Six-year-old Andrew wandered down the steps of his parents’ bamboo-and-thatch home in the mountains of Papua New Guinea. The warm breeze pushed clouds across the blue sky. Andrew picked up a stick and swatted the wildflowers.
“Andrew!” a voice called. Andrew turned and gazed at a man with a bright face and silver hair. The man seemed to float above the ground.
“Papa! Come and see!” Andrew called. Andrew’s father ran to where the boy stood. “Look over there, above the bushes!” Andrew said, pointing. Papa squinted, but he couldn’t see anyone. “It’s an angel,” Andrew whispered.
“Andrew,” the angel said, “get dressed and go to church.” Andrew looked at his bare feet. When he looked up again, the angel was gone.
Andrew ran into the house, grabbed his clean shirt, and pulled it over his head. He ran up the path to the Adventist church. Andrew slowed as he approached the little thatch-roofed church. He had never been there before. He entered the church and sat down on a wooden bench. Several families were singing praises to God. Andrew loved the worship service.
When church ended, Andrew hurried home. His father met him and asked sternly, “Where have you been?”
“I went to church, like the angel said,” Andrew answered.
“Do not go to that church again!” his father said.
But the next Saturday Andrew slipped out of the house and ran up the path to the church. He returned home to another stern lecture and a spanking. What did I do wrong? he wondered, tears spilling down his face.
After Andrew’s third spanking, he stopped attending the Adventist church, but he didn’t forget the angel’s command: “Go to church.”
Andrew’s village had no school. One day Andrew told his parents that he was leaving home to attend school. His parents nodded, for children often live with a relative in order to go to school. Andrew followed the trail through the mountain forest. It was getting dark when he finally reached a village. An Adventist family took him in. Andrew tended their garden and went to church with the family on Sabbath. They taught him what it means to follow Jesus.
Andrew attended school for just two years. There wasn’t money to pay for more schooling. But Andrew continued learning.
One day Andrew met his sister, who gave him a Bible. Andrew was excited, but there was just one problem: he couldn’t read English. Andrew prayed that God would help him read and understand the Bible. He began to sound out words, and to his surprise he soon was able to read in English.
This quarter part of our Thirteenth Sabbath Offering will help buy Bibles for children in Papua New Guinea and across the South Pacific. Plan now to bring a special offering on March 30.