Dear AWR Friend,
I was canvassing one summer in Ashland, Nebraska, between my junior and senior years at Union College, when something happened that taught me a lesson I’ll never forget.
My friend Bob Peck was with me that day, and it was sometime after 4 p.m. when we knocked on the last house of the day. We were invited in by a grandmother and her daughter, whose noisy children ran in and out of the room while we made our presentation. I soon realized the women were distracted. They weren’t paying close attention, and they kept looking at the clock on the wall.
Suddenly, the front door opened and in walked one of the largest men I’d ever seen, well over 6’ tall and 300 pounds. He looked at Bob and me, and at our material spread out on the floor, and bellowed, “Who let them in here?!”
I was familiar with men like him. You see, I’d grown up with a big, authoritative father who could be pretty unpleasant at times, so I wasn’t afraid. I heard this man’s name was John, so I grabbed his hand and said, “Hi, I’m Duane McKey. I’d like to show you something, John. Come and have a seat.”
Bewildered and caught off guard, the man sat down. The children, who had been quite rowdy throughout our visit, had quieted down now that grandpa was home, and were watching to see what would happen next.
I had the Conflict of the Ages series, along with Bible Readings for the Home, and a complete set of Arthur Maxwell’s The Bible Story spread out on the floor, and went through the whole presentation again. This time, everyone listened, and when I finished, there were tears in this giant man’s eyes. He said to his wife, “We have to do this for our grandkids.”
He went and got his checkbook and wrote a check for all the books I’d canvassed, which was a considerable amount. I didn’t realize it then, but the check was from their savings account, from which they never took out funds. So, the next morning, when I went to the local bank to cash it, the banker took me aside and asked, “Where did you get this check?”
I told him I was selling Christian books, and that John had paid me. He replied, “Just sit right here and wait a minute.”
He went to his phone and made a call. I heard him say, “John, there are some guys here who have your check and they say you agreed to take this out of your savings account. Is that true?”
Big John replied, “Yes, I want my grandkids to be in heaven someday. They need to know about Jesus.”
I’ve often thought about Big John over the years, and how God turned this gruff man into a lamb. We gave him all the books he ordered, and the children were excited to receive the Bible Story set. It made me wonder how it will be in heaven when we find people like Big John with whom we shared the message and never saw again. I hope to see those rowdy kids there, along with Mom, Grandpa and Grandma.
This also taught me a great lesson. We may judge by the outward appearance, but God works in the heart. It has encouraged me through the years to share the Adventist message without fear, knowing I’m not alone when presenting the great truths from the Bible.
That’s what we believe at Adventist World Radio, and why we proclaim our full prophetic message with confidence through the airwaves around the world. Ever since we made the decision to do this five years ago, we have seen the most amazing miracles of God’s grace. And if you know us, you know we love to share these miracles with you. Let me share just a few more.
THE “AWR CHICKENS”
Sometimes we hear stories that just make us smile and praise God. And this is one of them. It’s particularly meaningful to my wife Kathy and me, because both our mothers loved to raise chickens:
A chicken farmer on the island of Mindoro, Philippines, was having trouble with his chickens. They just weren’t laying eggs. Someone suggested he contact a chicken psychologist and ask him to evaluate his hens. So, he did, and after examining the birds, the expert concluded the chickens were stressed. He advised the farmer to buy some radios and place them around the chicken cages, assuring him that music would help the hens lay more eggs.
So, the farmer did just that. He tuned the radios to a local station and waited to see what would happen. It was a disaster. The rock music stressed the chickens even more, and they stopped laying eggs altogether.
When he went back to the psychologist, the man suggested the farmer find a different station with better music. So, the farmer began searching for a different station. As he turned the dial, he came upon our AWR station and liked what he heard, so he decided to try it. In no time, the hens started laying eggs again.
He was very happy with this result, but then our radio station began airing the Unlocking Bible Prophecies series with Cami Oetman, so there was less music, but the chickens doubled their production! They seemed to enjoy Cami’s soothing voice. And when the series ended, the station began airing AWR’s Earth’s Final Countdown series. I know my voice is not as smooth as Cami’s, but they continued with their egg production uninterrupted!
That in itself was a miracle, but the real miracle came afterward. You see, not only were the chickens listening, but the farmer was listening as well. God was working in his heart and he was convicted of the truth. A month ago, he called our radio station and requested baptism.
If you’ve been following AWR news, you’ve heard of the amazing miracle that took place on the island of Mindoro. It was a miracle five years in the making—ever since we began airing evangelistic programs into the remote mountains on the island.
Unbeknownst to us, not only were the remote villages receiving the messages, but also the NPA—an army of communist rebel soldiers hiding deep in the mountains. The story of how these soldiers came to know Jesus, surrendered their weapons, and came out of hiding—from darkness into the light of God’s truth—is one of the most moving stories that I’ve had the privilege of witnessing. And the miracles continue!
As you know, last November we were invited to meet with then-Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, who wanted to personally thank AWR and the Adventist Church for helping end the 50-year war with the NPA on the island of Mindoro. Now, newly-elected President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos has acknowledged our contribution, and in his first State of the Union address, an Adventist pastor was chosen to pray for the nation.
But there’s more! We have now begun work in the island of Mindanao. The rebel groups there aren’t communist like the NPA. They’re Muslim Abu Sayyaf rebels, which presents a new challenge. But if we’ve learned anything, it’s that we can share Bible truth through the airwaves without fear, because God’s Spirit is working in the hearts of the listeners, and He will do the rest!
Now for the best part: recently, AWR was invited to the country’s national headquarters to meet with government officials and generals from the armed forces. They expressed their desire to see what happened in Mindoro repeated not just in Mindanao, but across the whole country!
At the request of the government, a Memorandum of Agreement has been signed between AWR and the Philippine military. They would like us to take charge of the spiritual formation of their soldiers throughout the country. To this end, the government is offering their military bases as worship centers—and as radio stations. They would like AWR to set up radio stations right on the military bases and broadcast our Bible programs 24/7!
This is new territory for us. We can only stand amazed as we see God opening doors wide for the preaching of the gospel.
Opportunities are opening up everywhere, and what we are seeing in the Philippines is being repeated around the world. We often point to the calamities and disasters in the world as a sign of Christ’s soon return, but the doors opening for the preaching of the Three Angels’ Messages is a far greater indication that something big is about to happen: Jesus is coming soon!
Let me share just a few of the amazing things taking place right now:
- In the spring of 2023, we’re planning Europe for Christ, with live evangelistic events in all the major cities of Europe. We believe Europe is ready for a shake-up! If you would like to join us and participate in this event, we’re looking for volunteers—and you’ll get to pick the country where you’d like to preach.
- Right now, we’re hitting the 100 largest cities in Mexico with live evangelistic events that will be held by pastors and volunteers alike. There is much anticipation, and we can’t wait to see what God will do!
- We just purchased a semi-trailer truck for our work in Ukraine. It will be used for medical evangelism, and to air AWR radio programs directly from the truck to this war-torn, suffering area of the world. We have also sent 20,000 solar-powered Godpods to Ukraine, where there is now an enormous demand to hear the Word of God. And we’re in the process of sending another 20,000 Godpods to Eastern Europe, now also experiencing an awakening.
- This year alone, we are helping set up 13 new radio stations in the following countries: Kenya, Angola, Colombia (two stations), Peru (two stations), Guatemala (four stations), Uruguay, the island of St. Thomas, and as I write this letter, we’re dedicating our new radio station in Paris, France.
Whenever we support local church leaders on these projects, we have one condition: The station is to be used to preach our full prophetic message. We can’t waste time. Jesus is coming soon and we have to get the message out to as many people as possible. They, too, need to have the opportunity to choose life.
- This past June, we dedicated an AWR evangelistic center in the heart of Nazareth, Israel. For the first time, the Conflict of the Ages five-book series is being translated into Hebrew, and read online for a Hebrew audience. We have been flooded with requests for this material!
I could go on, but you get the picture. These are just a few of the highlights of what God is doing. All we have to do is step forward in faith and share the best news this tired old world needs to hear: Heaven has a plan of salvation. Jesus is the answer—the Antidote for sin—and we can choose Him and live!
I still remember the joy of the three Muslim men who came to our radio station in Uganda. They’d just heard for the first time that Jesus was coming again. They said, “To know He lives and is coming back has given us great hope like we’ve never felt before!” (Read the full story in our letter from August 2022.)
Have we gotten used to hearing about that great hope, or does it still burn in our hearts? What a privilege and what an opportunity to share it with others! Thank you for partnering with us in this adventure of faith. We are only seeing the beginning of the amazing things God has in store as we near His return.