Instructed by God in Brazil
By Selomita Hamzaoui
An aunt gave me a booklet filled with Bible verses on a Saturday afternoon.
“Just open the booklet, and God will talk to you through a verse,” she said.
I hadn’t thought about God in more than 20 years. Although I was raised in a Christian home in Brazil, I had stopped attending church when I was 16. Now I was wrapping up a monthlong trip in Brazil as part of a research project for my university studies in France. I would leave for Paris the next day.
I opened the booklet, and my eyes fell on Proverbs 22:19: “So that your trust may be in the Lord; I have instructed you today, even you” (NKJV). The words moved me because I was a student and curious to know what God would teach.
That evening, I joined friends for a goodbye meal. But I couldn’t get the Bible verse out of my mind, and I excused myself to go to church.
Entering the church, I saw to my shock that every young woman was dressed like me in jeans, high heels, earrings, and makeup. The music also had changed, and the pastor didn’t make an altar call. I was waiting for the appeal. I wanted to give my heart to Jesus. I left disappointed.
The next day, I flew to France and prayed, “Lord, even though they didn’t make an altar call, I will find a church in France and attend services regularly.”
In France, I found a church near my home and started to attend every Sunday. The people were kind, but I sensed that they were cold spiritually.
I started studying the Bible at home, and I watched sermons online. I discovered a prominent Seventh-day Adventist preacher on YouTube who spoke powerfully about Revelation. I watched 25 of his sermons.
One night, I woke up around 3 a.m. and decided to pray until daybreak. The same thing happened the next night and the next. As I prayed those three nights, I sensed that Jesus’ return was near. I confessed my sins and praised God for His goodness. On the third day, peace filled my heart. I knew God lives.
Although I had watched so many YouTube sermons, I didn’t realize that the preacher was an Adventist. Wondering about his denomination, I found his personal testimony online. Immediately, I looked for the address of an Adventist church in Paris. On my first Sabbath, I was astonished to see people studying the Bible in Sabbath School. The women were dressed modestly, and the sermon was about Revelation. God knew what was important for me. I wept during the worship service. I didn’t think this kind of church existed.
God promised in Brazil to teach me, and I have been learning in France ever since.
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