Dear AWR Friend,
A few days ago, a lady called our office to share how much she loves the Adventist World Radio mission stories from around the world. We often receive phone calls like this, where people express joy at hearing the news of how God is working in different countries.
But this time, the caller added, “Whenever I receive your newsletter, it’s like reading the reports we used to hear in church during the mission hour. It reminds me of the stories I grew up with!”
Reflecting on this, I recalled how my mother would tell me stories of my grandmother who lived in Carney, Oklahoma. I’ve shared with you how her family emigrated from the Volga River in Russia in the 1880s, and how her own mother planted a church of 70 in a town of just 300 people. Almost a third of the town became Seventh-day Adventists!
One of my grandmother’s favorite pastimes was reading the Review & Herald on Sabbath afternoons and learning how the “work” was progressing in faraway places like the Fiji islands, the Amazon River, and the African jungle.
These stories thrilled her heart, because she had a heart for mission, and it’s this same mission spirit that drives the Adventist movement—and Adventist World Radio. It’s why we’re AWR360º Broadcast to Baptism—we proclaim that Jesus is coming soon, and baptize all who accept this wonderful message!
Sharing what God is doing strengthens our faith and our church. That’s why for years we enjoyed the Mission Quarterly, Mission Spotlight, and the online videos of Global Mission. Now, we can also enjoy AWR360° Mission Stories! And there is so much to share!
Right now, AWR is reaching the world not only through radio waves, but through the internet, through Godpods, and directly through public evangelism events. The message is reaching not just the Fiji islands and the Amazon jungle, but every corner of the planet!
This month, as we celebrate Thanksgiving, I want to share some of those amazing mission stories—and a few updates—that fill us with gratitude as we see God’s Spirit at work in unprecedented ways.
AN UNEXPECTED AWAKENING IN EUROPE
Last month I shared with you our plans to target the major cities in Europe. We believe Jesus is coming soon, and God is ready to do something big on this continent, which until recently had shown a tepid response to the things of God and salvation. But something is changing, and though we knew it was coming, it still caught us by surprise. Let me share what is happening:
We have a radio station in this secular port city of Southern France that sits along the French Riviera. It’s a place famous for its proximity to St. Tropez, Cannes, and the Principality of Monaco, where pleasure-seekers flock to the beaches and casinos. But despite huge—and seemingly insurmountable—challenges, our radio station began beaming God’s truth for the world to listen. Would anybody be interested?
Whenever we follow God’s command to go and preach, and share our prophetic message, God’s Spirit finds those seeking for truth. The Marseille church members had a brilliant idea. It took courage, but they said, “Why don’t we invite the radio listeners to join us for our church service on Sabbath?”
They didn’t really expect anyone to respond, and thought maybe one or two people would show up, but since they had nothing to lose, that week they began airing the invitation for the coming Sabbath.
To their utter shock and amazement, that Sabbath the church was packed with visitors and there wasn’t enough room for everyone. Our church members were so excited! They decided to send out a second invitation, and this time they privately asked the church members not occupy the church pews, to allow the visitors to sit.
Again, the church was packed! And when an invitation was made to all who wanted to receive Bible studies, 40 people requested further studies and signed up for a Bible class!
This is unheard of and we can only praise God as we stand amazed, waiting to see what He will do next!
We have two radio stations in England: one that covers the London area, and another in the northern region. You remember the story of Alexa, the personal digital assistant device, that when asked to choose a radio station chose to play the local AWR station! It’s an amazing and inspiring story that showed God’s direct intervention. After that experience, the staff at this AWR radio station began to think: If God can do that without us doing anything, how much more could He do if we decided to do more?
Inspired by this small success (which really wasn’t small at all!), they began to think about what more they could do. They decided to reach out to the listening audience and offer Bible studies to all who were interested. Just like our radio station in France, they, too, expected a very limited response, if any at all.
Imagine their shock and surprise when 2,500 people responded requesting Bible studies! This was so unexpected that now their small staff is left with the logistics of tending to all the requests.
This is the kind of problem we love to have! Isn’t God amazing? It reminds me of a quote written many years ago that I believe is very close to being fulfilled: “I saw the latter rain was coming as suddenly as the midnight cry, and with ten times the power.” (Manuscript 4, 1852)
IN A HURRY TO DIE!
Nathan had decided he was going to commit suicide. His girlfriend, whom he loved more than life itself, had left him for another man the week before, and devastated, he’d sought refuge in drugs and alcohol to dull the pain. But peace eluded him, and he hadn’t eaten or slept in days, unable to focus on his work.
He’d finally reached the conclusion that he didn’t want to live anymore. Getting into his car, he sped at 120 mph up a mountainside, intent on careening over the side and into a precipice. That would be the best way, he decided. As he drove at breakneck speed, his car radio was blaring heavy metal music, its din matching the turmoil in his mind.
Suddenly, the radio went dead, and silence filled the car. This made Nathan furious, and he banged on the dashboard to get it to come back on. At first nothing happened, and his frustration mounted. In exasperation, he gave the radio a final bang, and that’s when he heard it come back on. But it was not the station he had been listening to. It was Adventist Radio London, and a man was speaking about peace and hope in Christ.
Nathan was so shocked that he stopped the car and stared at the radio. He sat there listening to the entire message—a sermon on hope that seemed to be meant just for him.
At the end of the message, a phone number was given, and Nathan called it.
“How can I help you?” a kindly voice answered.
“I need hope, I need love and I need Christ,” Nathan managed to say.
He was immediately put in contact with one of the local Adventist pastors, John Melki, and Nathan’s spiritual journey began. As he studied with Pastor Melki, he felt a deep sense of gratitude at what God had done for him. His suicidal thoughts vanished, and at the end of the studies, he was baptized into the Chelmsford Adventist Church. Now he works on a project with the homeless in the city, leading them to Christ and to a better life.
I couldn’t end this letter without giving you an amazing update from Mindoro. We just received word that 20 of the former rebel assassins have concluded their training and are now each starting their own evangelistic series in their home villages. These are not just former rebels—or family members of former rebels—but high-ranking former rebel assassins!
To think that just over a year ago, many of them were still full-time assassins—dedicated to killing and destroying—boggles the mind! Today, their hearts have been transformed by the power of God, and they find joy in leading others to Jesus. If that isn’t a cause for thanksgiving, I don’t know what is!
A PLACE FOR EVERYONE AT THE TABLE
This month, as we gather around our tables to celebrate Thanksgiving, I can’t help but think of another table that is being prepared right now. Everyone’s invited, and no one needs to be left out. There is room enough for every person on planet Earth, and millions are just waiting to be invited in, to understand that there is room for them. God is calling you and me today to share this wonderful message of hope with the world.
“Souls are hungering for the truth, thirsting for the water of life. Many are on the very verge of the kingdom, waiting only to be gathered in.” (Ellen G. White, Letter 10, 1899)
What a wonderful promise! Telling the world that Jesus is coming soon and inviting them to prepare for this cosmic event is the essence of the message we are called to share today.
This coming year, from May 12–27, we will be holding simultaneous evangelistic meetings throughout the cities of Europe. We pledged to go to the countries where the local church leadership is on board and have invited us to go, and already 36 countries have joined in! This in itself is a miracle, and I’m sure one of thousands more we will witness throughout Europe. I can’t wait to see what God will do!
I want to ask you to pray in a special way for this project. Your prayers and support are vital. And if you feel impressed to participate by holding an evangelistic series in one of these countries, please let us know.
Our hearts are filled with gratitude for what God is doing, but it’s also a time to thank you, our supporters, for making all these stories of faith possible. Thank you for standing with us, and for making such a profound difference in the lives of millions around the world.