This is the big question that Adventist Hope Radio (an Adventist World Radio station in England) manager, Pastor Michael Simpson, recently found the answer to. And the answer brought tears to his eyes.
It all started on a Sabbath afternoon. Pastor Simpson received a message from a man named Robert through the Adventist Hope Radio live chat. Robert had been listening to Adventist Hope Radio for two years. His message simply said:
“Thank you. I would like details of how to join your church please?”
When Pastor Simpson contacted Robert, it just happened to be his birthday—his 73rd. Robert was moved that a response to his request would come on his birthday. He felt it was no accident and was very touched.
Pastor Simpson soon had the opportunity to visit Robert, who lives in Skegness, in the northernmost point of England, very close to the Scottish border. Skegness is a three-hour drive from Birmingham, where the Adventist Hope Radio station is based.
Pastor Simpson said, “My first impression of Robert was: Here’s a man who has seen and experienced much in his life. I did not sense any regret; instead, I felt an overwhelming sense of one who had experienced God’s touch of grace and forgiveness—one who was extremely appreciative of God’s very presence in his life.”
Pastor Simpson soon learned that Robert had served in the military. He was a very high-ranking official, perhaps in the SAS, a very specialized elite division of the British army. SAS special mission tasks are usually top secret.
Pastor Simpson came to this conclusion after he was given strict protocols to follow during his visit. All photos and other types of recordings were strictly forbidden. The only permissible depiction of Robert was the work of a UK artist who had recently drawn a portrait of him.
Pastor Simpson also discovered that Robert was blind—a possible injury he may have sustained during one of his special missions.
Then Pastor Simpson asked Robert the big question: “How did you, being blind, find Adventist Hope Radio?”
It turns out that while Robert was at home, he asked his Alexa device to find him a station to listen to. Alexa immediately tuned to a station that was broadcasting a sermon. After listening for a while, Robert asked Alexa what station he was listening to. Alexa told Robert it was Adventist Hope Radio. Robert enjoyed listening to the station, and after two years of listening to a variety of sermons and presentations, informed Pastor Simpson, with the usual British soft-spoken mannerism: “I agree with what your church presents and would like to join, if I may?”
Robert has since started a small Bible study group with sighted individuals, and is now attending his nearest Seventh-day Adventist Church, where he was recently baptized.
To answer the question from the beginning of this article: A donkey, a whale and Alexa were all instruments used by God to reach people. God is able to use anything or anyone—even stones—from His vast bouquet of methods in an effort to turn people from all backgrounds in His direction.
Balaam’s donkey, the whale that swallowed Jonah, and Alexa—the artificial intelligence device that tuned to Adventist Hope Radio for Robert—are striking examples. This is another powerful instrument that is being used daily by God to turn many people to Himself—the Light of Hope.
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By Ray Allen