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The Power of One
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Have you ever wished you had the power to change something in the world? To take something hopelessly sad and make something good out of it?

Have you ever said, “Yeah, but I’m just an ordinary person—no one’s going to listen to me”?

My friend, Lillian McNeily, shared a story from when she was a senior at Mount Vernon Academy, a 12-grade boarding school in Ohio. She’d read an article in the newspaper about a little girl who was found abandoned.  Someone discovered her sleeping in an old dog house behind a deserted home and called the police.

The child, whom the authorities guessed was about six-years-old, was ill and emaciated. They took her to the hospital, but she did not survive. They buried in an unmarked grave in the town cemetery.

This story really shook Lillian. The next Sabbath she asked the pastor if she could have ten minutes of the church service for a special appeal. He agreed. She read to the students the article from the newspaper and then suggested that this little girl not be forgotten. She had a clip-board and sign-up sheet and asked the students to come up and sign their names if they were willing to pledge $1.00 toward a fund to purchase one rose each week to place on the little grave.

Two Roses

Lillian hoped for enough funds to place one rose each week until the end of the school year. The students lined up to sign and when finished, there were enough funds to buy TWO roses a week!

The next Sabbath, after lunch, the students met in front of the Administration Building and walked together to the cemetery. Lillian had learned the location of the grave and led the way. It thrilled her to see a large crowd of students willing to walk the 30 minutes or more and to participate in honoring the memory of the little girl.

They carefully placed the roses on her grave. Since she had no identification, the students named her “Rose.”

Week after week the students made their faithful journey to place two roses on the grave. The town newspaper editor heard about it and published a story on what the students were doing. This moved some folks in town to buy a headstone for the grave. The students asked them to inscribe the name “Rose” along with the date of her death.

And so, until Jesus comes, a little girl who did not know that she was loved, awaits His calling of her real name. Thanks to Lillian’s courage to do a lovely thing, “Rose” will awaken to discover she has a whole big “family” to embrace her.

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By Lois Pecce. Copyright © 2011 by GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelines.


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