Hope in the Pandemic
To Sabbath School teachers: This story is for Sabbath, May 21.
OVID-19 changed my life.
I’ve always believed in God, and I started praying from a young age for God to help me find a good husband. I longed for a husband who loved God and would go to church with me. But the big question was: Which church would we attend?
As a child, I attended the church of my parents in Angola, and I faithfully followed all its rituals. But something seemed to be lacking. After I got married to a wonderful husband, I moved to another church. Four years later, I switched to a third church. But I felt empty inside. Something was missing. What I heard in church didn’t seem to connect to my personal life. I wasn’t sure that God had forgiven my sins. I wasn’t sure that He was transforming my character into His likeness. Also, my husband didn’t go to church with me.
In 2020, the whole country went into lockdown because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Churches were closed, and I could no longer attend worship services. I looked for sermons on YouTube and found two programs conducted by Seventh-day Adventist pastors on Hope Channel television. As I watched, I carefully compared their Bible verses with my own Bible. I realized that I didn’t really know the Bible. What especially caught my attention was the observance of the seventh-day Sabbath in the Bible.
As I watched, it seemed like one of the pastors spoke directly to me. “Who do you want to follow: the dictates of men or the word of God as expressed in the Bible?” he said.
The question bothered me greatly. From the depths of my heart, I responded, “I want to follow what my God has said in His Word.”
I remembered a young woman whom I had hired to help me around the house. When she first started to work, she cleaned and cooked every day through Friday and took off Saturdays. She explained that she went to a Seventh-day Adventist church on Saturdays. But after a while, she stopped going to church and worked for me on Saturdays as well.
When I became aware of the importance of the Sabbath, I spoke to the young woman.
“You are not going to church anymore, but you are willing to work at my house on Saturdays,” I said. “If you stopped going to church because of your work for me, think again. From now on, you will only work for me from Monday through Friday. Saturday is holy.”
By that point, pandemic restrictions had eased, and the young woman was able to return to church. Today, she is taking classes in preparation for baptism.
Meanwhile, I wanted to know more about the Sabbath, and I called an Adventist pastor whose phone number I found online. He was friendly and offered several books to read. I began worshiping on Sabbath and was baptized in 2021.
Today, I am a new person, and the transformation is continuing to take place daily. I know God forgives my sins. I know He is transforming my character into His likeness. Join me in praying for my husband to know God and to go to church with me every Sabbath.
Part of this quarter’s Thirteenth Sabbath Offering will help establish four projects in Antónia’s home country of Angola, including a Seventh-day Adventist school in Luanda, an Adventist church and elementary school in the city of Belize, a domestic violence and counseling center in the city of Lombe, and a men’s dormitory at the Adventist University of Angola in the city of Huambo. Thank you for planning a generous offering.