Dear AWR Friend,
Let me share an experience I had some time ago at my cousin’s funeral in Wellston, Oklahoma. He and his family were members of the local Sunday church, so their pastor presented the funeral sermon.
As I listened, everything was going pretty well until the pastor pointed to the casket and said, “Jimmy is in heaven now.” He proceeded to read the text, “And the Lord Himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ shall rise first.” (1 Thessalonians 4:16, 17)
Then he added, “And if you don’t believe Jimmy’s in heaven, then I feel sorry for you.”
I almost stood up (something I rarely have the urge to do when someone else is preaching . . . especially at funerals!) and said, “Pastor, read that text again; read it again, please!”
I’ve often thought about this, what a wonderful, clear message we have as Seventh-day Adventists—and what a special privilege it is to be able to share it through Adventist World Radio! It’s a message of hope in the soon coming of Jesus: a promise that all who have died in Him will be reunited to live with Him forever. That’s the message of AWR!
I’m so excited about what is happening around the world as we share this wonderful message that Jesus is coming again! Let me tell you just a few of the amazing things taking place right now.
For many years, AWR had a radio station in the capital of this West African country. It was a good station with excellent programming, but after 20 years of broadcasting, we had little to no response, and only one or two baptisms.
Last year, the local AWR team decided to change strategy. They rented airtime on 10 different radio stations in one of the most difficult areas of the country near the Sahara Desert. They also targeted the marketplaces in 12 cities with loudspeakers sharing the gospel and our prophetic Adventist message. And last but not least, they had the “Question of the Day,” where callers were invited to compete by answering a question from the prior day’s broadcast, with the callers receiving a prize—personal Bible studies!
The results so far have been astounding. In the last six months, more than 10,000 people have been baptized, with approximately 5,000 from the market loudspeakers alone. God predicted that one day we would be “utterly amazed” (Habakkuk 1:5) at what He would do—and we are! But this is just the beginning, because our goal is to use this “question method” in all 1,800 AWR radio stations around the world. And we’ll be adding something new to the prize: a free copy of _The Great Controversy_. I can’t wait to see what God will do. If Ghana is an indication of things to come, then we’re in for the ride of our lives!
THE FORGOTTEN HUTTERITES
Last August, a young man approached our AWR booth at the ASI national convention in Florida with an unusual request. He was an ex-Hutterite, and he wanted to reach his people.
There are approximately 50,000 Hutterites living in the northern United States and Canada. They shun modern life, and many are banned from having cell phones or other modern devices. He had heard of AWR’s solar-powered Godpods, and he wanted to send a few to his family and friends. So after the convention, we prepared and packed a few boxes of Godpods and sent them to him.
This was several months ago, and we didn’t hear back until just a few days ago when we received a letter. I’ll let him tell you in his own words what happened when he got the Godpods. Here are just a few paragraphs from his long letter:
Ever since coming to Christ a few years ago, it has been my desire to share Him with my people. At first, this seemed impossible. I am an “outsider,” a “runaway,” an “ex-Hutterite.” Who would listen?
Since then, God has done something amazing, opening doors in ways that allowed me to share Him with many of them. What started out as a small Bible study with a few of my Hutterite family has now grown to sharing messages daily with over a thousand Hutterites.
Recently, your ministry (AWR) sent me 500 Godpods to share with my people, and I have to admit that at first I thought that perhaps there were too many and they would just sit here. Well, my friends, I was wrong. I shared a brief description of these devices and the content with my Hutterite Bible study group, offering the Godpods free of charge. The response has been incredible!
Within just a few days, all 500 Godpods were spoken for, and I’ve been shipping them out. As people began getting them and sharing them with others, my phone is now daily getting calls and messages asking for more. People are asking for their friends and families. Several Hutterite ministers even requested them!
This is just the response from the 200 Godpods shipped in the USA. The remaining 300 went to Canada and are still being distributed to those who requested them there. I expect the response will be even greater.
Hutterites identify as Christians, but the vast majority do not know Jesus and are simply religious. Hutterites are not poor people. They practice communal living. It’s a beautiful system where everyone shares everything.
Everything non-Hutterite is banned from most colonies. They believe everyone in the colonies will be saved, and those outside will be lost. Bible study is discouraged as it is non-Hutterite literature. The only thing that matters is the “Hutterite way.”
But things are changing. People are awakening and God’s Spirit is at work as more and more Hutterites are studying the Bible for themselves and getting to know Jesus. We have been praying and doing all we can to share the Three Angels’ Messages with them. I feel God is going to do something amazing through the Godpods.
I honestly don’t know how a follow-up is possible—if at all. My goal is to get these into the strictest and most closed-off colonies, to get them into the hands of those who have never had a link to the outside—never had an opportunity to hear our message. These Godpods can do that. I have people willing and waiting to receive them. Only God knows what will become of this and how it will play out. Thank you for your generosity.
What an amazing testimony! If we’ve learned anything through the years, it’s that God takes our efforts—any effort made on behalf of others, and does some amazing things! He calls you and me to share the message, and the results are up to Him. He works in willing hearts, and I can’t wait to see what God will do. We know everyone must hear the Three Angels’ Messages before Jesus comes—even the reclusive Hutterites right here in America.
MINDORO UPDATE – WILLIE
You may remember the story of Willie Hudierez (from our [July 2022 letter](https://awr.org/letter-2207)). He worked in military intelligence in Mindoro, and was assigned to monitor AWR activity when the government noticed we were working with the rebels in the mountains of Mindoro. He soon reported back to his superiors that we were “genuine people whose love of God and for the Philippine people was true and sincere.”
His exposure to Adventists slowly led him to know the truth and accept Jesus. He embraced his newfound faith wholeheartedly and often accompanied us in expeditions and assisted our team. Last June, during his first visit to America for the General Conference Session, I personally baptized him along with a few other military officials.
A few weeks ago, we learned Willie had an aggressive form of stomach cancer and his health was deteriorating rapidly. Doctors could do nothing more for him, and his Adventist community rallied around him, encouraging him and praying with him. During this difficult time, he also received a phone call from our General Conference president, Elder Ted Wilson, who had also officiated at his baptism. He prayed with Willie and encouraged him with Bible promises. Willie was moved and comforted by the experience.
Last week, we learned Willie had only days to live. A group of his closest friends traveled to his hometown to be with him. It was a long 17-hour journey by car. Among them was Rose, one of the former rebel generals who was once one of Willie’s worst enemies.
Just think about it: Willie’s former enemy now loved him so much that she traveled this great distance to comfort him and pray with him. What a testimony to the complete transformation the Holy Spirit produces in the heart! And it’s a transformation also evident in Willie’s heart. It spoke volumes that he should attract such love from a former enemy.
This past Wednesday, we learned Willie would probably not last the day. The night before, I had called him and prayed with him. He had been so weak his wife had to hold the phone to his ear. All he had managed to whisper was, “I love you . . . I love you.” We loved him, too. He had won our hearts.
As we gathered for our AWR worldwide staff worship over Zoom the following morning, we interceded on his behalf, asking that God’s will would be done in Willie’s life.
We later learned that as we prayed, Willie quietly passed away. He held to his chest the AWR Bible he had received at the time of his baptism. He had wanted to record a final message for us, but had been too weak to do it.
Why do I share Willie’s story? Because it’s a story of triumph—a triumph just as much as the thousands of baptisms we saw in Mindoro and witness daily across the world. It’s a story of a soul being saved for the kingdom of heaven in the nick of time. And it’s your story, because that’s what AWR is all about. That’s why you and I share this wonderful message: to snatch souls from the enemy and point them to Jesus and salvation.
Yes, I thank God that we know where Willie is right now, and the glorious future that awaits him on resurrection morning. There are many things we may regret in this life, but investing in the salvation of others will never be one of them. There is joy in our sadness, knowing Willie is saved for God’s kingdom, and what a day that will be when we see him again!
Thank you for making such a profound difference in the life of Willie and in so many countless others. These stories are only possible because of your support of Adventist World Radio, and we are deeply grateful for your partnership.