A Home for Jeremias
The teen was left alone when his mother died, and the church built him a home.
To Sabbath School teachers: This story is for Sabbath, Feb. 9.
An 18-year-old neighbor invited Jeremias, 17, to the Seventh-day Adventist church in Nampula, a big city in Mozambique.
“Come with me,” the friend said. “We will sit, and you will hear what the Bible teaches.”
Jeremias loved the sermon and learned that another sermon would be preached the following evening. The church was holding an evangelistic series.
Jeremias returned every evening and learned about the seventh-day Sabbath during the last sermon on Friday evening. The preacher invited people in the audience to give their hearts to Jesus and read Revelation 3:20, where Jesus said, “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me.”
The message touched Jeremias’ heart, and he thought, “Who am I to refuse Jesus? Let Him come in to me.”
The friend invited Jeremias to come on Sabbath, and Jeremias stayed the whole day. He came again the next Sabbath. But on the third Sabbath, his mother fell ill. At the hospital, she gave birth to a baby girl, but she remained very ill. She kept saying, “My head hurts, my head hurts.”
When she didn’t get better, her husband—Jeremias’ stepfather—decided to take her out of the hospital and to a witch doctor in the middle of Mozambique’s bush. Jeremias stayed with his mother, stepfather, and newborn sister in the isolated village for a month. Then his mother died. A week later, his baby sister died.
His stepfather made plans to return to Nampula alone.
“I don’t want you to live with me because you are not a member of my family,” he said.
Jeremias’ life was destroyed. He didn’t know what to do. But after praying, he felt peace come into his heart. He decided to also return to Nampula and find a place to rent.
Jeremias did odd jobs that helped pay for a room for the next three months.
He went to church on Sabbaths. His friend who had invited him to church the first time provided him with food, and other church members gave him money.
“Then I saw that the church was preparing for a baptism,” Jeremias said. “I said to myself, ‘Here’s an opportunity for me to be baptized!’”
Immediately after his baptism, life got even more challenging. He couldn’t find work to pay the rent. It was rainy season, and the roof leaked. A thief broke into his room and stole everything that he had, even his meager supply of food.
“I had such big problems after baptism,” he said. “This was when I learned how to pray and pray. I asked God, ‘Help me find a way to live.’”
One day, the church pastor announced to Jeremias that the congregation had decided to set aside a corner of the church’s property to build a small house. It would be Jeremias’ own home.
Jeremias worked hard to raise money to construct the home, and the church provided the rest of the money that he couldn’t earn. He also helped build the home.
Today, Jeremias is 20 and lives in the small house. He only has to take a few steps to reach the church for worship services on Sabbath. He continues to do odd jobs and is hoping to find a way to go to high school. He only finished seventh grade.
“I have passed through hunger, humiliation, and many challenges, but I have overcome them because God is on my side,” he said. “I am here today because of the help that the church members gave me.”
His advice to others who are struggling?
“Put God first, and you will overcome,” he said. “Some people may face challenges bigger than mine, but God will hold your hand, just like He is holding mine.”
He is glad that he heard Jesus knocking at the door of his heart.
Part of this quarter’s Thirteenth Sabbath Offering will help build an orphanage for children who lost their parents to HIV/AIDS in Jeremias’ hometown, Nampula. Thank you for your mission offering.