Dear AWR Friend,
Happy New Year!
The year was 1889 in a rural area a few miles from Carney, Oklahoma, where some German Adventists were having a series of meetings in a church they’d just built. The meetings focused on Daniel and Revelation, and the soon coming of Jesus. My great-grandparents, George and Suzanna Young, attended the meetings and accepted the Adventist message.
Fast forward 35 years to their daughter, my grandmother, Mollie Fisher. I shared with you last year the story of how during the Great Depression she paid off her family farm by selling milk, eggs and cheese. She also planted a 70-member church in Carney—a town of just 350 people—and held several evangelistic meetings in her home.
MOTHER NEVER GAVE UP!
Now let me tell you about my other grandmother, May Ford McKey. She attended one of Mollie’s meetings and was baptized along with her three youngest sons, one of whom was my dad, Louis. The other two were my uncles Ervin and Clarence.
Toward the end of the Depression, both of my grandmothers—Mollie and May—became ill with cancer and passed away. My dad and his two brothers had prayed and prayed that their dear mother would be healed, but she was not. When she died, they were angry with God, not fully understanding how Satan works evil on this earth. Their anger grew to bitterness, and shortly thereafter, they left the church.
Then WWII came, and my two uncles were drafted. By this time their brother (my father) had met my mother, who had also lost her mother that same year. Their shared experience drew them together, and soon they were in love and got married. But while the loss of her mother brought my mother closer to God, my father went the way of his brothers and soon stopped attending church altogether.
This broke my mother’s heart, but it also brought her closer to Jesus. She began to pray for my father—and her prayer journey lasted 40 years! As a young boy, I often saw Mother crying and praying for Dad, that he would give his heart to Jesus. She taught me a valuable lesson by example: you never give up praying for the conversion of your loved ones!
Then one day, when Kathy and I were missionaries in Africa, Mother wrote saying, “Pray for your dad. We are having a series of evangelistic meetings. Pray that he will attend.”
Now, remember, I was a missionary, but I said to Kathy, “There is no need to pray. Mom has prayed for Dad for 40 years and he hasn’t changed—and he won’t change!”
But after some encouragement from Kathy and a guilty heart, I too began to pray for Dad. I could not believe what happened next! Mother wrote: “The meetings began and your dad is attending.”
Week after week, she wrote the same thing. Then the most amazing letter arrived: “The pastor came out to visit your dad. Elder Petri found him in the milk barn where he was cleaning up after milking. They talked for some time and then they knelt and prayed together. Your dad gave his heart to Jesus. This coming Sabbath, he will be baptized!”
Dad was never the same again!
WHY AWR360° BROADCAST TO BAPTISM?
That’s why I believe in evangelism—and why I believe in never giving up when it comes to soul-winning!
At AWR, we believe in fulfilling the gospel commission to Go, Preach, Teach and Baptize. We preach what we believe—that Jesus is coming soon—and as we preach, we are seeing the fulfillment of the prophecies of Daniel and Revelation. We are living in the end times, and amazing things are happening:
- In an undisclosed location, we are holding training seminars to teach young adults to return to their homes and lead others into a saving relationship with Jesus and be baptized.
- In a closed country, we just received news that six precious people were baptized where previously there was no Adventist presence. They learned Bible truth from our AWR Godpods!
- In another closed country, four people were just baptized and 80 are listening to AWR’s shortwave broadcast.
- In several secret places around the world, rebels, assassins, refugees and convicts are listening to AWR360° evangelistic sermons on the radio, Godpods and podcasts—and they’re making decisions for eternity!
- Approximately 400,000 people—across every continent—are listening on their cell phones to our end-time Adventist prophetic message!
My whole family—great-grandparents, grandparents and parents—all came to know Jesus through end-time prophetic sermons and learned about Jesus’ soon return. That’s what we’re all about at Adventist World Radio!
WHAT WILL MOMMA SAY?
My mother had not only prayed for my father’s conversion, but she also prayed for his two brothers. One of them, Uncle Ervin, was eventually baptized, but Uncle Clarence remained unmoved.
One day, my dad and Uncle Ervin decided they needed to encourage Uncle Clarence to accept Jesus and be baptized before it was too late. They drove from their farms in Central Oklahoma to visit Clarence in Oklahoma City. They found him in his “man cave,” enjoying his retirement. He’d renovated the garage and had his personal refrigerator so his beer was handy. His big-screen TV, recliner and cigarettes were also all within reach, so he didn’t have to move much.
Clarence was happy to see them, and the three brothers spent some time reminiscing. Some of their fondest memories were of playing cowboys with their horses and guns on the plains of Oklahoma!
After a while, my dad said to his little brother, “Clarence, you know Jesus is coming soon. I don’t believe this old world can last much longer. You need to come back to the church.”
Immediately, Clarence became irate. He blew smoke in his brothers’ faces and words came out of his mouth that I can’t repeat! But after some time, he settled down and they again began to laugh and talk.
Then my Uncle Ervin said, “Clarence, you know Louis is right. Jesus is coming soon and we need to be right with Jesus.”
Again, the air turned blue with bad words. Clarence slammed down his beer, splashing it everywhere. He talked about all the hypocrites in the church and how he wanted no part of it!
Then my dad said, “Clarence, someday soon Jesus will come, and we will all go to heaven. And as we’re walking on the golden streets, we’ll see Momma running toward us. She’ll throw her arms around us and kiss us with tears of joy. Then she’ll ask us, ‘Where is your little brother, Clarence?’ And Clarence, what do you want us to tell Momma?”
There was a long silence. Then Clarence put down his beer can, put out his cigarette, and said with tears running down his cheeks, “You tell Momma I’m coming, too!”
Uncle Clarence was baptized a short time later. Six months after his baptism, he was diagnosed with lung cancer and died soon after. I have often wondered, what if my dad and uncle had not made that trip to Oklahoma City? What if they had not confronted my Uncle Clarence about his relationship with Jesus?
That’s why I also ask myself:
- What if AWR360º had not broadcast in the mountains of the Philippines where we now have 6,000 new members, most of them former communist rebels?
- What if AWR360º had not focused on Zambia last year where we now have 18,000 new members?
- What if we had not gone to Rwanda where we have 100,000 new members?
- What if we had not gone to Romania, the “Stan” countries, India, Israel, England, Japan, Central and South America, Eastern Europe, the Far East and so on?
We have been there—in most of these places—not only with radio, but personally with feet on the ground taking the precious message!
Then there is Papua New Guinea 2020. This year we are planning the largest TMI/AWR360º health and evangelistic event in the history of the Adventist Church. We plan to cover the country with AWR radio broadcasts and use 1,000 projectors to share our wonderful message throughout the PNG mountains. We will use 10,000 AWR Godpods, our cell phone evangelism presentations and health clinics!
What if Adventist World Radio did not exist? What if we did not do what we do? What if you did not so graciously and generously support AWR’s evangelistic outreach?
When Isaiah of old heard God say, “Who shall I send? And who will go for us?” Isaiah responded, “Here am I. Send me!”
That is my prayer—and it’s the heartfelt response from all of us at our AWR posts around the world: send us to shine God’s light in the darkness of this world! Send us so the work can be finished and we can get off this old ball of mud and go home!
That is my hope and prayer this year. That is the hope of all of us at AWR! And I know it’s your hope as well. Thank you for making it possible for Adventist World Radio to continue taking God’s truth to every nation, kindred, tongue and people. It is only as we work together to share this wonderful message that miracles happen and lives are changed for eternity!
Yes, my mother never gave up praying for the salvation of her family—and God rewarded her faith! He always blesses any efforts made to share the precious message with others. That’s what AWR is all about. Thank you for partnering with us in this amazing journey of faith. Your support is making a difference!