A Book and a Rat
When Joshua finds the book underneath a dead rat, he nearly throws it away.
“What for? I do not know how to read or write. Better give that book to someone else who can read it.” My grandmother tried to hand the book back to the young people distributing literature on the streets in the big town.
“It’s OK, Mama. Take the book. Maybe your grandchildren can read it for you in time.”
With a shrug, she took the book. Back home in her small village, she placed the book on a shelf and forgot about it.
Meanwhile, I found myself in big trouble. I was such an arrogant and disrespectful teenager that I got expelled from class and had to find a new school almost every year. My parents were tired of my misbehavior, but they gave me one last chance. Then I got into a fight at school, and I injured a fellow student. When I reached home, my parents chased me out of their house.
Upset and sad, I could not even think of where to go. Suicide seemed like my best option. Then an idea flashed into my mind: Why don’t you go to your grandmother?
Grandmother took me in, but this place of refuge did have one drawback: The many rats in her house kept me awake at night. I decided to kill them with rat poison. It worked, but after three days, the house smelled of death! We searched for the dead rats, and decided the smell must be coming from behind a cardboard shelf.
Lifting the shelf, I found the rat on top of a book, rotting. I lifted the book with the rat still on it and rushed it to the burn barrel, where the trash was already blazing. I was just about to drop it into the fire when a thought flashed in: Keep the book.
Picking up a stick, I slid the rotting rat off the book. There on the cover I saw the word “hope.” The rat’s filth obscured the rest of the title—but that word stood out. Hope was just what I needed!
Right away, I cleaned the book, and the title became clear: The Great Hope. Enthralled, I read it cover to cover three times. In that book, I discovered the truth about the great controversy between good and evil—a controversy that was real and evident in my life. I felt so sad to discover that I was on the enemy’s side of the war. How could I cross over to Christ’s army?
As I pondered my problem, I remembered a small inscription in the middle of the book: “Gift from the Seventh-day Adventist Church.” Looking up the nearest Seventh-day Adventist Church, I began Bible studies with the Bible worker there. Those studies brought peace to my life. As the truth unfolded before me, the great hope of Jesus’ soon return became my own!
I rejoice that I have found God’s last day church and have been baptized! I feel compelled to share what Jesus has done for me, and I have been going from house to house sharing the good news with my neighbors. I am also reading and explaining The Great Hope to my grandmother.
Until the day of my baptism, I did not have a Bible of my own, but through your gifts to Mission Projects International, God provided me with a Bible in Runyankole, my language. I am so thankful, because I know that having my own Bible will help me share the good news with others!
Joshua Ainomugasho is a new convert to the faith and a faithful lay worker in his local church.
How You Can Help
Pray for Joshua as he shares his newfound faith with others in his village!
Give. Needs in Uganda include new church buildings and church planter support. To help, mark your gifts “Uganda Workers” or “Uganda Churches” and send to:
Mission Projects International
PO Box 151
Inchelium, WA 99138
To give securely online, visit:
Your gifts bring hope to people like Joshua, and provide them with Bibles and Bible teachers to lead them to truth. Thank you!