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As the massage therapy progressed, the parents saw changes in their son.

Massage Opens a Door

We may wonder how the gospel can be shared in restrictive countries.

To Sabbath School teachers: This story is for Sabbath, Oct. 21. Because of the sensitive nature of the story, no additional photos are being shared this week.

Nikolai received a frantic phone call that changed a family forever.

Nikolai, a 20-year-old Seventh-day Adventist, lives in a restrictive nation where it is dangerous to even acknowledge being a Christian. He attended a month-long training course on massage therapy, organized by the Adventist Church in another country. Upon returning home, he placed an advertisement offering massage therapy on his Facebook page.

Desperate Mother

Not long afterward, he received a frantic phone call from a mother who had seen the advertisement. She begged Nikolai to treat her young son.

Nikolai hesitated when he learned about the boy’s disability. “I don’t have that much experience,” he said. “I’m only at a beginner level.”

But the mother insisted. “Please, come,” she said. “No one else wants to help my son.”

Nikolai reluctantly agreed to meet the boy in person. But when he arrived and saw the boy’s condition, he realized that the case was very serious. He told the mother, “I’m so sorry. I don’t have enough experience or wisdom to help your son.”

The mother broke into tears. “Please, help him,” she said. “I have asked every massage therapist that I can find. Everyone has refused to help. You are my last hope.”

Let Me Pray

Nikolai’s heart went out to this dear mother. “Fine,” he said. “I will help under one condition. I am a Christian, and I need God’s wisdom to help your son. If you will allow me to pray before every massage session, maybe God will give me the wisdom to help your boy.”

To his surprise, the mother agreed.

The boy’s father was at home when Nikolai came for the third session and watched with curiosity and suspicion as Nikolai prayed and then began the massage session. Nikolai learned that the father was a powerful government official. There was nothing Nikolai could do but explain what had happened. He said he hadn’t felt qualified to assist the boy but had finally agreed under the condition that he could ask God for help. Nikolai’s explanation satisfied the father, who told Nikolai to continue with his work.

A few more massage sessions passed. One day, during a session, the boy’s father received an urgent phone call. Nikolai didn’t know what the phone call was about, but he could see that it was an emergency. The father quickly got dressed and rushed toward the door. Nikolai stopped him at the door. “Sir,” Nikolai said politely. “I don’t know what this emergency is, but let’s pray about it before you go.”

The boy’s father agreed! Nikolai prayed for him, and the father ran out the door. Nikolai never found out more about the emergency, but he later learned that it had been resolved.

Unexpected Recommendation

As the massage therapy progressed, the parents saw changes in their son. The boy was not cured, but he was making remarkable progress. He began to do things that he couldn’t do before, and the parents were delighted. The boy’s father began to tell other senior government officials, “You won’t believe the massage therapist who is helping my son. He is the best in the country. You should try him!”

With such recommendations, Nikolai has become the massage therapist for a large group of well-placed government officials in that country. Nikolai cites God’s promise in Philippians 4:13: “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (NKJV).

We may wonder how the gospel can be shared in restrictive countries. Nikolai’s story reminds us that we serve a powerful God. Like Nikolai, you may not have much experience. But when you pray for God’s wisdom, God opens the door in remarkable ways.

Please pray for Nikolai and the Adventist work in the restrictive countries of the Euro-Asia Division. Thank you for your mission offerings, which help spread the gospel in difficult-to-reach areas of the world.

Because of the sensitive nature of the story, no additional photos are being shared this week.

For other mission stories, download the Mission quarterly (PDF)