Stories

In Their Own Words

A Mission Field Right at Home

“Call the Christians, they will help us.”

An amazing AWR story – but one that didn’t take place in a foreign land. It’s true that it has Buddhists and Hindus in the storyline. It has people from the Karen tribe in Thailand, and Vietnamese and Nepalese born in Bhutan, but these exciting events took place right here in the United States

The spark of service involving these magnificent events began in the hearts of Fabian Reid and Brian Jobe. They are members of the Greensboro Seventh-day Adventist Church in North Carolina, and they have a burning desire to win souls for Christ. Through their efforts and a working partnership with Adventist World Radio, three church fellowships have been started over the last few years.

Some time ago, a number of Vietnamese families moved to Greensboro. They were soon followed by many Karen families who had spent years in refugee camps located in Thailand. Reid and Jobe – our warriors for the Lord in this story – spoke neither Vietnamese nor Thai, but that didn’t deter them. They soon discovered that AWR had Bible-based programs available in both languages, which were perfect for these groups of people.

I spent time a few weeks ago speaking with Naygay, who was one of the first of the Karen people to give her heart to God. To break with the Buddhists was no easy matter. Beyond that, the bonds of family are tight: the people from her country function as a united family unit, and in many cases several generations live in the same home.

This did not stop Naygay once she heard the voice of God calling her. She played the AWR programs, and the rest of her family, including her husband, listened to them. To date, everyone in the family has become Adventist, except one. I’m sure it is only a matter of time. The Karen congregation is continually growing, as is the Vietnamese fellowship.

More recently, the United States government relocated a population of Nepali-speaking people to Greensboro. These poor people spent 20 years in a refugee camp in Nepal after being kicked out of their home country of Bhutan.

Although Reid and Jobe had various materials, besides the AWR programs, to help them when working with the other two people groups, they had absolutely nothing for the Nepal refugees and did not speak a word of their language either. This presented a major problem, but they knew God would help them.

They again went to the AWR website and were thrilled to discover programs in the language of these displaced people. They downloaded the episodes and started to play them at every opportunity … which came many times each day. You see, Reid and Jobe had volunteered to be the shuttle service for all of these people’s needs, which were many.

Word spread rapidly: “Call the Christians, they will help.” Can you imagine being the only transportation for an entire community? Reid confided to me, “So many times we were driven to our knees, not knowing what to do.”

According to Jobe, “We had a captive audience, because some trips took four hours one way. Our friends listened to God’s Advent message the entire time!” Two years of hard work has paid off. They now have 60 people attending church on a weekly basis.

Jesus’ methods have proven highly successful in Greensboro. Ellen White writes, in Ministry of Healing, “Christ’s method alone will give true success in reaching the people. The Savior mingled with men as one who desired their good. He showed His sympathy for them, ministered to their needs, and won their confidence. Then He bade them, ‘Follow Me’.”

Although every new believer has a testimony, these folks are very shy about sharing, but I finally had some success.

Lidia has a husband who drinks excessively, which became a tremendous burden to her – so much of a burden that she took poison to die. Reid said, “The Lord orchestrated our every move that day so we would arrive at her home just in time. We found her lying on the floor with foam all over her face and lips. I grabbed her up in my arms, ran to the truck, and put her inside, not knowing if she was even alive. I have never gone across town hitting every green light … until that night!”

Lidia was alive, but it took time for her to recover. While in the hospital, Reid and Jobe gave her an iPod with the Bible and AWR programs on it. She loved them! By the end of her stay, she wanted to be a Seventh-day Adventist.

The silent story behind the scenes is that Lidia had become a Christian and member of another denomination about two years earlier, and that church said the Adventists were not to be believed. But while in the hospital, not one leader of that church visited her. Word traveled among the members, and soon 18 people from Lidia’s former church decided to join her new commitment to the Adventist church.

Lidia is still praying for her husband, but now she is anchored in the Lord and receives fresh strength from the Holy Spirit daily.

I was told that a 12-year-old girl named Biswa, from a Hindu family, had decided to follow Christ. She had been listening to AWR messages and was convinced that the ways of her Hindu family were not right. It was an almost impossible choice to make in such a family, but God is an incredible worker of miracles: the family said it was all right for her to join God’s family.

The story gets better. Just prior to writing this article, I went to Biswa’s home to meet her and take a few photos so you could meet her too. At the door, I was greeted by a family member and then her father, whose name is Nar. I asked Biswa a few questions and then began to talk to her father. I eventually asked him what he thought of his daughter’s choice. He said, “I like her decision; I think I am going to join the church also.” I then asked him, “What will your wife think?” His response thrilled me even more: “I think she is going to join also.”

It seems they had been enjoying the AWR messages along with Biswa. God had reached into the hearts of these Hindus because of a 12-year-old girl’s commitment to her Lord.

I hope you realize that your financial partnership with AWR has made today’s story possible. Thank you so very much for your gifts of love.

Mother and child listening to radio in front of simple home.

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