Niko lives in Athens, the capital city of Greece. [Locate Greece on a map.]
While Niko’s mother worked, Niko stayed with some friends. On Saturdays the family went to church and took Niko with them. He liked singing the songs and hearing the Bible stories.
On Sunday Niko went with his mother to her church. But after a while he didn’t want to go to two different churches. His mom asked which church he wanted to attend, and Niko chose the Adventist church. “I’m learning a lot at the Adventist church, and it’s so much more interesting,” he says. “Mom didn’t mind, so I stopped going to her church.”
When Niko learned why Adventists worship on Saturday, he told his mother. “It’s God’s holy day,” he said. “It’s the day God rested after making the world. God wants to spend the Sabbath with us.” Niko’s mom listened, but she couldn’t go to church with him because of her work.
Niko prayed that his parents would go to church with him. Then his mom’s job changed, and she doesn’t always have to work on Saturdays anymore. So when she can, she goes to church with Niko. “She says she needs to follow my good example,” Niko says. “I’m so happy!”
Niko prays that one day his mom and dad will decide to join the church. But he doesn’t want to force them. He invites his mother to church activities, and he studies his Bible lesson with her when she’s not too tired after work. Recently Niko’s mom joined the church’s Bible-study group. Niko goes with her, and the pastor has asked him to be the Bible reader for the class.
Niko’s teacher at school asked him why he goes to church on Saturday instead of Sunday. “I told him that God set Saturday aside to be His Sabbath,” Niko explained. “Constantine changed the day of worship from Saturday to Sunday, but God never changed it. God still wants us to worship Him on Saturday, the Sabbath.” His teacher has asked to know more about what the Adventist Church teaches.
Children in Greece have a religion class in school, but they don’t learn to follow Jesus. Niko wants his friends to realize that the Bible is more than a collection of stories, that God wants them to be His followers and His friends, just as Niko is learning to be.
“It’s important to be faithful to what we know is the truth,” he says. “Then our parents and teachers and classmates will see what a difference Jesus can make in our lives. Then when we invite them to church, maybe they will come.”
We need to live as Jesus did so that others will see the difference in our lives too. That’s being a missionary. And when we bring our mission offering, we’re helping more children and adults learn that God loves them. That’s being a missionary, too.