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Ivon, 13

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To Sabbath School teachers: This story is for Sabbath, July 23.

By Andrew McChesney


hen Ivon was just 3 years old, something terrible happened in her family in Bolivia. Her big brother died.

Mother cried a lot, and Father was also very sad. They didn’t want to go to church anymore, even though their church would have helped them in this very sad time. But they stopped taking Ivon and her 6-year-old brother, Yerko, to church every Sabbath. Ivon was very small, but she saw her mother’s and father’s tears. It all made her feel sad, and she cried a lot. Her brother, Yerko, also felt very sad.

Then one day Grandmother decided to take Ivon and Yerko to church. She woke up early on Sabbath morning and walked 2 miles (3 kilometers) to Ivon and Yerko’s house, so that together, they could go to church. What a special day that was!

Grandmother decided to take the children to church every week. Ivon loved going to church because she could sing to God, draw pictures, and pray. But something didn’t seem right. Mother and Father were not in church, and she missed them a lot. Ivon and Yerko decided to pray. “Please, God, help our family to worship together in church once more,” they prayed. “Bring Mother and Father back to You,” Ivon prayed. “We want to worship together,” Yerko prayed.

A long time went by. But Ivon and Yerko didn’t give up. Instead, they prayed faithfully for four years. “Please bring Mother and Father back to You,” Ivon pleaded to God. “We want to worship together,” Yerko prayed.

Then, on one special Sabbath day, Mother and Father surprised the children by going to church with them. Ivon and Yerko’s smiles were as bright as the sun — they were so happy! But Mother and Father only stayed for part of the program.

The children kept on praying. “Please bring Mother and Father back to You,” Ivon pleaded to God. “We want to worship together,” Yerko prayed.

As they prayed, Ivon and Yerko grew closer and closer to Jesus. They loved Jesus more and more and decided to give their hearts to Him. On a very special day, when Ivon was 8 and Yerko was 11, they were baptized.

The years went by, and Ivon and Yerko kept on praying. God heard the prayers of these faithful children. After they prayed for eight years, Mother and Father gave their hearts to Jesus and were baptized. It was the happiest day of Ivon’s life!

Today, Father is a church elder, and Mother helps with family ministries. Sixteen-year-old Yerko is a deacon, and Ivon is 13 and in the Junior class. Both Ivon and Yerko are Pathfinders.

Ivon feels so happy and blessed. Mother and Father have returned to church, and her whole family is living for God. She has no doubt that God hears and answers prayer, even if sometimes it takes years of asking. God is faithful, and He loves it when we are faithful, too.

Part of this quarter’s Thirteenth Sabbath Offering will help open a new church in Trinidad, Bolivia, where Ivon lives. Your offering will help others learn about the Jesus who answers prayers.