Making a Big Decision
ROMANIA | March 14
Paula Cristina Ghibut, 18
What do you do when you have to make a big decision?
Paula Cristina Ghibut had a big decision to make. She was 14 and about to finish eighth grade in Romania. She had to decide where to go to high school.
Paula wanted to become an elementary school teacher. She could go to a nearby public high school that offered a special teaching track for high school students. But she had attended Adventist schools since kindergarten. The Adventist high school offered only a science track.
Paula prayed and read the Bible at home in Targu Mures village in north-central Romania. She spoke with her parents and read passages from books by Adventist Church cofounder Ellen White.
As she read, she found advice that seemed to suggest Adventist children should study in non-Adventist schools in order to be a light in the world.
In Ellen White’s “Counsels to Parents, Teachers, and Students,” she read, “The followers of Christ are to be separate from the world in principles and interests, but they are not to isolate themselves from the world” (page 323). In “The Great Controversy,” she saw that Waldensian students had used their Christian influence to transform entire schools in the 13th century and beyond. Paula decided to enroll in the public school. She thought it would be a good opportunity to share Jesus as she prepared to become a teacher.
But first she needed to pass the entrance exam. She prayed, “If it is Your will for me to study there, help me to do well.”
Competition was fierce for the 150 slots at the school. Four children applied for each opening. Paula placed seventh.
But Paula still didn’t feel peace. It was difficult to leave Adventist schools. She knew public school teachers wouldn’t pray and students wouldn’t sing about Jesus.
Two weeks before classes started, Paula had a nighttime dream that she was at the public school. The teachers were proud and unloving, and they blamed her for the mistakes of her classmates. The false accusations upset Paula. At the end of the day, as she prepared to go home, she heard a voice shout, “Run away, run away, and never come back!” Paula turned around to see who was shouting but saw no one.
Waking up in the morning, she wondered what the dream meant. She wasn’t sure that the dream was from God because she knew that the devil also could cause dreams. “God, if this dream is from You, please confirm it to me through another way,” she prayed.
Paula turned to her parents for advice. They said she had to decide on her own. So she prayed and fasted for several days. She also read more from the Bible and Ellen White. She was amazed to see that everything she read now indicated that she should go to an Adventist school.
In “Counsels to Parents, Teachers, and Students,” she read. “To place over young children, teachers who are proud and unloving is wicked” (page 175). In the same book, she read, “Our church schools are ordained by God to prepare the children for this great work” (page 176).
She thought, “I wanted to start training to be a teacher at the public school, but the Adventist school can train me even better, even though its emphasis is on science.”
Then in “Child Guidance,” she read, “In planning for the education of their children outside the home, parents should realize that it is no longer safe to send them to the public school, and should endeavor to send them to schools where they will obtain an education based on a Scriptural foundation” (page 304).
Paula went to the Adventist school. Paula learned some important lessons about understanding God’s will. She prayed and asked her parents for advice. She read the Bible and the writings of Ellen White. Then she made a decision.
Paula is sure that she made the right choice. While at the Adventist high school, she gave her heart to Jesus and was baptized when she was 16. Now she is 18 and will graduate soon. She realizes she will have plenty of time to learn how to be teacher at the university.
“My walk with God has been a process,” she said. “I didn’t use drugs and then have a miracle conversion story. Instead, God led me step by step. I want to encourage young people also to live step by step for Christ. In every step of our lives, we need to recognize Him, and He will work in our lives.”
Three years ago, part of the Thirteenth Sabbath Offering went to help a church outreach program for young people in Romania. Thank you for your Thirteenth Sabbath Offering.
By Andrew McChesney
Watch Paula on YouTube: bit.ly/Paula-Ghibut.
Download photos of Thirteenth Sabbath projects: bit.ly/eud-2020-projects.
Seventh-day Adventist doctrines were first preached in Romania by M.B. Czechowski, a former Polish Catholic priest who had learned of the seventh-day Sabbath and of the imminent return of Christ while he was in the U.S. Returning to Europe in 1864, he preached these doctrines in Italy and Switzerland even though he had not been sent by the Seventhday Adventist Church. In the winter of 1868-69 he came to Romania and preached in Pitesti, where about 12 people accepted the message.