If your class will present the Thirteenth Sabbath program for the adults:
Takila [tah-KEE-lah] is a Global Mission pioneer in eastern Africa. Global Mission pioneers are people who volunteer to work in an area, usually in their own country, where no one knows that Jesus is coming soon.
Takila went to special meetings to learn how to share his faith in Jesus with others. He learned a little bit about the people he would be working with, too. He learned that the people believe in witchcraft. They go to the witch doctor when they are sick or when things in their life seem to be going wrong. The witch doctor may chant some strange words, then throw some charms and old bones onto the ground. Then he “reads” the bones and charms and tells the person what the spirits think the problem is. Sometimes the problem is an angry ancestor who has not been worshipped properly, or perhaps the witch doctor thinks someone has placed a curse on the person, and for a price he will remove the curse.
People often test someone’s honesty by placing a curse on them. If the person dies, then they must not have been honest and truthful. But if they live, then they can be trusted.
Takila was eager to start working for Jesus. He walked to the first village in his new territory and talked to the chief. Then he talked to the people of the village about Jesus. Soon it was time for him to go to the next village. Takila did not know how far it was to the village, but from what the villagers told him, he thought it was quite near. Takila started out for the next village in the afternoon, when the sun’s heat was not so fierce.
Takila did not know it, but the people in the village he was leaving wanted to know if what Takila had told them was true. So they asked the witch doctor to test Takila’s honesty by calling on the lions that lived in the grasslands that surround their village.
Takila walked along the path toward the next village. He watched as the sun slipped behind the distant hills. He could see no village in the distance and wondered how far it was. If he did not find it soon, he wondered where he could stay during the night. As darkness set in, Takila saw lions in the distance. It was their favorite time to hunt. Takila was frightened, but it would not do any good to cry for help, because no one was around to help him.
He stopped along the path and asked God to send His angels to protect him. Then Takila continued walking. He noticed that the lions were walking in the same direction as he was, but they did not come closer to him. In the moonlight Takila could see the lions’ eyes glowing. Then he said to the lions, “Are you the guardian angels I asked God to send to protect me?”
Takila felt his fear drain away. He continued walking. The lions walked along beside and behind him. Takila grew tired, but there was no place to sleep, so he kept walking. Finally he stopped to rest, and the lions stopped too. When he stood up and started walking again, the lions started walking with him.
All night long Takila walked, and the lions walked with him. Then as the sun began to peek over the distant hills, he saw a village in the distance. With new energy he walked toward it. For a moment he forgot about the lions.
When he arrived in the village, he turned and looked for the lions, but they had disappeared into the tall grass.
The people of the village were surprised to see a stranger enter their village. They asked where he had come from. He told them the name of the village he had come from and that he had walked all night to get there.
“The grasslands are full of lions,” the villagers said. “How could you walk all night and not be attacked? Many villagers have died when they were caught out of the village after dark.”
Takila told the villagers he had asked his God to send angels to protect him. He told them about the lions that had walked beside him all night long. He told them that when he had stopped to rest, the lions had stopped too. And when he had walked on, they had walked on as well.
Word of Takila’s walk with the lions quickly spread through the village. Soon a crowd of people gathered about him. The chief asked Takila to tell them again how he had arrived at the village without being eaten by hungry lions. Takila told them how he had been able to walk safely through the night because the God he serves sent the lions to walk with him.
The chief invited Takila to talk to the villagers about his God. Many people listened and believed in the God whom Takila serves. When the rainy season ended, a pastor came to baptize those who had given their hearts to God. Many more people in the villages that are scattered across the plains of Zambia have asked Takila to come and tell them about the powerful God he serves, the God who can send lions to protect a man who trusts in Him.