mohammed returned after school break and saw the new school, he was amazed. Students gladly helped teachers unpack books and move in new desks. Mohammad likes the new school, but he now knows that the building isn’t as important as what happens inside the classroom. “In this school I learned to love God in a new way,” he says. “My parents are glad, and so am I.”
One thing made Mohammad sad, however. He would soon graduate and go on to high school, and the new Adventist high school wasn’t finished yet. “I’ll miss the friends I’ve made here,” he says. “I’ll miss praying with them.”
A recent Thirteenth Sabbath Offering is helping build the high school section of Zamboanga Adventist School. Perhaps Mohammad can study there after all.