Joseph and Mary live in a poor neighborhood in Accra [ah-KRAH], the capital city of Ghana. [Locate Ghana on a map.] When Joseph was old enough to start school, his parents sent him to the nearby Adventist school because they wanted him to have a good education.
Joseph loved his new school, and when he learned that the children attended Sabbath School on Sabbaths, he wanted to go too. His mother walked him to the church on her way to work.
Joseph loved Sabbath School. He loved how his teachers made the Bible lessons so interesting. When his mother came to get him late on Sabbath afternoon, he bubbled over with excitement about what he had learned that day.
Joseph invited his parents to come to church with him, but they said that they had to work, so he went alone. He felt lonely when he saw his friends sitting with their parents. “Please, Mom and Dad,” he would plead, “let’s go to church together.”
Joseph joined the Adventurers Club, which met on Sabbath afternoons. Whenever the Adventurers had a special program, Joseph invited his parents. But they always had to work, so he went alone.
When Joseph’s sister, Mary, was 3 years old, he began taking her to church. Mother walked the children to church and returned for them late in the afternoon. Then Mary began begging her mother to go to church with her.
One day when Mary was 5, she again asked Mother to stay for church. Again Mother said she had to work. “OK,” Mary said, “if you won’t go to church, then I won’t go either.” Mary’s words hit Mother hard. Mother tried to reason with Mary, saying, “If I go to church with you, what will you eat? I must work on Saturday so we’ll have food to eat the rest of the week.” But Mary kept asking her mother to come to church.
Mary and Joseph weren’t the only ones to invite Mother and Father to church. Church members often visited the family to invite the parents to church. But still the children’s parents didn’t come.
Then one day when the children begged their parents to go to church, Father said he’d go. Mary and Joseph were thrilled! When they arrived at church, Joseph introduced his father to many members. The children sat next to him in church. And the elders greeted Father warmly, for they had been trying to get Father to attend church.
Father returned the next week, but then his boss told him that he had to work the following Sabbath. The children again asked their mother to go with them, but she didn’t.
Then one Friday Mother told the children, “Tomorrow I will go to church with you.” Mary and Joseph were stunned. Did Mother really mean it? Would she really go? Or would she just drop them off at church on her way to work?
On Sabbath morning Mother helped the children prepare for church. Then she put on her best dress and walked with the children to church. As the family neared the church, instead of saying goodbye, Mother walked into the church yard with them.
Mary was so happy that she refused to leave her mother and go to her own Sabbath School. Several times during Sabbath School Joseph left his class to see that his mother was still in church.
Mother realized that she had missed worshipping God. She continued attending church with the children. One day Mother realized that when she stopped working on the Sabbath, God blessed her and gave her the same amount of money from five days’ work that she had been earning in six days.
Now Mother has joined the children as they pray that Father will give his heart to God. Let’s pray for Father, too. We know Jesus wants whole families to be together in heaven.
Our mission offerings help support schools such as the one that Mary and Joseph attend. There many children first learn that Jesus loves them and wants to be their friend now and forever.