Treasure in Old Vessels
Thirteen-year-old Precious cried out in frustration as her father led her through the gates of a Seventh-day Adventist boarding school in Uganda. She wanted to study in the stately buildings of the school associated with her family’s denomination, not in the modest buildings of Katerera Primary School. “It’s not the magnificence but the academic excellence that matters, my daughter,” Father whispered into her ear. He said her preferred school had not performed well academically for the past three years.
Precious bit her tongue, but her face showed her unhappiness as Father enrolled her at the school. 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!”
“Hello, come,” a smiling woman said in a kind voice. “Let’s go to the dormitory, and I’ll show you where to sleep.”
Precious sadly followed as the woman carried her mattress and suitcase to the dormitory. That evening, her heart sank further when she saw students lining up outside an old building. She wondered what was happening until she saw the students carrying plates of food. She realized that it was the cafeteria. That evening, she ate a vegetarian meal for the first time in her life.
Later, Precious heard a bell ringing and saw students running joyfully to the campus chapel for evening worship. She decided to return to the dormitory, but the doors were closed. She returned to the chapel and stood on its porch, 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.”
Precious felt loved, and she entered the chapel. Immediately, her sadness vanished inside. She had never heard such beautiful singing. She also marveled at the orderly and interesting 30-minute worship service that followed the singing. “At least I will enjoy this part of the school,” she thought.
Father didn’t return until the end of the school term. He had feared that Precious would refuse to stay if he came earlier. He was surprised when she announced that she wanted to return to the school. She said she did not want to miss the kind teachers who began every lesson with prayer and a Bible text and who offered practical advice whenever she faced challenges. The next term, the school held a week of prayer, and Precious gave her heart to Jesus in baptism. “Surely a school is more than its buildings,” she told me, the pastor who led the week of prayer.
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 your generous offering.
Produced by the General Conference Office of Adventist Mission. Find more mission stories at adventistmission[dot]org