Shopkeeper Prays Way Out of Sabbath Work

Shopkeeper Prays Way Out of Sabbath Work

By Andrew McChesney

Sophie Buama accepted Saturday as the biblical Sabbath when the pastor spoke about the Fourth Commandment at evangelistic meetings in October 2017.

But she didn’t quit her job in New Caledonia, a French territory in the South Pacific.

Sophie worked four days a week — Tuesdays to Fridays — at a supermarket in Mebuet, a village on the tiny island of Maré. A coworker, Celine, ran the supermarket the other three days.

But the sun set between 5:30 p.m. and 6:45 p.m. on Fridays, depending on the season. Sophie was supposed to lock up the supermarket at 7 p.m.

Sophie felt terrible about working on Sabbath. She didn’t want to leave because jobs were hard to find, and her salary fed the whole family. She prayed for God to change her work schedule.

One Friday evening, Sophie was at work, fretting about working on another Sabbath, when she received a phone call from Celine. Her coworker said she was in New Caledonia’s capital, Noumea, on another island and unable to book a plane ticket back to Maré.

“Could you please fill in for me tomorrow?” she asked. “No, tomorrow I’m going to church,” Sophie said. “You know tomorrow is my day to worship my God.”

A short time later, Sophie received a text message on her cell phone from the supermarket owner, who also was in New Caledonia’s capital. “You have to open the shop tomorrow and work on Saturday,” the owner wrote. Sophie texted back, “No, tomorrow is my day to worship God, so I won’t open the supermarket.” After a moment, the owner replied, “No problem. Close the supermarket.”

Sophie was worried, and she spoke with a female church member. “Don’t fear man,” the member replied. “Fear God.”

On Sunday, the coworker was still away, so Sophie opened the supermarket. The owner, who had managed to fly back, came to work, and she was furious. “This supermarket has never closed on Saturday, and I don’t want it ever to close again on Saturday,” she said.

Sophie reminded the owner about her beliefs and added, “If you want to fire me, you are free to do that.”

A few weeks later, the owner allowed Sophie to take off four days to travel with her teenage daughter, Catherine, to the capital. But when Sophie returned, the owner said she had to work four days to make up for her absence. Two of the days fell on Sabbath.

Sophie tried to swap days with her coworker, but the owner insisted that she work. Sophie worked both Sabbaths, weeping as she worked. At night, she struggled to sleep.

In desperation, she prayed, “God, help me to be free on Sabbath.” She asked the church to pray for her as well.

A few days later, the owner announced a new work schedule. Sophie had been working extra every day at the owner’s request, and it was costing a lot of money in overtime pay. “From now on, you will work from Sunday to Wednesday,” the owner said. Sophie couldn’t believe her ears! A big smile filled her face as she rushed home and broke the news to her husband.

Today, Sophie makes less money than before, but she doesn’t mind. She can worship God on Sabbath. “My salary is not important, but my time with God is important,” she said. “My joy is to be free on Sabbath.”

Andrew McChesney is the editor for Adventist Mission.

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World Church Prayer Requests

September 23-30, 2018

PRAYER REQUEST: General Conference staff, partnering with AMEN (Adventist Medical Evangelism Network), are planning a special health clinic for the Silver Spring, Maryland community. Please continue to pray for the volunteers, physicians, and clients who will participate in the health clinic on October 7th.

PRAYER REQUEST: The “Wellness on the Go” van in New York City offers free massages, blood pressure checks and health coaching. Please ask God to impress those who have the greatest need and who are the most receptive to visit the van ministry for assistance.

PRAYER REQUEST: Also in New York City, the Bronx Food Pantry serves 7,000 people in a neighborhood where over 50% of the residents suffer extreme poverty. Volunteers pray with those who come. Please ask God to expand the center’s influence and that even more people may be helped and reached.

PRAYER REQUEST: Please pray for the upcoming 4th Quarter Day of Prayer and Fasting taking place on October 6th. Pray that many will join this united prayer effort as we focus on praying for “the least of these.” For information and prayer materials, click here:

PRAYER REQUEST: Each spring and fall, General Conference (GC) employees personally help to support a specific mission project. This fall, our Global Mission focus is to start a Life Hope Center and equip workers to share God’s love with the Buryat people in Buryatia, Siberia. Please pray for the small but thriving Adventist church that operates in this region where Christians are a minority. And if you feel impressed to join hands with GC employees, and give a love offering to help reach the Buryat people, please visit

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