Christmas in Japan – AWR Inspirations Dec 2017

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December 2017

Dear AWR Friend,

Earlier this month, I was in Tokyo, Japan, and Christmas lights and decorations were everywhere. People on the streets were in a festive mood, greeting each other and saying, “Merry Christmas!” I found this very exciting coming from Japanese people who are from a decidedly non-Christian culture. I wish I could speak their language and tell them the story of Jesus!

photo of Japan

Christmas is a popular holiday in Japan, but who will tell the people there about the “Reason” for the season?

There is something powerful about Christmas, because it’s a story about giving. God gave the costliest gift ever in the giving of His son, and even when Christmas is not fully understood, people are drawn to a God of such love.

“For God so loved … that He gave,” is the spirit of heaven—the essence of the gospel!

In the spirit of giving, we at Adventist World Radio want to give back to you and to all who have so generously supported our radio outreach throughout the year, by sharing three amazing stories of how your giving this year made a direct difference in someone’s life, bringing hope and salvation.

I never tire of saying that when we do our part, however feeble our efforts may seem, God often says, “I’ll take it from here.” Like the loaves and the fishes, He does something far beyond anything we could have imagined, and these stories prove it.

Read on …

The greatest story ever told:

“For unto us a child is born,
a son is given…”

The radio that could

photo of Umesh

Umesh Pokharel shares Good News with the people of Nepal.

Nepal has some of the most mountainous terrain in the world. That’s a problem, because radio waves travel in a straight line and can’t scale mountains. That’s why when a group of 30 people showed up one day at our humble radio studio to meet the speaker and learn more about the Bible, our technician was amazed.

The people said they had been listening to our radio programs—but that was impossible! These people had traveled over three mountain ranges to reach our studio. There was no way the radio waves could have reached them—but they had! God had literally moved mountains—or radio waves—so that this mountain village could hear the gospel story and learn about Jesus.

The island on the lake

A group of believers in southern Uganda contacted AWR to request help in setting up a low-power radio station. It would cover only 30 kilometers, but they wanted to do something for Jesus, so we provided the equipment and helped set up the station.

They began transmitting, and had been faithfully sharing Bible truths for about three months, when something amazing happened. The radio station was situated in Jinja, a town on the shores of Lake Victoria, and unbeknownst to our brethren, there was a small island in the middle of that vast lake. The people living there were primitive in their beliefs, steeped in animism and ancestral worship. The concept of a loving God—a Savior who died for them and is coming back—had never entered their minds. But one man began tuning in to AWR Maranatha Jinja FM.

God’s Spirit began working on his heart, and he recognized the truth when he heard it. That’s what God’s Spirit does. We are not working alone when we share the gospel, because God’s Spirit is convicting the hearts of listeners. This man became very excited and began to tell others on the island about the amazing new truths he was hearing. They began to listen and soon agreed that this was truth. One day, they heard a message about baptism, and they agreed that they must all be baptized. But how could they do it?

They decided that one of the villagers must row to land and find the radio station. So the man who had first heard the program volunteered to go. He rowed to shore and started searching the city of Jinja for the Adventist radio station. And he found it!

Imagine our surprise when he appeared at our station and said, “We have been listening to the radio programs and have found the truth in what you say. There are 15 of us on the island who want to be baptized.”

Soon after, a pastor was sent to the island, and today we have an Adventist group on the island. Praise God!

The kingdom of 10 villages

This story began four years ago, and we have shared parts of it, but here is “the rest of the story.”

Nigeria has seen a lot of conflict and religious persecution—from the burning of churches, to Boko Haram attacks in the north. But in the south, the old tradition of “kingdom structure” remains.

In one of those kingdoms, comprised of 10 villages, someone began listening to our AWR broadcast in the Hausa language, and soon became convinced that this was the truth. He shared it with his family, and before long, 40 people from his village were gathering to listen and discuss what they learned. After a while, they became convinced about the Sabbath and the need to be baptized. But who could they go to? They knew nothing about our church organization and only knew the “Seventh-day radio church.”

photo of believers, in Nigeria

Believers from one of the 10 villages gather for a photo.

So one of the young men decided to go find this radio church. As providence would have it, when he arrived in the capital city of Jalingo and asked for the Seventh-day radio church, he was directed to one of our churches, and the first person he met was the brother of the union president!

He shared his story and his village’s need for someone to visit and baptize them. The brother promised to speak to the church leaders and have someone visit them. So with that promise, the young man returned to his village to await their arrival.

Meanwhile, the union president was informed by his brother of what had transpired, and that 40 people were awaiting baptism. He couldn’t believe it and said, “This I’ve got to see for myself!” So he and the union treasurer set out for the village to investigate. It was so remotely situated that they had to first take a bus, and then another, and then motorbikes as far as they would go, and finally, they had to walk. But they found the place!

To their great surprise, the people were waiting for them—and had even built a rudimentary church structure! The president and the treasurer spent a wonderful Sabbath with the people, and as they were heading back home, the president said, “This was the best Sabbath I’ve had in a long time!” And then he had an insight: “We just spent a lot of money on evangelism and baptized 20 people, but here we spent nothing and 40 are ready. We have to use our evangelism budget to support AWR!”

This happened four years ago, and now, here is the “rest of the story”: when the king of these 10 villages learned what was happening in one of his villages, he decided to investigate this new truth for himself. After hearing the story of Jesus and how He died to save the human race, the king said, “I want this truth to be heard in all 10 of my villages!”

Today, all 10 villages are Seventh-day Adventists! That’s the power of Adventist World Radio being used by God to reach the unreached in the world.

There are many more stories like these, and as we near the second coming of Jesus, more and more miracles will take place as God’s Spirit moves in people’s hearts.

There may be turmoil in the socio-political world, upheaval in nature, wars and rumors of wars, and even unrest inside our own church, but we must keep shining the light of God’s truth as a beacon, never wavering in our calling, until the whole world is lighted with God’s truth and every heart has a chance to make a decision for Jesus.

Ellen White wrote in the book Evangelism: “Evangelistic work, opening the Scriptures to others, warning men and women of what is coming upon the world is to occupy more and still more of the time of God’s servants” (page 17).

This month, we remember the greatest Gift ever given to mankind. We can never top that Gift, but the greatest gift we can give our fellow men and women is to share with them what is coming upon the world and the good news that Jesus is coming again!

Thank you for helping us share the story of Jesus, for making these stories possible, for your prayers that encourage and bless, and for your support that changes lives.

We face exciting opportunities for 2018 as God is opening doors to share the gospel in even more amazing ways! Thank you for partnering with us in this adventure of faith. Working together, we can make a real difference for the kingdom of heaven.

Yours in the Blessed Hope,


Duane McKey

Duane McKey



“And He shall save his people from their sins.”

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