Dear AWR Friend,
Several months ago, just before the pandemic began, our Adventist World Radio team was in Portland, Oregon, for an AWR Mission Sabbath at the Sunnyside Church.
After the service ended, my friend and the head elder for the church, Arnold Peterson, told me that recently there had been some discussion among several church leaders—including a few doctors from Adventist Health Portland—about Matthew 24:14, where Jesus said, “And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world, as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.”
Their concern was this: How is it even possible to reach the 7.8 billion people on this old “ball of mud” with the gospel message?
I was unaware of their discussion when I began my presentation that Sabbath morning, which went something like this: “You go to the highest mountains of Nepal, and Adventist World Radio is there. You go to the killing fields of Mindoro, Philippines, where civil war has taken more than 40,000 lives in the past 50 years—and AWR is there. I have been on the Amazon River and watched DEA agents from Brazil and the USA patrolling the area in search of the drug cartel—and Adventist World Radio is there!”
Yes, amazingly, through the power of radio, we are able to reach into every corner of the world, because we go where air goes—radio waves know no borders, no walls and no limits! And if we’re not there yet, by God’s grace we soon will be.
But while radio is still the main source of communication in most countries, cell phones are not far behind—so we’ve expanded our outreach to include cell phone evangelism through WhatsApp.
We never know who’s listening—and sometimes God surprises us with unexpected outcomes. Recently, unbeknownst to us, our cell phone evangelistic programs began reaching the drug cartels in the most remote jungle mountain areas! Imagine our surprise when several of these hardened men made contact with us. They had given their hearts to Jesus and wanted to be baptized!
In Mindoro, Philippines, we began broadcasting just three years ago, covering the island with the Adventist message. Today, more than 10,000 people from 255 villages have been baptized.
They heard the radio programs and contacted our AWR station headquarters on the island to request baptism! Whole villages have been baptized, and many of those who gave their hearts to Jesus are former New People’s Army (NPA) rebels who heard God’s voice and renounced their violent lifestyle.
Even in North Korea—one of the most dangerous places on earth—Adventist World Radio is there, penetrating a country that for years has been closed to Christianity!
Let me share a couple of stories of how God is working even behind closed borders.
THE STORY OF TWO KIMS
Some time ago, I shared the story of Kim, who heard the Adventist message through her radio and dreamed of escaping North Korea to study at Sahmyook Adventist University in South Korea. Her plan was to complete her studies and return to North Korea to share the gospel message with her family and friends.
She had managed to swim across the border into China, where she met in secret with Pastor Godwin, who confirmed her in the faith and baptized her. That very night, she left, planning to cross the border into Mongolia.
Unfortunately, she never made it. She was captured and executed. When Pastor Godwin received the news that Kim had been killed, he was distraught. It felt like God’s plan for her life had been cut short. But even in his grief, he remembered Kim’s words of faith: “Even if I die, I will be all right, because the next thing I will see is Jesus coming in the clouds of heaven.”
When our AWR team heard the story from Pastor Godwin, we all cried. We felt sad for this young woman whose dreams of service had been denied. Then, a few months ago, something happened that reminded us of Kim.
At a TMI (Total Member Involvement) rally in South Korea, we met another Kim. This time, it was a young man. He, too, had escaped from North Korea and made his way to South Korea, where he met some friends who studied the Bible with him and led him to Jesus. And he, too, had first heard the Adventist message through Adventist World Radio, which had penetrated North Korea’s barriers.
I had the privilege of introducing this new Kim to our General Conference president, Elder Ted Wilson, who baptized him that very Sabbath. Afterward, I asked Kim what he planned to do. He said, “I want to study at Sahmyook University and learn more about the Adventist message. Then, I want to swim the river back to my people in North Korea and tell them they have a friend in Jesus.”
Amazing! In that moment, it was as if God was telling us: I’m giving you another Kim, and he will fulfill the dream of your first Kim.
SNOW WHITE BECOMES A SOUL-WINNER
Our new AWR School of Evangelism in Thailand was organized to train and equip young people throughout Asia, and especially China. Recently, we had a group of students who attended from mainland China. The group included pastors, Bible workers and church members. To our surprise, we discovered that many of our students from China had little to no experience in giving personal Bible studies, or even knowing how to prepare souls for baptism.They were thrilled to participate in hands-on training outreach among Buddhists in Thailand, and returned to China on fire for Jesus.
One of those students was “Snow White,” who had been a Bible worker for 10 years. “I thought being a Bible worker meant teaching the Bible on Sabbath,” she said.
During the week, she would spend most of her time in the office answering phones and running errands. But she was not satisfied. She said, “The old way of doing things had left me dry and powerless, but that’s not what I wanted. Something was missing.”
Snow White prayed about this, and God provided the opportunity for her to be trained at our school of evangelism. Now, after her training, she was returning with a new understanding and a heart full of desire to reach souls for Jesus!
But alas, the COVID-19 pandemic struck just as the students were returning to China. What could Bible workers like her do now? They couldn’t visit homes—they couldn’t even leave their own homes! Not to worry—they had learned cell phone evangelism just in time for the pandemic!
Snow White began working with her cell phone—sending sermons and presentations to her interest list. This was an ongoing evangelistic series right from her home!
In just a few months, she had 20 new believers ready for baptism! She said, “I am so excited to see these precious souls won to Jesus, and now I desire my husband (an elder in the church) and many others to be trained as well!” There was joy on Snow White’s face and in her heart as she recently witnessed the baptism of those she had brought to Jesus.
Yes, AWR is present wherever there are people needing to know more about Jesus. There are more than 1,000 radio stations and studios beaming the gospel message 24/7, and that includes our shortwave radio station in Guam that reaches one-third of the world, including the 10/40 window!
Right now, we’re building a center for evangelism to reach Bhutan and Tibet, and have just purchased a building that is being converted into a center for evangelism in Nazareth to reach the Arab world.
Recently, I shared with you our most current outreach—a series called Unlocking Bible Prophecies, presented by our very own Cami Oetman. It’s our first full-message evangelistic series through social media, including YouTube. Anyone with a computer, tablet or smartphone can watch it at any time! The series garnered more than 2 million views within two months, and Unlocking Bible Prophecies 2.0 was held October 3-17 in at least 20 languages! Visit awr.org /prophecy to subscribe to these videos on YouTube!
But despite our presence being felt in the most remote places on the planet, it is only by God’s Spirit that people are responding. He is the One convicting hearts, stirring interest and filling people with a desire to know more about Jesus. He is the One leading people to turn on their radios just in the nick of time to hear a life-saving message, or causing someone on a remote jungle mountain to stop and listen to a stirring sermon.
After I finished speaking at the Sunnyside Church in Portland on that AWR Mission Sabbath, Arnold said to me: “Now I know!”
I asked him, “What is it that you know?”
And he replied, “How our message of the everlasting gospel can reach the whole world—it’s because of Adventist World Radio!”
It’s actually all of us working together. I often think of the Great Commission that Jesus gave the disciples, to go and preach, teach and baptize. We are told in Acts of the Apostles, “The commission that Christ gave to the disciples, they fulfilled!” In a single generation, those 12 men went everywhere!
Just over a year ago, we were in Chennai, India, at the tomb of Thomas. He walked more than 4,000 miles to tell the people of India about Jesus, and he died there—pierced by a spear as he knelt in prayer. Except for John, all the disciples were martyred for Jesus in their unwavering zeal to share the wonderful news of His salvation and soon return. If they were able to accomplish their commission—just 12 men in a single generation—we should be able to do the same with today’s technology through the power of the Holy Spirit!
But there is something else that makes all of this possible—and that’s your support. Adventist World Radio would not exist but for the generous support of people like you who want to see the work finished and Jesus return. There are generations before us—like Kim from North Korea—waiting for us to finish the work so that Jesus can return and we can all go home with Him.
Right now, the doors are wide open for the preaching of the gospel. Social media is not yet restricting its proclamation, and we must take advantage of this window of opportunity. Thank you for joining us in this great adventure of faith. It is only as we work together that miracles happen and the work will be finished.
What a time to be alive! Jesus is coming soon—and that’s the best news of all! As the pandemic rages all around us, and there’s bad news at every turn, we are seeing God’s Spirit at work like never before—because God’s news is always good news! Thank you for joining us as together we share with the world the good news of salvation, because Jesus is coming soon!