God’s Way With a Family
By Raimund Fuchs
When Hans Fleischhacker was 17, the last thing he had an interest in was Christianity. His mother, who was a Christian, often urged him to go to church with her, but his response was always the same: “I can sleep more comfortably at home than I could in a church pew.” But when Hans grew older, he began dating a young woman named Anita, who was serious about her Christian faith. Being with her changed his views about God, and he found himself believing the same things she did. The pair married and were blessed with two sons.
An Introduction to Adventism As their children grew older, Hans and Anita became acquainted with a Seventh-day Adventist couple. Through this friendship they saw life and the world from a different perspective. They wanted to know more, and soon began taking Bible studies with their new friends. Anita nearly quit the studies at one point because she so strongly believed in what she’d been taught through her own Christian faith. In her search to prove the Bible wrong, however, she discovered that Adventism seemed to hold closer to the truths of the Bible than what she’d previously learned.
While his parents were learning about Adventism, Hannes, Hans and Anita’s oldest son, was preparing for his church confirmation ceremony. At first he wasn’t interested in participating in the studies his parents were taking. During their Bible studies, however, Hannes would leave his bedroom door open slightly, curious about what was being taught.
What he heard raised a lot of questions, and Hannes needed answers. He visited his confirmation teacher, but found the man’s answers incomplete and dissatisfying. Both Hannes and his parents decided that the Adventist Church was closest to the teachings they had learned from the Bible.
At first Hans and Anita’s youngest son, Michael, seemed happy to go along with his family’s newfound faith. He attended Sabbath services and participated in the children’s programs. Then, at the age of 16, Michael decided he was no longer interested in church life. His parents wanted him to continue attending, so he reluctantly agreed. But he took every opportunity to provoke those who shared his parents’ beliefs.
As they saw Michael’s behavior spiral out of control, Michael’s parents prayed for him, hoping God would intervene. One day, out of ideas for how to reach their son, Hans and Anita sat Michael down and said, “You may go wherever you want, and do whatever you please; we will no longer force you to do anything you don’t want to do.”
With tears in his eyes Michael said, “I can’t do that! You have taught me right from wrong by your words and examples. I simply cannot continue to live this way.”
The Final Victory
Jesus gained the victory in Michael’s life. He made a decision for Christ and was baptized into the Seventh-day Adventist Church. Today Hans, Anita, and their sons are faithful Adventists, engaged in committed ministry to families and youth.
Parents, never give up on your children. Your example and your patience could make all the difference in their lives.