A Hard Decision

By Debbonnaire Kovacs

Kenya Jayne Washington put her elbows on the table and her chin in her hands. From this position, she looked around the table at her family. Dad was at one end of the table, Mom was at the other, and across from Kenya sat Morgan and Nairobi.

“This family meeting is an especially important one,” Dad began. “I want to hear all your opinions. We’ve been studying the Bible with the Pattersons for almost three months now, and your mother and I are convinced that what we’ve been studying is the truth. Do you all agree?”

“I do!” Kenya said quickly. She had made up her mind weeks ago and wondered what was taking the others so long.

Morgan was a little slower to speak. “I can see that the seventh day is the Sabbath,” he said thoughtfully. “I sure am happy to learn the Bible doesn’t teach about a hell that burns forever, so I guess that means people can’t go right to heaven when they die. Although I don’t like that part as well. I always liked to imagine Gramps in heaven.”

“But he’ll still be in heaven with us someday,” Kenya pointed out.

“I know. Yeah, Dad, I agree it’s truth,” Morgan said.

Nairobi frowned.

“What are you thinking, Nairobi?” Mom asked.

“I know what you’re going to say. You want us to join that church, don’t you? I like our church!” Nairobi said.

Mom put her hand over Nairobi’s hand, but before she could say anything, Kenya blurted out, “She just doesn’t want to leave her friends!”

Mom’s other hand came down over Kenya’s. “Shouting will not help matters. We are here to make some decisions, and Dad and I think each of you is old enough to decide. You’ve already each decided to follow Jesus and try to serve Him, right?”

“Yes, but I don’t know why following Him would mean we have to leave our church! Or our friends!” Nairobi glared at Kenya, who stuck out her tongue.

“That’s enough, girls!” Dad’s voice made both sisters look at the table instead of at each other. “Nairobi, I think you have two issues confused. No one said you had to leave your friends. I don’t know any reason why we couldn’t keep going to both churches if we wanted to. But your mother and I want to be Seventh-day Adventists. We want our membership to be in the church that tries to learn and follow all Bible truth.”

Nairobi looked up, and Kenya saw that her eyes were full of tears. “I’m just not convinced, Dad.”

Kenya felt ashamed of herself. “I’m sorry I was mean, Nairobi. I didn’t understand. If you still have questions, I think you should keep studying and praying. I’ll pray too.”

Morgan spoke up. “We’ve all been praying from the beginning that God would lead us. I think He is. He’ll make it clear to you, Nai, but—promise you won’t take this wrong?”

Nairobi wiped her eyes and looked at her big brother. “What?”

“Well, if you’re really not convinced, that’s one thing. But once you know something is God’s will, then, sometime, you just have to make a choice and obey—even when it’s hard.”

“It usually is,” Nairobi said glumly.

“Oh, that’s a little extreme, don’t you think?” Mom squeezed Nairobi’s hand.

“So, now we have another decision. Nairobi, do you want the rest of us to wait a little while so you can pray and study some more? I would really like for us to do this as a family, but I don’t want to pressure you.”

Nairobi was silent for a minute. Then she looked up at Dad. “I’d like it if you waited a while.”

Kenya sighed.

“All right,” Dad said. “Not forever, but a while. In the meantime, here’s one decision that’s already been made. Mom and I will be requiring all who live here to keep the Sabbath holy from now on. We’ve gone to the Pattersons’ church so many times we don’t even feel like visitors anymore, but then we tend to come home and live our own way. No more. Mom and I looked again, and the commandment says even the ‘stranger within your gates’ should keep that day holy. So from now on, Friday sundown to Saturday sundown, this house will be as much like heaven as we can make it. Any ideas about how we can do that?”

The discussion turned lively at this point. Morgan thought there should be special food. Kenya wanted to invite people over and have storytelling. Dad was looking forward to more time for walks and bike rides. Everybody agreed to help clean the house and fix food ahead of time on Friday. Nairobi just frowned, although she agreed reluctantly to help clean.

“I think I’m going to like this!” Mom exclaimed.

That evening, Kenya climbed onto Nairobi’s bed and asked, “Can I tell you a story?”

“Yes, you may,” Nairobi told her.

Kenya decided not to tell her sister (again) that she was bossy. “OK, OK, may I! It’s my Sabbath School lesson. Did you know that before God even gave the Ten Commandments on Mt. Sinai, the people must have already known about the Sabbath?”

“They did?”

Kenya had her Bible, so she showed Nairobi the lesson story in Exodus 16. She tried to tell the story as well as Ms. Kimoto told it, of how the Israelites were told to gather twice as much manna on Friday, but not on any other day. Only on Sabbath did the manna stay nice. Every other day, it spoiled if they gathered extra. Nairobi was interested. She even helped Kenya learn her memory verse, which was a long one!

Then Kenya offered to brush out Nairobi’s hair and rebraid it. While she did, Nairobi kept the Bible in her lap. Kenya prayed silently while she braided.

After a while, Nairobi closed the Bible. “Well, one thing’s for sure! We’d better not be trying to gather any manna around here on Sabbath!”

Kenya giggled.

“You know,” Nairobi added thoughtfully, “there’s one thing I could do to help make Sabbath special. I could buy special CDs and take charge of ‘mood music’ for the day.”

“That’s a great idea, Nai! You could do that better than anybody else in the house! Can we go tell Mom and Dad? I mean, may we?”

Nairobi grinned and gave Kenya a hug. “Yes, we may!”

So they did.

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