To Sabbath School teachers: This story is for Sabbath, April 30.
tilia loves her father very much.
But she isn’t sure that he loves her.
One Sabbath, the girl came home from church and found all her clothes dumped in front of the home. Otilia tried to open the front door of the house, but it was locked. Father had locked her out again.
The trouble started when Otilia was living with her older sister in another town. In that town, Otilia befriended Seventh-day Adventist children at school, and they told her about the Sabbath. She started going with them to an Adventist church. After a while, she decided to give her heart to Jesus and be baptized.
Father was furious when he learned that she had joined the Adventist church. Father was the pastor of another church.
“I forbid you from being an Adventist!” he shouted over the phone.
He told Otilia’s sister to stop her from going to church on Sabbath.
Otilia’s sister did not want to get into trouble with Father, so she sent Otilia back home to live with Father.
On the first Sabbath morning that she was at home, Father locked the door so she could not leave the house.
“You may not go to church,” he said.
Otilia was locked in the house all day.
But the next Sabbath, Father had to work, and Otilia left the house to go to church. When she returned home, she found that Father had locked her out of the house. He refused to give her lunch and supper. Otilia waited until he fell asleep that night, and then a younger sister opened the door and let her in.
Father tried everything he could think of to stop Otilia from going to church. He threatened to throw her out of the house. He tossed her clothes into the yard and locked the door. He spanked her.
Otilia felt sad that Father was so angry, but she never spoke back. She remembered that Jesus also did not speak back when His enemies were angry. She remembered that Jesus prayed for the people who killed Him. As Jesus was being crucified, He prayed, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do” (Luke 23:34, NKJV).
So, when Father was angry, Otilia prayed silently, “Father, forgive him because he doesn’t know what he is doing.”
One day, Father stopped being angry. He stopped locking the door. He stopped throwing out her clothes. He stopped spanking her. But he still isn’t very happy.
Otilia is praying for him.
She hopes to grow up to help other children who have had trouble with their parents. She wants every girl and boy to know her favorite Bible verse, where Jesus said, “In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).
Otilia is of good cheer. She is happy because she knows Jesus has overcome all of the trouble in the world and will return one day soon to take her to His home. She knows Jesus will never lock her out of the house or throw her clothes into the yard. She loves Jesus very much, and she is sure that He loves her, too. ⎭
Thank you for your Thirteenth Sabbath Offering three years ago that helped provide a home to children without parents in Otilia’s hometown, Nampula. The orphanage is for children whose parents have died of HIV/AIDS.