Zuri, 10, lives in a village in the mountains of central Mexico. The villagers work hard every day.
But on festival days, they put aside work and eat and drink and dance and laugh. But Zuri didn’t like the festivals. Often the men would get drunk and would fight. Often someone got hurt. Zuri told his father how much he hated the noise and fighting and drinking during the festivals.
“But what can we do?” his father asked. “We live here.”
“We could go to the Adventist church on festival days,” Zuri suggested. “They play games, and everyone has fun, but no one drinks or gets hurt. It’s nice.”
“How do you know that,” Zuri’s father asked.
“I’ve seen them,” Zuri said. Zuri didn’t tell his father that he had gone to the church and listened to them sing or gone to the river to watch them hold baptisms.
Father respected the Adventists and gave Zuri permission to attend the Adventist church. The next Sabbath Zuri went to Sabbath School. He enjoyed the children’s program and decided to go every week. He went to weeknight programs, too, and enjoyed sitting in the front row where he could watch the musicians play their guitars and sing.
When the church planned a social, Zuri invited his parents to attend. They went and enjoyed it. Then he invited them to church, and they went. They were pleased to see how well church members treated Zuri.
One day the pastor announced a baptism. Zuri asked the pastor if he could be baptized. The pastor said that anyone who loves Jesus and wants to follow Him can be baptized. Zuri ran home and told his parents what the pastor had said. They gave Zuri permission to be baptized.
Zuri studied the Bible with the pastor and learned what God expects His followers to do. Zuri eagerly accepted God’s instructions and asked to be baptized.
On the day of the baptism Zuri hurried to the river. Often he had stood on the bank and watched others be baptized. This day his parents stood on the bank and watch him be baptized.
Zuri taught his parents what he had learned about following Christ. A few months later Zuri stood once more on the riverbank to watch his parents be baptized.
Today when the village holds festivals, Zuri’s family spends the day with their Adventist church family. They invite others to join them, and the church is growing.
Our Thirteenth Sabbath Offerings have helped build churches and training camps in central Mexico where more people can learn what it means to join God’s family.