Dear AWR Friend,
The year was about 1978. My wife Kathy and I were missionaries in the Congo—Zaire then—and we lived in Lubumbashi. I had traveled to the capital city of Kinshasa for a large Christian convocation where thousands were gathered. I will never forget the speaker. He gave a powerful sermon and said, “Many years ago, missionaries came from America and Europe, and they brought the good news of Jesus to Africa, but one day, someday, somehow, missionaries from Africa will go to Europe and America and take the good news of Jesus to these lands.”
I thought to myself, Oh my, will that ever happen? It seemed so far-fetched back then. How was that even possible?
Well, it’s happening! As God’s Spirit moves across the world, we are seeing people not just from Africa, but from every corner of the world coming forward and saying, “Here I am, send me!”
Just about every day I’m reminded of Habakkuk 1:5: “Look at the nations and watch, and be utterly amazed, for I am going to do something in your day that you would not believe, even if you were told.”
Let me share with you some of those “utterly amazing” things taking place right now that we almost “would not believe”:
CHRIST FOR EUROPE
Already, more than 40 European countries have signed up for this widespread evangelistic event this coming May. And people from all over the world are volunteering to preach. This includes not only those in America, but in places like South America, Australia, India, Japan, Europe, South Korea—and yes, Africa!
And was the above title Christ for Europe a misprint? No! Our churches in Europe requested the change from Europe for Christ to Christ for Europe. They said, “Europe desperately needs Christ!” Please continue to pray for this historic event.
I said to Kathy this morning, “What a time to be alive!” Because I just received a phone call from Eddie Canales, our AWR director for the Americas. He shared the following news: We just purchased a radio station right outside Bogotá, Colombia. Its coverage is not supposed to include the capital city with its more than 7 million people—but for some reason, it is! We’ve been broadcasting for just a few weeks, and already 130,000 people have contacted us wanting more information along with our app, and 37,000 have requested Bible studies!This is absolutely unheard of—until now.
The ripple effects continue from the miracles in Mindoro. If you’ve been following the Mindoro project from its inception six years ago, you’ll recall that it all began when we brought a group of Japanese pastors to Mindoro who’d never preached an evangelistic series. Mindoro would be their “practice ground” before returning to Japan and taking with them the enthusiasm of successfully completing a series. To help them succeed, I suggested we prepare the way with radio broadcasts, but I was assured this would not work as it had been tried before on the island. But since I’d requested it, they went ahead anyway. And sure enough, it didn’t work . . . that is, until Pastor Robert Dulay had the idea of the “Question of the Day.” It consisted of a question being asked on air about the prior day’s broadcast. The first 10 people to call in to the station and answer correctly would receive a gift delivered to their home. That’s when the radio broadcasts took off, and people were competing for the prizes—and listening to the messages!
The rest is history, and you know the story well. But as I revisited this amazing outcome, I thought about the fact that AWR has more than 1,800 radio stations around the world—and growing. What if we were to do this in all of our stations, and offer a copy of The Great Controversy as a gift? We would be working with the General Conference on this project, and imagine how much we could accomplish if we worked together! It could lead to small groups studying in homes all around the world. This is a huge undertaking, and we’re working on it, so please pray for this project.
Just as I finished writing the above, I received some amazing news from Pastor Tim Saxton, our AWR coordinator for Asia. He said that the leadership of the South Philippine Union Conference just made a decision that all Adventist radio stations on Mindanao should become AWR stations!
A broadcasters’ summit was organized throughout the island of Mindanao in partnership with AWR Philippines. It was attended by communication directors, active broadcasters, station managers and administrators from different missions and conferences of the union, and 26 active radio stations were represented. The purpose of the program was to welcome these 26 “new” stations to Adventist World Radio!
Isn’t God amazing? And just in time for our Mindanao project. This is no coincidence—it’s God opening doors for the preaching of His message! I can’t wait to see what God will do next!
ISRAEL AND THE WEST BANK
I’ve saved a very special news for last, because right now I’m in Israel, and what I’m about to tell you is sure to “utterly amaze” you. Something new and amazing has been happening among sincere Muslim Arabs.
As you know, we have just opened a radio station in Nazareth, Israel, to reach the Arab world. Pastor Wisam Ali is spearheading this project, and he shared with me that most of those who are reaching out to him for more information about Jesus and Christianity say they’ve had visions and dreams where they see Jesus calling them. Let me share just a few of their stories:
FATIMA HAS A DREAM
Fatima* is a 23-year-old woman from a prominent Muslim family who lives in the West Bank. Not long ago, she met a man who told her he had the truth about God. That made Fatima wonder, “What is the truth?”
That night, she had a dream. She was in a desert and very thirsty. Up ahead, she saw a mosque, but when she approached, they refused to give her water. Then she saw another building. A man was inside, and he was calling her, saying, “Come to Me. I have the water that you seek.” She saw a light in the building around Him, and she heard him say, “I am the Living Water. Follow Me.” She woke up with a start, wondering about its meaning. But the next night, she had the same dream.
Now, you have to understand that these phrases are familiar to us, but were unknown to Fatima. She wanted to know what or who the “Living Water” was, and who was asking that she follow Him. She searched the internet and asked Muslims and Christians alike, and learned that the Living Water was used to refer to Jesus. Then, by a miracle of providence, she contacted a Christian pastor in America—who just happened to be Adventist—and he put her in contact with Pastor Wisam, who in turn began giving her Bible studies!
A transformation took place in Fatima’s heart, and two weeks ago, against seemingly insurmountable odds, Fatima was baptized. That’s a brave thing to do in that part of the world, so please pray for her. Her family has tried to arrange a marriage for her, but she won’t marry an unbeliever. Recently, her father began reading the Bible and she has started asking him questions, which inevitably leads to a Bible study. Nothing is impossible for God, and we pray for more miracles in her life!
* Name changed for security reasons.
Pastor Wisam contracted with a woman to translate my AWR’s Earth’s Final Countdown sermons into Arabic. To better understand what she was translating, she decided to first listen to all my presentations. As she listened more and more, she began having visions night after night, where she saw Jesus calling her to follow Him. She was very confused and hesitant at first, and finally approached Wisam and said, “Listen, I keep having these visions where Jesus says, ‘Come and follow Me.’ How can I come to Him? How do I follow Him?”
Wisam gave her a Bible in Arabic, and she began to read and compare the texts with the presentations she was translating. By the time she finished translating the series, she wanted to be baptized. And the best part is, I will have the privilege of baptizing her in the Jordan River tomorrow! Isn’t God amazing?
THE CLEANING LADY
When we inaugurated the AWR station in Nazareth, Pastor Wisam hired a cleaning company. A woman was sent to regularly clean the building. One day, when our radio crew was preparing songs and materials, she began to listen as she cleaned. She didn’t understand everything, but she felt a strange change in her. She began having a recurring dream where she saw a big choir singing. As they sang, she saw that she was standing in the water as light shone down on her.
She only saw the vision whenever she cleaned our AWR building, and at first, she didn’t understand what this meant, but the more the vision was repeated, the more she wanted to know. Then, one day as she cleaned, she heard one of the presenters make an appeal saying, “This is the time to come to Jesus.”
She didn’t know what that meant, so she approached Pastor Wisam and asked him. When he explained that to come to Jesus means to open your heart and accept Him as a Friend and Savior, she suddenly had a glimmer of hope in her eyes as she said, “Is this possible? Is it true?”
She then shared how she had been abused and mistreated all her life. To know Jesus loved her and had died for her—and that He was the Son of God and the Great Creator—was more than she could’ve ever hoped for. She wanted to study the Bible and find out more about Him.
For the last few months she has been studying the Bible with Pastor Wisam. And the best news is that I will also be baptizing her tomorrow!
Isn’t God amazing? We cannot come into contact with Jesus and remain unchanged. Again and again, He proves His promise: “And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to Myself.” (John 12:32)
What a wonderful promise, and what amazing good news! How can we remain silent and keep it to ourselves when millions are just waiting for the hope we have? As we end another year and begin a new one, I want to join the thousands around the world who are saying, “Here am I. Send me!”
Thank you for joining us as we stand “utterly amazed.” Your prayers and support are making all the difference on the front lines of AWR’s evangelism efforts. Working together, we’re changing lives and proclaiming to the world that Jesus is coming soon!