One Adventist in 10,000
To Sabbath School teachers: This story is for Sabbath, April 11.
Going to the university was a great experience for Radenko Melovi.
He left his parents in their village and moved 185 miles (300 kilometers) to a sprawling university dormitory with 10,000 residents in Belgrade.
Radenko had a lot of fun and didn’t study much.
The first year passed, and he did not take any exams.
To avoid being expelled from university dormitory, he changed his major for the next academic year.
The second year passed, and he did not take any exams.
Radenko changed his major.
The third year passed, and he did not take any exams.
Instead of studying, he partied. He drank and smoked with friends. A popular student, he was elected student body president.
During his fourth year, tragedy struck. His sister died during childbirth.
Radenko was crushed. His sister had been like an angel in the family. He didn’t know what to do. For the first time in his life, he prayed earnestly. He asked God to reveal the right path for his life.
Among the 10,000 dorm students lived one Seventh-day Adventist, a young woman named Emilia. Shortly after his prayer, a friend introduced them.
Emilia immediately began to talk about God. She didn’t want to talk about anything else. She told Radenko that she was a Seventh-day Adventist. He had never heard of Adventists.
Emilia invited him to go with her to church on Saturday, and he accepted.
Radenko listened to the sermon and was stopped by the youth pastor as he was leaving. “Would you like to study the Bible?” the youth pastor said.
Radenko had never read the Bible, and he agreed to meet with the youth pastor on Tuesday evening.
When the initial Bible study finished, Radenko experienced something unusual. He felt like he could fly. He had heard teachings that quenched a long-unfilled thirst.
Radenko and the youth pastor met week after week to study the Bible. Then they came to a study about the Sabbath.
Radenko was shocked that the Bible identified Saturday as the Sabbath. The next day, he went to a priest to double-check on the day.
“Do you know when Jesus was resurrected?” the priest asked.
“Sunday,” Radenko said.
“That is why we worship on Sunday,” the priest said.
Radenko told the pastor about the conversation with the priest. The pastor explained that Jesus’ death and resurrection hadn’t changed the law. The fourth commandment still said the seventh day is the Sabbath.
Radenko returned to the priest, but the priest was nowhere to be found. Another priest listened to his question. “Our holy fathers decided on Sunday, and I am not questioning their opinion,” the priest said.
Radenko found the answer surprising.
“Who has higher authority, the Bible or the holy fathers?” he asked.
The priest refused to answer.
To Radenko, the Bible clearly had the higher authority.
Today, Radenko is 58, married, and a university graduate. He loves God’s law. In his Bible, he used a blue marker to highlight the verse that the pastor read at his baptism. Joshua 1:8 reads, “This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate init day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.”
Emilie, his friend from university dormitory, was surprised and thrilled when she learned 30 years later that a seed she had planted had yielded fruit. She had left the university dormitory after meeting Radenko, and the two had lost contact.
Radenko believes that Emilie’s mission was to share the gospel with him.
“It was a real miracle to find the one Adventist among 10,000 people,” Radenko said. “But that was God’s reply when I asked Him to show me the right path to take in life."
Radenko is an elder at New Belgrade Seventh-day Adventist Church, which will receive part of this quarter’s Thirteenth Sabbath Offering to acquire its own building. The congregation met in a rented movie theater when it was established in 1993, and it now shares a building with another Adventist congregation near New Belgrade. Thank you for planning a generous Thirteenth Sabbath Offering.