[Ask a young man to present this first-person report.]
My parents were nominal Christians. In my school we had a weekly religion class. Teachers gave us a short Bible story to read and some questions to answer. Sometimes the stories were confusing, and I had no Bible to read more about the story. Then a friend gave me a New Testament. I was so happy, for then I could read the Bible stories for myself and understand the context. God’s Word became precious to me.
One day an Adventist pastor visited my parents. My father invited him in and sent us children outside to play. But I was curious. I hid near a window and listened to him talk. The pastor explained that the seventh day is the Sabbath day of God. The Sabbath didn’t mean anything to me then, but the pastor’s words planted a seed in my heart.
One day when I was 12, I was reading the New Testament and discovered a Bible text that puzzled me. Matthew 28:1 (NIV) says: “After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week.” I thought that Sunday was the Lord’s Day, but this verse said that the seventh day was the holy day of God! I told my friends about the Bible verse, and we eagerly read it for ourselves. They agreed that according to this verse, Saturday, the seventh day, was God’s holy day.
We decided to visit the Adventist church. On Saturday we told our teacher that our parents needed us. Then we ran to the Adventist church.
Church had already started, so we found seats and listened to the sermon. I noticed that everyone had a Bible and was looking up the texts as the speaker read them. I had brought my New Testament and tried to find the verses as well. A man sitting nearby helped us find the texts. We learned so many things that day!
We decided that the next Saturday we would come earlier so that we could attend Sabbath School as well.
I was so excited about my discovery that I told my mother I had gone to the Adventist church. “I’ve found a church that teaches what the Bible says,” I said. I read Matthew 28:1 to her. Mom didn’t say much, but she didn’t seem happy.
The next Sabbath my friends and I again went to church. The children’s class was studying the Ten Commandments. When we read the fourth commandment, it was so clear to me! How could anyone misunderstand it? My friends and I vowed to remember God’s Sabbath and keep it holy.
On Monday the teacher punished us for skipping school. “There’s time for religion after you’ve completed your studies,” he said. After school that day we again decided that we must obey God.
My father learned that I had skipped classes to attend the Adventist church. He warned me to never go the Adventist church again. But I had found God in the Adventist church, and I planned to continue worshipping there. God will take care of me, I assured myself.
The next Sabbath as my friends and I walked to church, we met my father. He ordered me to school. When I respectfully refused, he beat me. Sometimes he beat me before I even left home. Still I went to church.
One Sabbath my father tried to kill me with his long knife, but a neighbor rescued me. I slipped away to church in the confusion that followed. I found comfort in Matthew 10:22 (NIV): “You will be hated by everyone because of me, but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved.”
My father eventually disowned me, and I stayed with church members. In spite of the difficulties that year I finished school near the top of my class.
Then the two schools in our town expelled the Adventist children. The pressure on my friends was too great, and they stopped attending church. I worked to help pay expenses while living with church members. When I was 16, I asked to be baptized.
The church members did so much to help me, and the district pastor paid for the first two years of my secondary studies. I dedicated my life to become a minister.
I finished high school, and I’m working my way toward a pastoral degree from Lukanga Adventist University in eastern Congo.
I praise God that several of my relatives are now Adventists, and I pray that my parents will come to Christ and the faith I have found so precious.
Pray too that Lukanga Adventist University will fulfill its mission to young people for eternity.