August 20, 2015

The Case of the Church's Mysterious Benefactor

Columbia Union Visitor

A mysterious benefactor gifted a Seventh-day Adventist church in the U.S. state of Ohio with a check for $3,020 in 2012.

Over the next few years, he occasionally brought checks to the Bowling Green church, only to disappear again.

“Who was this man?” many church members asked.

The members and the pastor, Patrick Mazani, were puzzled but grateful for the stranger’s generosity, and they prayed to learn his identity.Mike Burrows, seated, enjoying the support of his mother, Eleanor, and sister and brother-in-law, David and Peggy Stout, back, on the day of his baptism. (Columbia Union Visitor)

They recently found out — and the mysterious benefactor, Michael Burrows, was baptized.

Burrows’ story surprised the congregation.

Burrows grew up in a family who accepted God. But, as he matured, he recognized that the church he was attending didn’t adhere to biblical principles, he said.

After a personal study of Scripture, Burrows realized the importance of the seventh-day Sabbath and began attending a Church of God (7th Day) congregation. But he found teachings that “were not adding up,” he said.

Unable to find a Christian church following the Bible completely, he quit his search and began smoking and using drugs.

In 1999, Burrows started a new job. Though not attending a church, he asked his employers for Saturdays off and enjoyed this time away from work.

He felt impressed, however, that he needed to give offerings to God. So he began putting money aside in a container every Saturday. He soon became aware of another church in town that met on Saturdays. Feeling impressed this was where he should take the money, Burrows went to the Bowling Green church with his first check for $3,020.

Earlier this year, Pastor Mazani was near the exit door when Burrows came hurriedly to drop off his envelope of money. Mazani would not let him go, and quickly ascertained this was the mysterious benefactor who had been making regular donations to the church.

He invited Burrows inside and introduced him to church members attending a potluck.

Burrows quickly became active and faithful in attending church with his new church family, Mazani said.

Burrows recently joined the church through baptism. Several family members attended the celebration, including his mother, Eleanor, and sister and brother-in-law, Peggy and David Stout.

“Mike is on fire, and his hope is to reach out to many who are out there in the darkness,” Mazani said.