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Adventist Mission

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I had no idea what a missionary was.

A few years ago I was living with my aunt in the city of Lospalos because I didn’t have a home of my own. My sister-in-law, Regina, also lived there. One day I noticed that almost every afternoon Regina left the house to go somewhere. I wondered about it so finally asked her.

“I’m going to meet with the missionaries,” she told me.

I had no idea what a missionary was.

“They’re people who explain the Bible to everyone who wants to know about it,” Regina said.

Learning About God

I was even more curious now and wondered whether I could learn about the Bible, too. Regina was happy I was interested and that evening told me the story about Adam and Eve. I had never heard this story before and found it fascinating. Regina also told me how wonderful God was to her.

The next afternoon Regina brought the missionaries—Thomas and Makario—to my aunt’s home where the four of us studied the Bible together. However, when my aunt found out that we were studying the Bible, she became very angry and wouldn’t allow us to continue the studies. From then on she was always angry with me.

Sometime later a Seventh-day Adventist Bible congress was held in the capital city of Dili. I was able to go, and it was during those meetings that I decided to be baptized. There was a problem, however, because by then I was living with a man with whom I had children, but we weren’t married. The pastor gently explained that before I could be baptized, we would need to get married, and he would be happy to marry us.

I was really stressed, not knowing what the father of my children would say, but praise God, he agreed to get married! After the pastor married us, I asked my husband for permission to be baptized, and he agreed. I thought that since he agreed with my baptism, perhaps he would also be interested in studying the Bible, but he wasn’t.

Problems at Home and School

Things were not going well for us, and for a while we had to live in a tent. But, praise God, the Adventist church helped us by bringing materials and building a small house for us! Although my husband wasn’t interested in the Bible, I wanted our children to know God, so I taught them Bible stories. Our eldest son went to church with me every Sabbath and decided to be baptized. Our younger son and daughter also wanted to learn more about Jesus. Sadly, my husband still had no interest in God and one day ripped my Bible apart as he yelled, “I don’t want you to teach your religion to my children!”

But somehow we were still able to go to church each week, although it meant that the children missed school every Sabbath. All of the Adventist children here have problems with their teachers because they don’t attend school on Sabbath, and then the teachers become very angry with them. Even though they are good students, the teachers will mark their grades down because of this.

Adventist School Needed

We are so happy that one of the Thirteenth Sabbath Offering projects is an Adventist School here in Timor-Leste. Things will be better once we have an Adventist school because then the children will be able to come to church without being afraid of what their teachers will say and do during the week. We will all be happy for that!

In the meantime, we try to share our faith wherever we can. One day I went on a bus to visit my family in Dili. While on the bus I met a young man and started telling him Bible stories. He sat by me the entire trip and really enjoyed listening to the stories. When we arrived in Dili I invited him to come to church with me on Sabbath—and he came! I introduced him to the Adventist missionaries there and encouraged him to study the Bible with them, just as I had done some years ago. I have heard that he’s been studying with the missionaries every day. One day I hope to meet him again.

Please remember your brothers and sisters in Timor-Leste in your prayers. Please pray for the teachers, that they will be kind to the students and will allow the Adventist children to take their final exams. I would also like to ask you to pray for my husband, because he is very much against our faith. I just want my husband to study the Bible and get to know God—that way our entire family can follow Jesus.