Dear AWR Friend,
In the year 1745, the 16-year old German princess who came to be known as Catherine the Great married the heir to the Russian throne, Peter III. Eventually, she betrayed him and managed to replace him with herself!
Many more have since tried to unite Europe, either through political marriages or wars and takeovers— but they all failed. Wilhem II, Charles V, Napoleon and Hitler all tried. It is said that when Hitler read the prophecy of Daniel 2 that states, “They will not adhere to one another” (Daniel 2:43), he threw the Bible across the room and cried, “I will too, win! I will too, win!”
One of Catherine the Great’s first acts was to invite German farmers to the Volga River area north of the Black Sea to farm land left vacant by plagues. These farmers would become known as “Volga Germans.” At the end of the 1800s, some 100,000 of these farming families would leave to avoid forced conscription into the Russian military and find a new land and home in the American Midwest.
Both my wife Kathy’s and my grandparents were teenagers when they sailed by the Statue of Liberty on their way through Ellis Island. Kathy’s grandfather ended up in North Dakota, and my grandmother in Oklahoma.
There had been a lot of talk in America about the Second Coming of Jesus after October 22, 1844. Our grandparents were extremely excited when they heard the prophetic Adventist message at German evangelistic meetings in both North Dakota and Oklahoma. Can you imagine their excitement seeing the prophetic charts of Daniel 2, having just arrived from Europe? The Adventist message became very real and very personal to them—so much so that my grandmother planted a church of more than 70 members in a town of just 300 people!
A BRIEF OVERVIEW
Kathy’s grandfather spent his summers farming and his winters traveling the Dakotas, planting churches and telling people about the Second Coming of Jesus. He said, “After my family’s baptism, we believed that the Lord would come soon and we had to get the message to the people before He came. We never left the house unless we had our Bibles with us—ready to wholeheartedly share the Adventist message!”
This is why their grandkids—Kathy and myself—have such a passion for the mission of AWR360º Broadcast to Baptism, Total Member Involvement (TMI) and our General Conference theme, “I Will Go!”
Sharing the message through Adventist World Radio is a true adventure of faith, and what a tremendous joy we feel as we witness miracle after miracle! I just received a call from the North Philippines Union president, who told me, “You will not believe the things that have been happening!”
Then our AWR coordinator in the Philippines, Robert Dulay, called and said the same thing, “Amazing things are happening!”
Let me share just a few of the marvelous things they shared with me.
THE RADIO THAT DIDN’T WORK—OR DID IT?
For most of us in America, the radio is something we listen to mostly in the car, but it’s not the first thing we turn on when we arrive home from work. Television, smartphones and the internet are the primary ways in which we receive our news. However, that is not the case for most of the world, where the radio is the main source of information.
That’s why when Angelo’s radio stopped working, his family was keenly disappointed. The radio sat silent for a few days while the family tried to gather enough funds to purchase a new one.
Then one morning, all of a sudden, the radio turned on and started to play. The family was amazed but overjoyed. The broadcast was from (you guessed it) Adventist World Radio! They listened to the program, but they wanted to try other stations, so they turned the dial . . . but nothing happened. The radio was silent. They turned some more and found another station that was playing. They cheered and listened, but again, it was Adventist World Radio!
After several tries, they decided that maybe God wanted to send them a message, so they gave up and listened. One of the programs that was playing was Unlocking Bible Prophecies with Cami Oetman. They were hooked. They followed the prophetic series and contacted the station. To make a long story short, when the president of the union called me and shared the story, he said, “Yesterday Angelo and his family were baptized!”
You know what’s really amazing about this story? It’s not even the first time we’ve heard this same story—it’s only the family, town and country that change! God is looking for sincere hearts and compelling them to choose Him!
THE OTHER RADIO THAT DIDN’T WORK!
Just as I finished writing this story, I received an email from our AWR radio station on the island of Luzon—and they shared a similar story, this time from the province of Pangasinan.
Nanay had been in a deep depression she couldn’t shake. One day, she decided to clean her home to improve her mood, and in a box full of discarded items, she discovered an old radio that no longer worked.
She missed listening to the radio and absently turned the buttons. To her surprise, the radio turned on! However, only popping and static noises could be heard, so Nanay shook the radio hoping for better results. After several shakes, a voice came on and—you guessed it again—it was our AWR station!
She listened to the Bible presentation with great interest, and at the end of the program, the announcer offered a set of Bible studies. Nanay knew immediately that she wanted those studies more than anything. She called the number provided, and someone offered to study the Bible with her at home!
Nanay enjoyed the Bible studies immensely. Her depression lifted as she learned that God loved her and had a purpose for her life. She gave her heart to Jesus, and on January 9, 2021, she was baptized into the Paurido Seventh-day Adventist Church.
THE REBELS FROM THE NEW PEOPLE’S ARMY—THE REST OF THE STORY
I’ve saved the best for last, because we have an incredible update to share with you about the NPA generals—the terrorist guerrillas from the island of Mindoro, Philippines, who are listening to our programs and accepting Jesus.
You probably heard that about three years ago, something amazing began to take place in the Philippines. We started broadcasting our full prophetic Adventist message throughout the islands, and whole villages began to accept Jesus. They would call our radio stations and request that someone be sent to teach them more. Thousands of baptisms followed and churches were built. We were thrilled! What could be better than this?
Well, we were in for a huge surprise, because what you’re about to read will blow your mind! As you probably also know, about two years ago, the rebel guerrillas from the NPA began contacting our radio stations. They, too, were listening to the messages, and what followed was a series of incredible stories of redemption as assassins and army generals began surrendering their lives to Jesus and abandoning a life of crime.
Their change was radical. Many of them had known no other life—just hatred and bloodshed. When they surrendered to Jesus, we felt compelled to help them start a new life by providing them with the tools necessary to succeed.
THE REST OF THE STORY
We decided to devise a plan to help them: AWR would give each family $500 to start a new life. This wouldn’t be contingent on their baptism, as we wanted it to come from a convicted heart. When we began this plan, the Philippine government heard of it and they were excited. They joined us and offered to provide each family with an acre of land. The former rebels can farm the land, buy and sell livestock, build a small store or build their first home.
The change was slow at first, but now things have been moving at lightning speed, and this month, 100 new families are set to arrive. They will come down from the mountain straight into our church. Next week (shortly before you receive this letter), we’ll have summit meetings with the government and military in one of the local churches. There will be a potluck and family games, along with counseling services and the official handing over of the assistance.
The plan is that we’ll have one week of debriefing, deradicalizing and reintegrating the families into society as they arrive, with morning and evening programs. We will provide health messages and Bible presentations each evening, plus counseling and training. But there is one more piece of news that is truly historic: the military will join us in an evangelistic series with the newcomers! It will be epic in the history of the military in the Philippines. Everyone is excited, and the largest television networks will be there to cover the event!
The very first group of rebels who surrendered to AWR two years ago have done well and will help guide the newcomers into their new life.
But there is an additional challenge. Right now, more than 500 villages have groups of baptized Adventists in rebel areas—that’s 500 Adventist groups! We don’t have church buildings for them and funding is needed, but we are helping them as quickly as we can. God is leading this project, opening doors we never imagined!
KA GILBERT’S SURRENDER
I just have to share with you the story of Ka Gilbert. He was a four-star general and a fearless assassin who recently surrendered and was baptized. His change was radical. Laying aside his AK-47, he took up farming with the funds and land provided. Change is never easy, and recently, as he struggled with his crops, he told Pastor Dulay, “I don’t know if God can bless my crops. I have killed so many people.” He related with tears in his eyes how in one day, he executed as many as five people and now he was being tortured by the memory.
Pastor Dulay had a wonderful Bible study with him on the grace of God and His willingness to forgive to the utmost. He told him, “That’s why Jesus died. His sacrifice is sufficient not only to cover your sins, but those of every sinner who ever lived. That’s the magnitude of how great He is.” It was a time of wonderful fellowship and encouragement.
You’ve heard me say before, “What a time to be alive” And I say it because God saw this moment coming hundreds of years ago when He prepared the way for you and me to be where we are today. He saw my grandparents coming from the Volga River, and He saw the assassins listening to AWR and laying down their weapons to fight the new fight of faith. God’s perfect timing saw this moment today—and He saw you. He prepared the way for you and me to help lead others to Jesus.
Thank you for your support of Adventist World Radio. We are seeing things we have never seen before, and we want to be right on the front lines of God’s action, proclaiming to the world that Jesus is coming soon! Together we are making a difference for the kingdom of heaven.
What a time to be alive! Yes, we are seeing things we’ve never seen before, and we’re walking by faith, marveling at what God is doing as together we proclaim to the world that Jesus is coming soon! Thank you for partnering with us in this, the greatest calling ever—the saving of souls.