Jonathan Nicholaides

Jendra’s Story

Flying around the corner of the house, she came, kitchen knife raised in hot pursuit of her husband. That was the sight that met the missionaries’ eyes when they first met Jendra several years ago. A few years later, we sat in Sabbath School listening to this same lady talk about her husband cheating on her and turning everyone against her. Not long after that, Jendra told me how her ex-husband was stealing her oldest son away, and he would no longer be able to come to our little mission school. Later, I found out that she had threatened her son with a knife, and he had hidden it under the bed.
Some church members began studying with Jendra, but often, she did not show up for the studies. When she did show up, she asked for money and prayed for material things. Soon, the members became frustrated with her sporadic attendance and sometimes contrary behavior.

Last year, two of our SMs began Bible studies with her. She requested that I come, too. At first, I was not sure how things would work based on her past behavior. She usually seemed preoccupied and distracted and could not remember what we studied, sometimes even from the beginning of the lesson to the end. Her behavior was similar to someone diagnosed with ADHD.

Then one day, everything changed. Hannah and Katie were studying with her on their own because I was sick. Jendra asked Hannah how long she would have to study before being baptized. Hannah shared her testimony of a time when she was indecisive about following Jesus and how Satan harassed her because of her indecision. Hannah also told her of the victory God gave her when she gave Him all her heart and decided to follow Him fully. As Hannah told her story, Jendra and her children sat up and listened intently. Hannah explained that it was not an amount of time so much as a commitment to love and obey God completely. She told Jendra that she needed to make a decision. Jendra needed to choose who she was going to follow and obey.

Since that day, Jendra has been much more alert, better able to remember, and more focused during the evening Bible studies. The focus of her prayers has shifted toward spiritual needs, like asking God to help her love her enemies and not to lose her temper. We have now studied the Sabbath, the state of the dead, temperance and stewardship. Her understanding, comprehension, and ability to apply Biblical principles to her life are still growing, but this is natural for someone trying to make a 180-degree turn in their life.

God is teaching me to be patient and to wait on Him. He is also helping me to feel empathy toward someone who is drastically changing their worldview to follow Him—instead of feeling frustrated and giving up on them as hopeless.

Please continue to pray for Jendra. Pray that she will be strong enough to follow and obey the commands of God even if they seem difficult and not popular with the community around her.

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