Meeting Christ in Prison Part 1
To Sabbath School teachers: This story is for Sabbath, March 4.
n the African country of Egypt, Joseph went to prison for something that he didn’t do. He was innocent. In the African country of Uganda, a teenage boy named Rafael went to prison for something that he did do. He was not innocent.
You probably remember the Bible story of Joseph, who was accused falsely by Potiphar’s wife and ended up being thrown into prison. But Joseph, who was raised by God-fearing parents, was a good prisoner. He was kind and worked hard, and soon he was working for the warden of the prison. The Bible says, “The Lord was with him; he showed him kindness and granted him favor in the eyes of the prison warden. So, the warden put Joseph in charge of all those held in the prison, and he was made responsible for all that was done there. The warden paid no attention to anything under Joseph’s care, because the Lord was with Joseph and gave him success in whatever he did” (Genesis 39:21-23, NIV). After some time, Joseph interpreted the king’s dream and later was freed from prison.
Rafael’s story was a little different. He also was raised by God-fearing parents, but he wasn’t interested in God. He liked to listen to bad music and go to bad places. One night, he was at a bad place when a big fight broke out. The police arrested Rafael and sent him to prison.
Rafael knew that he deserved to be in prison. He was not innocent because he had taken part in a fight. But he didn’t want to be locked up. He missed Father and Mother very much.
For five months he thought about the bad decisions that he had made. He had chosen bad friends. He had gone to bad places. He had taken part in a fight. How he wished that he could have a second chance. He would make better decisions.
One day, Rafael was chosen to help clean the house of the prison warden. At first, Rafael was a little scared of the warden. The warden was a big man in charge of the prison and all the prisoners. But then Rafael saw that the warden was a very kind man. He treated Rafael like a son. So even though Rafael badly missed his father, he found a loving father in the warden. Whenever he went to the warden’s house, he felt like he was going home.
He liked that every time he arrived to work, the warden wanted to pray with him.
“Dear God,” the warden prayed, “please bless my son Rafael today as he works to clean this house. Please be with him in all his duties and activities.”
Rafael was touched by the prayers. They filled him with courage and hope. Before long, the warden invited Rafael to pray as well. Rafael learned that the warden was a Seventh-day Adventist.
Then the warden invited a Seventh-day Adventist pastor to read the Bible with Rafael in prison. Although Rafael had been taught as a boy to believe in God, he didn’t know much about the Bible. The pastor came regularly to read the Bible with him.
Rafael was amazed as they read. He had never heard the story of Joseph being arrested and thrown into prison. He knew nothing about Daniel being arrested and thrown into the lion’s den. He was astonished to hear that Daniel, like Joseph, also interpreted a king’s dream. He read that Jesus was coming soon — and he believed it with all his heart.
“If only I had made good choices and had not ended up in prison,” he thought.
Part of this quarter’s Thirteenth Sabbath Offering will help teenagers like Rafael make good choices in Uganda. The offering will help open a training center where young people can learn about Jesus while learning how to grow crops to make a living. Thank you for planning a generous Thirteenth Sabbath Offering. Find out the rest of Rafael’s story next week.