April 13, 2021

A Pathfinder Club, a Stop-Smoking Program, and Jesus

Gureni Lukwaro, Middle East and North Africa Union

Pradeep Liyanage hadn’t thought about Jesus until his son joined a Pathfinder club in the United Arab Emirates.

The 13-year-old boy came home filled with happiness about the Bible stories that he heard at the club. As Liyanage and his wife saw the boy’s enthusiasm and listened to the stories, a desire grew in them to know more. They started then to study the Bible with Muyi Oyinloye, senior pastor of the Seventh-day Adventist church in Sharjah.

The day came when Liyanage’s wife and son gave their hearts to Jesus and were baptized. Liyanage also wanted to join the Adventist Church, but he had a habit that he seemed powerless to break: tobacco.

Around the time of the baptisms, a new health ministries director was settling into her job at the headquarters of the Gulf Field of the Middle East and North Africa Union Mission (MENA). As Kathy Coleman examined her new office, she realized that she lacked the health ministries’ official stamp, which was vital for documents. A call to the former health ministries director yielded both the stamp and several boxes of materials that she had not known about. The boxes contained a variety of Adventist health programs, including Breathe Free, a smoking cessation program.

While sorting out the materials, Coleman received a call from Oyinloye.

“Could you arrange a stop-smoking program for Pradeep?” he asked.

Coleman realized that God had provided everything she needed to help the man. God had put all the pieces together just in time for the pastor’s phone call.

Coleman got in touch with Liyanage and helped him through the nine-week program. He stopped smoking and, two months after completing the program, remained smoke-free and without cravings. With joy, he was baptized on March 13, 2021.

“The Lord has been blessing me both physically and spiritually in my life,” he said. “He has improved my health, my family is happier, and even at work, I am performing better and being rewarded accordingly.”

Now the 47-year-old man is telling everyone about his joy in Jesus and inviting them to experience a similar joy. Through his testimony about how he quit smoking, three new families have sent their children to the Pathfinder club.

Jesus is inviting every one of His followers to shine brightly for Him, Marc Coleman, president of the Gulf Field, said. “The Lord is calling all of us to live a transformed life that will let others know of the love of Jesus in us.”

The original version of this story was posted on the Adventist Mission news site.