"I always believed God existed, I just couldn’t find Him.”
I always believed God existed, I just couldn’t find Him,” said Mirna, a special-education teacher who struggled with severe depression. Whenever possible, Mirna stayed at home, with the curtains drawn. Then one day she turned the radio on and found Nuevo Tiempo, the Adventist FM radio station in Uruguay.
“It was an answer from God,” she says. “It saved my life because I couldn’t keep going the way I was.”
Listening to the programs on Nuevo Tiempo gave Mirna a sense of hope and happiness, and, most important, helped her to find God. “I started listening to the station every day, and began praying,” she said.
One day as she was listening to the radio, she heard the announcer inviting listeners to visit the Nuevo Tiempo center in Montevideo and enjoy the many activities offered there. Mirna was especially interested in the health and cooking classes and decided to attend.
“I had always tried to take care of my health,” she says, “but I didn’t drink enough water. But I do now and I can feel the difference. And now I eat a good breakfast, and that helps me too.”
While coming to the center, Mirna met two young people who were serving in the One Year in Mission (OYiM) program. She accepted their invitation for Bible studies and was very surprised to learn about the Ten Commandments.
“I had never heard about these commandments before,” she said. “And the most impressive part was about the Sabbath. As we went through the Bible, I could see that it [the Sabbath] was repeated over and over.”
Faith Into Practice
As soon as Mirna learned about the Sabbath, she started keeping it. Before long, she was baptized and became even more active at the center, where she now teaches a class in sewing.
Mirna’s family has noticed the changes that have taken place in her life and are happy that she has been lifted out of her depression. They remain skeptical, however, of her newly found religious beliefs. Mirna continues to pray that one day they, too, will find the peace and hope in Jesus that she has found.
The Nuevo Tiempo center now offers Sabbath morning services. Many of those attending first came to learn about Adventists through the Nuevo Tiempo radio station or classes offered at the center.
Sign on the Street
Nellie, a practicing lawyer, was walking down the street one day when she noticed a sign advertising Portuguese classes at the Nuevo Tiempo center. Eager to learn another language, Nellie decided to attend.
The main textbook used in the class was the Bible. First, Nellie read the passage in Spanish, and then in Portuguese. It was her first experience approaching the Bible as a book of faith.
“When I was in the fifth or sixth grade, I learned something about the Bible, because at school they told us we should read a little bit of it as it was a historical book. But it was just from an academic point of view, not in order to become a Christian.”
But this time Nellie found her Bible reading experience completely different. “I started reading in Genesis, and I couldn’t stop! I just kept reading and reading!” She has now read through the entire Bible and enjoyed it all. “Everything [in the Bible] is connected, and it will make you happier,” she said.
Reading to Learn
Nellie was especially impressed by the life of Jesus and the miracles that He performed to help people. “And miracles still happen today,” she said. “Even if we don’t know they’re happening, they still are happening.”
Although trained as a lawyer, Nellie never approaches the Bible as a critic, as if to judge it. “I read it to learn,” she affirmed.
When Nellie learned about the Sabbath, she had no doubts. “It was clear, and I knew that it was right.”
When the Nuevo Tiempo center started offering Sabbath morning services, Nellie attended regularly and was soon baptized. “I just couldn’t leave the Bible: it is the reason for everything, and that’s why I started coming to this church,” she said. “And I wanted to show my love for Jesus through baptism.”
Setting An Example
When Nellie shared her new faith with her family, however, not everyone was happy. Her eldest daughter became very upset, but her son began to have a different image of his mother as a person, and felt that she was setting a very good example of how to live.
Every Sabbath, when she comes to the center to worship, Nellie’s face lights up with joy. “Everyone here is like family,” she says, “and I want to be a part of this family.”