Deborah cringed as her father’s voice grew louder. “If you join that church, there will be no more money for your school fees!” She’d expected him to be unhappy with her decision to become an Adventist, but it was still difficult to hear her beloved father speak harshly to her.
Deborah had always been curious about spiritual things and loved reading her Bible to learn what God had to say to her. Then one day a young man moved into one of the rooms Deborah’s family rents to people. He offered Deborah some Bible study guides. As she read them, she learned about the Sabbath. She asked her father why they worship on Sunday. He explained that Christians worship on Sunday to honor Jesus’ resurrection. Deborah wasn’t so sure, and she continued searching the Bible for answers.
After high school Deborah’s parents sent her to study at Valley View University, a Seventh-day Adventist school. They were impressed with the high Christian standards of the school, but warned her not to let Adventists sway her faith. Deborah was sure that she would find answers to her questions about God and the Sabbath at this school.
Deborah attended prayer and worship services on campus. During a Week of Spiritual Emphasis, Deborah felt God calling her to stand up for what she knew was right. She hesitated, for she wanted to study more before taking such a stand.
But she felt no peace. “I knew that I had to make a choice,” Deborah said, “even if my father disowned me.” After reading the story of Daniel, Deborah spoke with the university president about her situation. He agreed to talk with her father.
Father agreed to continue paying Deborah’s school fees. But when Deborah was baptized, her father changed his mind and refused to continue supporting her.
Deborah remains faithful to her commitment to God. She leaves home early on Sabbath morning to attend worship services and spends the rest of the day at the university so she won’t be asked to break the Sabbath. Her parents have agreed to support her education if she gives up her new beliefs. But Deborah refuses to give in. “I must be faithful to what God has shown me,” she insists.
Rather than create additional problems by asking her mother to prepare only clean food, Deborah often goes hungry. “It’s a small thing compared to what God has done for me,” she says quietly.
And in a difficult moment, God gave Deborah a dream that has encouraged her to remain true to her convictions in spite of difficulties. In the dream she was walking in the dark. Suddenly she saw a bright light and heard a voice urging her to stay faithful to God and His truths. Remembering this dream has helped Deborah to remain faithful and to patiently endure the tests of her faith that she faces at home every day.
Deborah’s younger sister is also an Adventist, but she struggles to remain faithful to her commitment in the face of her parents’ objections. Deborah quietly encourages her sister to stay strong in Jesus. “If our father is home on Sabbath morning, my sister stays home from church just to keep from upsetting him. I pray that someday she will realize the importance of standing up for what she believes,” Deborah says.
Deborah continues her studies toward a degree in international development at Valley View University. She works when she can to help pay her school fees. But it’s difficult to find work that doesn’t require working on Sabbaths. So when she’s able, she works as a literature evangelist. “I can share my faith with others and keep the Sabbath at the same time,” she says.
Our mission offerings help support schools of all sizes around the world, and this quarter part of our Thirteenth Sabbath Offering will help build a church on the campus of Valley View University. Currently students and staff worship in several congregations spread out across the campus. They meet in lecture halls, classrooms, and the cafeteria. A church will help unite the student body and enable students and staff to invite their friends to worship in a setting they are accustomed to. Students and staff members are passionate about introducing others to the precious Jesus they love and the faith they hold dear. Let’s help make this possible with a large offering on Thirteenth Sabbath. ⎭