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Adventist Mission

Cibele Desidere Pontes, 18

Shy Amazon Girl

“You’re weird,” a girl sneered.

To Sabbath School teachers: This story is for Sabbath, May 4.

By Andrew McChesney, Adventist Mission

Other than going to school, Cibele stayed all the time at home in her remote village of Piraí along the Amazon River in Brazil.

Ever since she was a small girl, the other children teased her when she left the house.

“You’re weird,” a girl sneered.

The children also mocked Cibele because her father couldn’t work after his leg was paralyzed in a boating accident.

“Oh, there goes the daughter of that hopeless man who can’t work,” a boy said.

One day, when Cibele was 17, she heard a knock on the door of her home. She opened the door, and two young women greeted her with big hugs. Cibele had never seen the women before, and she was shocked. But she liked the hugs.

“Hi, we are missionaries from the Seventh-day Adventist Church,” one young woman said. “What’s your name?”

After talking for a short time, the two missionaries went to the next house.

The next day, the missionaries returned and chatted some more. On the third day, they told Cibele that a boat church called Amazonia de Esperanca (Amazon of Hope) had arrived and invited her to attend evangelistic meetings on the boat. Cibele, who liked to stay at home, felt a deep desire to go to the boat.

“I’ll go!” she said.

She convinced her parents to accompany her. She and Mother carried Father from the house to the boat. Pastor Reno, who lives on the boat, spoke about Jesus.

The next day, Cibele again felt a strong urge to go. As Cibele listened to the pastor speak, she realized that Jesus wanted to have a relationship with her. She thought about her father, unable to walk for 15 years, and believed that Jesus also cared for him. She began to pray every day for God to heal him.

Two weeks later, Father caught Cibele’s attention at a boat meeting and asked for help to walk to the restroom. Partway to the restroom, he said, “Let me try to go just a short distance on my own.”

Cibele watched as he took a few steps.

Father went to the restroom, and he and Cibele walked back into the meeting hall. The pastor stopped preaching, and people stared in shock.

“It’s a miracle!” said Cibele, tears flooding her eyes. “It is God’s miracle!”

After that day, Cibele’s classmates began to treat her with respect, and they started to attend the meetings. “We have never heard anything like this before!” they told her.

A month after the meetings began, Cibele was baptized with her father, mother, sister, and cousin.

Today, Cibele is 18 and preparing to become a missionary. She will be like those two young missionaries who first invited her to the meetings. “I learned to love God through the boat church, and I want to do the same for others,” Cibele said. “I am very shy, but I lose all fear when I talk about Jesus.”

Thank you for your Thirteenth Sabbath Offering in fourth quarter 2016 that provided funds for the boat church where Cibele and her family learned about Jesus. Thank you for helping tell the world that Jesus is coming soon.