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From Critic to Disciple

To Sabbath School teachers: This story is for Sabbath, August 27.

By Andrew McChesney


reno was born into a family that practiced a mixture of Christianity and the occult in Salvador, Brazil. He ended up studying in a Seventh-day Adventist school. At the school, he had a teacher who stirred his interest in reading the Bible.

But Breno grew up into a rebellious teenager. As he participated in parties and drank alcohol off campus, the school rules began to annoy him. It seemed like the school forbade everything. The girls could not wear earrings. The girls could not wear short skirts. The girls could not wear nail polish. Even worse, the boys could not sit next to the girls in the school chapel. The school’s rules for Christian behavior did not make sense to him, and he questioned all authority.

When Breno graduated, he stopped going to church and reading the Bible. He became a staunch critic of Christianity. He boasted to his friends, “I’ll go anywhere in the world except to church.”

He openly questioned God over passages of the Bible that he did not understand. He spoke badly about the church. He even drove away his Adventist girlfriend.

Five years after graduating from high school, he received an unexpected invitation from a high school friend, Victor, to attend his baptism. The day of the baptism proved to be a milestone.

After his baptism, Victor introduced Breno to the Adventist pastor. The pastor immediately prayed for both Breno and Victor. After the prayer, the pastor gave Breno a hug and invited him to come to the church for worship services.

Breno left the baptism in a thoughtful mood. The pastor’s prayer and warm welcome had touched his heart. He wanted to go back to the church.

Breno returned to the church for Sabbath worship services, and there he met God for the first time. I met the God of love. Through the pastor’s sermons, he learned more and more about Christ, His gospel, and His grace. Breno’s eyes were opened, and years of negative thoughts disappeared. He felt welcomed and loved by the other church members, even though they didn’t know him. They reflected the love of God that he was hearing about in the Sabbath sermons.

Shortly after Breno returned to church, he began to take Bible studies with the pastor. Then, during the COVID-19 pandemic, on a very special Sabbath, he was baptized.

Now Breno understands that his friend’s invitation to the baptism changed his life forever.

“Christ has changed my life completely,” he says. “In a short period of time, I went from being a critic to a disciple, not because of my own merits, but because God’s will is good, perfect, and pleasant.”

Part of this quarter’s Thirteenth Sabbath Offering will help establish four new churches in Brazil where other young people, like Breno, can learn about the loving Jesus of the Bible. Thank you for planning a generous offering on September 24.