Old Man’s Long Wait
To Sabbath School teachers: This story is for Sabbath, October 28.
his is a story about an old man in the West African country of Cameroon.
Mbassi worked for a tobacco company in the capital, Yaoundé. He made cigarettes.
In the big city, he met a Swiss missionary who offered him Bible studies in 1953. He was keenly interested in what he read, and he started to keep the seventh-day Sabbath. A desire grew in his heart to yield his life to Jesus and to be baptized. He asked for baptism.
But the request was rejected. The reason was that he worked for a tobacco company. Also, he sometimes worked on Sabbath.
Mbassi was greatly disappointed, but he kept going to church on Sabbath when he could. Still, every time he went to church, he had problems at work. Finally, he was fired because of the Sabbath.
Without any work, Mbassi returned to his hometown. He wasn’t baptized, but he continued to keep the Sabbath. For 52 years he kept the Sabbath.
Mbassi grew old. His hair turned white. His eyes grew dim. But his love for Jesus strengthened with each passing day. He longed to be baptized.
One day, a Seventh-day Adventist preacher came to the town to organize evangelistic meetings. When townspeople heard that he kept the seventh-day Sabbath, they told him that an old man was already keeping the Sabbath in their town.
“The old man has a nephew who is a pastor,” one person said. “But he doesn’t attend the Sunday services at his nephew’s church, even though the church is located right across the street from his house.”
“There is another church just down the street from his house,” another person said. “But he also doesn’t go there to worship on Sundays.”
The Adventist preacher learned that townspeople had mocked the old man for years, saying he was an Adventist in name only because he had never been baptized.
The preacher dropped everything and rushed over to the old man’s house.
Mbassi was in ill health and in bed. He said he had been praying for the last two days, “Lord, how can I die without being baptized? I have kept the Sabbath since 1953, but I’m still not baptized. If indeed I am Your child, help me to be baptized before I die.”
The preacher and the old man
Then the preacher studied the Bible with the old man for the next two weeks. The preacher, whose name is Cosmas, worked at an Adventist hospital located 45 miles (70 kilometers) away in Yaoundé. He had to make a difficult trip on rough roads every day for Bible studies.
Finally, Mbassi was baptized. He was 84. He was frail and had to be carried to the river. But he was all smiles. He went under the water with a smile, and he came up with an even bigger smile. God heard his prayers, and he was baptized.
Part of this quarter’s Thirteenth Sabbath Offering will build on the work of the Swiss missionary who gave Bible studies to Mbassi in the 1950s. The missionary, Aimé Cosendai, helped pioneer church work in Cameroon and opened hundreds of schools. The Thirteenth Sabbath Offering will open a new school where children will be able to learn about Jesus in French and English. Thank you for planning a generous offering.