Reborn in Peace
I heard a small voice inside me say, “A true Christian is someone who keeps the commandments.”
To Sabbath School teachers: This story is for Sabbath, Dec. 2. Click here for photos to share while telling the mission story.
Ask a teenage boy or a man to present this first-person story.
Last week we met a boy named Shukhrat [SHOO-khrawt]. He is 12 years old and was born during a war in Tajikistan [tah-jih-kih-STAN]. [Find Tajikistan on the map.]
Shukhrat’s life changed when his father gave him some books about Jesus. After reading how Jesus died for him, Shukhrat knelt in his room and gave his life to Jesus. But his father and other relatives were angry when they learned that Shukhrat had become a Christian.
Shukhrat continues to tell us his story:
War broke out in my family when they learned that I had given my heart to Jesus. My relatives took away my Bible and other books. I asked them to return my books, but they said they didn’t have them.
I went to a Christian church and asked for another Bible, but my relatives took away this Bible, too. After that I hid the Bible and read it secretly. But somehow my relatives knew that I was still reading the Bible. My father beat me and told me to stop. My uncle even threatened to kill me.
I was scared, and I didn’t know what to do. But I was a comforted by the words of Jesus in Matthew 5:11–12, where Jesus says: “Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you” (NKJV).
Finding God’s People
As I got older, I read in the Bible that Christians need to be baptized. I wanted to be baptized, but I didn’t know which church to join. I wondered which church is the true church. I studied the Bible intensely for two months. I felt desperate to know what God wanted me to do. One day I fell on my knees and with pain in my heart cried out to God, “I do not know where to be baptized. Where can I find Your true Christians?”
I heard a small voice inside me say, “A true Christian is someone who keeps the commandments.” I knew God was leading me. I needed to find a church that kept the Ten Commandments. That made sense to me. I knew the commandments—Do not kill. Do not steal. Honor your father and your mother. Many Christian churches obey these commandments. But the Fourth Commandment bothered me. What does the Fourth Commandment say? [Allow a child to answer.]
That’s right, the Fourth Commandment says, “Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy.” That means to honor Jesus by going to church on Saturday. But I didn’t know any Christian church that worshipped on Saturday. All the churches that I knew about worshipped on Sunday.
One day, while I was searching the Internet, I found an article about the Seventh-day Adventist Church. I read that Adventists keep all of the commandments—including the Fourth Commandment! So, I searched online for the address of an Adventist church in my home city. I found a church and went to talk with the pastor. I told him of my journey to Jesus, and we studied the Bible together. At last I was baptized into God’s true church!
I cannot tell you my real name because it is dangerous to live as a Christian in my country. Many people would threaten to kill me if they knew I had converted to Christianity from my family’s religion. Even though it is dangerous to be a Christian, even though I could be beaten or threatened, even if I am killed, I will not change my mind. I love Jesus, and I will obey Him always. Jesus gives me peace.
Part of this quarter’s Thirteen Sabbath Offering will support a sports program that will reach out to children in my home city. Please pray for the children in Tajikistan who are searching for God, even as I was. Thank you for bringing your mission offering every week!
For activities to accompany this and other mission stories, download the Children’s Mission quarterly (PDF)