“And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.” (Ephesians 6:18)
Dear AWR Friend,
THE GREATEST FORCE
It’s debatable, but many people believe that tornadoes are the most powerful force on planet Earth—often with wind speeds of more than 300 miles per hour. Growing up on a farm in Oklahoma, I witnessed their power more than once!
We lived on a farm my parents had bought just across the road from my great-grandparents’ homestead built in 1889. They had come from the Volga River area in Russia, and just like my wife Kathy’s grandparents, they first went to the Dakotas. But my family found it was too cold there, so they ended up on a 160-acre farm about 40 miles from Oklahoma City. To this day, I still own that farm—a gift from my parents!
My family soon discovered that they had traded the cold of the north for the tornadoes in the south. Even today, not far from our farm, there remains a testament to their power: cement slabs from what used to be a strip mall that was razed to the ground in 2013—destroyed by an EF5 tornado.
But despite the power of tornadoes, they’re not the greatest force on earth. I know this from personal experience, because I’ve witnessed a much more powerful force.
A TORNADO STRIKES THE FARM
I was just seven years old when my mother woke me up in the middle of the night and made me get dressed because a tornado was coming. Her logic was that it would be tragic if we got blown away with only our bedclothes on, though I never really saw the rationale in that thinking! But as the deafening roar of the tornado came closer and closer to our farmhouse, I heard my mother pray. And not just pray, but really fervently pray, with tears in her eyes, pleading for God to protect us.
I will never forget what happened next. The very large cedar tree on the side of the house was lifted up—roots and all—and landed on the other side of the house with absolutely no damage to the house!
I had just witnessed the most powerful force on earth: the prayer of faith. This made one of the strongest and most lasting impressions on my young life. I witnessed the power of my mother’s prayers many times, some of which I’ve shared with you.
Many years later, when my mom was in her early 80s, she had just finished milking the cows and came into the house to clean up. Dark clouds had been gathering in the west all morning, and she suddenly had an uneasy feeling, so she stepped out onto the front porch. To her great alarm, coming directly toward her and the farmhouse was the ominous funnel cloud of a tornado!
There was nothing she could do to escape it—no time to run—but she was a woman of prayer, and she knew exactly Who to run to. She raised her arms toward heaven and prayed that God would turn the direction of the tornado away from her and the farm. Immediately, the wind changed direction and the tornado went north, away from the farm!
Yes, there is a force more powerful than a tornado, and that’s prayer. “Prayer and faith will do what no power on earth can accomplish.” (Ministry of Healing, p. 509) “Prayer is the key in the hand of faith to unlock heaven’s storehouse.” (Steps to Christ, p. 94)
We are able to reach the world for Jesus because of prayer—and not just our prayers here at the AWR headquarters, but your prayers. We appreciate every prayer that ascends to heaven on our behalf. It’s what keeps us going!
We recently heard from Carolyn in Yucaipa, California. She’s 90 years old and still sharing her faith. She said, “Every month when I receive your newsletter, I take it to my prayer group. We read it and then pray over it.”
We rejoice for people like Carolyn! Your prayers are our lifeline. If we can reach the world for Jesus—even the most impossibly remote places—it’s only through the power of prayer—your prayers.
Let me share just a few stories of how God is answering sincere prayers all around the world.
MINDORO, PHILIPPINES—THE STORY CONTINUES
If you’ve been following our newsletters, you know about the island of Mindoro. It’s where our AWR360° Broadcast to Baptism initiative first began. Just three years ago, there was no Adventist presence in the jungle mountains of Mindoro. We prayed fervently as we launched this new initiative, and you know the rest of the story. From all across the island, and deep in the jungle mountains, requests began to pour into our radio station for someone to come teach them more about the truths they were hearing.
Soon, whole villages were requesting baptism. Last year, the rebels from the New People’s Army (NPA) hiding in the mountains joined in. They, too, had been listening, and God was touching their hearts. Entire rebel villages have been transformed and several generals from the NPA have been baptized.
But that’s not the end of the story—and it keeps getting bigger, even during this pandemic. When we launched the Unlocking Bible Prophecies series hosted by Cami Oetman, the response around the world was amazing, and it included Mindoro. Pastor Dulay, our AWR coordinator on the island, has been updating us every step of the way. Last month, when we launched the series for a second time, a total of 142 sites were established around the island, inviting people to watch the series. The response blew us away!
Pastor Dulay wrote just a few weeks ago: “Baptism after baptism is happening in Mindoro. Villages upon villages are responding to the broadcasts. And now not just villages, but also islands—this is unstoppable!”
We stand in awe of what God is doing. The archipelagic country of the Philippines contains more than 7,000 islands, most of which are unreached with the gospel message. But there’s no stopping God’s Word when in prayer we move forward sharing this wonderful message! In Pastor Dulay’s viewing group, 54 people have already been baptized, and one of them donated a plot of land to build a new church.
UGANDA—THE ANGLICAN PASTOR’S DAUGHTER
Biira is the daughter of an Anglican pastor in Uganda. She was going through a difficult time during the pandemic, and prayed to God—asking Him to help her. That’s when she found our AWR radio station and began tuning in every day. She said, “God spoke to me through the airwaves, and I came to realize He can save anyone at any time.”
Then one day, Biira was listening to the program and heard a discussion about the Sabbath and baptism. She said, “I decided to call the station and ask whether it’s true that Sunday is not the seventh day of the week. I confess that in my whole life, I had never heard that before, even though my father is a reverend and I’m pursuing an advanced degree. After two weeks of following the presentations on the radio, no one could convince me they had the truth other than the Seventh-day Adventist Church.”
This past July, Biira heard a special announcement. She said, “I heard the pastor making an appeal over the radio that a baptism would be held that Sabbath. I did not hesitate and secretly left my house and rushed to the radio baptism site. To my great joy, I was baptized. I know God had a reason for why the radio waves reached me. And that same day, among those baptized with me was the son of another reverend. Now I can’t wait to study more about this precious truth.”
UNITED STATES—ANIL AND HIS ATHEIST FRIEND
Recently, I spoke with Pastor Anil Kanda, who grew up in a Sikh family living right here in America. Through a set of providential circumstances, someone shared with him the gospel and our distinct prophetic Adventist message. He embraced it wholeheartedly and felt the calling to be a pastor.
Early one morning, during his personal devotional time, he read a Bible passage that he liked, and as was his custom, he immediately sent it to several people on his WhatsApp list, with whom he frequently shares inspirational messages. But that particular morning, he made a mistake. He hit the “send” button before realizing he’d included an atheist friend who had always chided him for his beliefs. This friend had once been a Christian, but had long since stopped believing.
Anil noticed the mistake too late. The message had already gone out and could not be retrieved. He waited, looking at his phone and wondering what his friend would say—knowing he’d probably be upset at being disturbed so early in the morning with what he normally called “nonsense.”
To his surprise, seconds later, the reply came back: “Thank you, brother.”
This was so amazing coming from his friend that he had to call him and ask what he meant. That’s when his friend told him the following story:
I had just woken up from a dreadful dream, where all I could feel was a dark sense of nothingness, aloneness and despair. The lingering impression from the dream was so terrible that I cried out, “If there is a God, please help me and show Yourself!”
In that instant, my phone pinged, and the message I saw read, “And before they call, I will answer, and while they are yet speaking, I will hear.” (Isaiah 65:24)
It was the message Anil had just sent! With joy in his heart, Anil heard his friend say, “Now I know there is a God!”
THE PRAYER OF FAITH
Yes, there is a much greater source of power on earth than that of a tornado. “God is ready and willing to hear the sincere prayer of the humblest of His children.” (Steps to Christ, p. 94) And we know that “the effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.” (James 5:16)
What wonderful promises! Nothing is more powerful than the prayer of faith! We’re seeing this fulfilled every day. Our hearts thrill when we hear how God is answering the cry of sincere hearts all around the world. And there is no greater satisfaction than knowing you and I are the answer to those prayers as we share hope in Jesus in every corner of the world.
I want Adventist World Radio to always be an instrument of hope in God’s hands. That is the greatest privilege—to be used by God to bring hope to a dying world. And what better way to express our gratitude to God for His sustaining faithfulness?
As our hearts are filled with gratitude toward God, I also want to express my most heartfelt thanks to you for joining us in this incredible adventure of faith. We know the world is headed for destruction and “men’s hearts are failing them for fear of the things to come,” but our eyes are fixed on Jesus—our Hope. He’s coming soon—and how can we keep this news to ourselves? Thank you for helping us “shout it from the rooftops,” or in our case, from the airwaves!
As we celebrate Thanksgiving this month, it’s wonderful to know we can be thankful even amid the challenges and perplexities. Many “tornadoes” may come our way—both in our personal lives, and as we share the message with others. But you and I have at our disposal the greatest force in the universe: prayer. And it’s our privilege to use it. That’s what keeps us going—and if that’s not a reason to be thankful, I don’t know what is!