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Adventist Mission


No Debt

To Sabbath School teachers: This story is for Sabbath, March 25.

By Andrew McChesney


ydie grew up in a poor home in Rwanda. Her biggest desire was to graduate from a university so she could get a good job and support her parents.

But how?

Lydie got good grades in high school and was accepted into the University of Rwanda, the biggest institution of higher education in the country.

However, she didn’t win one of the few government scholarships, and she couldn’t afford to pay the full tuition on her own. In addition, her parents didn’t have the money to help.

However, Lydie’s parents also wanted her to study. They helped her gain admission into the school of nursing at the Adventist University of Central Africa, where the tuition was more affordable.

Lydie was elated!

For many years she had wished to become a nurse and to help sick people. Now was her chance to obtain the education that she needed in order to fulfill her dream.

She joined a class of 35 nursing students at the start of the school year. Unlike the University of Rwanda, where she would have been lost in the crowd on a sprawling campus, the Adventist University of Central Africa had only 70 students on a small campus.

She found that everyone was kind and welcoming and lived together like a family.

The teachers were friendly and, in addition to teaching, spent extra time with students during morning worship, midweek prayer meeting, and Sabbath worship services.

Lydie came from a non-Adventist family, but she knew something about the Sabbath. As a little girl, she had made friends with several Adventist children and heard about the Sabbath from them.

Now she found herself keeping the Sabbath because as a student she was required to attend church worship services every Sabbath.

She didn’t mind the requirement at all. She loved the Sabbath!

Wanting to learn more about the Sabbath, she signed up for Bible lessons.

As she studied, she became convinced that the seventh-day Sabbath was God’s holy day. But she put off a decision on giving her heart to Jesus in baptism.

“If I pass all my first-year courses, then I’ll get baptized,” she told herself.

She passed all her first-year courses. But again, she put off a decision on getting baptized.

In her second year, she began to struggle to pay for the tuition. Money got so tight that it looked like she wouldn’t be able to finish the year.

She made a deal with God.

“If God allows me to complete my second year of classes, then I’ll get baptized,” she said.

She finished the second year. This time she kept her word. God had blessed her in an amazing way, and the least that she could do was give Him her heart.

Lydie got baptized.

But the debt problem remained.

Her parents didn’t have the funds to help, and Lydie struggled to earn money as she studied. Life became extremely difficult for her, and she missed several of her final examinations.

A bright spot during those dark days was her Adventist classmates. They prayed with her and encouraged her not to give up.

She finished her third year.

At the start of what would have been her fourth and final year of studies, it became clear that she would have to drop out of the university. She owned more than 1 million Rwandan francs (U.S.$1,500) to the university. With the debt, she was not allowed to register for classes.

Lydie started to work full-time to pay off the debt. She found a construction job on the campus, helping to raise a new school of medicine at the university.

It pained her heart to see her friends attending classes and enjoying other campus activities while she worked. She wished that she had never come to the university. She longed to quit her job and go back to her village.

One day, she tearfully shared her story with one of the university teachers.

“The Lord understands what you are going through,” the teacher said, kindly. “He will not let you down at the point when you are in need.”

He encouraged her not to leave the university and instead to petition God for a week.

Lydie prayed every day for a week. At the end, there still seemed to be no answer from God.

The teacher encouraged her not to give up.

“Keep praying and keep waiting for God’s answer,” he said.

Lydie pleaded with God every day for another week.

At the end of the second week, she received an unexpected phone call. A family friend called to offer her the exact amount of money that she needed to pay off the debt.

Lydie was overjoyed! Her prayers had been answered. She paid off the debt and, by studying hard, managed to catch up with her classmates quickly.

Lydie graduated with a bachelor’s degree in nursing from the Adventist University of Central Africa in November 2021.

“The Lord not only answered my prayer, but He also planted a seed of resilience and patience in me to serve Him wherever He sends me,” she said.

Thank you for your Thirteenth Sabbath Offering in 2016 that helped build the school of medicine at the Adventist University of Central Africa. The school opened in 2021. Part of today’s Thirteenth Sabbath Offering will help build homes for new faculty at the school of medicine. Thank you for planning a generous offering to help this important project and five other projects across the East-Central Africa Division.