Fighting With Shadows
Abba, a young man living in northern Mongolia, felt powerless to change the downward spiral of his life. Then his friend introduced him to God. Here he shares his personal testimony.
“Before I became a Christian, I lived a really worldly life. I drank; I smoked; and I stole things. I never thought about whether what I did was good or bad; it was just part of me. I did it naturally.
“One time my friends and I were drinking, and I got drunk long before they did. I lost consciousness, and when I awoke, I realized I was alone. I stumbled out of the house in search of my friends. I found them in one of my friend’s houses. ‘Why did you leave me?’ I demanded angrily.
“ ‘You were asleep!’ one said. ‘We couldn’t awaken you.’ They gave me another drink. I felt myself falling backwards, and everything turned black.
“I awoke in the police station, naked and cold. My arm was bloody, and my back was sore. I didn’t know what had happened. The police officer told me that I had been arrested for disturbing the peace. He said that I had been shouting and threatening people, and that I had broken several people’s windows with my fist. That explained the bloody arm. A man with the police officer said I had banged on his door and threatened him. I did not remember any of this.
“The police officer gave me my clothes, and I dressed. But my shoes were missing. When I asked for my shoes, he told me I had not been wearing shoes when I was arrested.
“A woman came into the police station to file a complaint against me. She said that I had broken windows in her house. I apologized and told her I didn’t know I had done this. I wanted to see the broken windows for myself, so the police officer took me to her home. Under one broken window lay one of my shoes. Then I went to the other house with broken windows, and found my other shoe. I knew that I was guilty. The owner of the house said that I had threatened to kill everyone in the house. Someone else told me that I had knocked on a door and when I saw my own shadow reflected in the glass, I started fighting with it. When a man came out to investigate the noise, I started fighting with him. He escaped and called the police. When the police officer came, I started fighting with him as well. It seemed I was listening to stories of a man possessed with a devil.
“I paid my fine and agreed to replace the broken windows. I even promised that I would never drink again. But three days later I was drunk. It seemed that I could not stop drinking. I realized the difficulties I was making for my mother, with whom I lived. I worked, but instead of giving her money for food, I bought alcohol.”
“My friend, Daba, had gone to Ulaanbaatar to work, and there he became a Christian. When he returned home, he tried talking with me. Because we were friends, I listened to his advice and nodded my head; but in my heart, I was making fun of what he was saying. I thought his belief in God was foolish.
“Daba learned that some Christians were meeting nearby, and he invited me to go with him to the meeting. I went out of respect for Daba, but I was embarrassed to go to a Christian meeting. They talked about God, and I remembered that I had a New Testament at home. Afterward, I found it and began reading, but it didn’t make sense to me. Byra, the leader of the Christian group, offered to explain the Bible passages to me.
“A few weeks later, Daba invited me to a Bible study group on Saturday. I decided to go. Daba wasn’t an Adventist, but the home Bible study group was the only Christian meeting in the village, and he was eager for Christian fellowship. The morning I attended, the speaker talked about God’s love, and somehow the message got through to me. I saw in my mother’s love for me a reflection of God’s love. Even when I came home drunk and she scolded me, she was still there to encourage and help me.
“I continued attending the Bible study group. As Byra explained different Bible passages, the Bible began to make sense to me. I began reading the Bible because I wanted to, not because I felt I should. Soon I could not stop reading it, and I gave my heart to God.
“Over the years, I had promised myself many times that I would stop drinking, but I was never able to stop. Daba told me to pray and ask God for the strength. When I started praying, all my old drinking friends left town. God took them away so they wouldn’t influence me. Then he took away the desire to drink and delivered me from the chains of alcohol. My mother and sisters are amazed. They see how God is changing my life, and they ask many questions about my faith in God. Before I met Christ, fighting, drinking, and stealing were my life. But when I met Jesus, I realized that nothing in my heart was good. I asked God to give me a clean heart, a clean life, and now I long to spend time with Him. I confess, truly confess, that those times I hurt others by my words or my actions were wrong and bad. I don’t ever want to do those things again. By God’s grace I am a changed man.”
The Seventh-day Adventist Church continues to grow in Mongolia as more people come to learn about God through the witness of those who have given their lives to Him. Thank you for supporting mission.
Adult Sabbath School Lesson L11,12Q22015 Inside Story