Belize | October 4

The 67th Book of the Bible

Arlene

I grew up in the Adventist home of my grandparents. Since my parents were busy—my father was a policeman, mother a nurse—they allowed my grandmother to take care of me. I remember having morning devotions with my grandparents and my grandfather holding my face in his strong hands and praying for me. 

As a teen I moved back with my parents, and that’s where the shift in my life began. My father wasn’t an Adventist. On Sabbath he thought I should stay home and clean the house, and we ate pork regularly.

From there my life continued downhill. I married a pharmacist who was a cocaine addict. We had two children. Later he died in a traffic accident. 

Searching for something better in life, I ended up in the U.S. state of Kentucky for a while. When I returned to Belize City, I remarried. About that time my son was kidnapped and murdered. 

A Desperate Need

At that point I realized how desperately I needed God in my life. Somehow I always had Adventist people around me, and some were bold enough to tell me, “You are lost. You need to come back home.” But having this happen to my son was a real wake-up call. I thought of myself as the prodigal daughter who went away to a far country and needed to come back home. I learned that whatever is out there isn’t satisfying.

When I began working as a librarian at the University of Belize, there was a club called Advent Fellowship, but it wasn’t active or vibrant. Then about three years ago two students arrived on campus, and I noticed that something was different about them, there was some kind of pleasant aura about them. I kept watching them week after week. They put up posters and passed out flyers inviting people to come to the Advent Fellowship meetings. They invited me and texted reminders, but I didn’t attend. But they were so consistent. I was impressed with their time management and organization. 

Who Are These People?

I wondered, Who are these people? They were in their late teens and 20s, but weren’t your typical students. The way they talked and conducted themselves, their manners—it wasn’t just run of the mill. 

One day their advertisements caught my eye, and I decided to attend. The topic was on entertainment—music and dancing. I learned about the artists I had seen in the media, the artists whose music my family danced to, and it opened my eyes to a totally different world. I learned about the negative effects of this type of entertainment; it was as if blinders fell from my eyes. 

I wanted more; I was hungry! They asked me if I wanted Bible studies, and I agreed. Being a librarian, I always want to know more about what I don’t know, so they told me about the book of Revelation and arranged for a Bible worker to study with me. He was punctual and prepared. I could ask questions, and he could answer. I couldn’t wait for the teacher to come! It was so timely. 

Coming Home

After six months I was baptized—all because of this Advent Fellowship, and the witness of those conducting the studies and fellowship. Their lifestyle, their orderliness, their manners—I saw them in action. They were the 67th book of the Bible for me. They were strategic, all over campus. Advent Fellowship definitely made a big inroad into my life. Now God is my rock, my foundation; He is my everything. 

I am part of the university administration, and I want to influence the students and the administration through my conduct and character, just as the Advent Fellowship people did for me.

I had come to a point in my life where I realized how much I needed God. I had seen how my grandparents handled crises—they would take everything to God in prayer. I remembered my grandfather praying for me, and it was just a matter of me turning around and coming back home. I really feel that I have come back home. 

I am home, and now my job is to bring others home. After my baptism my aunt called me and said, “If you have returned home, I will return home, too.” My grandparents provided the seed foundation, and now I want to bring the others home.

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