Pastor Timothy waited, but the bull said nothing more. The pastor dropped to his knees in the field and began to cry. “I’m supposed to be a spiritual leader,” he moaned. “But instead I’ve been teaching my church members the wrong things! I’m sorry, Lord.”
The pastor and his family immediately headed back to their house, taro plants and weeds forgotten.
“I must look up the text the bull mentioned,” Pastor Timothy said when they reached home. He found the passage in his Bible and read it aloud: “ ‘Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations’ [Jeremiah 1:5, NIV].”
“What does that have to do with the Sabbath?” asked Bofanta.
“I think God is saying that I need to share this message with others,” his father replied.
Pastor Timothy called the entire village together and told them what had happened. “It was the voice of Jesus that spoke to me through the bull,” he said. “We must not do any work today. We must begin resting on the Sabbath.”
The people stared at him in amazement. But they respected their pastor and chief, so everyone in the village kept that Sabbath.
Early the next morning Pastor Timothy set off through the bush toward Atoifi Adventist Hospital. Questions rushed through his mind as he walked along the steep rocky mountain trail. There were so many things he needed to ask the Adventist pastor!
After a four-hour hike through the lush tropical forest, he reached the hospital and approached the first employee he saw.
“My name is Timothy, and I’m the chief of Kwaibaita,” he said. “I am looking for Pastor Bata.”
“Who told you about Pastor Bata?” the puzzled employee asked.
Pastor Timothy didn’t answer the question directly. “I have a story to tell Pastor Bata,” he said.
Someone took him to the village where Pastor Bata was working. “I’ve already kept the Sabbath,” Pastor Timothy told him. “I need to know more.” The two pastors studied the Bible together for three months. “I want to be baptized,” Pastor Timothy decided. “And I want to do it in my village so that all my people can see the choice I’m making.”
Pastor Timothy’s baptism was a big event in Kwaibaita. Most of his church members showed up to see the man who had warned them against Adventism become an Adventist himself.
“For many years I taught you things that I knew were not according to the Bible,” Pastor Timothy confessed. “I ask your forgiveness for leading you astray.”
He looked out over the crowd, full of people he cared about. “I’ve shared with you many of the things I’ve learned from the Adventist pastor. I believe them to be the truth. Will you join me in following God’s Word? If you will join me, come stand over here to my right. If you want to stay with your current beliefs, stand on my left.”
For a moment no one moved. Then several people jumped up and strode purposefully toward Pastor Timothy’s right. A few, with looks of horror on their faces, headed in the opposite direction.
As more and more people in the crowd chose one side or the other, Pastor Timothy’s face broke into a broad smile. The majority of the villagers were taking their stand with him to follow God’s truth!
Soon a new church was built in Kwaibaita where Pastor Timothy and his people could worship God every Sabbath.
And the talking bull? He hasn’t said a word since. He doesn’t need to. He lets Pastor Timothy do all the preaching about the Sabbath.
Guide’s Greatest Animal Stories (Review and Herald Publishing Association, 2005).