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Tatyana Pashinko, 60, pictured by a bulletin board in the Southern Seventh-day Adventist Church, says, “I never made a mistake in all my years of work, and I only got into trouble because I wanted to obey God.” (Andrew McChesney / Adventist Mission)

Faithful Tatyana

“I know how much Jesus suffered for me. I don’t want to disobey Him.”

To Sabbath School teachers: This story is for Sabbath, Oct. 14. Click here for photos to share while telling the mission story.

Tatyana is a grown-up, but she is not very tall, and she doesn’t look very strong. But she has a strong spirit. For many years she has operated a big crane in Kazakhstan [KAH-sak-stan]. [Find Kazakhstan on a map.]

A few years ago, Tatyana learned about Jesus at an evangelistic meeting. She became a Seventh-day Adventist and began keeping the Sabbath.

Problems at Work

When her supervisor retired, the new supervisor told Tatyana that she must work on Sabbath. Tatyana explained that she is a Christian and that God’s law says not to work on Sabbath. But he demanded that she come to work on Sabbath. Tatyana didn’t argue; but she didn’t go to work on Sabbath.

On Monday morning, when she sat down at her big crane, her supervisor yelled at her. He warned that she would have no job if she refused to work again.

Tatyana liked operating the big crane and didn’t want to lose her job. But obeying God was more important to her than keeping her job. So, she didn’t go to work the next Sabbath.

On Monday, her supervisor was even angrier. He threatened, “I’ll make sure you lose your job!”

Going to work was no longer fun for Tatyana. Her supervisor made fun of her in front of the other workers. One of the workers asked Tatyana, “What’s wrong with you? Do you want to get fired?” Others said unkind things to her that made her cry. Tatyana could do nothing but pray for strength. “God, why are people being so mean? Help me be kind to them, and give me strength to be patient.”

She found comfort in reading the Bible. She especially liked Isaiah 43:1-3, where the Lord says, “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by your name; you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; And through the rivers, they shall not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned, nor shall the flame scorch you. For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior” (NKJV).

Rewarding Evil with Kindness

At first, the bullying at work upset Tatyana; then she realized that her coworkers did not know God. She decided to be kind to them and find good things to say about them. When other children say unkind words to you, it can hurt. But you can try to find good things to say about them. Focusing on good things makes everyone happier.

Tatyana looked for ways to share what she knew about Jesus. When coworkers had birthdays, she gave them books and bookmarks about God and told them, “This is a gift from God.”

Her supervisor continued to say unkind things, but he never fired Tatyana. And Tatyana never worked on Sabbath.

Tatyana talked to her pastor about the difficulties she faced at work. He explained to her that God was protecting her and her job because she was obeying His commandments. Sometimes she went to the pastor in tears, but she said, “I know how much Jesus suffered for me. I don’t want to disobey Him.”

There aren’t many Adventists in the country where Tatyana lives. But the members there are working hard to help spread God’s love. Part of this quarter’s Thirteenth Sabbath Offering will help open a Seventh-day Adventist preschool in Tatyana’s city so other people can know how much God loves them. So, let’s be sure to bring our Thirteenth Sabbath Offering on December 30 and help people in Kazakhstan know about Jesus.

For more photos, visit the Facebook page for the Mission quarterlies

Read an expanded version of the story here

For activities to accompany this and other mission stories, download the Children’s Mission quarterly (PDF)