I was the troublemaker. I disobeyed my parents and teachers and questioned every authority. My mom feared that my behavior would be a negative influence on my siblings. I was smart, but I refused to study and sometimes even refused to go to school. My family wasn’t religious, but my parents had strict standards. They tried everything to make me obey, but nothing worked.
One day my mother traveled by bus to a far city to buy goods to sell in her little shop. A man stood up and began talking about a book he was selling. The book was The Great Controversy. He said that this book had changed thousands of lives. Mother bought the book. It was a sacrifice for her, but she was desperate. She wanted that book for me.
When she returned home, she gave me the book. I love reading, and the title made me curious. What’s this great controversy? I wondered. I went to my room and started reading.
The book’s ideas were totally new to me, and some things were hard to understand. But I kept reading. I saw references to the Bible in it, so I found a Bible and looked up each reference. I realized that this book taught the Bible.
The book mentioned the Sabbath. I’d never heard of the Sabbath before, but I realized it must be important. Then in school I overheard a boy talking about the Sabbath. When he finished talking, I asked him, “Do you attend church on the Sabbath?” He said he did. “I want to attend church with you,” I told him.
The boy’s church was a charismatic church, but I didn’t know the difference. So I joined the church. My parents might have objected, but they saw me changing into the boy they had hoped I’d become. So they said nothing.
Then I began finding things in the church that didn’t agree with what I was reading in the Bible. I asked the church leaders about them, but they didn’t have good answers. Then one elder accused me of being a Seventh-day Adventist.
I didn’t know anything about Seventh-day Adventists, but I sensed that this church had the answers I was looking for. I met an Adventist man, and I peppered him with questions. He answered them all from the Bible, and I began visiting him often. We had some long and heated discussions as we dug into the Bible together. He knew that the only authority I would accept was the Bible. I wasn’t interested in attending any church until I knew the truth from the Bible first. I think my friend understood this, and he didn’t urge me to attend church.
I finished high school and took a job teaching elementary school in a small village to save money for college. When I arrived in the village, I discovered that the school I was to teach at was an Adventist school! I began attending the Adventist church in the village, and soon all doubt was gone. I wanted to be baptized.
My parents were surprised at my decision to become an Adventist, but they had seen my life change and didn’t disapprove. My younger brother began attending church and became an Adventist too.
I taught school for two years but never received my government salary. I didn’t understand why God wasn’t helping me go to college. But when I quit teaching to enter college, my salary came through. With help I graduated with a teaching degree.
After graduation I did a year of required civil service by working at Valley View University, the Adventist university in Ghana. This helped cement my faith.
I shudder when I think of where I would be if my mother hadn’t given me that book when I was a teen. I was on the wrong track and headed for trouble. But God used a book—one simple book—to turn my life around and set me on the path of life. Before I read the book, I was a nuisance to my family. After I discovered the truth in this book, I became so excited about my faith that I became a different kind of “nuisance.” It’s still my mission to tell my family about God’s great plan of salvation.
The Adventist Church has a huge publishing work around the world. Our mission offerings help support the publishing work so that people such as I can experience God’s love. Thank you for your offerings. Thank God for His salvation!