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Stories & Blog

Bible Verses for a Lollipop

Bible Verses for a Lollipop

SOUTH AFRICA — Thato showed no interest in memorizing the Bible verses with the other kids in youth group. A scrappy boy of 12, he was more inclined to fight to get what he wanted than earn it.

But when he saw the others receiving lollipops for their memorization, Thato decided to give it a shot. He tried to memorize the verses, but he struggled with the English words.

Crossworld worker Carrie began to wonder about his background. Thato always walked to church by himself — were his parents involved in his life? Did he have a learning disability? Did he attend a school that didn’t teach English, or did he attend school at all?

Carrie took Thato aside to work with him one on one. For several months they spent extra time practicing the verse of the week while the rest of the kids played games. Thato’s English improved, and soon he was coming to youth group with the verse already memorized! Not only that, his attitude also improved and he paid more attention during the Bible study time.

One Sunday, a new family sat down next to Thato at church. The college-aged son in the family, Bandile, took an interest in Thato and helped him find the Bible passage when it was time for the sermon. Their friendship grew week by week, and Bandile began helping Thato learn his verses at youth group.

“If you learn the whole week’s worth of verses, I’ll buy you a cover for your Bible,” Bandile said to Thato at the beginning of Vacation Bible School this summer.

Thato wasn’t going to turn down that offer, so he took extra care to learn the verses perfectly. Each day after VBS, he ran to find Bandile and recite the verse of the day. Bandile listened to Thato and then explained the verse to make sure Thato not only knew the words but understood their meaning.

True to his word, Bandile presented Thato a Bible cover with a notebook inside at the end of VBS.

“Look at my new Bible cover!” Thato said to his friend on their way home.

As he showed it off, Thato noticed two pieces of paper sticking out. Bandile had written him a personal letter to go with his gift. Thato read the letter and began to cry. Tears turned to sobs as he held the letter and Bible cover, treasuring the most special gift he had ever received.

The people in this story are real, but some names have been changed to protect privacy.

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