“And I say to you that many will come from east and west, and sit down with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 8:11)
Dear AWR Friend,
AN ENCOUNTER WITH TED BUNDY
When Sally Jo was a child, her grandmother often took her to the Adventist church in their small town in southern Oregon. But as she grew into her teens, she drifted away from God and eventually moved to Spokane, where she got a job working the night shift at a gas station near the military base.
One night at a party, Sally Jo met a handsome young man. She enjoyed his company, so when he stopped and offered her a ride as she walked home after her night shift the next evening, she accepted and climbed into his Volkswagen. But as they reached the exit for her apartment, much to her surprise, instead of stopping, he sped by it on the interstate.
Despite her objections and with growing apprehension, Sally Jo watched helplessly as he turned off the highway into a secluded area, where he ordered her out of the car. There was no doubt as to his intentions, and when she saw the cold look in his eyes, she knew her life was in danger.
It had started to rain, and as he ordered her to the ground, she remembered the God of her grandmother and began to pray like she’d never prayed before. A sudden thought occurred to her and she asked, “Why should we be out here in the cold and rain when we can be comfortable in my apartment?”
That idea seemed to please him, and he agreed. But what he didn’t know was that she lived with a friend whose boyfriend was a police officer. As soon as the car stopped in front of the apartment, she sprang from the car and ran toward the front door yelling the officer’s name. The door opened just as her abductor made a grab for her, but when he saw the officer in the doorway, he turned and ran.
Months went by, until one day when Sally Jo saw the face of her abductor on the news. He was being arrested for killing more than 30 women. His name was Ted Bundy.
SALLY JO’S DREAM
Years went by, and Sally Jo often remembered the God of her grandmother and how He’d helped her that day, but she never made a commitment. She married, had three children, and eventually divorced. Then her ex-husband went to jail, and that’s when I crossed paths with her. A member of my church began giving Bible studies to her ex-husband in jail, and he suggested that his ex-wife receive studies as well. I was called upon to help, and I began studying the Bible with her.
The studies went well, and she accepted the truths presented and prepared for baptism. But there was just one problem: she couldn’t stop smoking. Try as she might, and no matter which stop-smoking plan I shared with her or how often she threw out her cigarettes, eventually she’d go out and buy more.
After weeks of this battle, one Friday night I felt impressed to tell her, “Sally Jo, tomorrow is the day. The baptistry is full and waiting. Give me your cigarettes for the last time.”
She did, and then we prayed. But after I left, she went to the corner store and bought some more! That night, she prayed, smoked and cried until 4 a.m., when she finally fell asleep and had a dream. In the dream, she saw Jesus standing on her right side, and Satan on her left. Jesus turned to Satan and said, “Leave her alone!”
That very moment, the desire to smoke left her never to return. She had victory in Jesus and I baptized her that Sabbath morning at the Pendleton Adventist Church.
Because of the incredible change in Sally Jo’s life, within the next year, 17 other members of her family gave their hearts to Jesus—and I baptized them all! You can imagine the joy of that praying grandmother!
FROM ALL WALKS OF LIFE ON EVERY CONTINENT
Sally Jo’s story is a reminder to never underestimate the power of intercessory prayers on behalf of others: “For in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.” (Galatians 6:9) Your family, your church, and God’s work are counting on your prayers.
But there’s another reason why I share this story. Now more than ever before, we’re seeing an ever-growing number of people from the most unusual places and unexpected circumstances reaching out to us at AWR in search of truth. They’re listening to the radio programs and watching our presentations. Let me share just a few of the reports we’re receiving.
SPAIN — THE LITTLE STATION THAT COULD
As I write this letter, we’ve just received news from one of our radio stations in Spain—a European country so steeped in tradition that for many years, it was believed to be almost unreachable with the Gospel message and our distinct Bible truths. Sometimes it takes courage to proclaim the message, but that’s just what our little station decided to do, and the results are blowing us away! Here is just a sample from the staff there:
March 2020: “While returning from a lightning trip to Madrid, I received a phone call from one of the listeners of our radio station in the city of Valladolid. It was a Pentecostal pastor who has been following our radio programs. He was interested in our interpretation of prophecy in light of COVID-19. He said the Christian churches have collapsed and this has made him reflect on where this world is headed.”
April 2020:“A family on the island of Fuerteventura off the coast of El Aaiún in Western Sahara has surrendered to Jesus after months of listening to our radio on 103.4FM, and are receiving Bible studies.”
May 2020: “A call from the island of Ibiza informs us of the conversion of a family. According to their own words, they cannot be separated from their radio. They’re fascinated by the clear Biblical messages presented.”
June 2020: “A Pentecostal pastor in Gijón called in amazement at the messages on the radio. He asked for books and study material, fascinated by the clear message of the Bible that current Christianity is unaware of. The prejudice he had regarding Adventists has been dissolved by the Water of Life that he finds in the topics on the radio. We are getting many calls requesting books and materials for Bible study.
This has continued month after month, but the most surprising phone calls are coming to us from Morocco. In the last few weeks, 10 calls have come in from different listeners, which gives us an idea of the number of people listening to the messages.”
INDIA — AN UPDATE FROM “PASTOR L”
Some time ago, I shared the story of an evangelical pastor from India whom we called “Pastor L.” Once he heard the truth on the radio, it became precious to him, and he never let it go. He was a pastor of great influence in the evangelical community, but almost overnight, he became a pariah, shunned by all who knew him. Even his wife threatened to leave him, but he prayed for her every night, and with love, kindness and prayer brought her into the Adventist truth.
We’ve just received an update! Due to religious persecution in the area, we can’t divulge his location, but here is the report from our team there:
The Lord has been working through Pastor L’s ministry. Recently, 45 people were baptized as a result of his work, and several of them are prior Sunday pastors. Now in “X” city, we are expecting 18 additional baptisms, four of them being Sunday pastors, and two Sunday evangelists. They are being baptized along with their family members.
Currently, we are holding private Bible study meetings by Zoom with a group of Muslim-background believers. Many of these former Muslims became Sunday pastors after leaving Islam. **There are 19 who have accepted the Sabbath and the leader has said he wants to become a Seventh-day Adventist.** The studies are still ongoing and we expect a number of these pastors to make their decision for baptism. All we can say is praise God! He’s leading the work of Pastor L in a remarkable way!
Isn’t God amazing? He’s using the most unexpected people, circumstances and methods to reach those who would not be reached otherwise. And during this past year when we have been confined to our homes and unable to travel, God has helped us design new ways to reach millions with the Gospel message right from our homes!
EARTH’S FINAL COUNTDOWN SERIES
In late May, we launched Unlocking Bible Prophecies with our very own Cami Oetman. The doctrinal prophetic presentations have been so popular that they have received more than 5 million views—and counting!
Last month, we launched a brand-new series titled Earth’s Final Countdown, which will continue weekly through mid-March. It’s an ongoing video series in which I lead viewers on an amazing journey through the Bible to find answers they can trust as prophecy becomes clear. The first two presentations alone had more than 75,000 views when they debuted (watch for yourself at [awr.org/countdown](https://awr.org/countdown))! That’s more than the largest crowd at any one public evangelistic series we’ve ever conducted!
In Acts of the Apostles page 454, Ellen White mentions that when Paul was imprisoned and “apparently cut off from active labor, [he] exerted a wider and more lasting influence than if he had been free to travel among the churches as in former years.”
That’s what we have seen this past year! With God’s Spirit leading, nothing has slowed us down, and if anything, we’ve had a captive audience in the homes listening to the messages! But it’s also an indication that Jesus is coming soon. God’s Spirit is awakening a desire in people for eternal truths. When they see their earthly support stumble, they turn to God in search of spiritual guidance. What an opportunity this has provided!
That’s why we can face this new year with confidence, knowing that just as God led us through one of the most difficult years in recent history, He can lead us through what lies ahead. There are many people like “Pastor L” and Sally Jo waiting to hear the good news that Jesus is coming soon! What a privilege, and what a responsibility!
Thank you for your support, which helps us keep beaming God’s precious message through the airwaves to every corner of the world. It is your prayers and your commitment to this wonderful message that keeps God’s truth on the air on countless radio stations around the world.
Thank you for making such a significant difference.
The stories of Sally Jo and “Pastor L” are telling us that God is gathering people from all walks of life—everyone willing to hear his voice—and leading them to His truth. What a privilege to be able to participate in this great gathering! Thank you for partnering with us in the greatest calling ever—the saving of souls for the kingdom of heaven!