Auburn Students Spread "Sonlight" in Seattle

March 01, 2004 | Amber Serns

Auburn Adventist Academy students pile out of the vans and fill their arms and pockets with the "supplies" necessary for their Sabbath afternoon excursion. It is January in Seattle but somehow the sun is shining on the soggy streets. At first, the students go unnoticed amid locals milling around enjoying the inevitably short-lived sunshine.

The supplies they carry may seem simple but soon undergo drastic transformations as they are distributed and begin to draw attention to the energetic crew. Water bottles are recognized as treasures when given to those who haven't recently enjoyed the taste of clean water. The students hope the recipients read the note attached to each bottle, which encourages those who drink it to seek the water that will quench their eternal thirst. Miniature versions of Steps to Christ, titled Happiness Digest, are prized by someone who doesn't have another book to call his own. Once opened, he may find a dollar bill cleverly tucked inside. The students pray he will take interest in the message written there, which they hope their actions reflect.

Stacks of quarters are for the people too busy to enjoy a Saturday afternoon at home with their family. They fill the parking meters of the ones who are used to living in a world where people have no time for anyone else, a world where no one they know would help a stranger—a world these students are out to change. Into parking meters go the quarters, and the kids smile thinking of the relief the beneficiary will have to find not a parking ticket but a small book about happiness under their windshield wiper.

The gloves and bags are to collect the garbage that clutter the cold streets. Despite this unpleasant task, there is somehow a feeling of goodwill as the young workers look back at their contribution to this otherwise uninviting avenue—clear sidewalks for all to enjoy and Steps to Christ on every newspaper stand for any who are curious.

As the students return to their vans, many reflect on the events of the last two hours. There was the cute skateboarder who took a small book, the dirty-handed beggar who seemed so truly thankful for the water, and the owner of the little Honda who wouldn't be lamenting his ticket later but might be reading about Christ's love.

What had just been accomplished? What was it about those simple "supplies" that now seems so valuable? Perhaps for those who received them, the value of the gifts came from the warm hand and loving encounter brought with them. A sincere smile and kind word may have made these small things so priceless.

Having thoroughly enjoyed themselves, the students climb back into the vans empty-handed but fulfilled. They had not brought much to the streets that day. But they realize as the rain begins to fall, they may have brought a glimpse of everlasting "sonlight" into someone's life forever.