When Little Is Much

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“Do not despise these small beginnings, for the LORD rejoices to see the work begin.” —Zechariah 4:10, NLT

The Seventh-day Adventist Church was formally established on May 21, 1863. This church has since become known worldwide through its hospitals and schools.

Today’s scripture refers to “small things.” I would like to share the stories of two women who, according to the standards of man, would be considered “small things.” The first lady is Anna Knight. Anna was born in Mississippi in 1874, eleven years after emancipation. Though the law stated she was free, society did not! Her determination to become educated and share her newfound faith with others led her to become the first woman Seventh-day Adventist missionary to India in 1907. Anna was twenty-seven years old! When Sister Knight returned to the United States, she spent her remaining years at Oakwood College.

I had the privilege of meeting her one day as I sat on campus waiting for my then-boyfriend to get out of class. As I waited, Sister Knight walked up and said, “If Willie Lee is courting you, I know you can sew on a button. Come with me!” She took me to her suite of rooms in Cunningham Hall, the girls’ dorm, sat me down, and gave me a skirt, which she told me she had worn while serving as a missionary in India. She asked me to replace some buttons.

I must have passed her inspection because she gave me a hug and prayed for me before I left! Eugenia Isabella Cunningham, better known as “Mother” Cunningham, also lived on the campus of Oakwood College. She came to Oakwood Manual School because she wanted to become a missionary. She met her husband and bore their son, C. C. Cunningham, while in the employ of Oakwood. The girl’s dormitory was named in “Mother” Cunningham’s honor. Mrs. Cunningham’s son, Charles (C. C.), became an education superintendent for the Lake Region Conference. He was also my husband’s godfather. I had the privilege of meeting him while my husband and I were at Andrews University, where my husband finished his seminary training.

The impact of these two ladies is still being felt around the world as we await our Lord’s return. Though many would consider them “small,” I have learned that nothing done for the Lord can be considered small, for “little is much when God is in it!”

Wilma Kirk-Lee

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