The Highest Score
“If you really want to study the Bible, I’ll come to your house and we can study the Bible together.”
My friend Mariano and I recently finished high school. We had been classmates since junior high school, but at that time, Mariano was always getting into trouble and wasn’t friendly with anyone. But by the time we were in senior high school, something had happened to him. In fact, I hardly recognized him because now he looked like a person with a kind heart.
Mariano and I always got the top grades in our class every semester. Because of this, our teacher chose us to be the class leaders—Mariano was the chair, and I was the vice-chair. That meant that on days when the teacher wasn’t in class, we were the ones in charge.
Whenever we were in charge, Mariano always shared stories about God with the class. I was very interested to hear these stories and always asked him to share God’s Word with us when the teacher was away.
But after a while I became jealous of Mariano. I noticed that although he never came to school on Saturdays, he always got the very highest score on all of the final exams. I studied harder and always tried to do my best, but I was never able to beat Mariano—he always came in first!
My grandfather is a magician, so one day I asked him to do something that would make me smarter. He gave me some traditional medicine and told me that it would help me get the top score on tests. But I still never came in first; it was always Mariano.
One day I decided to ask Mariano why he had changed and was now the smartest student in the class. He told me that it was because God helped him and that he studied the Bible. When I heard that I was very happy, because I knew that we had a Bible at our house—my mother’s Bible.
So I went back home and tried to read Genesis, chapter one. But I became tired of reading because I didn’t understand it. The next day I went back to school and asked Mariano how he could study the Bible. I told him that I tried reading it but didn’t understand what I was reading.
Mariano laughed and said, “If you really want to study the Bible, I’ll come to your house and we can study the Bible together.”
I agreed. So after class we always went to my house and studied the Bible. Two weeks later, my neighbors asked me what I was doing with my friend every day. “We’re studying the Bible together,” I told them. “If you want, you are welcome to come and join us.”
When they heard this, they became very angry. They told me to stop studying the Bible, but I decided to keep studying anyway. During this time, my mother didn’t know about these Bible studies because she was away, working in Dili, and I was staying with my grandparents. When she heard that I had been studying the Bible and was even planning to be baptized, she became very angry and said that she would throw me out of the house if I became a Seventh-day Adventist.
I prayed a lot about this and asked the other Adventists in the church to pray for me. Then my grandparents told my mother that I had changed, and that I looked and acted better. My grandmother said that I had become a “nice girl, with no more abusive words in her mouth, and was no longer naughty.” After my grandparents explained this to my mother, she understood and was no longer angry with me.
Expelled From School
I was baptized in 2012, and after that I had many problems. My friends and classmates were mean to Mariano and me. Now I, along with Mariano, no longer attended school on the Sabbath. Then the teachers moved all exams to Saturdays and wouldn’t make any exceptions for the two of us. So both Mariano and I were expelled from school because we “didn’t follow the rules.”
But praise God, a nearby Muslim school accepted us, and we were able to continue our studies there without any Sabbath problems. Mariano and I were always at the top of the class—we even got higher scores than before!
After graduating I decided to become a volunteer missionary with the 1,000 Missionary Movement (see www.1000mm.info) and am working with a good partner from Indonesia. Please pray for me to always be a strong missionary, especially as we face challenges in the villages where we work.