SOLOMON ISLANDS | August 10
Making a Bed
Kinnie Aitorea, 18
Although Kinnie Aitorea is only 18, she was appointed a deaconess at the church at a Seventh-day Adventist boarding school in the Solomon Islands.
Kinnie was thrilled! Her mother was a deaconess, and she never thought that she also would be a deaconess.
The pastor called together the church’s eight deaconesses — four students, including Kinnie, and four adults — for a meeting to discuss their responsibilities at Betikama Adventist College Church. He told Kinnie and another deaconess, her friend Wendy, that they had a very special job: to find out whether the girls in the dormitories had any urgent needs.
Kinnie and Wendy got right to work. They walked through their dormitory, a large room with bunk beds for 40 girls. They looked to see whether the girls had good sheets, blankets, and pillows. They looked to see whether the girls had clothes and school supplies such as pens and paper. When they saw a girl who might need help, they stopped to talk with her.
“How are you?” Wendy asked. “How is school?”
“Do you need help?” Kinnie said. Some girls said they needed clothes. Others spoke about needing pens and paper.
Then Kinnie and Wendy saw Mitlyn Todonga’s bed. One thin blanket lay neatly folded on the bottom of the bunk bed. There was no mattress to cushion Mitlyn from the hard wooden board where she slept at night. There was no sheet or pillow.
Kinnie and Wendy saw that Mitlyn also didn’t have the proper white blouse and long black shirt that female students wore to class, and she lacked other things.
Kinnie and Wendy wanted to talk with Mitlyn, but they learned from the other girls that she was gone all day with the school choir for a concert at a museum in the country’s capital, Honiara.
The other girls said it was Mitlyn’s first year at the school. She was in the seventh grade and had arrived recently from another island. Mitlyn’s parents, who weren’t Adventist, tried their best to help their daughter. Mother baked sweet cream-filled buns and made sour lemonade popsicles, and Father sold them. But the money wasn’t enough.
Then the girls said something that made Kinnie feel sad. They said Mitlyn cried at night because some girls made fun of her for coming from a poor family. They talked mockingly to one another about her. “She doesn’t even have a proper bed,” said one.
“Why did she come here?” said another. “Everyone else has a proper bed.”
Kinnie and Wendy went to the pastor and told him about Mitlyn. “OK, let’s go and get a mattress and clothes,” he said.
The three made a trip into town. They bought a two-inch (five-centimeter) thick mattress, so Mitlyn would have a soft, comfortable bed. They also bought a brown sheet and a blanket covered with small flowers, a pillow and brown pillowcase, a white blouse and black skirt, writing paper, pens, soap, toothpaste, and a toothbrush.
Back at the dormitory, Kinnie and Wendy made up the bed and placed the clothes and other things on top.
That evening, Mitlyn returned from the choir trip and was shocked to see her bed. “Whose mattress is this?” she asked the other girls. “It’s yours,” said one.
“Someone brought it for you,” said another. “Who brought it for me?” she asked. “Kinnie and Wendy brought the mattress for you and some clothes,” a girl replied. When Kinnie came to the dormitory later that evening, Mitlyn ran to her, crying. “I never thought anyone would buy a mattress or clothes for me,” she said. “You have done a very big thing! My Dad will be very happy for what you did for me.”
Kinnie felt so happy to see Mitlyn’s joy. She saw that God has a plan for people to help others.
“It’s OK,” Kinnie said, giving Mitlyn a hug. “It’s God’s work to help others.”
Thank you for helping others with your Sabbath School mission offerings.
By Andrew McChesney
Know that Betikama Adventist College has 520 students living in five girls’ dormitories and six boys’ dormitories and in the community. v Ask listeners whether they have given or received a surprise gift and how they felt. Mitlyn said, “I really like the mattress because my mother and my father didn’t buy it. Kinnie and Wendy bought it. I really treasure it — and I like the flowers on it.”
Ask what nice surprise your Sabbath School class can organize.
Watch a video of Kinnie at the link: bit.ly/Kinnie-Aitorea.
Find photos for this story at the link: bit.ly/fb-mq.
The conch shell is an instrument used widely across the Pacific, including the Solomons. It is used as a traditional form of trumpet, summoning people to gather and signaling the start of important events. The blowing hole is created by removing the end of the shell or making a hole in the side.