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Adventist Mission

The Soldier With Burning Eyes

Plagued with doubt and discouragement, I wondered why I was here.

When my plane touched down on the tarmac, it was a dream come true for me. I had wanted to visit this country for years, and now I had the opportunity not only to live here but to serve God here as well.

Funny how God has different plans. Within a short time, He rearranged everything, and I found myself living in a nation that I would not have chosen to even visit.

During the first week in my new world, I was in perpetual culture shock. Everything seemed chaotic to me: the unfamiliar language, the traffic, and the frequent power outages. It didn’t help when my cell phone, my only source of communication, was ruined because of the voltage differences. I lay awake at night, wondering how I was going to survive an entire year in this city.

One morning I was awakened by a terribly loud noise. I looked out the window to see a car exploding a kilometer away from where I live. My college classes are often canceled due to shootings on the street. Nothing about my existence is safe, yet God constantly protects me.

The pastor with whom I lived initially was accused of proselyting and forced to leave the country. The accuser then focused on me, trying to establish a link between the pastor and me and questioning why I am here.

Not all my challenges have been external. Sometimes, plagued with doubt and discouragement, I too have asked why I am here when it seemed like all I ever did was study the local language.

Then one day, I met a young soldier who invited me to eat with him in a street café. We talked about culture, my country, and finally, my religion. We became friends and began to meet often.

On one occasion, he asked me how I pray, and I gave him an example. We ended up talking about Christian beliefs, and I shared how as an Adventist Christian, I don’t drink alcohol or eat pork and that I worship on the seventh-day Sabbath. He was very surprised and interested.

A few days later, we met again with two of his friends. After a quick conversation, he looked in my eyes and asked me why I believe that Jesus is the Son of God. Amazed at this opportunity, I shared a few key reasons for my faith in Jesus’ deity.

Eventually, he asked me whether I could get him a Bible because he wanted to learn more about Jesus. I have never seen such burning desire in someone’s eyes.

I was able to get him a Bible, and I put tabs on special verses that talk about Jesus. I also gave him a link to an Adventist Website so that he could contact someone if he has more questions.

I couldn´t understand at first why God sent me to this place. But now I understand that it was for the purpose of helping to lead at least one person to Jesus.

I miss my home country, and I do not really feel comfortable here. But as long as God wants me here, this is where I’ll be.

This story was written by an Adventist Volunteer Service missionary whose identity must remain anonymous.

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