Father Has Completely Changed
A Thirteenth Sabbath program and skit.
To Sabbath School teachers: This story is for Sabbath, Dec. 30. Click here for photos to share with this mission story.
“Far and Near the Fields Are Teeming”
The Seventh-day Adventist Hymnal, No. 358
Superintendent or Sabbath School teacher
“Father Has Completely Changed”
Ask the children to sing "Sing Hallelujah to the Lord" in Russian
(see p. 27 of Children's Mission)
"Lead Them, My God, to Thee"
The Seventh-day Adventist Hymnal, No. 653
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Participants: Narrator and two speakers to present the story: a man and a teenage girl.
[Note: participants do not need to memorize their parts, but they should be familiar enough with the material that they do not have to read everything from the script. Practice so that participants can feel comfortable adding inflection where appropriate.]
Narrator: This quarter we have met people from throughout the Euro-Asia Division, a field that spans nearly halfway around the world, across two continents, and stretches from the polar regions in the north to the lush mountain valleys and deserts of Central Asia. The challenges in this field are as vast as the land itself.
Today we will present one family’s story. But, as you listen to the way God led them, remember how He has led you and imagine how He is leading millions in the Euro-Asia Division. And as you consider these thoughts, ask God how you can help spread the gospel in this field as well as your own home field.
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Father Has Completely Changed
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Ask a man and a teenage girl to present this first-person report.
Anjila: My name is Anjila [pronounced: AHN-jih-lah], I am 18 years old, and I live with my parents and 14-year-old brother in a small town in northern Moldova. This is my father, Dmitry [pronounced: dih-MEE-tree]. He used to be angry all the time.
Dmitry: Good morning. I trained to be a music teacher. But I couldn’t find a teaching job, so I was working as a guard at a private lake. My job was to feed the fish and prevent people from fishing.
Anjila: When I was 12 years old, a Seventh-day Adventist woman came to our house and invited my brother and me to church. Mother took us to church every Sabbath for about a year. But my grandparents—my father’s parents—didn’t like it. They said, “Everyone is laughing at us. This is such a disgrace!”
Mother invited Father to come to church with us, but he refused because he was afraid of his parents. He offered excuses such as:
Dmitry: I have other things to do. I don’t have time for God. I might have time for God and church after I finish making major repairs around the house.
Anjila: That was the end of the discussion. Dad got tired of the church talk. No one was allowed to go to church.
The woman who had invited us to go to church kept visiting us and inviting us back, but we didn’t go.
After several months, Father finished fixing up the house. He said:
Dmitry: Finally, I have some free time.
Anjila: But he didn’t make time for God. He didn’t keep his promise to go to church.
Then strange things started happening to my father. He became afraid to stay at home alone. He was nervous and yelled all the time. He developed high blood pressure, and went to the doctor who gave him medicine. But nothing helped. The doctor didn’t know what else to do.
My grandmother advised Father to go to a nearby monastery. She said the priest would know what was wrong without even asking Father any questions. My father went to the monastery several times, but that didn’t help either.
Father began to look for answers elsewhere. He asked people about the point of life. One person he talked to was an Adventist church elder. After they spoke, Father accepted an invitation to attend a holiday program at the church. When he returned home, he told my mother.
Dmitry: I went to the church program, and I was really impressed. When I returned home, I told my wife, “Let’s start going to church.”
Anjila: Mother was shocked, but she was very happy. I was happy, too. I thought I was dreaming.
The next Sabbath we started to go to church, and we have gone every Sabbath since.
Dmitry: But what you don’t know, Anjila, is that I prayed before deciding to attend church.
I didn’t like being angry and afraid. But it seemed like my life was over. There was no point in living. I felt that something was pressing down on me. I know now that it was Satan working on me. He wanted to kill me.
So, one day I got on my knees and prayed. I knew that only God could help me. I prayed, “Help me, a sinner. I don’t know what is going on, but help me with Your strong hand.” When I finished praying, I felt a burden being lifted from my shoulders. I sensed a voice saying, “You need to move forward, and all will be fine. I will help you.”
Anjila: We went to church together, as a family. The pastor invited us to attend baptismal classes. All four of us—my father, my mother, my brother, and I—were baptized last year.
Grandmother and Grandfather are not happy about our decision. They think my brother and I are being forced to go to church. Grandmother told my parents, “You have disgraced the children. They are young and have their lives ahead of them. They can’t go out and dance. How will they get married?”
I told her that dancing and marriage are not the most important things in life. We have invited Grandmother and Grandfather to church, but they refuse to come.
I praise God for performing a miracle for Father. He has completely changed. He is no longer nervous and worried. He isn’t the man that he used to be. He loves God and serves as a deacon and the music director of our small church.
Dmitry: My family and I were baptized at a Soviet-era health resort that the Adventist Church is turning into a Pathfinder camp and conference center. Your Thirteenth Sabbath Offering today will help renovate the complex. Thank you for remembering Moldova and the Euro-Asia Division today as you give your Thirteenth Sabbath Offering.
Narrator: Part of the Thirteenth Sabbath Offering will help make possible special projects in several countries across the Euro-Asia Division. The details are listed on the back of your Sabbath School lesson quarterly. Ask God how you can help finish the work here and around the world so Jesus can come.
For other mission stories, download the Mission quarterly (PDF)