Receiving a call to mission service, especially when God asks us to go to another country, is an amazing honor. It’s exciting and terrifying all at the same time! My family and I were called to serve at a school in the Middle East and North Africa Union Mission.
Despite our lack of experience in the international mission field, God has blessed us. As He did with many people in the Bible, He calls those with a willing heart, and He makes up the difference!
This school year, 11 of our students were baptized as Seventh-day Adventists. Even more amazing, after the baptisms, our pastor asked how many more students wanted to be baptized in the future, and 20 students eagerly raised their hands! The following story was written by Karim,* one of the 11 students who were recently baptized.
The Sabbath I was baptized felt unlike any other. I was excited yet anxious. The week leading up to my baptism was full of spiritual warfare and indecisiveness. My family supported me, but something held me back. Doubts crept in. Is this really the best decision? I asked myself countless times that week.
My spiritual growth started at our school. Throughout the year, my faith came together piece by piece like a house made of LEGOS®. But by baptism week, that house threatened to collapse. Questions flooded my mind. I felt as though I were drowning in uncertainty.
Thankfully, the school community is blessed with people who are more than willing to help someone through spiritual difficulties. It took long discussions with the history teacher, frequent talks with the pastor, books that showed up at just the perfect moments, and endless prayers to finally put my doubts to rest. After Friday vespers, I had a long talk with Christ, after which I felt confident in my decision to publicly give my life to Him.
On Sabbath morning, the school’s week of prayer concluded with a beautiful church service in which I and some other students preached. At last, it was time for the baptisms. Despite my earlier confidence in my decision, I felt an inexplicable anxiety.
Soon it was my turn. The water felt warm and welcoming as I stepped into it and waded towards the pastor. Though it was just a few steps, it felt like the longest journey of my life. I was essentially leaving my old life behind and starting a new life in Christ. As I approached the pastor, I reflected on all I had gone through to get to that point, and realization hit me. This is it, I thought. This is the reason why God brought me to this school—to come to know Him as my Lord and Savior.
Looking back over the year and a half before I came to this school, I could hardly believe the differences that had been made in my life. I had always identified myself as a Christian, but my communication with God was nothing further than the occasional “Oh, God” I uttered when experiencing difficulties. Despite all of this, God’s plans prevailed. Not only am I attending a school that uplifts God, but I’m also enjoying it!
This school provided a conducive environment for my spiritual journey. To me, it’s more than just a school. It’s a sanctuary, an oasis that helped me quench my thirst for Christ—a thirst that I wasn’t even aware of prior to my enrollment. Just being at this school brings an air of community and a sense of belonging. It’s through this community that I managed to open my heart to Christ and truly learn what it means to be a Christian. The daily worship services, Bible studies, and the amazing vespers truly bless our student body. With all of these at my disposal, my heart could do nothing but open to Christ. I hope and pray that I keep the virtues I obtained at this school even after I graduate. I want to spread the good news that I've learned with those who haven't heard it.
Matthew 28:19 says, “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” Our school exists to promote God’s work in the lives of young people. Our mission is to educate young believers to use their heads, hearts, and hands for God. Please pray with us as God continues to bless the school, our staff, and our students.
* Name has been changed.