Vanessa and Gladys live in Cameroon, a country in western Africa [locate Cameroon on a map].
Vanessa was sad. Her best friend, Gladys, had invited her to her birthday party. But when Vanessa didn’t eat the unclean food that her mother served at the party, Gladys’s mother was upset. Even Gladys seemed angry with Vanessa.
Then Vanessa had an idea. She took her Bible to school to show Gladys why she didn’t eat pork. “God doesn’t want us to eat unclean food,” Vanessa explained. Then she showed Gladys several verses about unclean foods. But Gladys didn’t want to listen.
Children’s Sabbath was coming, and Vanessa practiced her memory verses and the songs the children would sing. She invited Gladys to come to the program. “The children put on the whole program,” Vanessa said. It sounded like fun, so Gladys asked her mother if she could go.
Gladys was impressed that the children led the singing and read the scripture, and some children even preached! After the program Vanessa found Gladys. “Did you like the program?” she asked eagerly.
“Oh, yes,” Gladys said. “I’ve never seen children take part in a church program before.”
The girls walked to Gladys’s home. “Oh, Mother,” she said, “the program was great! The children recited Bible texts and sang songs, and some children even preached! I want to go to Vanessa’s church again!” Then she thought for a moment. “Mama,” she said, “why doesn’t our church ask the children to take part in the adult program?”
Gladys’s mother wasn’t happy that Gladys liked Vanessa’s church more than her own. She told Gladys that she could not go to church with Vanessa again. In fact, she told Gladys that she shouldn’t be friends with Vanessa any longer—and she could not talk to her about religion.
The next time Vanessa saw Gladys, she saw her friend’s sad look. “My mom won’t let me play with you or talk to you about religion,” Gladys said. And then Gladys sat up straight, as she often did when she had an idea. “I know!” she said. “If I beg and beg, my mother will let me go! I know she will!” Gladys was an only child, and she often got what she wanted. And this time she wanted to go to Sabbath School!
Now it was Vanessa’s turn to get a worried look on her face. “You mustn’t talk to your mother that way,” Vanessa said. But Gladys was determined.
Vanessa invited Gladys home to talk to her mother about the importance of obeying. Mother gently told Gladys that she must speak respectfully to her mother and obey her. Then Vanessa’s mother offered to go with Gladys to talk with her mother about attending Sabbath School. Vanessa went too. The girls asked Gladys’s mother to forgive them for making her unhappy. “I’m sorry if Gladys spoke disrespectfully to you because of something I’ve done,” Vanessa said. Gladys told her mother that she was sorry for being disrespectful too.
How happy Gladys was when her mother allowed her to attend church with Vanessa! Gladys started learning Bible verses and could tell her mother the Bible stories she had heard in Sabbath School. Gladys’s mother noticed how respectful and obedient Gladys had become. She wondered what Vanessa’s church was doing to help her daughter become such a different person.
One day Gladys’s mother told the girls that she wanted to attend church with them. The girls hugged Gladys’s mother and told her that she would like going to Vanessa’s church.
Gladys’s mother went to church with the girls several times. And when the youth held evangelistic meetings, Gladys’s mother gave her heart to God.
Vanessa is so happy that she shared her faith with Gladys, for now both Gladys and her mother have learned that Jesus loves them and wants to be their friend forever.
We are missionaries when we tell others about Jesus and when we give our mission offerings, for they help others learn about Jesus, too. And we are being missionaries when we pray for others to give their hearts to Jesus. That’s three ways we can be missionaries today.