Reflections from the President – July 2019

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Dear AWR Friend, While in my third year as a Theology major at Union College in Lincoln, Nebraska, I worked putting up Butler-style steel buildings. I enjoyed the hard work—hanging 20 feet off the ground with my legs wrapped around

Adventist World Radio · Inspirations Newsletter

AWR360° Broadcast to Baptism

Dear AWR Friend,


While in my third year as a Theology major at Union College in Lincoln, Nebraska, I worked putting up Butler-style steel buildings. I enjoyed the hard work—hanging 20 feet off the ground with my legs wrapped around steel beams often covered with ice— erecting the building frames. This was a man’s job, and I was proud of it. But my life was about to be interrupted!

In those days, it was understood that for theology majors to get a call to ministry, they needed to have some experience canvassing door-to-door. I dreaded the thought. Kathy and I had married the year before, and we were barely making ends meet. Kathy had dropped out of college to work for an insurance company, and I had worked in construction that summer and part-time during the school year to pay for my tuition.

One Sunday afternoon, as we were enjoying a rare respite in our one-bedroom apartment, we got a call from my friend Bob Peck. He had canvassed the last two summers and was now student leader.

“Duane, the publishing directors are here recruiting students to canvass this summer,” he said. “I’m going to be working near Lincoln. Would you be willing to canvass north of Lincoln?”

“No!” I said emphatically. I had other plans. Besides, Lincoln and the surrounding area had been overworked by other literature evangelists and was considered difficult.

“Come on, Duane, you know as a theology major you need to canvass,” Bob insisted.

Kathy and Duane McKey

Kathy and Duane McKey as a young married couple

“No, I’m not going to do that,” I said. “I can’t. I have a good summer job in construction, and we need the income to pay my tuition for my senior year.”

“Well, would you pray about it?” Bob said.

“No,” I replied.

“Duane, you have to pray about it—you’re going to be a pastor! You’ve got to.”

“Okay,” I finally agreed. “I guess we’ll pray about it.”

I hung up the phone and told Kathy what Bob had said. We were both distraught. I was one year away from graduating, and if I did what Bob suggested, I wouldn’t have the funds to graduate!

Drawing straws

We decided to pray about it—after all, what else could we do? I said to Kathy, “The only way to know for sure if God wants me to canvass this summer and give up my good construction job is to draw straws.”

Kathy was surprised, but I went to the kitchen cupboard, took out seven pieces of dry spaghetti and said to Kathy, “Let’s kneel down.” Then I broke off one piece and held the seven pieces evenly for Kathy to pick.

“I’ll pray and you draw the straw,” I said. “If you draw the short piece of spaghetti, we will canvass. We’ll give the Lord one chance out of seven. Six chances for us, and one for the Lord.” I was convinced in my heart that there was no way the short one could be drawn!

So we prayed earnestly. I held the spaghetti tightly and Kathy pulled one out—it was the short one!

I was very upset. So I took all seven pieces and threw them in the trash. Then I went and got seven more. I broke one off and again we knelt down and prayed earnestly. I held out my hand to Kathy and she drew a second time—and it was the short one again!

Now we were convinced the Lord wanted me to canvass and sell Christian literature. Kathy said resignedly, “We’re still young. If you don’t sell enough to go back to college your senior year, we’ll chalk it up to experience.” I agreed. I figured that if needed, I could stay out of school one year and work to get ahead.

So how did our summer turn out? Did God help us?

Did He ever! What an exciting summer God had in store for us! And the construction company I had been working for went bankrupt that summer, so I would have been out of a job!

Bob and I had some wonderful experiences that summer. One time, we were canvassing at a home and were having little success. The mother was distracted with her kids who kept running in and out, interrupting the presentation. I had all the books laid out—the five-book Conflict of the Ages series, plus a set of Bible Stories.

Suddenly, her husband came home from work, and seeing us in his house shouted, “Who let them in here?!” He was very upset and used some choice words. I immediately jumped up and shook his hand. He was a construction worker and I told him I had been one too! He sat down and I gave him the overview. When I was finished, he wrote me a check for the whole lot! We were thrilled!

Whenever I had a big sale like that, I would get Kathy and we would celebrate by going to the nearby Dairy Queen for an ice cream cone.

By the time the summer ended, the Lord had blessed in the most remarkable way! I had enough sales to pay not only all my tuition for my senior year, but most of Kathy’s tuition as well so that she was able to return to school in the fall!

God taught me that being a real man—living on the edge for the adrenaline rush—can be achieved in a greater way by working for the Lord—and it even beat hanging on ice-covered steel beams 20 feet off the ground! We learned that God is the God of the impossible. “He is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think”! (Ephesians 3:20)

Many years have passed since that incredible experience, but God is still doing the impossible, and I am still experiencing those adrenaline rushes—still learning to trust the God of the impossible!


Just this past Sabbath, in an unnamed country in the Western Hemisphere, 250 individuals who were part of a rebel army involved with a drug cartel dealing in drugs and assassinations, watched as a group of their own was baptized. They had been listening to our AWR360° sermons on their cell phones!

I wish I could share more details of names and locations, but this is an extremely sensitive situation. And yet, God is working a miracle in an area that seemed impossible—and in the lives of men who from a human perspective were beyond hope. Because God is the God of the impossible!


Then, a few weeks ago in Sikkim—a state in northern India sandwiched between Tibet, Nepal and Bhutan—which is extremely hostile to Christianity, we had the first baptism ever in that area! Two young couples gave their lives to Jesus through baptism. They first heard the Adventist message through AWR360° radio broadcasts and social media. When they expressed their desire to be baptized, we couldn’t refuse!

Woman in Sikkim

One of the newly baptized members helps to clear the land for a new church in Sikkim.

Two people from our AWR team traveled to the area. We had to find a secluded spot for the baptism, away from hostile eyes. Finally, we located a good place, and there, in the chilly waters flowing down from the Himalayas, four precious souls were baptized—the first four ever for the Seventh-day Adventist Church in the southern part of Sikkim!

As they came up from the baptismal waters they were so happy! It was truly an amazing Sabbath—seeing God work in a land that seemed impossible to penetrate with the gospel just a few years ago. Because God is a God of the impossible!

If we’re doing what we’re doing at Adventist World Radio, it’s because God is doing the impossible—opening doors and hearts around the world.

Yes, many years have passed since those seven strands of spaghetti, and God still continues to amaze us. But we believe this is just the beginning of the miracles we will see as we approach the end of time and see Jesus coming in the clouds of heaven. What a day that will be!

I had no regrets turning down that summer job long ago, and if there is one thing we’ll never regret in this life and the next, it’s following where Jesus leads and investing our talents and treasures in heaven.

Thank you for supporting the work of Adventist World Radio. It is your support that makes these miracles possible, because working together, we are making a difference for eternity!

[Duane McKey] Signature

Duane McKey [Photo]

Duane McKey

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P.S. Seven strands of spaghetti taught me a lesson years ago, and I’ve never regretted following where Jesus leads. I’ve seen miracle upon miracle. That’s what we’re seeing today as AWR reaches places and people we never dreamed possible—but nothing is impossible with God. Thank you for being a part of the miracle and helping us touch so many lives for eternity!

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