Changed Lives – What God Can Do With A Friend

DSC_0762-2Suzanne Quevedo was among five precious souls who joined the Sandpoint SDA Church through baptism this past August. The memorable event took place in the Pend Oreille River where all the candidates chose to follow Christ’s example and be baptized at the river.   Each one has a unique story of how the Lord led them to the Adventist Church, but the one thing they all have in common is that they attended the prophecy seminar held at the Sandpoint Church a few months before.

For Suzanne, what brought her to the meetings was a personal invitation by her next-door neighbor, Ada Lapadat a member of the church. When Ada thought of who to invite to the upcoming meetings, she immediately thought of Suzanne with whom she had been developing a friendship. Months before she had befriended Suzanne with a gift of cookies and from then on, tried finding opportunities to build on that neighborly gesture.

When Ada invited Suzanne to the seminar, Suzanne was hesitant. She was already in a Bible study group, but didn’t want to attend any church. Ada had explained that the meetings were at the Seventh-day Adventist Church just up the street, and she added, “If you want to go and see what they are like, you’re welcome to come with me.”  Suzanne was still hesitant and told Ada that she would think about it. Not wanting to come across pushy, Ada decided she had planted the seed and now she needed to wait and pray for God to bring conviction to her friend’s heart.

Back at home, Suzanne placed the flyer on her kitchen table and wondered what she should do. She really didn’t want to go, but neither did she want to offend her friend.   Finally she came to the conclusion that she would attend once, just to please Ada. It was a Wednesday evening, the tenth presentation of the series when Suzanne showed up at the seminar. Lora Jorgenson was at the registration desk as Suzanne arrived. She welcomed her with a friendly smile and invited her to register for the seminar. “Oh, no” responded Suzanne, “I’m just here because my neighbor invited me, but I don’t think I’ll be coming back.” Without giving her name, Suzanne quickly proceeded into the sanctuary and slipped into a back pew.

Pastor Alvaro Sauza’s presentation that evening was, “The Law; On Stone Or Heart?” Suzanne sat listening intently. She had never heard an explanation about the law of God spoken with such clarity and relevance. As the meeting concluded, Suzanne went directly to Lora at the registration desk, “Who is that man?” she inquired, “He explains the Bible better than anyone I’ve ever heard!” “He’s our pastor who is presenting this seminar,” explained Lora. “Well, I can’t come back tomorrow, but I’ll be back.”  

Suzanne went home that evening with a lot to ponder. She didn’t think she could attend the seminar the next day because she was part of a Thursday night Bible study group that had been going on for three years. Her closest friends were in that Bible study and they counted on her presence. But for sometime now she had been feeling like her study group was rather shallow. The Bible seemed secondary to the discussion, which was usually more about politics and social issues. What she truly desired was to know more of God’s word and better understand His will for her life. After a short struggle, she made up her mind to skip her study group and attend the seminar.

Suzanne never missed a meeting after that first night.   After every presentation she would go home and study the review sheet with all the texts on the subject.   After hearing the presentation on the biblical Sabbath she was convicted and began to attend church. Slowly but surely, the Lord performed His gracious work in Suzanne’s heart, bringing her the truth she longed for, truth that would strengthen her faith, deepen her love for Jesus and connect her with God’s Church.

And it all started with someone making a friend for God. That’s what Ada did, made a friend of her neighbor, invited her to the meetings and prayed for God to bring conviction to her heart. God blessed Ada’s efforts and answered her prayer.   Because of Ada, there’s another new member in the Sandpoint Church, and there’s a lot of rejoicing in heaven!

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