“If you insist on joining another church, you will no longer live with me,” my auntie told me firmly.
After my parents died, my brother and I lived with our aunt. She had sent us to an Adventist school so we’d have a Christian education. But she didn’t expect me to become an Adventist. I tried to explain that I was following God’s command. But she said, “Not as long as you live in my house!”
When I told the Bible teacher what my aunt had said, he responded, “Following Jesus must be your own decision.” I asked if I could be baptized in secret so my aunt wouldn’t know, but he gently said, “Baptism declares to the whole world your decision to follow Jesus. A secret baptism means that you are ashamed of your faith.”
He was right. I realized that I didn’t have to fear. That night I told my aunt that I planned to be baptized into the Adventist Church.
My baptism was a joyful service. But when I returned home after church, my aunt asked, “Were you baptized today?” I told her yes, hoping her heart had softened. “Then why did you come back here?” she asked.
On Monday I asked the school principal what to do. Exams were coming up, and I needed to focus on doing well. The principal arranged for me to stay in the dormitory at school so I could finish my year and take the exams. But when school was over, I again had no place to live.
I stayed with some friends for a few days while I looked for a solution. The pastor suggested that we talk to my aunt. But when the pastor tried to talk to her, she wouldn’t listen. She blamed him for my situation. “Get out of my house! Both of you!” she shouted.
The pastor and his wife invited me to live with them. What a blessing! They have shown me so much about God’s love. I’m so glad I decided to follow Jesus and be baptized. While it was difficult, it has been worth it. I pray that Jesus will touch the lives of my aunt and my brother and that they can find the same happiness I have found.
I’m grateful for the Adventist school where I learned to love and obey Jesus. Your mission offerings make a difference every day in thousands of lives. Thank you!
Christine Mukahirwa lives in Rwanda.