September 16, 2020 | Montemorelos, Nuevo Leon, Mexico | Daniel Gallardo for Inter-American Division News

One afternoon, as I was going back home, I was thinking to what extent this pandemic has changed our lives, and what a drastic change we have gone through in just a few months. Our lifestyles, our worship style, and even education are going through sweeping changes. It’s in these moments when the world most needs men and women of strength, faith, and courage, people of character and firm values.

With this in mind, I found something that caught my attention on social media. It was a picture where a mother showed an image her little daughter in a moment of virtual prayer with her teacher, on her cell phone. The caption under the image read, “The reason my children attend an Adventist school is because it offers wholistic education, which is very important for a society that is losing its values every day, and because it’s a school committed to God and society, training leaders in ethical and moral values, who cling to the truth with strength, courage, and grace” (Paola Pérez).

As I read that caption and perceived the certainty this mother felt in giving her reasons for sending her daughter to an Adventist school, my heart filled with joy. I reaffirmed what my mother always believed: Adventist education makes a difference.

Photo Paola Pérez posted on Facebook of her daughter praying with teacher on her cell phone during a school day. The post inspired Daniel Gallardo to recreate it as he reflected on the importance of Adventist education. [Photo: Facebook]

It is now that I can see more clearly the results of my mother’s ongoing efforts to help me grow spiritually. The Bible itself became her guide, as it commanded her, “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it” (Proverbs 22:6).

Inspired and moved by this, I contacted the girl’s parents and asked for her permission to use this image as a model to create a work of art. I began to work on an image that showed how that effort by parents and the dedication of teachers, help children not only to enjoy an educational experience based on general knowledge, but also on life experiences. Those life experiences will stay with them forever and make them better people in the future and in service of humanity.

Many moments in my childhood flashed through my mind. I remembered when I was six years old at the Adventist school in Tuxtla Gutiérrez in Chiapas, Mexico. Every morning, teachers prayed for us. Their petitions and thanks were part of our morning devotional, which gave us a sense of belonging and trust, knowing that someone was listening and willing to hear to our concerns, no matter how small they might seem.

Daniel Gallardo was inspired to sketch this image after seeing Paola Pérez post on Facebook on how valuable she considers Adventist education is for her daughter. [Image: Daniel Gallardo]

Our school would then become a true family, where our classmates became brothers and sisters, for whom we got personally involved and prayed. The same happened with our dear teachers, who would take care of us, reprimand us when we misbehaved, and lovingly helped us to be better. This all left an indelible imprint which ,no doubt I share with many others who experienced how parents and teachers make the decision to trust in Adventist education. It is an education that gives us values for a journey that is undeniably difficult and complex.

The privilege of attending an Adventist school fills me with gratitude, first of all to God and my family, and to the people who along that long journey offered me their help, words of encouragement, or an arm to lean on. To each and every one of them, I want to share that image and leave the following thought: When you allow God to lead you along the way, to guide your plans and life, you become a powerful instrument in His service.

Daniel Gallardo graduated from Montemorelos University with a degree in Visual Arts with concentration in Photography. He lives in Mexico and has authored works that zero in on a worldview focused on Jesus. He is owner and director of Gallardo Studio, whose main brand Daniel Gallardo Photographer® has accomplished many projects. Among his customers are the Inter-American Division of Seventh-day Adventists, Adventist schools, Gemma Editores publishing house, Montemorelos University and Linda Vista University.

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