Putting faith in God first -- Artur Aleksandrov's courageous story
In June 2009 he graduated from high school. But, it was not easy. He had important exams to take, some of which had to be taken on the Sabbath Day. If not taken, he would not be able to graduate, and worse, be denied admission to further education and look at a bleak future. This did not dissuade Artur. He put God first. And God responded and blessed him mightily. The words below are Artur's. We found them inspiring as we hope you will, too.
Now that the more important things related to school are behind me, I am sitting down to tell you how it all went and how our shared Lord constantly blessed me through this time.
Artur on graduation day 2009.
As you know, just recently I was a high school senior, trying his best to balance school, God and various 'cares of this life.' When the new year started, I wanted to focus on picking the right national exams to take. When I decided on which ones I prefer, it didn't even come to mind that one of them could fall on the Sabbath. By nature being rather forgetful and slow, I didn't notice the day of the week I was to sit for the first two exams (both were on the Sabbath). I lived on unsuspectingly until, about three weeks before the first exam, one of my teachers casually mentioned something that made my pupils triple in diameter. That's when it hit me!
I informed the teacher about the situation and asked if I could maybe do it on another time - she said that I'd have to ask for permission from the National Examination Center. The people at the center are the ones that create and check the exam materials; they also arrange a second time to sit for the exam(s) for those that, due to serious reasons, couldn't take the exam(s) at the standard appointed time. My teacher told me that my only hope is that the second dates for exams don't fall on Saturdays. I looked up when the additional time for exams would be and found relief. This was the first blessing from God - that the additional exams weren't on the Sabbath - and it saved me a whole year of my life. I could complete the exams this year but had to hurry with asking the center to allow me to take them. I wrote a letter of request to the center explaining my affiliation with a Sabbath keeping church and then I started to wait. They tested my faith and patience for a whole month before I got a reply on the 5th of May. They also requested an affirmation from the church as proof, which Mr. Lambert duly composed for me. They respected my beliefs, and although my request came way too late, allowed me sit for the exams on the additional time appointed by them. This was an another blessing from God. It was an answer to numerous of my prayers to Him while I was still awaiting the reply from the center. In that period, I was partly preparing to receive a negative answer, which meant failing to graduate and staying for another year in school, and partly really hoping that God would still provide an easier way out. I knew he could - and he did!
21st of June was my graduation day, and I still ponder about how much of a blessing that extra month for preparation had been. People here are lamenting about how difficult this year's English national exam was. On the other hand, the English exam that was prepared for the additional time (the one I took) wasn't that hard at all! Actually, our group heard the listening part four times because the stereo kept getting jammed and the audio kept on repeating. So it could even be added that we - the 'second group'- had a great advantage! Also, on my Estonian exam, where we had to write a 600 word essay, I was blessed with several topics that I could actually relate to - I chose 'Forgotten value's and got a score of 8/10 for it. This is very good by my standards. Overall, the results I got for my exams were a bit higher than what I was expecting. Even the day of my graduation ceremony turned out to be a blessing, against all odds. I remember how my homeroom teacher told me in a surprised tone that this year's graduation ceremony will be held on a Sunday. She said that in previous years it had always been on Saturdays! I don't think that's a coincidence.
So, dear brethren, as you can see for yourselves, our Gracious and All-powerful Lord responded to our collective prayers with abundant gifts. I want to , again, thank you all for your brotherly goodwill and asking on my behalf. There is nothing more powerful in this world than the prayers of God's servants - his saints. I hope that I am on the road to becoming one myself. I appreciate you being there for me. When an opportunity presents itself, I'd be more than happy to help you as you have helped me.
Meanwhile, I am left here, in a spiritually left behind Estonia, trying to fulfill the purpose for which the Father drew me. What I see happening in my life is encouraging - it is my wish to become one of the pillars in God's church in Estonia, so that as God calls more people into His Church, they'll have someone to turn to for answers and encouragement.