The Bertrand Bookstore in Lisbon is the oldest bookstore in the world and was opened in 1732, making it 283 years old.
By Andrew McChesney
Salome was baptized as a baby, but she didn’t follow the doctrines of her parents’ church. Something didn’t seem quite right to her about the church’s teachings.
As Salome grew older, she stopped going to church altogether. She didn’t want anything to do with church. But she still believed in God and asked Him for guidance.
Salome began to think a lot about God when her 4-year-old grandson, Jorge, was enrolled in a Seventh-day Adventist school on the Portuguese island of Madeira. The island is located an hour-and-a-half by plane south of Portugal and off Africa’s west coast.
The family hadn’t planned to send Jorge to the Adventist school. The boy’s mother took him to the public preschool for several days, but then he began to cry when she left him.
“WAHHHH!” Jorge wailed.
No one could understand why Jorge was crying. His parents didn’t know what to do. Salome didn’t know what to do.
Then the boy and his parents traveled to Funchal, the biggest city on the island, to carry out some errands. As the family went about their business, they noticed a neat school surrounded by a fence with a metal gate. They went inside to take a closer look.
The moment Jorge stepped onto the school grounds, he exclaimed, “I like this school!”
Then he saw other children playing on the playground.
“I don’t want to go to the other school,” he said.
He looked up at Mother and Father with great determination on his tiny face. Stamping his feet on the ground, he yelled, “I don’t want to go to the other school!”
So it was that Jorge was enrolled in the Adventist school. The teachers allowed Salome to accompany her grandson to classes for the first two months to make sure that he adjusted well to the school. Salome liked the school. She liked the teachers. It was clear that Jorge also liked the school. He never cried or asked to go home.
The pastor of an Adventist church that met on the second floor of the school invited Salome to take part in Bible studies.
“I don’t mind having Bible studies,” Salome replied. “I can go to Bible studies anytime. But I’m not going to be baptized again. No one is going to put water on my head again.”
She didn’t go to Bible studies.
After some time, Jorge and his parents started attending prayer meeting every Wednesday at the school. Then the parents started to take Bible studies. Seeing that they were studying the Bible, Salome agreed to Bible studies. But she insisted that she would not be baptized again.
“I was baptized when I was born,” she said. I don’t need to be baptized again.”
Salome met for Bible studies with a church member named Ana. At the start of the first Bible study, Ana bowed her head and prayed for God’s presence. At the end of the Bible study, Ana asked, “Do you want to pray again?”
Salome shook her head. It was her first Bible study, and she had mixed feelings about what was going on.
Ana suggested singing a song instead, and Salome agreed. Ana opened a hymnal and held it out so she and Salome could sing together.
Ana began to sing, “You are the Potter, I am the clay —”
Immediately, Salome burst into tears. She tried, but she couldn’t sing a single word.
Surprised, Ana stopped singing. She got up and gave Salome a big hug.
“Don’t cry,” she said.
The song was very meaningful for Salome. She explained that the song, which Ana had chosen at random, had been played at the memorial service of her mother. Ana also began to weep. The two women wept together.
Salome continued the Bible studies with Ana. She learned about Jesus’ example of baptism by immersion. She saw that the Bible did not teach infant baptism. She also went to prayer meetings with her grandson and his parents. Then his parents declared that they planned to get baptized.
Two weeks before the baptism, Salome called Ana. “I want to speak with the pastor,” she said.
Ana guessed what was on Salome’s mind.
“Do you want to do what I think that you want to do?” she asked.
The pastor was surprised that Salome wanted to be baptized after being so adamant about not needing to be baptized again. He suggested that she take her time in making a decision.
Salome gave her heart to Jesus in baptism five months later.
Today, Salome serves in the women’s ministries department of her Adventist church. Jorge’s father is a church elder, and his mother is a deaconess. Jorge was baptized when he was 12.
To this day, Salome doesn’t understand why Jorge cried at the public preschool and was happy at the Adventist school. But one thing is clear: because Jorge went to the Adventist school, her life has changed completely.
“The Holy Spirit touched my heart,” Salome says. “That was when I knew that I had to be baptized.”
Education is a major way that the Seventh-day Adventist Church shares the good news about Jesus’ soon coming in Portugal. Part of this quarter’s Thirteenth Sabbath Offering will help expand Adventist education by opening an elementary school in Setubal, Portugal. Thank you for planning a generous offering.