Oxana [ox-ANA] is 9 years old and lives in Tomsk, a city in the center of Russia. [Locate Tomsk on a map.] Oxana loves music. She studies at a special school that trains children to be musicians. Oxana’s studies include recitals and competitions.
Oxana’s teacher chose her to play a special piece on the piano for a citywide music festival. Oxana practiced hard to learn her piece. She knew that students who performed well would receive an award and their teachers would be honored too.
Then a few days before the festival, Oxana’s teacher told her that the festival had been moved from Friday to Saturday. When Oxana told her mother about the change of dates, Mother could see the disappointment on her daughter’s face. “Do you want to go to the festival on Sabbath?” Mother asked.
Oxana thought about how hard she had worked to learn her music for the festival. But she never hesitated. “No, Mother. I want to go to church.”
That evening Oxana telephoned her teacher to tell her that she would not take part in the festival on Sabbath. “I have chosen to honor God instead,” she said.
Although Oxana’s mother had explained that Oxana attends church on Sabbath, the teacher asked to speak to her father. Oxana gave the telephone to Father, who told the teacher the same thing. “We are Adventists and we worship on Sabbath,” he said gently. “I respect the work you are doing to teach my daughter, but we have chosen to obey God and keep His Sabbath day holy. This means that we don’t attend secular activities, even important ones, on Sabbath.”
Oxana’s teacher was upset and threatened to refuse to teach Oxana the rest of the year. “My teacher knows about the Sabbath because I leave school early on Friday so I can be ready for the Sabbath,” Oxana explained. Oxana knew that if her teacher didn’t change her mind, she might have to find another school to attend.
After the school festival, students had a weeklong vacation. When it was time to return to classes, Mother called Oxana’s teacher and asked whether Oxana could come to her regular music lesson. This time the teacher wasn’t angry and agreed that Oxana could come for her piano lesson.
“I’m glad that I stood up for my faith,” Oxana said. “Now my teacher knows that it really is important to obey God.” Oxana wants to study music so she can use her talents to honor God.
We can use our talents to honor God too. Whether we sing or play an instrument or just smile when we pass people, we each can do something to honor God. When we give our mission offerings we are honoring God and helping to tell others about how much He loves us. Let’s give our offering with joy today, for it may help someone give their heart to Jesus.