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Hello everyone! What are some of your favorite things to do on Sabbath? I like to watch nature shows, listen to music, and read! :)

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Shoud I Stay or Should I Go?

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The meetings had been going well. People had finally started to engage and ask questions; they were beginning to understand. The road was a bit bumpy in the beginning, but everything looked smooth for the remaining four days of the trip. What could go wrong? 

An angry mob showed up. The leader said, “Eckshy shdighsy habiis thbusldna pindeyfoos.” This was translated as, “If you come back, we break your legs and kill you, translator!” 

It was my second time in India on a mission trip through my school, Sunnydale Adventist Academy. I was super excited to get started. March 2013 was my first mission trip to India. I had “caught the bug,” and the “bug” was quickly spreading to contaminate my entire life to revolve around mission trips. Between March 2013 and March 2014 was my fifth mission trip, and I was eager to do even more as soon as I got back from India. 

After a very long bus ride from Kolkata, we arrived at the Seventh-day Adventist school on the island of Patharpratima, where we would be staying for the next 18 days. We each met our translator and started practicing as soon as possible so that we could have some sort of chemistry between us before we started preaching to the various villages.

The day came when my 15 classmates and I got in our rickshaws with our translators and headed out to our separate villages. On the way there, I couldn’t help but look around at all the unmarred beauty of the nature around me. Rice paddy after rice paddy flew by as we bumped along what seemed like unfinished roads to our village. As we got closer, I got nervous.

Will the people like me? Will the kids be social? Will my equipment work? Will I get offered food that will permanently damage my digestive system? We arrived, and everything was relative to my previous experiences. People were initially skeptical about letting me into their village, but the hospitable people quickly accepted me and made me feel welcome.

After I had spoken a few days, everything flowed fairly consistently from day to day. I gave sermon after sermon, and I could see the people begin to respond to the meetings and start to invite their friends so they could also learn the teachings of a God who loved them, unlike any of their other gods. 

On the way to my village one day, I saw a huge banner over a bridge. Such banners are unusual in that part of India because of all the poverty.

I asked my translator, “Steven, what does that banner say?”

“Oh, Sham, there is very big pestival coming to dis areah. Many people will go to dis pestival.”

“Will the people still come to the meetings?”

“I pray that they whill.”

When I arrived at my site, I was excited to see that only a handful of people hadn’t come! Almost all of my villagers returned to the meetings! I started preaching the sermon, and I could tell that the Holy Spirit was working. My translator and I were preaching with seamless transitions between my words and his. The people were eager and listening to every word, raising their hands and asking questions about the different things being discussed.

As the sermon was coming to an end, I noticed a group of people gathering around the entrance of the tent where I was holding my meetings. We had closing prayer and started playing a movie about Jesus’ life. 

“Ye- bhidi’o- khe-late- na-!” An angry Bengal man at the doorway interrupted us. He was backed by about 60 other Bengali people.

“Steven, what did he say?”

“He says, ‘Do not play that pideo.’ ”

As soon as Steven translated for me, my village elder went up to the man and started speaking firmly, which only lasted for a short time and turned into a semi-controlled shouting match. After a few minutes of the yelling, I was given a brief summary of the argument. The angry mob wanted us to stop the meeting so that the people in the village would go to the festival, but the village elders said that the meetings were good and that the meetings were helping the people. After about three near fights and 10 minutes of yelling, I got my stuff together to leave. 

“He says that if you come beck, he will break your legs and kill me,” my translator told me as we got in our rickshaw.

I asked him, “Are you willing to go back? Should we stay or should we go?”

He replied, “Jes.”

“Sounds good.”

I couldn’t help but think about the events that had just taken place. I was concerned that the people would get scared and not return. I was scared that the angry people would come back. I prayed for a long time that night.

The next morning, my translator told me that he had gotten word from the Bible worker that the Bible worker’s mother had opened up her home for the meeting that night. It was an answer to prayer, but we still hadn’t gotten over the more difficult part. The ride to the village was silent, as I’m sure that Steven was praying for the same thing that I was.

We got to the house, and about five people were there. My spirits dropped a little, but were quickly regained when I thought about the risk that this small group of people was taking on. The mother brought out tea for everyone, and we started the meeting. Shortly after we began, more and more people started showing up.

The house was full. I couldn’t help but smile as I handed out Bibles to all the people attending. The sermon was about heaven. It was appropriate to be able to preach about my favorite place in such an apparently grim situation.

The people were eager to ask questions about the place that God had prepared for them. The mob could do nothing because we met in a house, not the tent. I could not have asked for a better result.

We had one more meeting in the house, on my last day with them, and it was Sabbath. That was one of the best Sabbaths I have ever experienced. God is still in control. 

Samuel Dinzey has a passion for helping people and sharing the love of Christ to the best of his ability—whether it be at home or overseas. He is a freshman at Union College, in Lincoln, Nebraska. 

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