“Giving my life to Jesus was the most beautiful and fulfilling thing I have ever done, but following the truth is not always an easy path. It comes with up and downs, but these fluctuations helped me grow stronger and closer to God.”
These are the words of a young lady I will call Miriam who was raised in a strict Muslim country. Two years ago, when she left Islam and gave her life to Christ, she was the first young person from her country ever to follow Jesus into the waters of baptism as a Seventh-day Adventist Christian. She continues:
“When I was taking Bible studies and preparing myself to become a member of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, I had to leave behind my old habits and live a new life. One of the biggest and hardest changes was keeping the Sabbath. As a student, I knew it would be hard for me to keep the Sabbath during my exam periods.”
In Miriam’s country, the high school exit exam is given on Sabbath. Students cannot enter university without passing the exam.
“2016 was the year I was going to do my baccalaureate, and some of the exams were scheduled on a Sabbath. It was a sticky situation for me because I had to choose between keeping the Sabbath and doing my exams. I was under pressure from my Muslim father who didn’t know about my conversion.”
For reasons of safety, the only other family member who knew about Miriam’s baptism was her mother who was also a new convert to Christ. Her mother and father are divorced, and she lives with her mother.
“I prayed a lot and asked God to give me wisdom, strength and a way to get out of that situation without deceiving my father or breaking the Sabbath.”
Notice her dilemma. She wanted to honor God and her unbelieving father.
“After a few days of prayer, I decided not to attend the exams on Sabbath, though I knew it would affect my grades. When the results came out, I rushed to my high school to see if I had passed, but I had failed. I felt very down that day. I didn’t know the plans God had for me.
“My father decided that I would retake the baccalaureate exam the next year. One day as I was studying the Bible, a church brother told me about the BDAS. He explained that it was a test designed as an alternative to the baccalaureate for students like me who were having Sabbath conflicts. I was thrilled to learn that I could start college with a BDAS diploma! I felt it was God’s answer to my prayers, and I applied for it immediately. I then started studying and preparing for it. When the day came, I took the exam and passed it with a good score. My father was as happy as I was because I could finally start my college studies. Today I am an undergraduate student at Middle East Adventist University, doing my second semester and majoring in business administration accounting.”
The BDAS is a French-language high school exit exam designed for students who have encountered obstacles in the French-language high school systems in the developing world. Usually this is because of Sabbath observance, but it could also be for reasons of sickness or other difficulties. Students who pass the BDAS are awarded a diploma, a letter of recommendation and a request to the local educational authorities and universities to recognize the exam as valid. Students who apply to take the exam must have attended school faithfully and received passing grades. The BDAS was created by an AFM missionary and is maintained and administered by AFM. So far, approximately 10 young people in several countries have benefitted from the BDAS. Currently, several are continuing their studies at the university level. Now back to Miriam’s testimony:
“If we give our lives to God, He will take care of us in all ways. He knows what we want, but He also knows what we need. His plans for us are bigger and better than we could want or imagine for ourselves. I know that God is not done working in my life. He has blessed, is blessing and will keep on blessing me. I am most of all infinitely thankful and grateful for His love and care.
“I pray that whoever reads this will remember that God’s plan is perfect. It may not happen when we want it, and it can take a day or years. But it will happen, and it will be perfect.”