Why Suffer?

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Why Suffer?
IRELAND | June 13
Axel Domingues, 31

My sister committed suicide whenshe was 14.

Overcome with grief, my motherdecided to have another child, a girl. Toher disappointment, she gave birth to me— a boy.

Mother raised me in the southernPortuguese town of Faro with a brotherwho was nine years older. Father lived inthe Middle East, working in construction.

Mother was perpetually sad. Thatsadness deepened when Father got adivorce and my brother left home. Thenshe was hospitalized with cancer and I,only 11, was sent to live with relatives.

Mother had never attended church, butmy relatives took me every Sunday. As Ilearned about God, I prayed for Mother tobe healed. Two years passed, and Motherdied. It didn’t make any sense to me. Idecided that God was a fable.

I stopped going to church and, whenFather returned to Portugal, I moved inwith him and his new family.

Life spun out of control when I enteredthe university. I drank and used drugs. Ilistened to the wrong kind of music andpracticed Satanism. Several encounters withspiritual beings frightened me into realizingthat a spiritual realm existed beyond whatpeople could see with the naked eye.

In my early 20s, I began to reap whatI had sown. I lived in constant fear ofevil spirits. I wanted to quit smoking anddrugs, but I couldn’t.

Then I learned that one of my friends, adrug-using atheist, had been baptized.“What’s wrong with you?” I asked him.“Why were you baptized?”

“I read the Bible, and I believe it,”he said.

For some reason, I opened up to himabout my fears regarding evil spirits. Helistened thoughtfully.

“Look, why don’t you read the Bible?”he said.

That was a good question. God nolonger seemed like a fable to me. I knewevil spirits existed, and I sensed that theywere being restrained by a higher power. Iread the Bible and prayed.

As I read, I sensed a distinct voice sayinside me, “Leave your addictions.”

I didn’t want to give up everything,and I thought, “I can still enjoy some ofmy addictions.” Then it struck me that Ihad never been able to quit my addictionspiecemeal, so why not to try to quiteverything at once?

At that moment, an evil voice came tomy mind.

“What are you doing?” it asked.When I heard the voice, I understoodthat something serious was happening. Igave up all my addictions immediately.

The Bible was a joy to read. Genesis 3showed me that God didn’t forsake manat the fall and had a salvation plan. I sawthat God’s prophecies about the Israelitescame true. My faith increased, and I sawthat the Bible was not fiction.

Months passed, and I graduated andmoved to Dublin, Ireland, to work as asoftware engineer.

One day, my former atheist friend sentme a link to a YouTube sermon aboutthe origin of sin. I liked the speaker, aSeventh-day Adventist evangelist, andlooked for more of his sermons. But whenhe spoke in a sermon about Saturdaybeing the Sabbath, I rejected his messageas too strange.

But the Sabbath sermon stuck inmy mind. The word for “Saturday” inmy native Portuguese is “Sábado,” orSabbath. It seemed to me that theremust be a biblical explanation for whyall the Christian world worshipped onSunday, and I determined to find it in theBible. But I found no verse changing theSabbath from Saturday to Sunday.

I returned to the Adventist evangeliston YouTube. His sermons on the Sabbathand end-time prophecy made sense, andI accepted the Seventh-day AdventistChurch as the church of God.

Finding the address for an Adventistchurch online, I attended worshipservices and later Bible studies. I beganto understand why I had experienced somuch suffering in my childhood. It wasn’tbecause of God. It was because of sin andthe bad choices that I and other people inmy life had made. As David said in Psalms16:4, “Their sorrows shall be multipliedwho hasten after another god.”

I was baptized at the age of 26.Today, I am happily married to Joana,a Brazilian nurse, whom I met at theAdventist church in Dublin. She alsowas baptized in Ireland. We are working,giving Bible studies, and helping out atchurch. We are praying for God to showus what He wants us to do next. 

Thank you for your 2017 ThirteenthSabbath Offering that helped open achurch and community center in Axel’snew hometown of Dublin, Ireland.

By Axel Domingues as told to Andrew McChesney

Story Tips
 Ask a man to share this first-persontestimony.

 Watch Axel on YouTube:bit.ly/Axel-Domingues.

 Download photos on Facebook(bit.ly/fb-mq) or ADAMS databank(bit.ly/why-suffer).

 Download photos of ThirteenthSabbath projects:bit.ly/ted-13th-projects.

Mission Post
 In 1861, the Review and Heraldmagazine published letters from Irelandreporting that five persons had begunkeeping the seventh-day Sabbath asa result of receiving books and papersfrom relatives in the United States.