Inside Story: United at Last

Sumakwel Laviña

“Look,” I told my three teenagers, “we need to be united in our faith. We go to one church, and your new mom goes to another. But since you don’t like either church, then find a faith we all can follow.” It was a challenge, and I didn’t really expect them to meet it. But God had other plans.

I’m from a tribal area of southern Philippines, and my wife is from an island. We belonged to different Christian churches, and I wanted our family to be united in faith. So I sent my children to my wife’s church. But they found it boring. We talked about it and decided to find a church we all could agree on.

My wife met a man at the school where she teaches. They talked a bit, and when she learned that he was an Adventist Christian, she asked him to come and study the Bible with us. A day or two later the man came by and introduced himself. He wanted to be sure that it was OK to come and study the Bible with me. We decided to meet on Sundays.

We studied the Bible together with varying degrees of interest. Another Protestant asked to study with us, so we had two Bible studies on Sundays for more than a year. Eventually we visited the Adventist church and really enjoyed it.

First my daughter and then my sons decided to join the Adventist Church. They challenged my wife and me to follow their example and become a family united in faith. I felt that the Adventists taught the truth, and I was reminded that we had begun these Bible studies to be united in one faith. We all attended church together, so I asked my wife to join me in making the Adventist Church our home. But her family pressured her to stay in the church of her childhood. So I took my stand alone.

A ministerial intern needed a place to stay, so we invited him to live with us. He taught us how to have family worship and showed us the beauty of praising God together and discussing what we were learning. Family worship helped convince my wife to step out in faith and join the family in the Adventist Church.

At last we’re united in Christ. I never dreamed that our children and their example of faithfulness would lead to where God wanted us to be. I thank God for them and for faithful Adventists in our town and around the world who make mission and outreach an important part of being a Seventh-day Adventist.

Sumakwel Laviña and his family live in Zamboanga, Philippines.

Produced by the General Conference Office of Adventist Mission.
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