Born in War
A terrible war broke out in our country and left more than 50,000 people dead. I was born during the war.
To Sabbath School teachers: This story is for Sabbath, Nov. 25. Click here for photos to share while telling the mission story.
Ask a teenage boy or a man to present this first-person story.
My name is Shukhrat [SHOO-khrawt], and I live in Tajikistan [tah-jih-kih-STAN]. [Find Tajikistan on the map.]
Tajikistan is a beautiful country, with majestic mountains, lush green valleys, and crystal-clear mountain lakes and streams. But a terrible war broke out in our country and left more than 50,000 people dead. I was born during the war.
My parents divorced shortly after I was born, and I lived with my mother for 10 years. When I was 11 years old, my father took me to live with him. My father was a soldier, and he fought in the war. After the war ended, he became a border guard, guarding the border between Tajikistan and Afghanistan. [Point to the border between these countries.]
Gift of God’s Love
From the time that I was a small boy, I liked to read. One day my father brought me a small pile of books that someone had given him. I was only 11 years old, but I still remember these books. Three were religious books: The Bible in Pictures, The Gospel of Jesus Christ, and The Life of Jesus Christ. Father opened the book, The Bible in Pictures, and showed me the colorful illustrations.
Those books changed my life. Up until that time, I knew little about God. But as I read those books, I learned about the great and loving God who created our beautiful world. I was very sad when I read that Adam and Eve brought sin into the world. But the most surprising thing happened when I read about the life of Jesus. His words, His parables, and the Sermon on the Mount caused me to fall in love for Him. When I found out how Jesus suffered and gave His life on the cross for me, I loved with Him with all my heart! I remember the night when I knelt and prayed in my room. I gave my heart and my life to Jesus and accepted Him as my Savior! I was 12 years old.
Excitement and Disappointment
That summer, my cousin Aziz invited me to visit a Christian church. We studied the Bible there, sang Christian songs, and went on an outing together to a lake. There I was given my first Bible! I eagerly devoured every word I read. You should have seen me when I first read the book of Revelation. The description of the beast, the number 666, and the prophecies about the end of this world filled me with awe! I understood that Revelation revealed the future, and I wanted to understand it.
When my father and other relatives found out that I had become a Christian, they tried to make me feel ashamed. They said, “How could you betray our family’s faith? You have disgraced us. What will people say?” I did not know how to answer. All I could do was bow my head and be silent.
I was born during a war, and now another kind of war had broken out in my family. What would you say if someone got angry with you for believing in Jesus? We’ll find out what I did next week.
Part of this quarter’s Thirteen Sabbath Offering will support a sports program for children in my home city in Tajikistan. Please pray for the children of Tajikistan, and share your love for Jesus with your Sabbath School mission offerings.
For more photos, visit the Facebook page for the Mission quarterlies
For activities to accompany this and other mission stories, download the Children’s Mission quarterly (PDF)