Alessandro Monteiro is 13 years old and lives in Togo—a country between Ghana and Benin in West Africa. Alessandro’s family are missionaries in that country, and his dad, Antonio, is a pastor.
More than two years ago a man whom Pastor Antonio had ministered to accused him of a serious crime. Because of that man’s lies, Pastor Antonio was unfairly sentenced to prison, even though he was innocent.
This was hard on Alessandro and his family. “At first I thought it was just confusion,” he says. “It had to be a mistake by the police department. While I was sad about what was happening in our house, I was also scared about what could happen.”
Pastor Antonio was brave and went into prison having complete faith that Jesus would help him. During the time he was in prison the worldwide Adventist Church prayed for him.
They even sent lots of Christmas cards to cheer him. It was a terrible time for the family. Pastor Antonio did what all good dads do—he encouraged his family to stay strong. “Our father was confident and courageous, telling us not to cry and keep our heads down, but to fight for freedom,” said Alessandro. “In the beginning, I did feel sad and cried a lot,” he adds. “But after many days went by, I started feeling much stronger and tried to help my mother out.”
Pastor Antonio served 22 months in prison before he was released. Alessandro was overjoyed when he learned his dad was coming home. “It felt like sunrise when I was sleeping,” said Alessandro. And this time, there were happy tears.
Pastor Antonio is a wonderful dad. It was hard to sum up what Alessandro loves most about his dad, but he said his dad is “an interesting person and an example of tranquility and confidence in God. He’s a kind father—and that is the most important thing.”
If you or your family knew of Pastor Antonio’s situation and prayed for him, we hope you recognize the power of Jesus to right wrongs. Never forget that. Alessandro Monteiro never will!
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