Today’s story comes from Nigeria. [Locate Nigerian on a map.]
Gideon is 9 years old. He lives in Lagos, the largest city in Nigeria. Gideon wants to be a pastor when he grows up, but he already shares his faith with others.
Gideon likes to preach and sing about Jesus. He has taught his neighborhood friends songs and Bible stories, and the boys go together to visit neighbors to sing and tell the people the Bible stories that Gideon has taught them. He tells them about David or Samson or Daniel or Jesus. Sometimes they ask the children to stay and tell them more stories. When the children are ready to go, they offer to come back, and most of the people are glad. “We all like to do this,” Gideon says.
One day Gideon and his friends visited Jumoke [joo-MOH-keh], a woman who lives near them. They sang songs for her, and then Gideon told her the story of Samson. She liked it, so Gideon told her more stories, and the children sang more songs until they had to go. She invited the children to come back again, and they promised they would.
The next day four of the children returned to Jumoke’s home and sang for her again and told her more stories. When it was time to go, Jumoke wanted the children to return the next day, but the children had school and couldn’t come.
Several days passed before Gideon could visit Jumoke again. He apologized for not coming sooner. Gideon and Jumoke sat down and talked. “I told her how much Jesus loves her,” Gideon said. “And when she told me how much she likes the Bible stories, I asked her to come to church with me to hear lots more stories.”
“I would like that,” Jumoke said. Gideon told her that he would ask his parents to take her to church the next Sabbath. She smiled, and she said she would go.
Gideon hurried home and found his mother stirring the fried rice that she was making for dinner. “Mama,” he said, “Jumoke wants to go to church with us this Sabbath! Can we take her?”
Mama smiled. “That’s wonderful. Let’s ask Papa when he comes home.”
When Papa came home he listened to Gideon’s request and looked thoughtful for a moment. “Yes, I think we can make room for her in our car,” he said. The twinkle in his eyes told Gideon that Papa was pleased.
On Sabbath morning Gideon went to Jumoke’s house and walked her back to his house, where the family was waiting beside our car.
The family had a wonderful worship in their little church. On the way home from church Jumoke thanked Gideon and his parents for taking her to church. “Will you come again next week?” Gideon asked her. Jumoke said that she would try. Jumoke has come to church several times since then. Her husband doesn’t always let her come, but she likes to worship God with Gideon’s family whenever she can go.
Gideon and his friends still go to Jumoke’s house to sing songs and tell Bible stories. Gideon asks us to pray that Jumoke’s husband will let her attend church and that he will want to come to church with her.
Boys and girls, Gideon is a missionary in his neighborhood. You can be a missionary too, just by telling the people you know that Jesus loves them. And when you bring your mission offering to Sabbath School, you are helping people in lands near and far away learn about Jesus. Let’s pray for Jumoke and her family, that God will lead them all to love Jesus, and for all the children and grown-ups in the world who will have a chance to hear about Jesus because we give our mission offering.
[Close with prayer.]