This fall the six students attending the Valley View School in Scottsbluff, Nebraska, decided to take on a special project for Adventist Development and Relief Agency. We started with a Penny War. Each class had a jar to fill with pennies and other change. Adults in the church got involved when someone put pennies in the 4th graders’ jar, and another became the Penny Fairy, leaving pennies scattered around the school.

Then the students decided to host a spaghetti dinner benefit. More than 60 church members and friends enjoyed the meal. The students prepared the food, provided entertainment and cleaned up afterward. The dinner netted $360.

When we took our penny jars to the bank, we were thrilled to find the cash from the Penny War totaled $319. With two more donations later in the week, our grand total came to $725.

The students’ goal was to provide a cow for a blind person, with a second goal of a pair of goats. Since we exceeded both goals, each student was able to select a smaller project. These projects included a share in a well, nourishment for a baby, two gifts of winter clothing for refugee children, and two cook stoves for an impoverished family.

We never dreamed our ADRA project would be so blessed. As we send the funds to ADRA, the students are already asking to keep the penny jars so they may be filled again. What a joy it is as a Christian teacher to see my students excited to make a difference in the world!

I am grateful our small church continues to make Christian education a priority. We will never know this side of heaven how far our investment has reached, nor the hearts that have been won for eternity.

Jeannie Costopoulos teaches at Valley View Adventist School in Scottsbluff, Nebraska.