My name is Juana. I am 17 years old and in grade 12. I live in Libreville, Gabon, a country on the west coast of Central Africa.
I used to attend our Adventist secondary school, but one day my mother told me that because the school was struggling, they would no longer be able to teach the upper grades. It wouldn’t have been so bad if I could have attended another Adventist school. But we have only one Adventist secondary school in our country.
I had been able to start my day with worship and prayer at my Adventist school. We had Bible class and learned about God every day. My teachers were caring, and my friends supported my commitment to Jesus. But all this was about to change.
So Many Worries
What will happen to my faith when I attend public school? I wondered. Am I strong enough to stay true to Jesus? My friends who attended public school told me that many kids were involved in drugs and drinking.
“All the social activities happen on Friday night and Saturday,” one boy said.
“My teacher seems to come to class only when she feels like it,” added a girl.
As if that wasn’t enough to worry about, I knew that almost all the exams were scheduled on Sabbath.
At first everything went OK at my new school, but after a while I began to struggle. I noticed that I didn’t spend as much time reading my Bible and praying and that I wasn’t as interested in talking to people about Jesus.
One day my mom looked at me with a worried expression while I was eating breakfast. “I’m concerned about you, Juana,” she said. “Is everything OK?”
“No, Mom, it’s not,” I confided. “I feel like everything’s trying to pull me away from Jesus right now. I didn’t mean to let this happen, but I feel so far away from Him.”
Mom assured me that Jesus loves me more than I could ever imagine and that there’s nothing I could ever do to change that. “I’m always here for you, too,” she added. “I’ll do whatever I can to help, including getting calluses on my knees praying for you!”
Stronger Than Ever
Mom prayed for me and asked several close friends to pray for me too. A few months later, she noticed that I seemed a little happier than usual. “Things are tight between me and Jesus again,” I told her. “He’s my best Friend, and I’m trying to do whatever I can to help the kids at school experience His goodness too.”
Sharing Jesus with my non-Christian friends was a little easier than I thought it would be. If we had an upcoming test, I’d invite them to join me in asking God to help us do well. Or if we were facing a difficult situation, I’d say, “Let’s pray that God will help us handle this right.”
A Happy Surprise
I can’t tell you how happy I was to learn that the Thirteenth Sabbath Offering this quarter will help build a new secondary school in Gabon. I’ll be able to attend an Adventist school again and hundreds of Adventist kids will be able to attend one for the first time in their lives.
Please give generously so we can have our school. Thank you!