Change of Heart
Sometimes, when he was drunk, my father kept us from going to church by locking the doors of the house and leaving.
In my country it can be very dangerous to be a Christian. At my school, not very many people know that I believe in Jesus. Some of my classmates steal from other students and even from the teachers. Their language is filled with profanity. Although I didn’t like everything these guys were doing, they were still my friends. However, my parents were worried that the habits of my friends would rub off on me and asked me to stop being friends with these classmates.
Every day I could hear my mother praying for me, asking God to protect me from the bad influence of these boys, but I still kept them as my friends. However, at home I would still have worship with my mother and sister.
My father drank and smoked, and he wouldn’t join us for worship or come to church with us. Sometimes when he saw us praying for him, he grabbed our hair, forcing our heads to come up while we were bowed in prayer.
When we weren’t praying, and when Dad wasn’t drunk, he was wonderful. He took us places and did things with us. It was only when we prayed or went to church that he would mock us.
Sometimes, when he was drunk, my father kept us from going to church by locking the doors of the house and leaving. We couldn’t get out because the doors were locked from the outside, so we stayed inside, praying and crying. Then Mother would lead us in our Sabbath School at home. We sang, read our Bible lessons, and repeated our memory verses. Then, instead of a sermon, Mother would read a Bible text and talk to us about it.
When my father would finally return home at 6:00 p.m., he would unlock the doors and let us go out. But by then Sabbath was ending, so after having one more prayer to end the Sabbath, we would eat supper together with him.
Once in a while when we were locked in, we were able to open the lock by shaking the door very hard. Then we would quickly run to church and back home again. On other Sabbaths my father would stay home, making sure that we wouldn’t go anywhere. However, when he was sober, he allowed us to attend church.
Last year my father’s mother died. My father and grandmother were close, and after she died, my father began to change. Mother often encouraged Father to pray, assuring him that God would help. Father began reading the Bible. When we were having worship, he no longer pulled our hair and made fun of us, but instead would come and sit in the room but not in the circle, listening to our prayers.
Then we noticed that he had stopped drinking. He had promised to stop, and he kept that promise. But he still smokes. We continue to pray about this, and he has greatly reduced his smoking.
My father still doesn’t come to church with us, but he comes to the room when we pray, and he sits quietly. We can see him changing little by little into the man God wants him to be. Now that Father is no longer drinking, he’s a happier man. We enjoy spending time with him and being his children.
My father also talked with me about the bad friends I had at school. He warned me not to be their friend, because they were a bad influence. Then one day I learned the hard way that my parents were right. I got into a fight with those classmates, and we are no longer good friends. It’s interesting to see how God is working not only in the life of my father but in my life as well.