As Sergo walked down the street in his native Georgia, he saw a group of people standing near an old man who held up a copy of the Ten Commandments. Intrigued, Sergo stopped to listen to what the man was saying. But the man’s words were drowned out by angry voices from the crowd. Still the old man didn’t raise his voice. Sergo stepped closer so he could hear. When Sergo tried to defend the man, the man gently told him, “Be at peace.” Eventually the crowd dispersed, and Sergo was able to talk with the old man in peace.
“My name is Alexander,” the old man said. “I’m an Adventist, and I’m holding meetings near here every day. You’re welcome to come and listen.” Sergo attended Alexander’s meetings, and over the next few days the two men became friends.
Soon Sergo had to leave town, but he wanted to know how he could share what Alexander had taught him with his neighbors back home. Alexander gave Sergo the address of the little Adventist church in Tbilisi [tuh-BLEE-see], where Sergo lived. Sergo was surprised to learn that there was an Adventist church in the city, for he had never heard of Adventists before he met Alexander.
When Sergo arrived home, he told his wife, Dodo, about Alexander and his unique messages about God. Dodo wasn’t interested in this strange religion. “How do you know it’s not a sect?” she asked Sergo. “I have my church; I don’t need anything else.”
But Sergo wanted to visit the church. He searched for the Adventist church for three weeks before he found it. But it was worth the effort. He felt God’s presence and love as he entered the simple worship hall to sing and pray and listen to the pastor’s sermon.
Sergo described the wonderful worship service to his wife. But she turned to him and said, “I’m too busy to think about church, but you can take our son.”
Sergo took the couple’s son to church. Again he tried to tell Dodo about the worship service. “It opened a whole new world for me,” he said, smiling at the thought. “Faith is a gift from God,” Sergo tried to tell Dodo. “We must accept it.” Still Dodo wasn’t interested.
Sergo and his son continued to attend the Adventist church, and he often told a reluctant Dodo what he’d learned that day. Then one Sabbath Sergo returned home and said, “We don’t need to eat pork or drink wine anymore.”
My problems are just beginning, Dodo thought. Week after week Sergo enthusiastically told her what he was learning. Finally Dodo agreed to visit the church, just to see what her husband and son were learning there.
Sergo and Dodo are both accomplished musicians. When Dodo entered the church, she cringed at the music. When someone invited her to play the piano for worship, she reluctantly agreed. Delighted, Sergo joined her on his viola, and their son played the clarinet. The next week they were asked to play again.
Dodo didn’t plan to attend church every Sabbath. She had other things to do. But when members begged her to play for worship, she felt it was her duty to do so. That meant that she heard the sermon each week. She wasn’t sure if everything she heard was true, so she started studying the Bible texts to be sure that the pastor and Sabbath School teacher were teaching the truth. Soon she realized that she was falling in love with Jesus. Eventually Sergo and Dodo were baptized, and a year later Dodo’s mother was baptized, too.
Sergo retired from the Georgia National Opera, but Dodo continued to perform, and her new faith caused problems with her work schedule. Eventually she left her job and went to work as a volunteer for church outreach.
Sergo realized that his pension would not support them, so he found work as a mail carrier. As people got to know him, they told him about their problems and special concerns. “God will help you,” he assured them. He gives people literature and prays for them. Often he invites them to the couple’s small group Bible study meeting in their home. Several of Sergo’s friends have accepted the invitation. And when the church held evangelistic meetings, Sergo and Dodo invited their new friends to these meetings as well. Several attended the meetings and gave their lives to God.
Fewer than 500 Adventists live in the country of Georgia, but our mission offerings help the believers share their faith in this little corner of the world. Thank you for giving to mission.