A Mother's Prayer
I knew that most of Juana’s exams would be scheduled on Sabbath.
I was so sad when I learned that my daughter Juana could no longer attend our Seventh-day Adventist secondary school in Gabon. The Gabon Mission was struggling, and there were no longer enough resources to continue teaching the upper grades. It wouldn’t have been so bad if I could have sent her to a different Adventist secondary school, but we have only one in our country.
Juana had been able to start her day with worship and prayer at the Adventist school. Bible class was part of her curriculum. Her teachers loved and nurtured her, and her classmates were always encouraging her to join them in community outreach. But this was about to change.
So Many Worries
What would happen to Juana’s faith when she attended public school? I wondered. Would she be able to stay close to Jesus? I had heard about the local public school from friends whose children had made this transition. “Many of my son’s classmates are involved in drinking and drugs,” one man said. “All the social activities happen on Friday night and Saturday,” a woman shared. “The teacher seems to come to class only when she wants to, leaving the children to fend for themselves,” said another. As if this wasn’t enough to worry about, I knew that most of Juana’s exams would be scheduled on Sabbath.
It wasn’t long after Juana started at her new school that I began to notice changes in her spiritual life. She wasn’t spending as much time in Bible study and prayer, and she seemed less interested in doing outreach. “I’m worried about you, honey,” I said one day. “Is everything OK?”
Juana looked away, her face clouding in pain. “No, Mom, it isn’t. I feel like everything’s trying to pull me away from Jesus right now. I didn’t mean to let this happen, but I feel so far away from Him.”
I assured Juana that Jesus loved her more than she could imagine and that there was nothing she could ever do to change that. “I’m always here for you too, Juana,” I added. “I’ll do whatever I can to help, including getting calluses on my knees praying for you!”
Stronger Than Ever
I prayed for Juana and asked several close friends to pray for her too. A few months later, she came up to me with a beaming smile. “Things are tight between Jesus and me again, Mom,” she said. “He’s my best Friend, and I’m trying to do whatever I can to help my friends at school experience His goodness too.”
Juana was sharing her faith at school? I was thrilled! “What kinds of things are you doing, honey?”
“Well, if we have an upcoming test, I invite my friends to join me in asking God to help us do well. Or, if we’re facing a difficult situation, I’ll say, ‘Let’s pray that God will help us handle this right.’ Even during our everyday conversations, there are opportunities to talk about Christ.”
A Happy Surprise
I can’t tell you how happy it made me to know that Juana had renewed her commitment to God. Or how pleased I was to learn that the Thirteenth Sabbath Offering this quarter will help build a new secondary school in Gabon to keep our children strong in the faith. Juana will be able to attend an Adventist school again along with hundreds of other children who desire an Adventist education.
The Seventh-day Adventist work had a late start in Gabon, and as a result many people still know little, if anything, about our church. The new secondary school will serve as an evangelistic center to train our young people to lift up Jesus and lead people to accept Him as Lord and Savior. They’re the future of our church, and through their education, we’ll be able to build a strong Adventist presence to prepare the Gabonese people for Christ’s return.
My hope for Juana is that she’ll be passionate about Adventist mission until the work on Earth is finished. That’s my prayer for all our children. Will you please give generously to the Thirteenth Sabbath Offering to help us build our school?