God of Red Beets
To Sabbath School teachers: This story is for Sabbath, September 23.
little boy named Kreves was learning a lot of new things in first grade in Latvia. He dutifully taught Mother what he was learning when he came home.
One day, he told Mother about Mikelis.
“Teacher told us today that when you plant vegetables in the field, you need to plant red beets at the end of the field for the god Mikelis,” he said.
Mother’s favorite vegetable was red beets. She liked sweet, juicy beets shredded in salad. She liked sweet, juicy beets chopped up in soup. But she didn’t like her son saying that sweet, juicy beets were the favorite vegetable of Mikelis. Mikelis was a mythological Latvian god that Kreves had heard about while taking lessons about folk traditions and pagan gods at public school in Latvia.
Mother’s temperature rose. Her face turned as red as a beet. She marched to Kreves’ school like a soldier ready for war.
“My son will never again attend these lessons about pagan gods,” she told Kreves’ first-grade teacher, Teacher Lolita. “I don’t agree with this foolishness. What kind of god do we have to leave red beets for?”
Teacher Lolita was a young mother, and she looked at Mother nicely. “Why don’t you tell the teacher yourself?” she said.
Teacher Lolita didn’t teach the lessons on pagan gods. Those lessons were taught by a third-grade teacher. Teacher Lolita invited the third-grade teacher to speak with Mother.
Mother became more polite when she saw the third-grade teacher. But she held fast to her demand. “These lessons are not suitable for my son, and I don’t want him to participate in them,” she said.
The third-grade teacher peacefully accepted Mother’s decision. “Fine,” she said.
Teacher Lolita was listening to the conversation, and she had an idea.
“Kreves’ Mother, why don’t you come and teach the children about the Bible?” she said. “You like the Bible.”
Mother was shocked! She thought, “Can anyone just walk off the street and teach at the school?”
Moments later, Mother was in the principal’s office. “Yes, you can come to our school and teach the Bible,” the principal said. “That would be very good. But the pottery teacher is leaving, and the children like her class very much. So, you also would need to teach pottery.”
“But I don’t know how to teach pottery!” Mother exclaimed.
The principal was firm. “I was told that you are very clever and smart, and we don’t have anyone else who can teach it,” she said. “Let’s make a deal. If you teach pottery, you can teach the Bible. If you don’t teach pottery, you can’t teach the Bible.”
Mother thought, “Am I crazy, or are they crazy?” But she understood that if she wanted Kreves to learn the Bible in school, she would also have to teach pottery.
“Don’t worry,” the principal added. “The children can make pottery without help.”
So, Mother started teaching the Bible and pottery at the school. Then the teachers asked her to teach the Bible to them, too. So, Mother taught Teacher Lolita and other teachers once a week.
At the end of the school year, Teacher Lolita thanked Mother. “I want to be saved, and I want my children to be saved,” she said. “What should I do next?” “Believe in Christ and get baptized,” Mother said.
Teacher Lolita was baptized and became a very valuable member of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Latvia. She helped lead the Pathfinders for many years.
Part of this quarter’s Thirteenth Sabbath Offering will help support Pathfinders and other children in Latvia. The offering will help construct a building in Latvia’s capital, Riga, where children can learn more about the Bible and the real God of heaven who created red beets and every other vegetable in the world. Thank you for planning a generous offering.