Rose Sanzone had questions — lots of questions. Even as a young child, she pestered people with a constant question, “But why?” She asked this so frequently that it became her nickname!
Growing up in an Italian-American Catholic family, she remembers watching the movie, The Ten Commandments, when she was in the first grade. She also remembers asking her mother, “But why are Moses’ Ten Commandments different than ours?” Her mom didn’t have the answer, and Rose says that’s when she began questioning church doctrines.
Another important moment in her life came just before her mother passed away. “I was 13 years old and I remember seeing my mother reading a King James Version Bible which a Baptist friend had given her,” she recounts. “My mother made a statement which I’ve never forgotten. She said, ‘RoseMarie, learn your history and learn it well — for the past shall tell the future!’?” Those words stuck with her because Rose always loved history — especially ancient history, although she admits that for many years she never really read the Bible.
As she was growing up, another question plagued her. “If God is so loving,” she would ask, “then why does He burn people in hell forever and ever?”
In her search for answers, Rose began attending many different services, including Mormon, Baptist, Lutheran, and Methodist churches. She says she soon became discouraged and quit attending church altogether.
Then Rose enlisted in the Air Force, and after four years, she started attending college in Idaho. “I must have had ten Seventh-day Adventist friends over the next 20 years,” she says. “I think it was Divine intervention that kept them from sharing the Sabbath with me, since I would not have readily accepted it at that time,” she adds. “It’s funny, but I never asked the ‘But why?’ question about the Fourth Commandment.”
In God’s timing, Rose and her father moved to Jacksonville, Florida, and while settling into their new home, she plugged in their TV and pressed the scan button to search out the available channels. When it came to channel 65, her TV stopped, but the picture was so snowy she just eliminated it. But God had other plans.
“Our part of Florida is known for its many electrical storms, which cause loss of power,” she told me. “It seemed like each time we had a storm, I had to reprogram the TV!”
One day her patience wore thin as she hit the wrong button on her remote control, and her TV started scanning all 100-plus channels. But when it stopped, you guessed it — it stopped on 3ABN’s station: channel 65 (now channel 50), and the picture came in as clear as a bell! What Rose saw was a cooking program with Curtis and Paula Eakins. This caught her eye, as she had been a vegan vegetarian most of her life, never liking the taste of animal products. She began enjoying 3ABN a couple of hours each day until gradually it was the only channel she watched!
“At this point I was watching a total of seven evangelists on 3ABN,” she says. “It was like watching the Jeopardy game show. Because of my deep interest in ancient history, I knew the answers almost before the questions were asked!”
Soon she decided to contact a local Seventh-day Adventist church, but after not having much success with her phone book, she called 3ABN and asked our Pastoral Ministries department to give her the names of all the local pastors in Jacksonville! Finally she reached Pastor Mike Miller of the Jacksonville First Seventh-day Adventist church, and he began giving her and her father Bible studies.
Now the Holy Spirit was really working on her heart. “One day I was watching Pastor Shawn Boonstra of It Is Written, and he was preaching a Revelation series,” she recalls. “When he made an appeal I remember responding to it by standing in front of my TV and giving my life to Jesus! But then I wondered, ‘What do I do now?’”
She didn’t have long to wonder. The next afternoon Pastor Miller came over as usual to give them their last Bible study. Much to his surprise Rose blurted out, “I have to be baptized this Saturday!”
On November 16, 2002, Rose buried her old life in the baptismal waters, and her father joined the Seventh-day Adventist church by profession of faith. How happy they felt that day! Rose finally found the answers to the “But why?” questions she had asked all her life, and in spite of her multiple sclerosis, which has caused her to become legally blind, Rose is happy and active in sharing her love for Jesus!
Rose’s story reminds me of the text in the Bible which says, “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.” (Matthew 7:7, 8 NKJV.) 3ABN exists so people everywhere can find answers to their “But why?” questions. Got any?