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A Ball and a Chicken

To Sabbath School teachers: This story is for Sabbath, November 26.

By Nerida Koolik


f you’ve ever been in a big storm, you might be able to imagine what it is like to be in a cyclone. In 2015, a powerful category 5 cyclone hit many of the islands of Vanuatu in the South Pacific, destroying and flattening many homes and churches. The people who lived on these islands needed help.

A few months later, a team of young men from Vanuatu and a builder named Peter from Australia traveled from island to island. They built 41 new buildings that could stand strong if another cyclone came.

On one of those islands, Tanna, on the top of a mountain, is a small village. This village is called Nukuka, and very few people ever visit it.

The village needed a new church, so the builders brought wood, concrete, a roof, and other materials on a boat. They unloaded everything onto the beach, then dragged everything up the mountain.

Children played nearby as the workers built the new church. They had no toys, but played games with sticks and other toys made from bush.

It would take about one week for the new church building to be built. During that week, Peter, the Australian, had to travel back to the city of Vila by airplane to pick up some supplies for the new church. One of the young boys heard that Peter was leaving. We’ll call him Joe. Joe approached Peter with a request. .

“Could you please bring me back a soccer ball?” he asked.

Peter looked at Joe, kindly. “Most children are scared of me, let alone talk to me,” he said. “Because you have asked me this request, I will bring you back a ball. But I have one request of you: This ball will not just be your ball, but the village ball, shared with all of the children.”

The boy nodded and ran off to play.

A few days later, Peter arrived back at Nukuka. He climbed the mountain with something special under his arm: a real soccer ball. The boy ran up to Peter when he arrived. As Peter gave him the ball, he noticed the boy blink away tears.

That Sabbath was a very special day. All of the village people gathered in their new church on the top of the mountain to worship God. This building would be a safe place for the people if there ever was another cyclone.

On Sunday, the workers were ready to leave, and the whole village came out to say goodbye. Three of the people who came to say goodbye were Joe, his widowed mother, and his little sister. The boy had brought a thank-you gift for Peter — a live chicken and a stick of sugar cane. This was a very generous gift indeed! Peter thanked him for his gift but accepted only the sugar cane. Jesus tells us, “It is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35, NKJV). Both Peter and the boy knew this to be true on that day. What will you give to others to show them that Jesus cares?