Beatings Strengthen Faith
To Sabbath School teachers: This story is for Sabbath, February 5.
y younger sister called me excitedly one day.
“Sister,” she said, “I am studying the Bible, and the lessons are very good. Come, and we can study together with the missionaries.”
Hearing the enthusiasm in my sister’s voice, my curiosity was aroused, and I met with her and a married couple, Yuliana and Luis, who were Bible workers.
“Please, teach me about the Bible,” I asked them.
I was studying at a university in Dili, the capital of Timor-Leste. My sister, Ermelinda, was studying at a high school in the same city. We both came from a small rural village.
I studied the Bible with the couple almost every day. The Bible lessons fascinated me. I learned about God’s great love for me. I learned that one way that I could show my love to God was by honoring Him with my body, including by eating clean foods. I learned that a big way to love God was by keeping His commandments. Jesus said, “If you love Me, keep My commandments” (John 14:15, NKJV). I was especially interested in reading the Ten Commandments. I had never heard the fourth commandment, which begins, “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy” (Exodus 20:8).
When I realized that God had never changed His holy day to Sunday, I asked the couple where I could worship on the seventh-day Sabbath.
“I want to keep the Sabbath day, but where I can go to church?” I said.
“We have a church in Dili,” Luis said.
“You can go to there every Sabbath,” Yuliana said.
Ermelinda and I went to church together. After attending church for two weeks, we decided to get baptized and join the Seventh-day Adventist Church.
Our older brothers were furious when they found out that I had left our family’s church. They threatened me and beat me.
“You will not study here anymore,” one brother said.
“We will bring you back home to the village,” said another.
My brothers forced me to leave my studies and return with them to the village. They made me eat pork and go to church with them on Sundays. I felt so sad. I had to lock myself in the bathroom to read the Bible and pray. But the threats and beatings strengthened my faith. I resolved to love God with all my heart and keep His commandments.
The threats and beatings went on for a month.
My younger sister, fortunately, was able to stay in the capital. She called to tell me that the Adventist Church was organizing a two-month training program for Bible workers.
I wanted to be a Bible worker more than anything. I wanted to be like Yuliana and Luis, who had taught me about the Bible. I wanted to teach others about God. One day, I ran away from home without telling anyone.
After two months of training, I became a Bible worker. I loved my work, and I threw myself into it. I prayed daily for my family and especially my brothers.
Two years passed, and I married my husband, Reinaldo, who is an Adventist. No one from my family attended the wedding.
Thanks be to God, my family has started talking to me again. I am also grateful to God for three children who are now studying at the only Adventist school in Timor-Leste.
Please pray for my brothers and the rest of my family. Please pray that the school will be able to teach many children about Jesus and His Word.
Your Thirteenth Sabbath Offering six years ago helped open the Seventh-day Adventist school in Timor-Leste. Part of this quarter’s offering will help construct a dormitory at the school so that children from faraway villages like Elizita’s can study at the school. Thank you for planning a generous offering.