Dear AWR Friend,
A MOTHER’S INFLUENCE
My mother milked cows until she was 83 years old. She was an exceptional woman who believed in prayer and hard work—and she was always kind, even to animals.
When mother was 80, Dad sold one of the cows to another dairy farm nearby. The cow’s name was Dahlia, and when two men came with their stock trailer to pick her up, she didn’t
want to leave. She had no interest in moving to a different farm. Dahlia had been born on our farm, had grown up there, and she was not leaving. Every time they led her close
to the trailer, she would bolt and run.
The men then got a Hot-Shot cattle taser and tried to force her to load, but no, she was not leaving home! This went on for a while until mother finished milking the 60-plus
cows that evening and went outside to see what was going on.
Now, you must understand, Dahlia was not a pet, but when she saw mother, she ran to her and stood by her side trembling! Mother said kindly, “Dahlia, they are not going to
hurt you, they just want to move you to a new home. Come, let’s go together.”
Mother put her arm around the cow, and while stroking her neck, began to walk her to the stock trailer. The men watched in amazement as mother and Dahlia walked into the
Throughout my years on the farm, I saw many examples of my mother’s kindness. I believe it was a reflection of her prayer life and her relationship with Jesus.
She taught me to pray and gave me her faith—the same faith that prayed my father into the church after 40 years! She never gave up praying for him until he gave his heart to Jesus.
Over the years, I saw many of mother’s prayers answered in wonderful ways—from the dead calf that lived (
letter from March 2018
), to a tornado that changed direction and saved my parents’ lives and their farm, to the many times her prayers protected me during my years in Africa.
The faith she passed on to me is the faith her mother shared with her. These dear women followed God’s counsel when He said, “Tell it to your children, and let your children
tell it to their children, and their children to the next generation” (Joel 1:3).
That’s what my mother did, and her mother before her. Mom’s mother—Grandma Mollie—was of German descent, hailing from the Volga River area in Southern Russia. As a teenager,
her family migrated to America during the Sac and Fox Land Rush in Central Oklahoma in 1889. They staked out 160 acres south of Stillwater, Oklahoma.
When a German evangelistic series was held near their farm, they attended every night and the whole family was baptized into the Adventist Church.
Grandma Mollie was a woman of prayer. She bought and paid for a 40-acre farm by selling eggs and milk during the Great Depression, a time when many lost their farms. She then
set about planting a 70-member church in Carney, Oklahoma.
From the moment my mother’s mom and her family accepted the Adventist message, they embraced it wholeheartedly. Grandma Mollie believed Jesus was coming soon. Before he died,
her father shared a dream he’d had with the family. In the dream, it seemed like he was in heaven and Jesus spoke to him and said, “Tell your family that they should get ready
because I’m coming soon.”
His wife, my great-grandmother Susanna, asked him, “How soon?” He responded, “I don’t know, but maybe 100 years or so.”
That was 1898—more than 100 years ago. Grandma Mollie never forgot that message—a message she believed God sent to her family. It’s a message she passed on to my mother,
who passed it on to me. And even though she knew this truth from Scripture, the dream entrenched in my mother the resolve to prepare her children and her family for that
wonderful day when Jesus will return.
I believe that day is very near. This is especially true when we see what is happening around the world. There is a sense of urgency like never before, and people are anxious
and eager to hear truth from the Bible!
Let me share just one astounding example.
A PRISON TRANSFORMED IN ZAMBIA
Just a few weeks ago, a prisoner from a maximum-security prison in Zambia walked into our AWR360° station in Kabwe and asked to speak with our manager,
Nalumino. Our radio staff was surprised and a little nervous, because this former prisoner was notorious for being a ruthless thief with a history of violence.
He was known for saying that if anyone got in his way, he would simply kill them. Five women testified that he had forced them to abort their unborn babies after he got them
pregnant. In other words, his reputation as an all-around bad person preceded him. Violence followed him until he was finally apprehended and jailed.
Now, Jon stood in our radio station asking to speak with the manager!
But it was wonderful news. Jon had been released early for good behavior, and the first thing he did was stop by our radio station. He said, “I couldn’t go home to Lusaka before I came here to thank you for helping me find Jesus Christ who changed my life behind prison walls. Thank you for introducing me to Jesus. Now I have the hope of eternal life!”
Jon is just the tip of the iceberg, because in that famous prison in Zambia where the worst criminals are housed, prisoners have access to a radio—and they’re listening to Adventist World Radio!
The astounding thing is that 870 prisoners have already given their hearts to Jesus and been baptized into the Seventh-day Adventist Church as a direct
result of our radio programs. There is now an Adventist church inside that prison—an 870-member church! Fifty of the prisoners baptized are on death row, but have now been
transformed by the power of God.
When Jon walked into our Kabwe radio station, there was one person who began to cry, and that was Adessy. She works at the station, but once a week she visits the maximum-security
prison where she ministers to the prisoners. They call her Mother Adessy, and she freely gives hardened criminals hugs, prays for them and invites them to listen to our radio
programs. But above all, she introduces them to her friend Jesus.
None of these men were Adventists when they went to prison, but they found Jesus thanks to our broadcast—and Mother Adessy.
When we were in Zambia a few months ago, we were allowed into the prison—something never permitted before! But officials have been so happy with the change they’ve
seen in the prisoners, that they granted us access. They said, “The Adventist message changes the prisoners’ lives! We don’t understand it, but we’re so grateful for it!”
This past October we held a massive evangelistic series in Lusaka and throughout Zambia with over 1,000 preaching sites. More than 17,000 people
were baptized, and 80 percent of those attributed their conversion to Adventist World Radio!
But there was another group that attended the series by radio and listened every night—Mother Adessy’s boys. Yes, they attribute their conversions to Adventist World Radio,
but I know that Mother Adessy had just as much to do, if not more, with their decision to give their hearts to Jesus. You see, she is a living example of what it means to have
Jesus in the heart.
Mother Adessy’s influence—just like my mother and her mother before her, and like countless Christian mothers—can change the world. I know many of us may lead thousand to
Jesus, but often, there was first a mother who showed us the way.
This Mother’s Day, when we remember our Christian mothers—or mother-figures like Adessy who impact lives every day—let’s thank God for this wonderful gift. Because even if a
mother is absent, God promises a blessing: “…Though she may forget, I will not forget you” (Isaiah 49:15).
Thank you for supporting the work of Adventist World Radio. It is through you that people like Adessy and our radio station in Kabwe can share our precious message and reach
the world for Jesus.
In the last two years, we have seen a dramatic change around the world—there is an urgency to know and understand the Bible.
Just like the prisoners in Zambia (above), people are searching for hope—and God’s Spirit is leading them to truth! This month, as we remember our mothers—often the first
person to lead us to Jesus—let’s remember there are many people who still need to hear the good news that Jesus is coming soon! Thank you for joining us in this adventure