What are Vitamins for the Heart? Additionally to the physical help for us the spiritual support has likewise a big meaning. ‘Vitamins for the Heart’ is the title of series in which we publish new articles monthly. The Vitamins are compositions out of texts, which we are friendly allowed by the authors to present on our webpage. Because we had many positive reactions to the vitamins we also want to present them on our webpage and hope that they will also bring many others a big pleasure.

Vitamins for the Heart

The Story of our Plastic Bonsai Tree

Lenka Schmidt:

Back from his mission trip to the Congo, Wolfgang unpacked his suitcase. In his absence, I had made a major cleanup of our apartment. It was a lot of work and I was quite pleased with how it looked now. However, after he had emptied his suitcase and I entered the living room I was in for a surprise. A kitschy plastic bonsai tree was sitting right in the center of my wanna-be-stylish living room! „Can we please put the tree here instead?“ I asked, bringing it to our bedroom. „Sure!“ he answered and then told me the following amazing story.

In Congo, my husband flew to the interior of the countryside to visit our school project there and arrived at the tiny airport of the nearby town where a big group of people waited for somebody – with music, songs, a big banner and all fanfare which is usually organized for an important local politician. He asked his friends who received him at the airport “Who is all this for?” They responded: „This is for you!“ The whole parade was just for him!

After being greeted by the mayor of town and members of our partner organization, suddenly two pupils from our school approached him and gave him – you guessed it – the very same bonsai tree which was in our apartment now! It was a token of their appreciation for the school we built for them and that they can attend school free of charge, something unheard of in Congo because normally all students there have to pay for their tuition.

At our new school grounds – in the heat of the day – almost 300 pupils were standing in rows by classes in front of the school, marching to the rhythm of lively music and singing from the top of their lungs. Some of them recited poems and texts they had learned.

It was a special moment! After years of laboring and living in difficult conditions – over 10 years in Africa – receiving little appreciation, these types of touching experiences make it worth all the trouble.

Later, Wolfgang confided to me how he had to hold back his tears a few times during those days. Seeing the hard conditions under which people in the interior live and how grateful the children are to be able to attend school was just overwhelming.

I listened to his story carefully and afterwards, I solemnly carried that little bonsai tree back to its honored place in the center of our living room. It serves as a tangible reminder of the love and appreciation we received from the children in Mabala.


In ordinary life, we hardly realize that we receive a great deal more than we give, and that it is only with gratitude that life becomes rich. — Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Never let the things you want make you forget the things you have. — Sanchita Pandey

God gave you a gift of 86,400 seconds today. Have you used one of them to say thank you? – William Arthur Ward

Gratitude is a decision of the will, and if a decision of the will, the choice resides squarely with us. Deciding to be thankful is no easy task. It takes work. — Chuck Swindoll

Thankfulness creates gratitude which generates contentment that causes peace. — Todd Stocker

Copyright © 2019 Aktive Direkt Hilfe e. V.; Picture: W. Schmidt:

 2003 - 2004: After the devastating civil war in the Congo, we came to Kinshasa, imported our third container in Africa and distributed relief supplies to the needy.

10th Anniversary of Active Direct Help


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