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Adventist Mission

Albert Elijah Maye, 44

A Boy Named Daddy

To Sabbath School teachers: This story is for Sabbath, August 29.

By Andrew McChesney, Adventist Mission

Father called 8-year-old Albert to carry a plate of rice to a bush in Siahn village in Liberia.

“Daddy, come on,” Father said. “Let’s go and worship our ancestors.”

“My son, let’s go,” the boy replied, picking up the plate of rice sprinkled with red palm oil. Also on the plate were an egg and kola nuts.

At the bush, Father knelt and took the plate from Albert. Holding out the plate with both hands, Father called on his father, grandfather, and other dead relatives. “I’m ready to plant rice on my farm,” he said. “I need the farm to prosper. As my ancestors, I am leaving some food on the ground for you. If you agree with my wish for a good rice crop, let the plate be empty when I come back for it.”

The next day, Father called Albert.

“Daddy, go to the bush to see how our ancestors responded,” he said.

“My son, let’s go,” Albert said.

The plate was empty. There was no sign of the rice, egg, or kola nuts. “What happened, my son?” Albert asked Father.

“Daddy, that’s a sign that our ancestors have agreed that we can farm this year,” he said.

Whenever Father wanted something, he took Albert to the bush with a plate of rice. When he hoped for a good rice harvest, they went to the bush. When he wanted his wife to have a baby boy, they went to the bush. When he wanted rain, he went to the bush.

Albert wondered whether dead ancestors really ate the food, but Father forbade him from going to the bush to watch.

“Daddy, you can’t go to the bush on your own,” he said. “You can only go with me.”

“Fine, son, I won’t go alone,” Albert promised.

You might be wondering why Father called Albert “Daddy” and Albert called his father “son.” The answer is simple. A witchdoctor told Father that his own father had been reincarnated, or reborn, in Albert after dying. So, Father believed that Albert was actually his own father.

Everything changed when Father sent Albert to the Seventh-day Adventist school in the village. On the first day, the children were surprised to hear Father call Albert “Daddy.”

“How old are you?” one boy asked Albert.

Albert tried to explain. “He calls me ‘Daddy’ because we believe his father was reincarnated in me,” he said.

The other children were confused and not convinced. They had studied the Bible at school, and they were sure that dead people could not be reincarnated. Albert also was confused that the children didn’t understand him, and he asked a teacher to explain the Bible. The teacher opened the Bible to Job 14:12 and read, “So man lies down and does not rise. Till the heavens are no more, they will not awake nor be roused from their sleep.”

Albert believed for the first time that he was not his father’s father

At home, he told Father about the conversation with the teacher. Father couldn’t read, so Albert read to him from the Bible. Father became very sad. He realized that Albert was speaking the truth. From that day on, he never called Albert “Daddy” again. Albert stopped calling his father “son.”

Father and Albert also stopped taking plates of rice to the special bush. They no longer needed to worship their ancestors. They were determined to worship only their Father in heaven.

Part of this quarter’s Thirteenth Sabbath Offering will help to construct a school in Buchanan, Liberia, to replace a school destroyed in Liberia’s civil war in the 1990s. Buchanan is located near to Albert’s home village.