Dear AWR Friend,
It was 3 a.m. two years ago, and we were leaving the hotel under the cloak of darkness while everyone slept—including our military escorts—for a very important and secret rendezvous. We were on our way up the mountain to a secluded hideaway to baptize a group of rebel assassins!
This was in Mindoro, Philippines, and we were full of joyous bravado as we set out, unaware that we were in real danger! After walking for an hour or so on a riverbed surrounded by a thick jungle, our guides told us to stop and wait while they checked things out. We were almost at the meeting point, but they needed to make sure all was secure. So, we waited and waited. One hour . . . two hours . . . almost three hours!
Then word came back from the rebels, “Stop and don’t proceed. The military has been spotted following you—they’re using you as bait! If we come down the mountain to meet up with you, there will be a gun battle and you’ll be caught in the crossfire.”
They went on to warn us that if we heard rapid gunfire, then that was the military, but if the shots were in a slow sequence, then it was the rebels firing carefully to conserve their bullets.
We didn’t stick around to hear what type of gunfire it was—we got out of there as fast as we could! The women in the group went first, then the men, all of us helping each other, and especially the ladies as they crossed the rocks at the river bottom. We were so thankful once we were safe and out of the mountains!
This was our first—and foiled—attempt to baptize the rebel leaders from the New People’s Army in Mindoro. But God had a plan, because this was the beginning of a most amazing two years.
Fast forward to just a few weeks ago this past November. After months of negotiations, God helped us orchestrate the end of hostilities in Mindoro and miraculously secure amnesty for the rebels!
You know the rest of the story that ended with a spectacular baptism of both rebel and military leaders. The government military commanders were so moved by the rebels’ transformation, and by what they saw and heard, that many of them also decided to give their hearts to Jesus.
“YOU WERE THE BAIT”
I have shared many stories and moments about the miracle that is Mindoro, but now let me share something that happened three days after that grand baptism of 700 rebels and several military commanders.
It was a time of great celebration and rejoicing. A 50-year war was ending—a war that had taken the lives of more than 40,000 men, women and children. But now, because of AWR360°’s belief in the Great Commission to go, preach, teach and baptize, God had worked a miracle.
All that was behind us and we were at the beach outside the hotel where we were having a celebration with the former rebels, along with the baptized military leaders and many Adventist young people.
We were talking, laughing, praying and rejoicing together. Nobody wanted to leave and lose the spiritual high of those wonderful days. I could hear former enemies saying things such as, “I was chasing you!” And another would respond, “And I was chasing you!”
Then I heard Ray, the head of military intelligence for the Philippine army say, “I set up a trap two years ago when the AWR missionaries were trying to baptize you. We were counting on them leading us to you.”
That’s when I turned around and said, “What? That was us! You used us?”
And the military commander, now a follower of Jesus, smiled and said, “I’m afraid so. We used you as bait, but now I’m glad it didn’t work!”
Then we all laughed and prayed and thanked Jesus for what He had done.
MORTAL ENEMIES NO MORE
But one of the most poignant moments came during Gina’s baptism. She is Ray’s wife, and hadn’t been baptized yet, so I invited her to join her husband in baptism and she agreed. As I baptized her in that blue South China Sea, I saw her little boy, Jacob, playing at Rose’s feet.
If you recall, Rose was the four-star general in the rebel movement, and not long ago, one of their top assassins. Tears filled my eyes when I witnessed this scene. You see, Gina and her husband—a top military official—now trusted the care of their five-year-old son to someone who until recently had been a mortal enemy.
That’s the transforming power of God’s grace! All is forgiven! “For we are all one in Christ Jesus.” (Galatians 3:28)
There are now just 17 assassins left in the mountains of Mindoro, and according to Robert Dulay, our AWR Coordinator there, they are all planning to come down and surrender in the next few days.
If you thought that was the end of our arsenal of miracles, you’re mistaken! Because even as we were wrapping up the events in Mindoro, we received some incredible news from another part of the world, and I can’t wait to share it with you!
MIRACLES IN LIBERIA—UPDATE
Liberia is an African country we’ve seldom heard from—until recently. In February of 2020, I shared with you the amazing story of Mohammed and the angel. How a Muslim young man found our AWR station “by accident,” and after a series of miracles, was directed by an angel to stop going to the mosque and instead contact the AWR radio station. You know the rest of that story as well—he received Bible studies and was baptized!
Then in July 2021, I shared the even more amazing news of how as a result of the AWR programs, there were entire “Sunday churches” that wanted to transition to become Sabbath-keeping churches, and several evangelical pastors were listening to the programs. They wanted information on the Sabbath!
We just received an update from one of those congregations. They are turning their church over to the Seventh-day Adventist Church. Their name, which was The Great Harvesters Ministries, Inc., is now The Great Harvesters Seventh-day Adventist Church! Recently, when a meeting was held and a call was made, the whole church came forward in commitment to their newfound faith and beliefs.
Isn’t that amazing? That’s God’s Spirit at work! Currently, a group of members from the church—along with their pastor—are attending a conference camp meeting to better familiarize themselves with all things Adventist, and better understand how our church operates. They’re so on fire with their newfound understanding of God and His plan of salvation!
I didn’t want to forget to mention this small Eastern European country between Romania and Ukraine. It hasn’t shown many signs of life—until now. During the last two years, we’ve been working with the Moldova Union to set up four AWR FM radio stations, and after many setbacks and challenges, we just received this wonderful news from Vasili Makarchuk, our AWR coordinator for Eastern Europe and Russia:
“I just wanted to share with you the latest update of God’s miracle from Moldova. All four new FM frequency stations that AWR helped the Moldova Union to get are now live on air! It gives the Adventist Church a presence in nearly 88% of the country with continuous 24/7 coverage!”
I know God will do something great in Moldova! Whenever we air God’s truth—because we’re committed to sharing the full gospel message for our time—God does amazing things! We are not in the business of entertaining, but of saving lives for the kingdom of heaven, and God’s Spirit works in the hearts of the listeners, doing a work of conviction we could never do.
LOOKING AHEAD TO THE NEW YEAR
As we face a new year with new challenges, I can’t wait to see what God will do—and I promise to share it with you! He takes our efforts and expands them in incredible ways we never dreamed of!
Thank you for making these miracles possible—for your support that encourages and blesses so many people. We believe Jesus is coming soon. We’re seeing the signs everywhere, and we need to share this precious message far and wide, because God’s truth through radio waves knows no walls, no borders and no limits!
The miracles continue as God’s Spirit calls people from the most unlikely places—from Africa to Eastern Europe to Asia and beyond. All around the world, people are joining the ranks of those who await His soon return. What a day that will be! Thank you for your commitment to the work of Adventist World Radio. Together we are making a difference and changing lives for eternity.