If your class will present the Thirteenth Sabbath program for the adults:
If your division will not join the adults for a special program, ask the juniors to present the following story.
Props: Before the presentation position six or nine chairs in two or three rows close together on the platform or in the front of the classroom, facing the opposite side of the room.
Participants: An adult or junior-age “teacher” and enough children to fill the chairs plus two or three more children. A narrator.
[Children walk in from left, right, and the front to fill the chairs and spill over onto the floor, where they sit cross-legged. They wiggle, emphasizing how crowded it is.]
Narrator: It’s Sabbath morning, and the children in the Romani (Gypsy) church in western Bulgaria don’t want to be late! They love Sabbath School and don’t want to miss even one song! But there’s another reason they want to be on time. There isn’t enough room for everyone in their Sabbath School class. Those who come late must sit on the floor or stand during the program.
[Children sing a song in Bulgarian (see page 33). Those not on the platform can sing from their seats.]
Teacher: Good morning, boys and girls.
Children: Good morning, teacher.
Teacher: Let’s start with prayer. Does anyone have a prayer request? [Several children raise their hands. Teacher calls on them one by one.]
Boy 1: My grandmother is sick. Can we pray that she feels better soon?
Boy 2: My dog had puppies. I want to thank Jesus that they are healthy!
Girl: Can we pray for a bigger classroom? I want to invite my cousins, but there’s never enough room in our class.
Teacher: These are good prayer requests. God loves to hear our praises and our requests. Who would like to pray today?
[Girl raises her hand.]
Teacher: Ana, you may pray. Let’s stand while we pray. [Children stand and bow their heads.]
Ana: Dear Jesus, thank You for this Sabbath. Thank You for a place to worship You. Please be with Peter’s grandmother. Help her to feel better soon so she can come back to church and worship You. Thank You for Eric’s puppies. And, Jesus, please help us to get a bigger Sabbath School class so we can invite our friends and our cousins to come and learn about You. We love You, Jesus. Amen.
Teacher: Thank you, Ana. Our lesson today is about . . . [Voice fades off, but teacher remains in place, pretending to talk with the children. Meanwhile, more children crowd on the platform behind those sitting in chairs.]
Narrator: It’s wonderful to want to invite others to Sabbath School to help them learn about God. But what does a church do when it has no church? Where do the children meet when there’s no room for them in Sabbath School?
One Romani (Gypsy) congregation in Bulgaria meets in an apartment in a house. Several walls have been taken out so that more people can sit in the open space to study the Bible and hear the pastor’s message.
The children meet in a small room in the apartment. But when all the seats in the sanctuary are full and there’s no more room for adults to sit, the children hold their Sabbath School class outside so that the adults can use the children’s room to hear the sermon and study their lesson.
One of today’s Thirteenth Sabbath Offering projects will help build a church for this congregation. They’ll build the church big enough for everyone who wants to come. And there will be several rooms for the children. The children’s offering for Thirteenth Sabbath will help to buy chairs and tables and felts and other items to help the children learn how much God loves them.
Jesus doesn’t want to leave anyone out. One day He said to His helpers, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them” [Luke 18:16, NIV]. We want to help the children in this little congregation in Bulgaria have a place where they can safely worship Jesus. They must not feel neglected or unloved. We must help them know that Jesus loves them and so do we.
Our offering today will help them experience God’s love firsthand from other children around the world.
Teacher [to the children on the platform as well as the audience]: It’s time to give our Thirteenth Sabbath Offering, boys and girls, so that children in another land will experience God’s love through us. _________ [name of child], will you hold the offering basket today while the children bring their offerings? [Children stand and walk to the basket and drop in their offering.]
Child 1 [who has been sitting on the floor]: I want to give an offering for a chair!
Child 2: I hope my offering can be used to buy felts to help the children see their Bible stories while they hear them.
Child 3: Here’s my offering. I love to sing. Maybe it can help buy a songbook.
[Invite the children in the audience bring their offering.]
Narrator: Thank you, boys and girls. Our offerings today will make a difference in many children’s lives. Let’s continue to be faithful and share what we know with those we meet.
[Close with a song.]