[Ask a junior boy to represent Yehoshaphat in this first-person story.]
My name is Yehoshaphat (Jehosaphat). I’m 11 years old and live in northern Tanzania. [Locate Tanzania on a map.] I love Jesus, and I love to read my Bible and pray. I learned that even a child can stand up for their faith.
I attend a private school, but it’s not an Adventist school. I like the school, and I like my classmates and teachers, too. But it was the religion teacher who made me take a stand for what I believe. When the teacher prayed, he would make a lot of noises and say words we couldn’t understand. Then he told us, “When I pray, you must cry out to God!”
I looked at my classmates, and they seemed as confused as I felt. Why should we make noise while someone prays? I wondered. No one had the courage to ask the teacher why we should make noise. So while he prayed, we mumbled small noises.
The teacher wasn’t happy. “Cry out!” he shouted. “Raise your hands and shout ‘Hallelujah!’ ” Some children in our class went to the same church as the teacher, and they cried out. But I felt such noise dishonored God. The teacher was not happy with us, I could tell.
The next week the religion teacher announced, “Today I will teach you how to pray.” I cringed. I knew I had to do something. I stood and waited for the teacher to call on me. Then I said, “Sir, may I leave the room?” Two other students understood and asked to leave the room too.
“No!” the teacher said. “You will remain in the class during prayer. Now stand up and raise your hands,” the teacher said, lifting his hands above his head. “Now shout ‘Hallelujah!’ while I pray.” I was willing to stand during prayer, but shouting anything, even “hallelujah,” seemed wrong. I prayed silently while the teacher prayed and some children shouted “Hallelujah.” The next week I decided to stay in our regular classroom during religion class. My regular teacher asked me why I didn’t go to religion class, and I told him about the teacher’s prayers.
Soon we had a new religion teacher who prays humbly and respectfully and in a way that I believe honors God.
My friends thanked me for standing up for my faith. This experience has opened the door to tell my classmates about what I believe. I’ve invited them to visit my church, and two of them are coming to church with me.
In the Bible we’re told that Daniel and his friends stood for what they believed. We must as well. We can tell our friends about Jesus, and we can give our mission offering so those we can’t tell have a chance to love Him.