Nicholas Madhiri, professor of chemistry at Southwestern Adventist University, joined the Seventh-day Adventist Church when an evangelistic group came to his hometown in Zimbabwe. He’s never looked back on that decision and takes every chance he gets to connect students with the Creator.
“This Church is unique,” said Madhiri. “It’s different than anything I’ve ever experienced before. I’ve never regretted my decision to be baptized.”
Growing up, Madhiri was attracted to godly things. He would attend different churches with different people. Although he had never been around the Seventh-day Adventist Church, he felt a draw to Christianity.
Madhiri was not a troublemaker. He did well in school and worked hard. There were long stretches of land for Madhiri to explore as a child.
“I grew up in the countryside,” said Madhiri. “My father owned a lot of livestock, so I did a lot of work and farming. If I wasn’t in school that’s what kept me busy. We grew our own food.”
Madhiri’s first connection to Seventh-day Adventism was through his wife. Her parents had a Seventh-day Adventist neighbor. It was a stretch, but it was a connection. He met his wife at the University of Zimbabwe while working on his B.S. in chemistry. Her family was all Methodist, so he began to attend the Methodist church.
One day, the neighbors invited the Madhiris to an evangelistic meeting. He was skeptical, but decided to attend.
“We came a bit late and the pastor was preaching about the Sabbath when we walked in,” said Madhiri. “I thought I knew the Ten Commandments, but coming to those meetings showed me otherwise. Everything was heavily rooted in the Bible.”
Amazed with what was being said, Madhiri and his wife wrote down every verse that the pastor had mentioned. He had never heard this information before; it couldn’t possibly be true! They went home and looked up every verse from the sermon. Sure enough, it was all there in the Bible.
“It was more than just people talking,” said Madhiri. “At that point our hearts melted, God spoke to both of us at the same time. He was pushing and every escape hole was being disarmed. So I said, ‘what can stop me from being baptized?’ I had no excuse and joined a baptismal class.”
Madhiri and his wife were on fire for the Lord. They took the gospel commission to heart and told everyone they knew about Christ.
“We went out into the community singing and sharing the Bible, studying with people,” said Madhiri. “I still look back to those memories and they give me strength. It motivates me to keep going.”
Madhiri came to the United States ten years ago for doctoral studies at West Virginia University.
“One major shock for me was the weather,” said Madhiri. “I heard that the winter here was harsh. So I prepared for cold weather. But when I came it was still summer. I walked out of the airport and thought a furnace was blowing, so I moved, but it was still hot! In Zimbabwe it’s hot, but not humid.”
Another shock for Madhiri were the small towns. His picture of the United States was of big cities like New York.
“I came to a small town and thought, ‘Am I in the right place here?’ It was a shock.”
Last year, Madhiri and his wife joined the faculty at Southwestern. One thing he enjoys about the school is the freedom to express religious beliefs.
“He knows what he talks about in chemistry,” says Chelsea Zabala, sophomore nursing major. “And we have worship at the start of class. It makes a connection to what we’re learning so it’s not just talking about random stuff.”
“He’s seems very spiritual,” says Elaine McDonald, sophomore pre-nursing major. “He applies principles in chemistry to our spiritual walk. It’s really nice.”
“I’m always driven by a mission to touch and bring people to Christ,” said Madhiri. “In chemistry I try to find ways to connect students with their Creator. That’s what brings me satisfaction. We all teach individual subjects like math, chemistry, or physics. But our bigger goal is to point people to Christ.”
“There are lots of things I like at Southwestern. I like the people and I like the small town. Most of all I like the mission focus of the school.”