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Adventist Mission


One Broken String

To Sabbath School teachers: This story is for Sabbath, April 13.

By Andrew McChesney


rtur got baptized in Uzbekistan when he was 5. But he didn’t know anything about God. No one spoke to him about God or took him back to church after his baptism.

Even though he never thought about God, he began wearing a cross-shaped earring when he was 14. He thought it looked cool.

Then Artur told his mother that he wanted to learn to play the guitar.

Mother took him straight to a music store. Artur’s life was aimless, and she thought that a guitar might give him some purpose. Artur picked out a brown electric guitar.

At home, he found guitar lessons on YouTube and started trying to play. It wasn’t easy. Pressing down on the strings hurt his fingers. But after a few days, the pain began to subside. His music, however, didn’t sound anything like that of the YouTube teacher.

Two weeks after buying the guitar, a string snapped. Artur didn’t know how to change the string, so he looked for help online. He found the phone number of someone named Artyom who offered guitar lessons. He called.

“I need to change a string,” he said. “Can you help?”

Artyom gave Artur his home address.

The address sounded familiar. Artur wondered where he had heard it. Then he remembered. His mother used to work with a man named Pasha at that address. The two had built furniture together. Pasha had died.

“Are you by any chance Pasha’s son?” Artur asked.

“Yes, I am,” Artyom said.

The next day, Artyom replaced the guitar string. Afterward, he asked Artur if he knew how to play. Artur tried to show what he had learned on YouTube, but Artyom stopped him.

“Stop, stop!” he said. “You’re playing the chords backward.”

Suddenly, Artur understood why his music didn’t sound at all like that of the teacher on YouTube. He hadn’t been playing correctly.

Artyom invited Artur to guitar lessons.

At the first lesson, Artyom commented on the cross-shaped earring in Artur’s ear. “Are you a Christian?” he asked.

Artur said he wasn’t a Christian.

At the second lesson, Artyom suggested meeting the next time in a room at the local Seventh-day Adventist church. The church was close to Artur’s home, and he agreed.

As Artur learned to play the guitar, he began to spend time with Artyom outside of lessons. He learned that Artyom was a Global Mission pioneer, a missionary who shares the gospel with people in his own culture. He accepted invitations to go hiking with Artyom and other Adventists in the mountains. When the hikers sat down to rest, Artur enjoyed listening to them sing songs. Artyom played along on the guitar.

That summer, Artur went to an Adventist youth retreat in another city. He was caught off guard when a retreat speaker asked the attendees to split into pairs to pray.

“I’m an atheist,” he told the first person who offered to pray with him.

The person went away.

Artur also told the next person who came over that he didn’t believe in God. “Moreover,” he added, “I’ve never prayed before.”

This person didn’t go away. “We can fix that,” he said. He taught Artur to pray.

That night, Artur thought for a long time about what had taken place.

On Sabbath, he was amazed to see a young man get baptized at the retreat.

“I was baptized when I was 5,” he said. “Why do Adventists baptize adults?

He learned that Adventists understand the Bible to teach that people should be old enough to understand the Bible and the commitment that they are making to God before being baptized.

The next Sabbath, Artur went to the Adventist church near his home to worship for the first time. In the afternoon, he joined church members in handing out school supplies to needy children. He felt a new joy fill his heart, and he thought, “What is the point of living if I don’t help others?”

It was a turning point in his life. He no longer wanted to live an aimless existence. He resolved to help others and to know God.

Eight months have passed since Artur started attending church regularly. He has been studying the Bible, and he wants to give his heart to Jesus in baptism.

He is glad that his guitar string broke.

“I believed in God because of a broken guitar string,” he said.

Part of this quarter’s Thirteenth Sabbath Offering will help open the first Seventh-day Adventist elementary school in Uzbekistan.