We were on the Amazon River and had just arrived at the most inland port in the world: Iquitos. The purpose of our trip was to invite thousands of people to accept Jesus and be baptized—and many were responding!
I said to my wife, Kathy, “What a time to be alive!” God is calling people through the proclamation of His Word to decisions for baptism. That’s Broadcast to Baptism!
This particular area of the Amazon River is where large pink freshwater dolphins live. On this trip, I also had the opportunity to experience what it feels like to have a very large and very long anaconda draped around my neck! It was approximately 20 feet long and weighed 500 pounds! Only with help was I able to hold the “largest snake in the Western Hemisphere, and the heaviest in the world.”
But then we saw something bigger than an anaconda: military gunships. I asked what they were doing in such a remote area of the Amazon jungle. I was told it was a military coalition between the United States DEA and the Brazilian and Peruvian militaries.
These three countries were working together, looking for drug cartels who were attempting to transport drugs from the high mountains in Colombia down to the Amazon River to then carry out to sea. From there, the drugs would be taken all over the world where people’s lives would be destroyed.
The Little Boat That Could
You may ask, “What does this story from the Amazon have to do with Adventist World Radio?” Let me explain.
In those same drug-infested, cartel-controlled mountains of Colombia live many different tribal groups who don’t know about Jesus—approximately 40,000 unreached people! The local conference sent Pastor Araldo to the area to see what he could do about raising a church. Adventist World Radio partnered with him and the local conference to start broadcasting on the local radio station every day.
These communities are only accessible by plane or boat, so we decided to purchase a lightweight motorboat capable of carrying 12-15 people. It was purchased in Brazil then transported more than 800 miles along a winding river to its current destination on a tributary of the Amazon River in Colombia.
During the trip, the boat had to be taken out of the river more than 50 times due to dangerous rapids or shallow water. Whenever this happened, it was carried by hand through the jungles, until finally, this past August, the boat coasted along the Vaupés River to the town of Mitú in Colombia, the final destination on its first long trip.
What was so important about this boat? It was loaded with Godpods! The little boat then began to travel the river—visiting indigenous villages. Pastor Araldo, with a small team of health workers, began ministering to the people, treating the sick, and offering children’s programs and Bible studies to all who were interested.
So far, the results have been amazing. The radio program is reaching these remote villages, and the little boat that was so sacrificially transported hundreds of miles is allowing us to reach the people and minister personally to their needs.
Just recently, 16 people were baptized—including a physician from the team who became convicted of the truth when he listened to AWR’s Unlocking Bible Prophecies series!
And there’s always a special miracle whenever we share the gospel through the airwaves: several of those baptized are from two particular villages where they should not have been able to pick up a radio signal—but they did!
A Miraculous Recovery
One of those baptized was Fustino. He was from one of the remote villages, but he needed emergency surgery and had been taken to the nearest hospital in a larger town. Three of his toes needed amputation, but after the surgery, he wasn’t improving and couldn’t walk. He spent his days in the hospital in complete boredom—until one day he discovered Adventist World Radio!
He loved the programs so much that he called the station and requested prayer. The next day, the pastor and an Adventist young man came to visit Fustino and began giving him Bible studies. His health improved dramatically almost immediately! Within a few weeks, he was walking unassisted! And a few weeks later, he was baptized.
When it was time to return to his village, he told the pastor he wanted to share with his village what he had heard about Jesus, and requested Bibles and Bible study booklets. There is no cell phone signal in his village and no way to contact Fustino, but we are praying for him and know that he is not alone—God’s Spirit is working with him. Pastor Araldo plans to see Fustino again when he returns for a medical follow-up.
More Precious Than Gold
In one of the villages along the river lives a mother and her son. When the AWR radio programs began, they were thrilled by what they heard and never missed the programs. One night they heard that if they came to the town of Mitú, they could get a Bible of their own, along with a set of Bible studies.
When he heard this, the young boy turned to his mother and cried, “Mom, let’s go!” They got into their homemade canoe and made their way to Mitú. Pastor Araldo said that when he personally gave them their Bible, you would have thought they’d received a gift worth thousands of dollars, more precious than gold! Now they are studying the Bible and plan to be baptized soon.
“Onward, Ever Onward”
Everywhere we go, every effort made to share God’s Word is rewarded with souls for God’s Kingdom. That’s God’s promise! What a privilege to know that you and I are partnering with God in the salvation of others.
This is just “the tip of the iceberg” of what God is doing through the ministry of Adventist World Radio. Many things are happening in the world to distract our attention, but God reminds us through His Inspired Pen to keep on task:
“Our General, who never makes a mistake, says to us: ‘Advance. Enter new territory. Lift up the standard in every land. Our watchword is to be, Onward, ever onward. The angels of God will go before us to prepare the way. Our burden for the “regions beyond” can never be laid down until the whole earth shall be lightened with the glory of the Lord.’” (Christian Experience and Teachings, p. 223)
That is my prayer and our Blessed Hope.
By Duane McKey