Where Are Nice People?: Adult Mission Story for April 1, 2023
By Andrew McChesney
Mahai grew up with parents who taught him to be nice. His parents were respectful and never used bad language. They also were hardworking. They started penniless and, through hard work, become the owners of a large vineyard in Romania. Even though they sold wine produced at the vineyard, they didn’t drink.
Mahai followed his parents’ example. He was respectful and didn’t use bad language. He didn’t drink. He liked being around people who were respectful, didn’t use bad language, and didn’t drink. But such people seemed hard to find.
Mahai looked for nice people in the coal mine where he worked as an engineer. But the other workers were disrespectful and used bad language. They also drank.
He enjoyed going to church every Sunday, and he looked for nice people at church. But he was disappointed to see Christians who were disrespectful, used bad language, and drank.
He confided in the priest about his disappointment.
“I want to meet nice people, but I can’t find any in church,” he said.
The priest encouraged him to keep coming to church.
But after a while, Mahai decided that there was no need to go to church. The lifestyle of church members disappointed him.
At work, Mahai stuck to the principles that he had learned from his parents. He was respectful, didn’t use bad language, and didn’t drink. He was recognized as a good leader, and he became a company director overseeing several thousand workers. As a director, he longed to meet someone with a lifestyle that would impress him. But he could not find anyone among the workers. No one impressed him. No one measured up to his expectations.
After a successful career, he retired in Craiova, a city located about 140 miles (230 km) west of Romania’s capital, Bucharest. He hoped to enjoy his golden years. But two weeks after his retirement, he suffered a massive stroke and was hospitalized.
After some time, he returned home to try to rebuild his life. Every morning, he exercised outside his home, trying to regain use of his once-strong arms and legs. It was a big effort. He also struggled with his emotions. A side-effect of the stroke was that he cried easily.
A neighbor named Gabriel noticed Mahai exercising outside and began to pray for him in secret. Even though the two men had never spoken to each other, Gabriel lifted up Mahai in prayer every day. He asked God to grant physical and spiritual strength to the elderly man.
After three weeks, Gabriel went over to Mahai’s house and introduced himself. He invited Mahai to join a small group for prayer and Bible studies.
Mahai liked the leaders at the small group. They were respectful, didn’t use bad language, and didn’t drink. They were the kind of people whom he had been looking for his whole life. He also loved the Bible studies. Through them, he discovered the love of God.
Today, Mahai goes to a Seventh-day Adventist church in Craiova every Sabbath.
“I am impressed to have found many of the kind of people that I had been searching to meet — kind, respectful people — in the Adventist church,” he says. “They don’t drink. They didn’t use bad language. That is why I am now in the church.”
He is looking forward to giving his heart to Jesus in baptism as soon as he is physically able.
His neighbor Gabriel has become a close friend. The two men spend a lot of time together.
Mahai regrets that he has not been able to enjoy his retirement as he had hoped. His health is his biggest challenge. But he has no complaints because now he knows God.
“I thank God for my situation even though I am like this now,” he says.
Education, including Bible studies, is an important part of the way that Adventists share the good news about the soon coming of Jesus in Romania. Part of your Thirteenth Sabbath Offering will help expand Adventist education by opening a school and an after-school center in Romania. Thank you for planning a generous offering.