This Is Not a Church!
To Sabbath School teachers: This story is for Sabbath, April 22.
o you go to a Seventh-day Adventist school?
If you do, why?
Father and Mother sent 9-year-old Carlos to a Seventh-day Adventist school for only one reason: because it was close to their home. Father and Mother were not Adventist. They did not even care that the school was Adventist. They just wanted Carlos to go to a school that was close to their home in Lisbon, Portugal.
At the school, Carlos heard things that he had never heard before. He heard that Adventists go to church on Saturday and not on Sunday. He heard that Adventists do not baptize babies.
When Christmas time arrived, he saw something that he had never seen before: a church that did not look like a church. He went to the Adventist church for a special Christmas program put on by the school.
But when he entered the church, his eyes opened wide and he thought with great surprise, “This is not a church! There are no saints!”
Carlos’ church was filled with icons and statues of saints. But the Adventist church didn’t have a single icon or a single statue of a saint. It looked completely different from any church that he had ever seen.
Carlos soon forgot about his surprise about the appearance of the church. The Christmas program was fantastic! He enjoyed listening to his classmates sing about Jesus and watching them perform Bible skits. It was very interesting.
But when he returned home from the Christmas program, he asked Father and Mother many questions.
“Why do Adventists worship on Saturday and not on Sunday?” he asked. “Why do we have saints in our church, and they don’t have saints in their church? Why do we baptize babies when they are born, and they do not?”
Father and Mother answered as best as they could.
But they didn’t know the Bible very well, so they didn’t have answers that satisfied Carlos.
After a while, Carlos began asking the same questions to his friends at the Adventist school.
“Why do we have Sunday and you have Saturday?” he asked. “Why do we have saints, and you do not have saints? Why do we baptize when we are born, and you do not?”
His friends answered his questions as best they could from the Bible. Carlos was surprised that they had Bible verses to support their answers. He tried to argue with them. He tried to find a place in the Bible where God changed the holy day of worship from Saturday to Sunday. He tried to find a place where God told people to put statues of saints in churches and to baptize babies. But he could not find any such verses.
As he looked in the Bible for
answers, friends invited him to go to Pathfinder meetings.
Carlos enjoyed going. He especially liked earning badges. To earn badges, he had to read the Bible. So, he read the Bible even more because he wanted to earn many badges.
As he read, he began to understand why Adventists went to church on the Sabbath and didn’t have saints in their churches and didn’t baptize babies. He saw that Adventists loved God very much and were showing their love for God by following His teachings in the Bible.
Jesus said, “If you love Me, keep My commandments” (John 14:15, NKJV).
Carlos also loved God very much. He wanted to show his love for God by following the Bible.
When he was 16, he gave his heart to Jesus and was baptized. Father and Mother and the rest of the family came to watch the baptism.
Today, Carlos is a church leader with an Adventist wife and three grown children who are active in the church.
Carlos also is still active in Pathfinders as a Master Guide.
Carlos is very happy that his parents sent him to the Adventist school just because it was close to his house.
Going to the school changed his life.
This quarter, your Thirteenth Sabbath Offering will help open a new Seventh-day Adventist elementary school in Setubal, Portugal, so other children’s lives can be changed by the power of God. Thank you for planning a generous offering.