Inside Story: Loved Into the Church

Stephanie lives in Denmark, a largely secular country. When Stephanie experienced bullying in her middle school, she transferred to an Adventist school. Although at first she thought it was strange to have so many religion classes in school, Stephanie appreciated the accepting attitude of the teachers and students. She quickly made friends in the school, and several of them invited her to attend church. “I was curious about what Adventists believe,” Stephanie says, “so I went.” She noticed that her friends’ families seemed so happy. Her own family wasn’t. “I decided the reason for their happy families must be the church, so I gave it a chance and went.” Before long Stephanie gave her life to Christ.

“At first my parents didn’t mind that I went to church,” she says. “My dad would even take me. But when I asked to be baptized, my parents weren’t happy at all. But I was determined.”

She completed middle school and enrolled in the Adventist boarding academy so she could stay with her friends. Stephanie found the stability she needed in a family of teachers and students who really cared for one another.

“I continued asking my mother to let me be baptized,” Stephanie says. “But Mom resisted. Finally she let me become an Adventist when I was 17. It’s the best decision I’ve made.

Stephanie graduated from the Adventist academy and now shares her faith through a café church in a city near the university where she studies.

“The café church attracts about 30 young people every Sabbath afternoon,” Stephanie says. “We have midweek prayer services, small group meetings to study the Bible and share what’s important to us.

“In Denmark most churches struggle to maintain a small membership, but we’re growing, and our growth is among young people! We have a semi-secular social time when we invite anyone in the community who wishes to come.”

Stephanie leads the music team for several of the services and is a member of the outreach team that seeks to raise awareness of Adventists in this town through fun and attractive methods. “During festivals we make waffles and have a bouncing castle,” she says.

Denmark is a difficult place to attract people to church. Stephanie is a product of Adventist education, and she and her friends are now bringing Christ into the lives of people who didn’t know they needed Him. Your mission offerings help fund experimental worship services designed to draw in those who are seeking to fill the spiritual hole in their hearts. Thank you for supporting such work with your mission offerings.

Stephanie Behrendt, 20, lives in Jutland, Denmark.

Produced by the General Conference Office of Adventist Mission.
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Inside Story: Loved Into the Church — 2 Comments

  1. God is Good! Just evaluating, I realize He has done a tremendous work in my life. No matter how far we have plunged into sin, let us not give up; for He who has begun a good work in us is 'Faithful' and 'Able' to keep our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus (see Phil 1:6; Acts 20:32; 2 Tim 1:12; Jude 1:24; 2 Cor 9:8, etc.). Bless His Name!

  2. My experience in Adventist schools was the opposite of Stephanie's. She was loved into the church; others are bullied out of it. I have just published a book called CHURCH SCHOOL BLUES, at that tells the other side of the story. I think it is wonderful when people experience church school in the way that Stephanie has -- but the other side of the story needs told, too. Stephanie's story shows church school as the way it was meant to be; BLUES shows church school as the way it wasn't meant to be. Both perspectives are important because they both happen. As educators become more aware of bullying, perhaps they can inspire their students to give their classmates the acceptance that was given to Stephanie.


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