Kari Lange – Loveland, Colorado … Students at HMS Richards Adventist School celebrated Martin Luther King, Jr. Day on Monday, January 16, by taking half the school day to serve others in their community.

Students in grades K-2 delivered about 50 handwritten border sheets with verses of encouragement in the nearby neighborhood. Those who came to the door were greeted with, “Happy MLK Day and Peace Begins with Me.” Each person they met was shocked to see 20 students at their door and so thankful and appreciative of their time. 

Some students in grades K-2 joined with grades 3-4 and drove to Berthoud to sing praise songs to downtown businesses and pass out more border sheets with Bible verses of peace and hope. The students received a huge round of applause at Cocina & Cantina Mexican Restaurant as their voices echoed through the restaurant singing, “You are My All in All.” The Kofe House was about to close, but they were happy to let them come in to sing. As the students left, a young man expressed how much he needed to hear the song the students sang. 

At RE/MAX, the owner sang every word of “Jesus Loves Me” with the students. The ladies at the salon just listened with great smiles. The pharmacists at Berthoud Drug were in awe and ever so thankful for the music. It was such a blessed day not only for the students, but for all the chaperones as well.

Students in grades 5-6 went to downtown Loveland to hold up signs of encouragement on street corners and pray with people passing by. They got positive honks, cheers, and many thank yous. Students Tryg Sorensen and Conner Jahn prayed with a homeless vet in a wheelchair. The man then talked to Roger Hagen, a chaperone, and said he would really like a hardcover KJV Bible. Roger has it ready to give to him when he sees him again. After the man spoke with them, student Chloe Lange approached him, not knowing he had already prayed with Tryg and Conner, and asked if she could pray with him. His prayer request was to find a dollar or two so he could get something to eat or drink. As soon as Chloe finished praying, to everyone’s amazement, a dollar bill came floating down from the sky and landed at his feet.

Students in grades 7-8 passed out free hot cocoa and handmade ornaments at a local King Soopers. Carey Jordan, the school’s teaching principal, commented, “So many people were surprised when we offered them our handmade snowflakes. They couldn’t believe that 7th and 8th graders were giving them a kind word of encouragement and a gift without expecting anything in return.”

Some people tried to donate money, but students turned it down knowing that this was a special day, a day to give to the community, not take from it. Some comments of those who came by their table were, “Wow! Thank you! True kindness like yours comes only from God,” and “If it wasn’t too awkward, I would give you a big hug,” as stated by an older lady with tears in her eyes to one of the students.

Here are some reflections by some of the 7th and 8th grade students:

“Martin Luther King, Jr. wanted everyone to know how special they are and that it is our Christian responsibility to help people know that. Today, we showed people the true purpose for MLK day in our words and actions.” – Elin Sorensen

“I realized that today we made the world a better place by showing kindness. We didn’t deliver a speech to thousands of people today, but we did bring a smile to their faces, which in turn makes the world a better place.” – Ben Nelson

“We chose to share kindness to everyone, even if they didn’t accept it … that is love.” – Grace Balbin

May we all share Jesus’ love, promise, and hope for His soon return. May we, every day, be a blessing to those around us and let them know that Jesus loves them.

—Kari Lange is the grades K-2 teacher and vice president of the HMS Richards Adventist School. Photos provided.