Praying for Parents
Every day that week the children invited their mother to go to church with them, and finally Mother agreed.
Tema [THE-mah] and Tonia [TOHN-yah] live with their parents and little brother, Mua [MOO-ah], in a village near the sea on the big island of Fiji. [Point to Fiji on a map and invite one or two children to find it also.] Their house is built of wood and stands several feet off the ground to prevent flooding during the rainy season. The sisters like to play pani, a game similar to dodge ball, and eat fish cooked in coconut milk.
Ever since the girls were little, their Bu [boo, grandmother] and Nau [now, grandfather] have taken them to Sabbath School. And when Mua was big enough, they took him too. The children enjoy Sabbath School a lot, especially the singing and the Bible stories. Often they arrive at church in time for a special prayer-and-praise service before Sabbath School. This is a time when anyone can share their prayer requests and praises with church members. Tonia and Tema often asked the church to pray that their parents would attend church with them.
On Sabbath morning Mother helped the children get ready for church. She made a breakfast of bread and raisins for them to eat. But whenever the girls invited their mother to go to church with them, she just smiled and sent them off with Bu and Nau. Sometimes Bu and Nau urged Mother to attend church in order to be a good example to the children. Mother would just answer, “Perhaps one day.”
Bu and Nau encouraged the children to pray every day for their parents. And they did.
One Sabbath the pastor announced that visitors’ Sabbath was the next week. Tonia and Tema hurried home from church and invited their mother to be their visitor the following Sabbath. Even little brother Mua chimed in, “Yes, Mama, come with us.” Their father worked on Sabbath, so the children knew that he wouldn’t go. Every day that week the children invited their mother to go to church with them, and finally Mother agreed. The children jumped up and down and clapped their hands and hugged Mother. Mother just smiled, for she was happy too.
On Sabbath morning the children dressed quickly for church. Mother dressed for church as well. They quickly ate their breakfast of bread and raisins and started down the road toward the church. Tema and Tonia held Mother’s hands and pulled her along so she would hurry. Bu and Nau followed along and smiled. Everyone was glad that Mother was going to church.
The children sat with Mother and Bu and Nau in church. When it was time to introduce the visitors, Tema stood and introduced her mother. And all three children were extra quiet during church, for they wanted Mother to be proud of them. During the sermon Tonia looked at Mother and saw tears in her eyes. She prayed that Mother was listening as Jesus talked to her heart.
After the worship service the members prepared a big lunch to welcome everyone. Then it was time to go home. Tonia held Mother’s hand as they walked toward home while little Mua ran on ahead. He was happy too. They all were happy, for Mother had gone to church with them.
During the week the children invited Mother to join them at church the next week. And this time Mother said yes! Mother continued attending church with the family. Then one week she told the pastor that she wanted to become part of God’s family.
Tema and Tonia are thrilled that God has answered their prayer and helped their mother come to Jesus. Now they’re praying for their father. “I know that God will speak to his heart, just as He spoke to Mother’s,” Tema says. “We know that all things are possible if we just believe, and we do believe,” Tonia adds.
Tema and Tonia like being missionaries for Jesus. “It’s easy!” they say. “Just pray for your friends and tell them how much God loves them. Then invite them to worship with you on Sabbath.” One other way to be a missionary is to bring your mission offering to church. That way even more people can hear about Jesus.