[Ask a young man to present this first-person report.]
I come from an influential family in central India and grew up worshipping the same gods my parents did. My parents wanted to send me to the best secondary school in town, so they enrolled me in an Adventist secondary school. We didn’t know what “Adventist” meant.
I liked my new school and made friends quickly. One friend, Amith [AH-math], invited me to his home one Saturday soon after school started. I was surprised to find that no one was watching television; they were just talking.
I tried to follow the conversation as they talked about something called “the Sabbath,” but I didn’t understand. I whispered to Amith, “What is this ’Sabbath’ they’re talking about?”
“Come to church with me next Saturday,” Amith whispered back. “You’ll see what it’s about.” I was curious, so I accepted his invitation.
The next Saturday I went to church with Amith and his family. I recognized people from school, and everyone was really friendly. And guess what: the sermon that day was on the Sabbath. The pastor read Bible texts and explained why the Sabbath was so special. I didn’t know Christ, but by the time we left church I understood the Sabbath.
I began attending church with Amith every week. I loved the worship service, and the hymns they sang brought me peace. The Bible lessons were simple but profound. Christianity was so different from my family’s religion.
Attending church helped me appreciate what I was learning at the Adventist school. I realized that Adventists have a whole different way of living; the teachings I was learning touched every aspect of life.
But when Amith went away to college, I stopped attending church. Then Archana [ARCH-na], a girl at the school, invited me to return, so I did. I often visited her home and took part in her family’s worship. It was so beautiful. They read from the Bible in my mother tongue so I could understand what it said better than I could in English.
Their worships and their explanations of Bible texts made me want to read the Bible for myself. I started at the beginning and came face-to-face with the Creation story. It was so different from what I had been taught in the public school I had attended. I began to realize that the Bible really is God’s Word, and His truth.
I no longer believed in the gods my parents worshipped. But they didn’t want to hear what I tried to tell them about my new faith.
One day my parents asked me to go with them on a religious pilgrimage—to carry their luggage, they said. But once we were on the train, they told me that they expected me to take part in the religious rituals at the temple they would visit. I couldn’t do that, and I knew my parents wouldn’t accept my refusal. So I went to the door of the train and waited for the train to slow down. Then I jumped off and walked to the nearest station and took a bus back home.
When my parents returned, they questioned me about why I had jumped from the train. Again I tried to explain my new faith to them. It wasn’t easy to get them to listen. Finally one day they agreed to sit and listen as I explained my faith from the beginning. We sat together for five hours as I talked to them about God, Creation, Jesus’ life and death, and His second coming. Finally my parents nodded. They understood at least part of what I believed, and from then on they’ve not troubled me about following their faith.
I graduated from the Adventist secondary school and went on to study in a university. I shared my faith with classmates from all backgrounds. Some of my teachers gave me a hard time about my faith in the Bible, but they allowed me an hour to defend my faith in Creation before the class. It was such a good experience!
I thank God for leading me to the Adventist high school. It changed my life. I now teach young people knowing that they can share their faith with their families. It’s my way of giving back.
This quarter several Adventist schools will receive part of the Thirteenth Sabbath Offering to help build classroom blocks. Give generously so that more youth will encounter Christ as I did.