Mocked for the Sabbath
By Andrew McChesney
Students mocked the Laissa Samila Yassine for skipping classes on Saturdays in Mozambique. “You came here to this university to study, not to follow your church’s teachings,” said one. “You’re crazy,” said another.
It all began when Laissa was struggling with her mechanical engineering studies during her first semester at a public university and she found relief listening to music shared by a Seventh-day Adventist classmate, Belizario. Then she and Belizario began to study the Bible together. Laissa had other new friends, and they also studied the Bible.
The more she studied, the more she felt confused. The two Bible studies didn’t agree on the Sabbath. She quit both to search the Bible for herself. Prayerfully, she read the fourth commandment in Exodus 20:8-11, which begins, “Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy” (NKJV). She read the Lord’s call in Isaiah 58:1-3 to “turn away … from doing your pleasure on my holy day and call the Sabbath a delight” and Jesus’ words, “If you love Me, keep My commandments” (John 14:15). She decided to keep the Sabbath.
At first, Laissa hid her decision. She was afraid of being ridiculed, and she didn’t want to ask teachers to be excused from Saturday classes. She also worried about what her parents would say. However, she couldn’t keep her convictions to herself for long, and she announced at the end of the second semester that she would become an Adventist. Her worst fears materialized. Former friends taunted her and, when they saw her walking with Belizario, sneered, “Oh, those Adventists.” Teachers refused to reschedule Saturday classes, and her grades dropped. “If you don’t like it here, just leave,” teachers said. Her mother was furious, and her father disowned her.
Then Laissa met a visiting student from Mozambique Adventist University at her church on Sabbath. She was excited to learn about an Adventist university in Mozambique, and she begged her mother to allow her to transfer. Her mother initially refused but unexpectedly changed her mind after Laissa, like Queen Esther, prayed and fasted for three days for God to intervene. A short time after changing universities, she told her mother that she no longer needed help with expenses. Her new library job covered her costs. Her mother was astonished. “Indeed, the Lord is not your stepfather but your real Father,” she said.
Laissa, 22, now a second-year nutrition major, plans to become a missionary in Mozambique, where malnutrition is a serious problem.
Part of the Thirteenth Sabbath Offering three years ago helped Mozambique Adventist University expand its nutrition department with new classrooms and equipment.
Produced by the General Conference Office of Adventist Mission. Find more mission stories at adventistmission[dot]org