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Costly Cup of Tea

To Sabbath School teachers: This story is for Sabbath, February 10.

By Andrew McChesney


errance stayed up all night to finish a major assignment for a nursing class at Lowry Adventist University in India.

He was off campus, studying at a friend’s house. He was addicted to tea, and he sipped the hot drink all night to stay awake.

Around 4:30 a.m., Terrance went to the kitchen for another cup of tea. But there was no tea left. He wondered what to do. He was struggling to stay awake, and he just had to finish the assignment.

Then he remembered that a vendor sold hot tea from a stand just down the road. He could zip over to the tea vendor on his friend’s motorcycle and then zip right back to finish his assignment.

Moments later, Terrance was roaring down a major street at 55 miles per hour (85 kph). He was traveling at nearly double the speed limit of 30 miles per hour (50 kph) for motorcycles in the city of Bengaluru. He also was not wearing a helmet.

Suddenly, a car pulled up beside him. It was traveling at the same speed, and it was filled with young people who were drinking. The young people tried to bring their car closer to Terrance and his motorcycle. Terrance tried to get away. They young people laughed and tried to steer closer.

Terrance was worried, and he honked his horn. The young people threw beer cans.

Terrance started getting upset, and he shouted at them. The young people hurled back insults.

Now Terrance completely forgot about the road. He was angry! His speed inched up to 65 miles per hour (100 kph). He didn’t see what was coming up in front of him. It was a speed bump.

He hit the speed bump, and everything went black. One moment, Terrance was arguing, and the next it was like someone had turned off the light.

The next thing Terrance knew, he woke up in bed. He looked at the clock. It said 8:45 a.m. It was time to go to class to turn in his nursing assignment.

Terrance tried to get up, but his body did not respond. He tried to call friends for help, but then he realized that he wasn’t in his dormitory room. He looked around, trying to get his bearings. He didn’t recognize the place. He saw a calendar. He remembered that he had been working on the nursing assignment in July, but the calendar said it was August. On the wall was a picture of his parents and brother, but he only recognized his brother. He was at home, but he didn’t know it.

Suddenly, his mother entered the room. Seeing Terrance was awake, she cried and hugged him. “I’m so glad that you are awake,” she said.

Terrance could only reply, “Who are you?”

His words broke his mother’s heart.

A week passed before Terrance recognized his parents. They and other people helped him piece together what had happened.

The night of the accident, the pastor at Lowry Adventist University received a call from the police, saying, “Take the body.”

The pastor’s number had been under the seat of the borrowed motorcycle as an emergency contact number. Terrance had been so badly injured that it took time for people to realize that the body was his and not that of his friend whose motorcycle he had borrowed. No one knows what happened to the drunk people in the car.

Terrance drifted in and out of delirious consciousness for days, and he was transferred in and out of three hospitals.

His parents were shocked when they first saw him. They also didn’t have money for his hospital bills. Friends from Lowry Adventist University helped with money and prayers. The pastor visited often. Three months passed from the time of the accident until Terrance returned to the university.

Today, he is a nurse. He is grateful to God, his family, and many friends at the university for his second chance at life. He had put off giving his heart to Jesus, and he realized after the accident that he didn’t want to wait any longer. “I was supposed to be baptized a long time back, but I was kind of scared,” he said. “I felt I would have to be careful about whatever I did, so I waited for a long time. After the accident, I sensed I shouldn’t wait anymore. You never know what will happen next in life.”

He was baptized at the university.

Terrance said another lesson that he learned from the accident was to stop drinking caffeinated tea.

“If I had to give a title to my story, I would call it, ‘The Most Costly Tea of My Life,’” he said. “It was costly. It cost me a lot of things. But now, when I look back, I would say it was worth it. I needed a lesson from God. I needed to be brought back on the right path.”

His advice to other people, especially young people, is simple. “God has a plan for every soul here on earth,” he said. “He is not done with you until He says so. Even if you feel that you do not have a future, remember that He says in Jeremiah 1:5, ‘Before I formed you in the womb I knew you’ [NKJV]. I kept repeating the verse to myself when I was recovering. God has plans for you to receive grace and mercy in ways that you never expected or thought of.”

Part of this quarter’s Thirteenth Sabbath Offering will help construct an English church on the campus of Lowry Adventist University in Bengaluru, India. The university has never had a church building large enough for its student body in its more than 100-year history. Thank you for your generous offering on March 30.