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Adventist Mission


Voice From Nowhere

To Sabbath School teachers: This story is for Sabbath, June 29.

By Andrew McChesney


iliya didn’t believe in God. She didn’t even think about faith. She grew up in a country where no one seemed to believe in God or think about faith. She lived in the Soviet Union.

So, it came as quite a surprise to her when a voice spoke to her out of nowhere.

Liliya was 23 and home alone in Tashkent, the capital of the Soviet republic of Uzbekistan. Her husband, Yury, was away.

She had been worrying day and night about family problems. Now she was worrying again, and the thought popped into her mind, “We need to move.”

“Yes,” she agreed out loud. “We need
to move.”

At that moment, she felt a soft touch on her shoulder. A soft voice said, “That’s exactly right!”

Liliya instinctively looked around the room. But she was alone, and she saw no one. The voice was so kind that she wasn’t scared. She accepted it as confirmation that she and Yury needed to move.

When Yury returned home, Liliya informed him that it was time to move.

The couple ended up moving far away to the Soviet Far North, right on the Arctic Circle.

In such a remote place, there was little to do except work and talk to neighbors. Liliya and Yury worked and talked to neighbors, and soon they became close friends with another married couple, Lyuba and Valentin.

Years passed, and their friendship grew. Then the Soviet Union collapsed, and Lyuba and Valentin moved away. But the two couples remained in touch. Lyuba became interested in the Bible, and she shared what she was learning with Liliya.

First, she said questions rose in her mind about which day of the week was God’s true Sabbath. She went to a priest for answers, but he couldn’t show her in the Bible that Sunday was God’s true Sabbath. So, she prayed to God in desperation, “If You are real, reveal Yourself to me. I want to know You.”

A short time later, she saw a homemade sign offering Bible studies at a bus stop. She went to the address and found a group of Seventh-day Adventists. Her questions about which day was God’s true Sabbath were answered from the Bible, and she gave her heart to Jesus in baptism.

Lyuba excitedly told Liliya about her new faith.

Liliya readily accepted the Bible truths that Lyuba shared. But she had no faith of her own. She didn’t know God, and she saw no reason to follow Him or keep the Sabbath.

Then Lyuba and her husband lost their jobs and fell on hard times. Liliya wondered if she might have made a mistake in heeding the soft voice and leaving Uzbekistan.

One day, she complained about her life to a stranger on the street. The next day, the stranger, a woman named Nadya, came to her house with a bag filled with home-grown potatoes and carrots. Liliya was astonished and, to thank her, bought some groceries with her scant funds and took them to Nadya’s house.

A deep friendship formed, and Liliya was surprised to learn that Nadya’s life was more difficult than her own. Nadya’s husband had died a month earlier, leaving her with 10 children to feed and raise. Yet Nadya was filled with peace and joy. Liliya learned that Nadya was a Seventh-day Adventist.

Now Liliya knew two Seventh-day Adventists: Lyuba and Nadya.

Nadya gave a Bible to Liliya, and Liliya began to read it.

Meanwhile, Lyuba kept in touch about her own spiritual journey, and she sent a Bible as well.

Now Liliya had two Bibles. She found the Bible stories fascinating. But she had no faith of her own. She didn’t know God.

Then Lyuba made a special trip to see Liliya. She took her to a newly opened Adventist church in the town, and Liliya started attending every Sabbath.

By this time, Liliya had grown old and was a grandmother. She enjoyed the Sabbath sermons and fellowship. But she had no faith of her own. She didn’t know God.

Then tragedy struck.

Liliya’s daughter lost a baby shortly before birth. Then she lost a second child while pregnant. After that, she got pregnant again and began to face complications. Liliya couldn’t keep silent. She cried out loud, “Lord, save this child! Don’t let him die.” Then she made a vow, saying, “I will accept You and give You my heart in baptism if You save this child.”

Several months later, a healthy baby boy named Stepan was born. Liliya kept her word. She was baptized six months later.

Today, Liliya has faith of her own. She knows God. She believes that a voice from heaven encouraged her to leave Uzbekistan. Because she moved, she met her Adventist friends Lyuba and Nadya. Because she moved, she received two Bibles and began to read them. Because she moved, she found faith and God. Twenty-six years passed from the day when she heard the soft voice in Uzbekistan to the day she was baptized in the Russian Far North.

Today, Liliya is 69 years old. She goes to church every Sabbath with her daughter, who is named Lyuba, and 10-year-old grandson Stepan. She is praying that her husband and other relatives will have faith and believe in God one day. She has faith that they will. She knows God, and she knows that He hears her prayers.

Part of today’s Thirteenth Sabbath Offering will help open a spiritual and social center in Liliya’s hometown of Salekhard in the Russian Far North. The offering also will help four other projects in the Euro-Asia Division, including a center of influence where families can learn about God in Yerevan, Armenia; a center of influence for youth in Minsk, Belarus; a health center in Tskaltubo, Georgia; and the first Adventist elementary school in Tashkent, Uzbekistan. Thank you for your generous offering today that will help spread the gospel in the Euro-Asia Division.