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Hello everyone! What are some of your favorite things to do on Sabbath? I like to watch nature shows, listen to music, and read! :)

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I Am Different




by Deidra Howard

How a resentful Adventist became a joyful one

 “I can’t believe you don’t like pepperoni,” I often heard them say. “Why don’t you have your ears pierced?” I often heard them ask. Growing up Seventh-day Adventist was a challenging experience. Why am I not like all the other kids at school? I thought. I missed events that fell on Sabbath. Being an Adventist youth, I considered it a pain.


I attended public school, so each day at school was another test of faith. In high school I ran track. Feeling the wind raging behind my back as I raced to the finish line, I had dreams of going to state and one day winning medal after medal. However, being a Seventh-day Adventist, I would never achieve that dream, because many of the meets were held on Sabbath.
 
“Why don’t you just come to my church on Sunday?” encouraged a friend who was a fellow team member. If only I could attend church on Sunday, my life would be so much better, I thought.
 
Recently, while I attended Central States Youth Congress, my resentment began to fade. Seventh-day Adventist youth from all over the Central States Conference gathered to praise and give glory to God. I was impressed to see youth my age and much younger praising God with much spiritual maturity in song, in drama, and even in outreach to the local community. I was joined in worship by youth who shared my same beliefs and experienced my same worldly temptations. It was a sight that brought tears to my eyes.
 
With the uplifting experience of the youth congress as a backdrop, I began to reminisce about my life as a Seventh-day Adventist youth from a much different and more positive perspective than I had been doing.
 
Growing up as an Adventist youth, I learned that it’s part of my Christian responsibility to keep my body healthy. I know the importance of abstaining from drugs, alcohol, tobacco, premarital sex, and unclean foods, such as pork. Long ago I learned that my body is a temple of God (see 1 Corinthians 3:16 and 6:19, 20).
 
Saturday, the seventh day of the week, is my Sabbath because it’s the biblical Sabbath (see  Genesis 2:1-4; Exodus 20:8-11; and Luke 23:52–24:2). I thank God for the Sabbath! I’m thankful for a day of rest, reflection, association, celebration, and rejuvenation. I may miss out on parties, track meets, one-day sales at my favorite stores, etc., but I have the privilege of—and I get the blessing from—worshipping my Creator on the exact day He’s asked me to.
 
My church has provided me with countless unforgettable fellowship experiences. I had such great times skating and bowling with friends. My church hosted basketball games, and I was even a cheerleader. I was an actor. I was a singer. I gave praise to God using sign language. I was a poet. As a Seventh-day Adventist, I developed my passion for writing. Through my church I got the opportunity to run track, and I won first place.
 
I’ll always remember the fun lock-ins, during which other young people and I played games, watched movies, ate good food, and talked all night in the church fellowship room. And I’ll never forget going to Disney World as a result of a singing competition that my church choir won, by the grace of God. We shouted for joy when we heard the announcement: “And our first-place prize goes to the Northside Seventh-day Adventist Cherubim Youth Choir!” We couldn’t believe we had won first place and $10,000 over thousands of other choirs.
 
It was through my church choir that I found good friends who have brought so much joy to my life. With my Seventh-day Adventist friends I’ve enjoyed activities such as sleepovers, various road trips, even exercising. It’s with my Seventh-day Adventist friends that I have the most fun. They are my closest, most real friends. We converse about work, play, stress, temptation,
education, and, most important, faith.
 
So as I reminisce about the experiences of my life, I’m no longer resentful, no longer ashamed, of being a Seventh-day Adventist. Indeed, I am different, but so is my Father in heaven! I’m blessed and I’m proud.
 
However, being a faithful follower of Christ is still a daily struggle. The temptations and challenges will always remain. As I’ve grown older, I’ve gained wisdom. I now realize with greater clarity than ever before that my mission as a Seventh-day Adventist Christian is to keep accepting the gift of salvation myself and to share the gospel message with others.
 
Deidra Howard attends college in Nebraska and is majoring in public relations/journalism and minoring in psychology.
 




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