Dear AWR Friend,
The Lord has done it again.
Let me take you back a few years. It was in 1999 when the highest wind speed was ever recorded—and I bet you won’t guess where . . . in a tornado near our family farm in Bridge Creek, Oklahoma!
Needless to say, I know about tornadoes. Growing up on the farm, tornado warnings were a frequent occurrence. I remember as a young boy, when the warnings came in the middle of the night, my mom would make me get up and get dressed—because how terrible would it be if I was blown away and wasn’t dressed?
I’ve shared some of our tornado stories before, but let me share one more. My wife, Kathy, and I were missionaries in Africa when my mother wrote to us about the following experience. She had just finished milking the cows and had gone out on the porch . . . when she looked toward the west and saw a tornado coming right at her! The sky had turned black, and the wind was blowing, moving the funnel at a fast pace.
It scared her because she knew what tornadoes could do. But in that moment of fear, her mind turned to God. She raised her arms to heaven with confidence and prayed that God would stop the tornado or turn it in another direction.
When she opened her eyes, the wind had stopped—and the tornado had changed direction!
I was impressed with my mother’s experience, and it came right on the heels of another one we’d just had in eastern Congo (Zaire at the time). I was the union secretary, and we were at a camp meeting near Goma. It was Sabbath morning and thousands of people were gathered along the mountainside worshipping together.
Suddenly, the wind picked up, and when we looked to the northwest, we saw dark, menacing clouds fast approaching! Big drops of rain began to fall, and lightning streaked across the sky. Right away, I knew this would ruin the camp meeting for the whole day. My only thought was that people needed to run for shelter!
To my surprise, the people said, “No, we’re staying. Let’s kneel to pray.”
I thought to myself, Really? I don’t think this is going to work. The storm is upon us!
Well, shame on me! As we prayed, the wind stopped and shifted, and the huge storm clouds moved off in another direction!
Now it’s happened again. Let me explain.
Last month I shared an update from Guam, and how our radio towers survived Typhoon Mawar, which ravaged the island this past May. We knew it could have been much worse, but it was only after the storm passed that we fully understood how God had protected His towers and answered our prayers. News outlets described what happened as the storm approached the island:
“In a stroke of luck, an eyewall replacement cycle occurred overnight, hours before the super typhoon was due to reach Guam . . . consequently, the storm’s intensity weakened temporarily . . . Mawar’s winds dropped as the typhoon brushed the northern edge of Guam.” (The Guardian, May 26, 2023)
Yes, it could have been so much worse! But at the time, our team battling the storm didn’t know it, and despite some damage, the towers stood firm. We praise God for His mercy and protection. “From what dangers, seen and unseen, we have been preserved through the interposition of the angels, we shall never know, until in the light of eternity we see the providences of God.” (Desire of Ages, p. 240)
UPDATING THE TOWERS
I also shared how this happened right as we were preparing to update and replace the towers. In the last 50 years, they have rusted and are in danger of becoming unstable in a storm such as this. Last month, we were able to replace the first tower with a brand-new “steel preacher,” and we named it Freedom Tower, because the installation was completed on July 4, a day that represents freedom. God’s truth shared freely through the airwaves can truly set people free!
THE FAITHFUL WITNESS
For the installation process, we had two experts travel to Guam from South Africa to direct the project. This took several days to complete, and as the two men interacted with our team, they felt impressed by what they saw. When Sabbath came, they worshipped together with our AWR team. When they heard the story of Kim, a young woman from North Korea who came to know the truth through the very tower they were replacing, and who later lost her life when she was captured (see letter from February 2018), they understood they weren’t just setting up steel and wires, but helping to reach countries with the gospel message—countries that otherwise would have no knowledge of the truth and salvation.
After the service, these two engineers confessed they now felt convicted about the Sabbath. One of them said, “From now on, I have decided to keep the Sabbath. This truth is so clear to me now.”
Yes, our towers continue to faithfully witness to all who come into contact with them—even when they’re not transmitting!
Just now, as I finished writing the Guam update, I received a call from Kyle Allen, one of our AWR vice presidents, who is on the island helping out with the towers project. He shared the following:
This morning we were supposed to take down the second tower for replacement. The crane needed for the job is very high, over 300 feet at its full height. If the wind blows more than 6 mph, it’s too dangerous to operate.
Yesterday and today, there was quite a lot of wind and the engineers were getting worried because the crane rental is very expensive, and waiting for the wind to die down could take days. Everything had come to a standstill, and we knew the wind could go on for days. So we got together and prayed, asking God to detain the winds until we could take down the old tower. Ten minutes later, the wind died down, and we were able to bring the tower down! It was like God opened a window.
Kyle ended by saying: We’ve seen this kind of thing happen during different points in the process. The weather has been a challenge, but God always makes a way. And the biggest answer to prayer is that even though this is dangerous work, everyone is safe.
Isn’t God amazing? He turns away tornadoes and controls the winds. The same Jesus who said, “Peace be still,” when He was here on earth, is still saying it today. He always makes a way when we call on Him.
SNAPSHOTS FROM CHRIST FOR EUROPE
During the last few months, we’ve been reporting on Christ for Europe, the largest evangelistic event ever attempted in Europe by our church. What began with hesitation and doubts by many who thought evangelism in Europe wouldn’t work has turned to enthusiasm and plans for “round two” this fall, followed by another similar event in the spring of 2024.
The meetings have revived our churches in Europe, and our members are on fire to continue the work. Europe is not known for massive evangelistic meetings with thousands of baptisms like in other parts of the world, but when a large number of churches working together unite their efforts, it creates a synergy that spreads quickly, energizing everyone. That’s what happened throughout Europe during these meetings. There were more than 1,500 preaching sites, comprising three divisions and 30 unions, and the impact was enormous.
Reports are still coming in, but every site generated results and sparked an interest in spiritual things. Some locations had many baptisms, others had just a few, but God’s Word never returns empty, and the ripple effects continue to be felt. People are hungry for answers to the problems in this world, and they sense something big is coming. We know what that is—the Second Coming of Jesus! They’re seeking for truth, and God’s Word has the answer.
Let me share just a few of the countries and the number of sites where our prophetic truths were presented. You’ll be surprised by some of these places, but we have brothers and sisters in the farthest and sometimes most unexpected corners of the world—and they share our faith and our hope in Jesus.
Here are some of the many highlights from this massive event:
Our brethren in Russia asked to be included. They’re not part of Europe, but they, too, need hope and wanted to unite in proclaiming that Jesus is coming soon.
Our members in the “Stan” countries that we’ve been praying for (Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan), also joined in! They’re part of Asia, but felt God was calling them to be a part of this endeavor.
In Ireland, a Pentecostal pastor closed his church so he and his congregation could attend the meetings.
General Conference President Ted Wilson held meetings in Prague, known as one of the most atheistic cities in the world. But God’s Spirit was at work, and he preached to a packed house. Many people responded to the call to give their hearts to Jesus.
In Geneva, Switzerland, the church was so full they had to add chairs along the side walls. AWR evangelist Murrell Tull said, “The church was warm and loving, and 10 people are ready for baptism.”
In England, 150 cellphone evangelists were trained by our AWR staff, and 89 baptisms were reported, with 75 more expected in the fall meetings. This is an incredible figure for this region! (Plus one church even got to promote their meetings at an official Coronation celebration.)
In Vienna, the meetings were held in a 60-member church—and 15 visitors showed up! At the end of the series, two young ladies were baptized and seven people requested baptism. The pastor plans a follow-up Bible study class.
Forty pastors from America held meetings throughout Spain with amazing results. Spain was one of the countries that initially didn’t join this event, but by the time the meetings were over, their enthusiasm was contagious and more than 400 people had responded to altar calls to accept Jesus through baptism.
The group of seminary students from Andrews University who were originally scheduled to preach in Ukraine, but were unable to do so, had an amazing, life-changing experience in Zambia. They each got to hold their own evangelistic series—many for the first time—with a combined baptism total of 1,335 precious souls!
Ukraine reported 439 baptisms. Many of the meetings were held amid the sounds of battle and sirens warning of impending attacks. What really matters—the things of eternal value—become so clear when we’re faced with daily peril.
Many reports are still coming in from all the preaching sites, and I’ll share them as we receive them.
Ellen White wrote many years ago: “There is a great work to be done in Europe. All heaven takes an interest . . . Angels of God are moving upon the minds of people, and preparing them to receive the warning.” (Evangelism, p. 408)
We have nothing to fear when we move forward as God has commanded, to share His Word even in the difficult places. God has promised His Spirit will go before us, opening doors and hearts to receive the message.
Yes, it’s an amazing miracle when God can control the winds and the storms of life, but the greatest miracle is a transformed heart.
This month I shared two of the biggest projects we’ve taken on this year—a much-needed updating of our Guam towers, and Christ for Europe. We didn’t know where the funding would come from, but we moved forward by faith, and God has been opening doors! Thank you for your generous support that is making such a profound difference. The ripple effects are like the loaves and the fishes, multiplying a million times around the world. It is only as we work together and share this precious message that miracles happen and lives are changed for eternity.