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Being connected: ADRA

João Martins, ADRA EU Director

At the EUD we really believe that the prayer of Jesus can be a reality in the life of our church today. “I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and

I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me” John 17:20-21. This is the reason why we are all committed in working together for the fulfillment of the mission of bringing the Hope of Jesus to this fallen world.

In ADRA we believe that the tragedy of sin has crated the desire for greed, selfishness, prejudice and self-conceit in the human heart. The effects of these attributes are all around us with mil- lions suffering of poverty and distress, illnesses and death, persecution and discrimination. It is part of our nature as daughters and sons of God to love one another (even the enemies, see Mat 5:48) and make this love a practical lifestyle.

On this matter, I believe that we have a lot to learn with children. With their in- nocence and authenticity they are able to break all barriers of preconception and give themselves to others. It is true that we have to become like children. So, the Children’s Ministries and ADRA have wonderful opportunities to work together in EUD. I would suggest the following common approaches:

1. Education for citizenship: One of the roles of ADRA is to work with people that have better living conditions and raise their aware- ness regarding other cultures, livelihoods, economic conditions and believes. Particularly we target children as they are keener to learn about what is different, and are the future leaders of the church and the world. Examples of common programmes would be the organization of Vacation Bible Schools on the thematic of social justice, having a specific time at the Sabbath School to share stories of compassion for others, or bringing this subject to Adventist schools as part of the curricula.

2. Community work: Some countries in our division have ADRA delega- tions on the churches. Others have other organizations that take care of the social work of the church. Why not involve children in this work? There are simple tasks that can be performed by children and, by doing them, they will learn that there are other realities than the ones that they are used to.

3. Ingathering: Usually children are very much motivated to share and invite others to share with the ones that have any kind of depri- vation. Having an ADRA project to sponsor at the Children’s Sabbath School, participating in the ADRA Ingathering by raising money, food or other articles, inviting the school mates to participate in their projects may be ways of Children’s Ministries and ADRA to work to- gether.

Children are important to the church. We need to learn from them and teach them in the ways of the Lord. Ellen White has an interesting quote on their participation on social work: “What is pure religion? Christ has told us that pure religion is the exercise of pity, sympathy, and love in the home, in the church, and in the world. This is the kind of religion to teach to the children, and is the genuine article. Teach them that they are not to center their thoughts upon themselves, but that wherever there is human need and suffering, there is a field for missionary work.”— Ellen G. White - The Review and Herald, November 12, 1895.

We have a work to do in favour of humanity. May we have the courage to involve children in this task as they are the assurance of a better church in the future. May we be able to receive Jesus together with the children He has given us (Heb. 2:13).

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