Dear AWR Friend,
Greetings, friend! Kathy and I have had such exciting encounters recently with special people! Let me share some of them with you.
OUR “SECRET WEAPON”
Near the Tibetan border, next to Bhutan, is a little piece of India called Sikkim. We have a “secret weapon” there who works with special people in those areas—secretly delivering solar-powered “Godpod” listening devices to them, loaded with the Bible, biblical end-time messages, children’s stories and health talks.
Picture this: She pulls a wagon up a muddy mountain road (remember, this is at the foot of the Himalayas) to a secluded village where people eagerly wait to hear more about Jesus. This is in an area that if caught, she would spend many years in prison.
I asked her recently, “Doesn’t that scare you?”
With a bright smile, she responded, “Oh, no, I could share Bible promises from memory with the inmates! It would be a way of getting our last-day message to those in prison!”
What an amazing faith! And get this: Our secret weapon told me she has seven groups waiting to be baptized! When I heard this, I said to my wife, Kathy, “Praise the Lord that AWR can play such a vital part in this project!”
There’s nothing like being able to participate in life-changing soul-winning activities when it seems the whole world around us is getting worse and worse. Surely, it’s a sign that Jesus is coming soon!
A group from our AWR team is planning to meet and visit these seven new groups in an undisclosed location and participate in their baptism. I’ll be sure to keep you updated!
TWO AMAZING WOMEN
Last Sabbath, my wife and I were in Cleveland, North Dakota, for an Adventist World Radio Mission Sabbath. It’s a small church in a small community, but over the years, many denominational workers have come from this church. The most important one, of course, is my wife, Kathy, who grew up in the area.
After the sermon, a young mother with three children approached us and asked if I remembered her. I replied that no, I didn’t think so. Then she showed me her Bible. It had been signed by me more than 30 years ago when I was pastoring in Pendleton, Oregon! I had baptized Betsy when she was just 11 years old. As a young girl, she was so moved by the experience that she slept with the Bible under her pillow. Now she shared that she and her children love the AWR stories.
Then we met another amazing woman. She’s a 92-year-old saint named Olga, and a member of the Cleveland church praise team. That Sabbath she sang in a trio and her singing was incredible. She remembers and loves Kathy from when she attended church as a young girl, and when she saw Kathy, she couldn’t stop hugging her. But she also loves Adventist World Radio. She said that when she gets her AWR newsletter, she immediately photocopies it to share with friends and neighbors.** Her daughter told me that last week they ran out of ink and had to go buy another cartridge so they could photocopy more letters!
I say, praise God! He is the One working through AWR to give us amazing stories and testimonies to share! And I also praise God for people like Olga who are making a difference in the world.
And by the way, if you ever run out of ink on your copier, send us a note and we’ll send you extra copies of the monthly newsletter! You can also visit our website at awr.org and click on “About” then “Letters From the President.” They’re all there in date order and you can download them and forward them electronically. (We also share it in our email newsletter, which you can sign up for at awr.org/email.)
We never cease to be amazed at how God is using AWR to reach so many people in such unique ways! Let me share just a couple more stories of how God is using the power of radio to make a difference around the world.
KENYA — GOD REWARDS CATHERINE’S FAITH
While at General Conference Session in St. Louis last June, I visited with Catherine, the East Kenya Field communication director. She told me the most amazing story. About 13 years ago, in one large area of East Kenya, we only had one church. She asked Adventist World Radio to start a radio station there.
However, conference leadership was not convinced radio would work and refused to fund the project. Nevertheless, the station went ahead and we supported them. For the first few years, nothing much happened. But Catherine would not give up and persisted, unwilling to abandon the project. She believed the promise of Galatians 6:9, “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.”
And that is so true! Whenever we persist in sharing God’s Word, we can trust that God’s Spirit is at work!
Slowly, the listening audience grew more and more as the church members of that lone local church volunteered their time and aired AWR evangelistic programs they themselves presented!
People began calling the radio station, and soon a church was formed from the listening audience, and then another, and another. The conference took note and got excited about what was happening, so they agreed to fund the project.
Today, 13 years later, there are 24 new churches in that area as a direct result of God working through AWR radio programs! His Spirit rewarded the efforts of Catherine and the members of that church, touching the hearts of the listeners.
God works even if just a few praying people believe and move forward by faith. Radio is like evangelism: the only time it doesn’t work is when you don’t do it!
UGANDA — THE MUSLIM VISITORS
Our AWR station in Uganda had just finished the _Unlocking Bible Prophecies_ series and had aired the subject on the Second Coming when they received some unusual visitors at the station.
Three Muslim men came calling and asked to speak with the pastor, who is also the radio manager. They said, “We heard the message on the coming of Jesus, and feel great hope. To know that He lives and has promised to come back has given us a hope we’ve never felt before. We want to study what you believe and be baptized.”
These three men were recently baptized in secret to avoid hostility and the real possibility of death.
But there’s more! Recently an imam—a Muslim spiritual leader—came to the radio station. He also expressed joy at the news that Jesus is coming back soon, and he requested a Bible to study further. Our radio team in Uganda is working with him, and hope he will soon make a decision for baptism.
This was unheard of just a few years ago! It was almost impossible to reach the Muslim population—and much less an imam—but God’s Spirit is working like never before, because Jesus is coming soon!
MINDORO — ANOTHER UPDATE!
I just have to share part of a letter I received from Brigadier General Jose Augusto Villarreal, from Oriental Mindoro. Here are the highlights of this amazing letter:
On behalf of the officers and men of the 203rd Infantry Brigade, allow me to express my profound gratitude and thanks for the warm reception and attention you have bestowed upon our representatives to the Seventh-day Adventist 61st Quinquennial Conference [GC Session] this past June. We were overwhelmed with the great experience and information received by our representatives upon their return here to Headquarters.
Your kindness, generosity and passion to spread the word of God speaks well of you and your organization. You can rest assured that we will remain your partners in sustaining our collective endeavor of uplifting the lives of our brothers and sisters in Mindoro Island, Philippines, until harmony and peace are achieved.
Thru Jesus Christ our Salvation,
Bgen. Jose Augusto V. Villarreal PA
This week we received word from Pastor Robert Dulay, assistant director for the AWR Asia-Pacific Region, that the commander now would like all of his government soldiers to become Seventh-day Adventists. He’s requesting that an Adventist chapel be built on all the bases!
Of course, he understands that this is a personal decision and not mandatory, but it shows how God is removing prejudice and fear and opening doors and hearts wide to receive the message—because time is short and everyone must have an opportunity to make a decision.
We know we can’t do it alone—it has to be the work of the Holy Spirit. Our calling is to share the good news far and wide, to “Go . . . tell the people the full message of this new life” (Acts 5:20)—an eternal life that Jesus offers freely to all who come to Him. No wonder the Muslim men in Uganda were so excited—it is the best news EVER! Imagine hearing it for the first time!
Everyone who is willing has a part to play in sharing this message—and that includes you and me. I like the words of Paul when he said, “I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel . . . being confident that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 1:3-6)
Thank you for your partnership that blesses so many people and inspires all of us at AWR to continue this wonderful work. We are witnessing new and wondrous things we have never seen before, and it is only the beginning of what is in store as together we share with the world that Jesus is coming soon!