Dear AWR Friend,
Greetings from Bucharest, Romania, where we’re in the middle of Christ for Europe, with 39 countries throughout Europe participating in this historic evangelistic event. There are currently a total of 1,530 preaching sites!
We’ve just arrived in Bucharest from London, and tomorrow we travel to Ukraine, where more than 400 churches are holding meetings—even amid air raid sirens and the imminent threat of bombings! Let me share just a few of the highlights from this far-reaching event:
Something amazing is happening in London. Not long ago, one of the churches started their own radio station with a studio set up right inside the church. They caught the vision of “broadcast to baptism,” broadcasting on the internet. As a result, 95 people have already been baptized, with 48 directly as a result of their radio programs!
In Romania, our churches have 48 radio stations connected to their studios. You can travel on a bus all across Romania and still listen to AWR uninterrupted. Some bus drivers even play it on their radios. They love listening to AWR as they drive across the country.
But that’s not all. These AWR stations are also on the internet, so Romanians living across Europe—and the world—can tune in and listen in their own language. It’s amazing how God has opened doors to preach the gospel. Can you imagine how much more we could do with a number of these internet stations around the world? It reminds me of the words of Jesus: “And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all nations, and then the end will come.” (Matthew 24:14)
A young lady from the union president’s office in Bucharest told us she was on a bus traveling across the country, and there was a lady on the bus who was listening to our AWR radio on her cell phone. Those sitting nearby asked her to raise the volume so they, too, could listen! It’s exciting to hear of people sharing with others the good news that Jesus is coming soon—and to know they’re doing it through AWR is an added bonus!
This is not Europe, but a team of 21 theology students from Andrew University was scheduled to preach in Ukraine, and due to problems with insurance, they were unable to do so. This was to be their first time preaching an evangelistic series, so there was great disappointment. But when God closes a door, He opens a window, and that’s just what happened. We heard that Lusaka, Zambia, would welcome them with open arms, so part of our AWR team went with the students to Zambia. They began preaching a week ago, and thousands are attending the meetings and making decisions for Jesus!
By the time you receive this letter, the spring portion of Christ for Europe will have concluded, and I look forward to sharing with you more of the reports as we receive them. Then, in September we return to Europe for round two, when more churches will be ready to hold their own series. But one thing is sure: Whenever anyone, anywhere, is willing to share God’s Word, His Spirit works in miraculous ways to lead sincere souls to the light of the knowledge of His truth.
Now let me share another amazing story we just received . . .
KAI’S IMPOSSIBLE PROBLEM
Kai and her husband were Burmese refugees living in Thailand near the Myanmar border. They were desperately poor, and it didn’t help that Kai’s husband drank and gambled away the little money he earned.
Then Kai discovered she was pregnant—and not just pregnant, but expecting twins! When her husband found out, he became enraged. They already had a little girl, and he felt there was no way he could support an addition to the family, let alone two.
He became abusive and hostile, and demanded that Kai drink a concoction that he believed would kill the babies in her womb. Kai felt she had no choice but to follow her husband’s wishes and drink it. But the babies didn’t die and continued to thrive and grow.
Then he arranged for Kai to have a type of massage that he thought would cause her to abort, but this also failed, which upset him even more. In a fit of anger, he told her he would not provide for her and the children.
Kai felt a desolation she had never felt before. Feeling rejected, unloved and unwanted by her husband, and carrying babies she could not care for, she felt there was nothing left for her to do but to end her life. Taking her young daughter with her, she left the house and went out onto the busy street. She wasn’t sure how she would end her life, but she felt she and her children should die together.
That’s when a woman approached her and invited her to some meetings where she would learn about Jesus. Now, Kai was a Buddhist and had never heard of Jesus, but she was drawn to what this woman was saying and decided to attend. After all, she had nothing to lose.
She went the first night and liked what she heard, so she returned the next night and the next. By now, she had decided she would live and keep her children, even without her husband’s love and support. Somehow, she would find a way.
KAI HEARS ABOUT JESUS
The woman who had invited Kai to the meetings was now her friend, and Kai looked forward to the nightly meetings. She was learning more about Jesus. The concept of a caring God who loved her had never crossed Kai’s mind before. It was extraordinary and it filled her with wonder. The more she learned about Jesus, the more she felt attracted to Him.
One night after she returned home from the meeting, Kai lay in bed thinking about all she had heard. Her husband was out drinking, and Kai’s thoughts turned to Jesus and what He meant to her. As she lay in bed, it seemed she heard a voice say, “What would you like Me to do for you?”
In that moment, she knew that kind voice was Jesus speaking to her, and her reply came from the longing in her heart: “That my husband would love me and want to take care of me and the babies.”
A few minutes later, her husband arrived. He quietly lay down beside her, and after a few moments he said, “You know, I do love you and want to take care of you and the babies. Let’s keep them and raise them together.”
Kai was speechless. She felt a deep gratitude to Jesus as happiness filled her heart. The next morning when she woke up, she discovered her husband had gone out and bought her a present. Clearly, God was answering her prayer!
As the days passed, Kai began to share with her husband what she was learning in the meetings. When she heard the truth about the Sabbath and told her husband, he surprised her by saying, “You go to church on Saturdays and then come home and teach me. I cannot attend because I have to work, and if my boss finds out, he will fire me and we will lose our home.”
This was true. They lived in a Buddhist community where if someone became a Christian, they would not be allowed to stay.
Slowly, Kai’s husband began to change. God’s Spirit was at work in his heart. Soon, he made the decision to stop drinking and gambling, and when the time came for Kai to be baptized, he decided that he wanted to be baptized with her!
When the local Adventist church members learned that both Kai and her husband would be baptized, they found them a new place to live and helped him find a job where he could have Sabbaths off.
It was a joyous day when both Kai and her husband were baptized by our AWR evangelist and coordinator for the Asia region, Pastor Tim Saxton, who had been holding the meetings that Kai faithfully attended.
A few weeks ago, a door opened for Kai and her husband to return to Myanmar. Kai will soon be giving birth, and Pastor Saxton asks that we remember to pray for this little family as they face new challenges and struggles in their war-torn country.
Isn’t God amazing? He promises that if we delight in Him, He will give us the desires of our hearts (Proverbs 37:4). Kai may not have known that Bible promise, but it was still hers for the asking!
UPDATE FROM MINDANAO
I couldn’t end this letter without giving you an update from Mindanao, Philippines, where God’s Spirit is at work. I wish I could share many of the incredible things taking place, especially with certain rebel groups, but due to the sensitive nature of the work, I will refrain from giving details. What I can share is the amazing response to AWR’s recent evangelistic event, Earth’s Final Countdown. It was held in Davao City, and the response was beyond anything we could have imagined!
More than 3,000 people packed the stadium with standing room only, and hundreds came forward at the altar call. The event was live streamed, with more than 30,000 people watching online. By the time it was over, more than 24,000 baptisms had been held throughout the island. If that isn’t God at work, I don’t know what is!
AN URGENT CALL
I’m concluding this letter from Ukraine, where nightly air raid sirens continue all across the country. They remind us we’re in a war zone, and not only a physical war, but a spiritual warfare for souls.
This past Sabbath, I made a call for baptism in the city of Chernivtsi. A young man came forward, crying profusely. Just over a year ago, he and his family—his wife, son and daughter—were at home sitting down to supper, when out of nowhere, 18 bombs hit their apartment building. He woke up face down on the street with many broken bones. He was alive, but his entire family was gone. He sobbed as he said, “I just wanted to die.”
I had the opportunity to share with him that wonderful promise that one day soon, Jesus will return, and at the sound of the trumpet on that great resurrection morning, he will see his family again! What a blessed hope! This is why we do what we do at AWR, and it’s why I tell my wife Kathy we have the best job in the world: sharing this hope with others.
Recently, one of our AWR evangelists shared a quote that has new meaning in light of recent world events:
Soon strife among the nations will break out with an intensity that we do not now anticipate. The present is a time of overwhelming interest to all living. Rulers and statesmen, men who occupy positions of trust and authority, thinking men and women of all classes, have their attention fixed upon the events taking place about us. They are watching the strained, restless relations that exist among the nations. They observe the intensity that is taking possession of every earthly element, and they realize that something great and decisive is about to take place, that the world is on the verge of a stupendous crisis.
A moment of respite has been graciously given us of God. Every power lent us of Heaven is now to be used in working for those perishing in ignorance. There must be no delay. The truth must be proclaimed in the dark places of the earth . . . a great work is to be done, and to those who know the truth for this time, this work has been entrusted. (Maranatha, 174)
Wow! That is now—and this is us—you and me. It’s what we are called to do and why you and I exist as a church and as a ministry. There are still many people like Kai in the dark places of the earth who don’t know Jesus, and it’s our privilege to share this wonderful truth with them!
Thank you for your commitment and support of Adventist World Radio. Soon, we will see Jesus coming in the clouds of heaven and will join with our brothers and sisters around the world in saying, “Surely, this is our God, we trusted in Him; let us rejoice and be glad. . . ” (Isaiah 25:9) What a time to be alive!
Yours in the Blessed Hope,