Treasure in Old Vessels
To Sabbath School teachers: This story is for Sabbath, February 11.
recious cried as her father led her through the gates of a Seventh-day Adventist boarding school in Uganda.
“Dad, it seems we are lost!” she said. “We must have lost the way to the school where we planned to go to. This is not the famous school we have always heard of! Let’s ask for directions. Maybe the woman coming toward us can help.”
Precious wanted to study in the beautiful buildings of a popular school that she had heard about. She didn’t want to study in the much more modest buildings of the Katerera Primary School.
Father heard his daughter’s cries, but he didn’t change his mind.
“It’s not the magnificence of the buildings but the excellence of the education that matters, my daughter,” he said softly in her ear.
He said that the children who went to the popular school were not learning as well as children who went to the Adventist school.
Precious bit her tongue. She decided to be quiet. But her face showed her unhappiness as Father enrolled her in classes at the school. She would live in the school dormitory and eat at the school cafeteria. When Father waved good-bye at the gate, her tears flowed freely.
“Why has my beloved Dad chosen to imprison me in the name of schooling?” she blurted out. “This is ridiculous!”
The woman who had met Precious and Father when they arrived at the gate now offered to show Precious where she was going to sleep.
“Hello, come,” the smiling woman said in a kind voice. “Let’s go to the dormitory, and I’ll show you where you will sleep.”
Precious sadly followed as the woman carried her mattress and suitcase to the dormitory.
That evening, her heart sank further when she saw children lining up outside an old building. She wondered what was happening until she saw the children carrying plates of food. She realized that it was the school cafeteria. That evening, she ate a vegetarian meal for the first time in her life.
Later, Precious heard a bell ringing and saw children running joyfully to the campus chapel for evening worship. She decided to return to the dormitory to rest. But when she reached the dormitory, she found that the doors were locked. She returned to the chapel and stood outside, unsure about what to do.
“Come, let’s enter the house of the Lord,” the same smiling woman said. “It’s prayer time. Don’t be sad.”
The woman spoke so kindly. Precious felt loved, and she entered the chapel.
Inside, she heard little children singing in harmony. She had never heard such beautiful music before, and the singing children were even younger than her. After the children sang, someone stood up and spoke about Jesus. Her sadness vanished. She liked the singing and the worship talk.
“At least I will enjoy this part of the school,” she thought.
Father didn’t return until vacation time at the end of the school term. He had been worried that Precious would refuse to stay at the school if he came earlier. He was surprised when Precious announced that she wanted to return to the school after her vacation. She said she did not want to miss seeing the kind teachers who began every lesson with prayer and a Bible text.
The next semester, the school organized a week of prayer, and Precious decided to give her heart to Jesus in baptism.
“Surely a school is more than its buildings,” Precious said. For it was at the school that she found Jesus.
This quarter’s Thirteenth Sabbath Offering will assist six Adventist schools in the East-Central African Division, including in Precious’ homeland of Uganda. Thank you for planning a generous offering.