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Ronnel Nurse is a 25-year-old IT consultant for Trinidad and Tobago’s Ministry of National Security. (Andrew McChesney / Adventist Mission)

Cartoons for Jesus

When the pastor made a call for baptism, Ronnel knew that he had to step forward.

To Sabbath School teachers: This story is for Sabbath, Feb. 3. Click here for photos to share while telling the mission story.

Would you give up cartoons for Jesus? [Allow children to answer.] Today, we will hear a story about Ronnel, who gave up cartoons for Jesus when he was 11 years old. Ronnel comes from an island nation called Trinidad and Tobago in the Caribbean Sea. [Find Trinidad and Tobago on the map.]

[Ask an older boy to read this first-hand account.]

By Ronnel Nurse, as told to Andrew McChesney,

My first real introduction to God came from my grandmother. She went to church every Sunday, and I never heard of Seventh-day Adventists. She taught me to pray and read the Bible. I spent most of my Sundays in Sunday School with my grandmother.

Then my mother sent me to study at the Maracas Seventh-day Adventist Primary School. The school had a week of prayer program when I was 11 years old, and I listened as the pastor spoke about his love for Jesus. I felt an emptiness inside me that I never knew was there. When the pastor made a call for baptism, I knew that I had to step forward. So, I did.

But everything was new to me. I didn’t know much about the Bible, so it was a good thing that the pastor insisted that everyone who wanted to be baptized had to attend a Bible study class first. With each Bible lesson, it became clearer to me that I had to be baptized. I saw that the Sabbath was on Saturday, not Sunday. I saw that God wants us to worship Him and not work and do other regular things on the Sabbath.

But if I were baptized, I would no longer go to Sunday School and church with my grandmother. Sabbath would become my main day of worship.

It wasn’t easy to make the switch. At first, I missed watching Saturday morning cartoons on television. When Grandmother asked me to run an errand or buy something at the store on Sabbath, I had to tell her, “Sorry, Granny, I can’t go because it is Sabbath.” [Ask children what they would say if someone asked them to break the Sabbath.]

Then my grandmother became seriously ill and went to the hospital. I visited her and encouraged her. I gave her hugs so she would know that I loved her. I prayed for God to heal her.

I read wonderful stories in my Sabbath School lesson about how God performed miracles for His people. [Ask the children to share some of the miracles that God performed in the Bible.]

I read about how the boy David defeated the giant Goliath with one small stone. I read about how God parted the Red Sea so Moses could lead the Israelites out of Egypt. I believed that if anyone could heal my grandmother, it would be Jesus. I thought everything would be fine with Grandmother if I mentioned her in my prayers every night before bed.

It came as a complete shock one day when I came home from school and I learned that my grandmother had passed away. A big part of my world was gone.

I felt that God had let me down. I had trusted Him to do a great miracle, but still Grandmother died. I was very sad and cried. I wondered if I had made a mistake in trusting God.

But as I thought about my grandmother’s life, I remembered all the times that I had seen her praying. She was a praying woman. She trusted God.

I still don’t understand why Grandmother died. But I know that Jesus also died—and He is no longer dead! Jesus lives today and promises everyone who believes in Him will live forever.

My grandmother’s death was the first time that I felt the sting of death. But I have hope. Romans 8:18 says, “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.” The verse means that bad things might make us feel sad now, but a great joy is coming. Jesus is coming soon! I can’t wait to see Jesus—and my grandmother—again!

Part of this quarter’s Thirteenth Sabbath Offering will help build a church near the school where Ronnel was baptized after attending the week of prayer. Thank you for your mission offering, which will help other children learn about Jesus.

Today, Ronnel is 25 years old and helps run computer systems at Trinidad and Tobago’s Ministry of National Security, which oversees the police force and emergency services.

For photos to share with this and other mission stories, visit the Facebook page for the Mission quarterlies

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