[Ask a young woman to present this first-person report.]
I took a deep breath to calm my nerves. I had never applied for a job before, and I hoped that my nervousness didn’t show.
When my father died, relatives helped my sister and me finish college. Now I needed work to help my mother and youngest sister, who was still in school. The door opened, and the hospital superintendent, a medical doctor, called me into his office.
“Do you know God?” he asked when I had taken a seat.
“Yes, a little,” I stammered, surprised at his question. “A classmate told me about God and invited me to attend her church. I can’t go often, but I like it,” I explained. “My father’s relatives would never permit it.”
The doctor and I spoke for several minutes, and then before I left he prayed for my family and me.
I waited several days to hear from the doctor about a job. When no word came, I went to his home to speak to him in person. My heart pounded in my chest as I knocked on the doctor’s door. An older woman answered the door and invited me in. She told me that the doctor was busy. After she invited me to sit down, she asked the same strange question the doctor had asked: “Do you know God?”
“I know a little about God,” I answered. “I have a friend, a classmate, who told me about God and invited me to visit her church. I go when I can.” Then I summoned the courage to ask the question, “Why do you ask? Did you see me at church?”
“No, my dear,” the woman said. “I go to church on Saturday.” I had never heard of Christians who attended church on Saturday.
“Do you read the Bible,” the woman asked gently. I told her that I had heard some stories from the Bible, but I didn’t own a Bible of my own.
We talked for a few more minutes, and I learned that she was the doctor’s mother. The doctor was still busy, so his mother invited me to return again. “Perhaps we could study the Bible together,” she suggested. I thanked her and left.
I got the job working for the Adventist doctor at the hospital. A few days later I went to visit the doctor’s mother. This time I took my two sisters. We talked about God and the truths He reveals in the Bible. Then the kind woman gave us two Bibles so we could read on our own between visits.
A few weeks later the doctor’s mother invited us to attend church with the doctor and her. We accepted her invitation. We hoped that our relatives wouldn’t learn about our interest in Christianity, but they did. One day my uncle came to visit. He scolded my sisters and me for taking off our traditional jewelry. He reminded us that another uncle was a temple priest, and we had a duty to be faithful to the religion of our dead father.
One day my father’s brother came to see my mother. He told her that he had arranged a husband for me. He pulled a picture from his pocket and showed it to her. “This man will make sure that your daughter follows our family’s faith,” he said. I felt dizzy as I listened to my uncle’s words. Marriage? To an unbeliever? I thought. I didn’t dare object, but I knew that I didn’t want to marry this man. But how could I escape such a fate?
The next day I told the doctor about my uncle’s visit. He listened sympathetically and promised to do what he could to help me. A few days later he told me that he’d arranged for my sister and me to travel to another city where we could work in an Adventist home and school. Gratefully I accepted, and soon we started new lives in a safer place.
Recently I learned that my father’s relatives are harassing my mother and youngest sister. The kind doctor has arranged for them to leave town too. Soon we will be reunited at another Adventist secondary school, where my sister and I can teach and my youngest sister can study. We will be safe there.
I’m amazed at God’s great love as expressed through people such as the doctor and his mother. And I’m grateful that God has led us to an Adventist school to teach and to study. There we can be safe and learn more about God’s will for our lives.
Thank you for your mission offerings that help support Adventist schools and medical outreach around the world.