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A Startling Voice

To Sabbath School teachers: This story is for Sabbath, March 9.

By Andrew McChesney


voice awoke Father from an afternoon nap in India in the early 1980s.

“If you were to die today, what would you do?” the voice asked.

Father was startled. He didn’t think that anyone was in the house with him. He looked here. He looked there. He tried to find the person who had spoken to him. But he couldn’t find anyone in the house.

Father grew worried.

“Who is talking to me?” he cried out.

No one replied.

Father’s worries grew.

He prayed, “God, I want to know who was talking to me.”

But the house remained silent.

Father wondered what to do.

About an hour and a half passed. Then Father heard a knock on the door. Outside stood a Seventh-day Adventist literature evangelist.

Father was surprised to see him. The same man had knocked on the door several hours earlier, shortly before Father had taken his nap. Father had listened to the man talk about the Bible for a few minutes. But then he had firmly closed the door. Father considered himself a Christian even though he had never read the Bible or even owned one. But he had had no interest in listening to the man.

After hearing the voice, however, Father was happy to see the literature evangelist. He wanted to know more about the Bible. He was ready to listen.

The literature evangelist spoke about things that were new to Father. After the man left, Father decided to find out the truth for himself. He wanted to own a Bible. Father went to his priest and bought a Bible. It wasn’t cheap. It cost Father a large amount of money.

Father began to read the Bible diligently. As he read, three questions bothered him, and he took them to the priest.

“Why do we bow to images?” he asked. “And why do we keep Sunday?”

The priest was not pleased.

“This is why we don’t give Bibles to people,” he said.

Father was not pleased. The priest’s answer didn’t satisfy him, and he stopped going to the priest’s church. Instead, he took his wife and two sons, who were 16 and 10, to another church on Sundays.

A short time later, Adventists organized evangelistic meetings in town, and Father took his family to listen. He took his three questions to the preacher and quizzed him about worshipping images and Sunday worship.

The preacher gave answers from the Bible, and Father, Mother, and their 16-year-old son joined the Adventist Church.

Relatives and neighbors were not pleased. Father had five brothers and two sisters, and they refused to talk to the family. All the neighbors belonged to Father’s former church, and they refused to speak to the family. Father was forced to quit his job because he couldn’t get Sabbaths off.

For several years, life was challenging for the family. During that time, Father and Mother decided to pull their youngest son, Rex, out of public school and send him to an Adventist boarding school.

Rex entered the E. D. Thomas Memorial Higher Secondary School when he was 12. He studied there for the next six years, and he gave his heart to Jesus. Upon graduating, he went to Spicer Memorial College, now Spicer Adventist University, and became a pastor. Today, he is a leader of the Adventist Church in India, serving as Sabbath School director for the Southeast India Union of Seventh-day Adventists.

His father, who has since passed away, lived for Jesus. He opened the first Adventist church in his hometown and later worked as a Bible worker, planting additional churches and leading many people to Christ.

Rex is grateful that his father’s afternoon nap was interrupted by a voice more than 40 years ago. He is glad that his parents sent him to the Adventist boarding school. He believes that the two experiences changed his life for eternity.

“I’m proud to say that I’m a graduate of the school,” he said. “The school taught me the truth, and today I am a servant of God.”

Part of this quarter’s Thirteenth Sabbath Offering will help reconstruct the dilapidated girls’ dormitory at Rex’s school, E. D. Thomas Memorial Higher Secondary School, in Thanjavur, India. Thank you for planning a generous Thirteenth Sabbath Offering on March 30.