Dear AWR Friend,
Years ago, when my wife Kathy and I were missionaries in Lubumbashi, Zaire (now known as the Democratic Republic of the Congo), I had an experience that taught me
a valuable lesson.
The president of the largest university in the city had asked me to speak to the student body and tell them about Seventh-day Adventists and why we were there as missionaries.
I don’t know about you, but speaking to university students can be a challenge, and the questions can sometimes get very interesting. But Kathy and I prayed, asking God to give me the right words to say.
I gave my presentation, and then I opened the floor to questions. Some of the young people were nice but frank. Others were very, very direct. They began questioning our presence in the country and our Christian experience and beliefs.
“Why are you here as missionaries?” “What do you believe?” “How could Mary be a virgin and give birth?” “How can you know Jesus was the Son of God?”
After listening for a few minutes and praying, I said, “Let me share something with you. I believe Jesus came, He lived and died for our sins, and He has promised to return. I believe in the Bible as the Word of God, and that God asks us to keep the Ten Commandments and be loving to those around us.
“Now, when I die, if what I believe was wrong, what will I have missed? Nothing. That will be the end and I won’t even know it. But if what the Bible says is true, and Jesus does return, I’ll come forth from the grave on resurrection day, and can you imagine the eternity I’ll have with my family, my friends—and with Jesus?
“But let’s turn it around. You say there is no God, and the story of Jesus and Mary is a lie. Then one day you die. If what you believe is true, that’ll be the end. But if one day there is a resurrection, and you find yourself on the wrong side, what will you have missed?”
There was a moment of silence, and the difficult discussions I had been having with the students came to a screeching halt. No one ventured to respond what they would miss if all that was true.
I’ve thought about that whenever I share this story. As Seventh-day Adventist Christians, we believe with all our hearts that Jesus is coming again. It’s our great hope—and it’s what we love to share with others! That’s why I always say that the best part of working at Adventist World Radio is that we get to share this good news with the whole world! And we also get to share with you the good news of what God is doing.
And there is so much to share! Let me give you a recap of our latest news and share a couple of amazing stories we just received.
CHRIST FOR EUROPE UPDATE
Our Christ for Europe project has taken off. In December, I shared with you that the European church leadership and churches in more than 40 countries have registered to participate. We just learned that all the churches in Russia have joined in and registered for the event! Plus, we got word that 100 churches in Croatia have also registered. In Ukraine, young people are on fire for God and want to hold their own meetings—even if they have to use bombed-out buildings. Our team in Ukraine is saying that never before have the churches been this full! The war rages on, people are losing their lives, and it’s time to tell them that Jesus is coming soon!
Preaching volunteers are also registering in large numbers, and Andrews University is requesting that their theology students be included to hold evangelistic meetings as well. I can’t wait to see what God will do!
MINDORO AND MINDANAO, PHILIPPINES UPDATE
Out of the Jungle: The good news keeps coming! This past week, two more former rebel fighters who were still in hiding came out of the jungle and surrendered at one of our churches. Pastor Robert Dulay immediately ministered to them and negotiated their surrender with the Philippine military. Even though the fighting has ended, it is believed there are still some former fighters hiding in fear deep in the jungle, unable to believe the promise of forgiveness. But the news of this amazing grace so hard to accept is finally sinking in, and they’re venturing out.
Rose: Last month I shared the thrilling news from Rose, one of the top former rebel generals, who was giving her first full evangelistic series. It was wonderful to see her preaching and weeping, with tears flowing down her cheeks as she shared her experience and what God has done for her. She said, “To think a short while ago I was at this same village recruiting rebels for our army. Now Jesus has forgiven me, and I’m free!” There was a huge response from the villagers. Who can resist such a powerful personal testimony?
Mindanao: We’re now working on this large island among the Abu Sayyaf rebel group, which is considered the most violent of the Islamist separatist groups. They’re completely different from the New People’s Army communist rebels on the island of Mindoro. Please pray in a special way for our work there.
This past weekend, part of our AWR team traveled to Mindanao with a group of SULADS missionary students from Mountain View College in the Philippines to set up a free medical clinic among the rebels. We have partnered with them on this project. They have experience reaching Muslims in the mountain areas, and we equipped them with projectors and materials. A group of military personnel went with us not only for protection, but also to help. They, too, are being transformed by the power of God!
MIRACLE IN NEPAL
We recently received a report from our AWR offices in Nepal. They included a heartfelt story from a young Nepalese girl and the miraculous transformation that took place in her life and in her home from only one thing: a Godpod. Nothing else except this solar-powered audio player and God’s Spirit at work. She had no knowledge of the truth—not even a radio—but God found her. Here is her incredible story in her own words:
My name is Kaplan Buda Magar and I’m 17 years old and in the 6th grade. We’re eight in our family. My parents, my five siblings and me. We live in a remote village in the Rukum district of Nepal and grew up in the Hindu religion.
The land in our village is not fertile due to the cold weather, so we get only one crop a year. It’s not enough to feed the whole family. We also have a few sheep, cows and chickens, but it’s hard, so my father works as a mason for six months out of the year in the city, and six months with us at home helping my mother.
Because of the cold weather and our culture, the whole village smokes and drinks. Our surroundings are not clean and there is a lack of knowledge about health and hygiene. There is no sanitation and no clean drinking water, and because of this and the harsh weather, people hardly ever take a bath or wash their clothes regularly.
The women work harder than the men, who are drunk most of the time. Women drink less, but still drink, and my parents would drink and fight at home all the time and with the neighbors. We had no peace in the family.
When I turned 15 years old, I began to feel a heavy burden in my heart. The drinking, the fighting, the poverty and illiteracy and the social evils widely practiced in my village became more than I could bear. I could also see my parents struggling to feed six growing children, and I was convinced I was a burden to them. I felt no hope and thought about committing suicide.
One of our neighbors was a kind man. We knew he was not a Hindu, and one day, he invited us to his church. He said he was a Seventh-day Adventist and gave us food and told us about Jesus. He also gave us a Godpod. It held the recorded Bible, along with sermons and some health presentations.
My parents had never learned to read, so after we received the Godpod, every evening all the family would gather around and listen. After a few days, we decided we wanted to attend our neighbor’s church, and when we did, we found everything was so different from what we knew and the way we worshipped, which was all of nature, the river, stones and animals.
The Godpod became a part of our daily life and a prized possession. My mother would carry it with her at all times and listen while she worked in the field.
One evening, after we finished our dinner, it was the rainy season and we all sat together huddled in front of the fire, which is the only way we can keep warm. After we listened to the Godpod for a time, for the first time I said a little prayer, which I had learned while we listened. Then my mother said she was tired of our lifestyle and our eating habits, so different from what the Godpod taught. My father agreed. They didn’t want to drink and smoke, but wanted to plan a good life for us children, and they wanted us to be educated so we would have a better future.
We all decided to accept Jesus and embrace the new beliefs we were discovering. In December of 2021, my father, my mother and I were baptized, and now my older sister is getting ready to be baptized soon. My parents quit their bad habits of drinking and smoking, and there is no more fighting at home. I now help out at our church, teaching the children and our neighbors how to keep our surroundings clean. I want to be a health worker, because in my entire village there is no medical care and no facilities available to people who live and die of diseases that could be prevented and treated.
Loud Let it Ring!
So much is taking place around the world, and I’m not talking about the news on TV, but AWR good news! I just received three amazing reports that will have to wait until next month. Let me just close by saying that yes, the needs are great, but the opportunities for preaching the Word and sharing our wonderful message are huge!
Requests pour in daily from almost every country in the world, and now we’re preparing to tackle one of the most difficult, long-neglected areas: Europe. We think this may be the last opportunity to do something major in this part of the world, especially with the looming upheaval of war. People are receptive right now, and our churches are awakening and realizing it’s no longer business as usual. There is a sense that this world is on the brink of something big, and people are looking for answers. It’s time to let our light shine brighter and ring that trumpet louder!
We’re also facing huge financial challenges, but we’ve learned to move forward by faith knowing that soon “the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of God” (Habakkuk 2:14), and Jesus will come to take us home! What a wonderful day that will be! There may be scoffers like the students in Zaire, who doubt the truths we hold dear, but I choose to place my hope in Jesus knowing that His promises are true.
Thank you for your faithful and generous support, for investing where the moth, the rust and the thieves cannot steal nor destroy, and for making such a profound difference in the lives of millions of sincere people around the world. There is no greater joy than leading others to Jesus and changing a life for eternity.