Pradeep Liyanage hadn’t really thought about Jesus until his son joined a Pathfinder club in the United Arab Emirates. The 13-year-old boy came home filled with joy about the Bible stories he heard at the club. As Pradeep and his wife saw the boy’s enthusiasm and listened to the stories, a desire grew in them to know more, and they started to study the Bible with Muyi Oyinloye, senior pastor of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Sharjah.
The day came when Pradeep’s wife and son gave their hearts to Jesus and were baptized. Pradeep also wanted to join the Adventist Church, but he had a sinful 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. As Cathy Coleman examined her new office, she realized she was lacking 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 about which she had known nothing. The boxes contained various Adventist health programs, including Breathe Free, a smoking-cessation program.
While sorting out the materials, Kathy received a call from Pastor Muyi.
“Could you arrange a stop-smoking program for Pradeep?” he asked.
Cathy realized God had provided everything she needed to help the man. He had put all the pieces together just in time for the pastor’s phone call.
Cathy got in touch with Pradeep 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 Sabbath, March 13, 2021.
“The Lord has been blessing me both physically and spiritually in my life,” Pradeep 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 personal 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, said Marc Coleman, president of the Gulf Field. “The Lord is calling all of us to live a transformed life that will let others know of the love of Jesus in us,” he said.