“A far greater work will be done than has yet been done, and none of the glory of it will flow to men; for angels that minister to those who shall be heirs of salvation are working night and day.” (Last Day Events, p. 206)
Dear AWR Friend,
Forty years ago, at the beginning of our work in the mission field, my wife Kathy and I witnessed a miracle so astounding that it profoundly changed our ministry. I knew it was a taste of what God will do right before His return, and I’ve waited ever since to witness it again—until now.
Because in the last few years, and especially in the last few months, we are seeing things we’ve never seen before. They remind me of that early-rain experience years ago, and point to the soon coming of Jesus.
I’ve shared this story many times through the years, but it bears repeating. And then I’ll share what is happening now. It will blow your mind—especially because it happened right here in America!
THE EARLY MIRACLE
For 20 years, missionaries had been working in the Kasai region in the heart of the Congo, establishing a small mission station in Lulengele. Their years of toil and hardship had yielded a small Adventist church, a school, a medical dispensary and 300 converts.
Despite this small success and the years of hard work, growth had stalled. The little mission was stretched to the max and everyone was overworked. They felt God had to intervene if things were going to change.
Meanwhile, one day, the president of the Congo, Mobutu Sese Seko, was driving with his entourage from the capital city of Kinshasa to the coastal area of Matadi. As they drove, he began to notice something he hadn’t noticed before, despite making the trip many times.
There seemed to be churches everywhere, and all had different names—the Church of the Prophet Simon, the Church of the Prophet Pierre, and so on. President Mobutu was not pleased. “What’s this? Who are these people? Where did all these churches come from?”
After some investigation, it was discovered there were more than 1,000 of these churches throughout the country. So a law was passed requiring that all churches had to register with the Ministry of the Interior. But for a church to be legally recognized, the leader would need two qualifications: a college degree, and at least $1,000 in the bank under the church’s name. Otherwise, the church would need to register under one of the 33 recognized churches in the Congo. The Adventist Church was already recognized and exempt from this process.
Soon, the office of the Ministry of the Interior was flooded with the leaders of these churches who wanted to register their congregations. But as expected, most of them did not meet the requirements.
When they asked what they needed to do, the reply from the minister’s secretary was always the same: “Back there on the table are the documents of the recognized churches. Read through them and decide which church you like and agree with, and choose that one.”
So the leaders would look over the papers and read and read and read, and finally they would exclaim, “This is too confusing! Which church should we join?”
Now, let me pause here for a moment and tell you something about the Ministry of the Interior’s secretary. This young man was from the neighboring country of Rwanda, and the son of an Adventist pastor. After pursuing his studies in the Congo, he got a job in the government and slowly drifted away from God. By-and-by, he became the secretary to the Ministry of the Interior of the Congo.
So when the leaders of these churches would ask in confusion, “Which church should we join?” the young man would reply, “Depends. What do you believe?”
The reply was almost always the same: “We believe in everything the Bible teaches!”
And then, the secretary—this former Adventist pastor’s son—would reply, “In that case, you will have to become Seventh-day Adventists!”
Just like that, almost overnight, whole churches began coming to the little Lulengele Mission asking to join the Seventh-day Adventist Church, and eager to know the church that believed in the whole Bible. Our church grew from 300 members in 20 years of work, to 100,000 new converts in a very short time! What our missionaries could never accomplish on their own efforts, God did for them!
This experience changed my life and shaped my ministry, because I was one of those missionaries. I spent the first years in the mission field in the Congo clearing these new converts for baptism. My task consisted of traveling through the Kasai region, teaching and baptizing entire churches! I once walked through the Ituri Forest for 17 days, drinking the local water and partaking of the local fare with no ill health effects—and that in itself was another miracle!
Every time we’re confronted with a new evangelism challenge at Adventist World Radio, I draw from this experience that taught me to expect miracles. A task may seem impossible, and it is—but only if we’re working alone. Because “He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Jesus Christ.” (Philippians 1:6)
THINGS WE’VE NEVER SEEN BEFORE
There may be people in our churches today sitting quietly in their pews every Sabbath, and thinking that the days of miracles are over and nothing much is happening in God’s church. But make no mistake, God is working wonders, sometimes in the most unexpected ways!
A few years ago, I began sharing what we’ve been witnessing at Adventist World Radio (AWR) as we proclaim our unique prophetic message around the world. You probably heard the story of the island of Mindoro, Philippines, and how shocked we were when whole villages that had never before heard the Adventist message began calling our radio station requesting that someone visit them—because everyone in their village wanted to be baptized and join the Seventh-day Adventist church just from listening to the radio programs! First it was five villages, then 15, then 90. We finally stopped counting after 500 villages!
Then news began filtering in from Liberia, Africa. Whole evangelical congregations were listening to the radio programs and had decided to keep the Sabbath. You may recall the “changing of the sign” as these churches proudly displayed their new sign identifying them as Seventh-day Adventists.
This was followed by South Africa, where a Dutch Reform church became Seventh-day Adventist—not just a few members, but the whole church! Then it happened in India, as many evangelical pastors were convicted of the truth. And just this year, a whole church in Papua New Guinea changed their sign when the entire congregation became convicted about the Adventist message. Hundreds of thousands around the world are
hearing this wonderful message for the first time and taking a stand for truth!
You may say, “Yes, yes, we’ve heard this before, but what about America? It never happens here!”
I’m glad you asked!
THE BLUEBERRY FARMER AND THE METHODIST CHURCH
A blueberry farmer in Trout Creek, Montana, was chatting with some of his customers last year, when they mentioned their local Methodist church
needed a pastor. The farmer—who happened to be Adventist—said, “We
just got a new pastor, and he’s free on Sundays.”
Pretty soon. Pastor Donavon Kack got a call from one of the elders at the Methodist church: “Can you preach for us on Sundays?”
Pastor Kack replied, “Sure, I’ll be happy to. But do you have any restrictions?”
The elder said, “As long as you preach the Bible, we’re fine with that. You can preach whatever you want.”
So Pastor Kack began preaching at the Methodist church every Sunday. A few months into this routine, the members asked Pastor Kack, “Why aren’t we growing? We want to grow!” There were about 10 members attending at any given time in that beautiful church.
I should point out that Pastor Kack had been an evangelist for many years, and had only returned to pastoral duties when he learned that his conference president shared his vision of what pastoral work should be: evangelism and church planting, while relying on the members to run the church. So let’s just say he knew a little about church growth!
“You want to grow?” Pastor Kack asked them. “I know how to do that! First, fervently pursue a relationship with Jesus. And second, get back to the Bible.”
This resonated with the Methodist group, so they changed the sign outside their church to say, “Getting Back to the Bible with Pastor Kack!”
A month later they came to him again, and said, “We know you used to be an evangelist. Would you consider doing a prophecy series for us?”
Pastor Kack replied, “Yes, but it’s impossible to teach Revelation without getting into the Sabbath issue. The only way to preach about prophecy is to be honest about the Sabbath.”
They said, “Hey, if it’s in the Bible, we want it!”
So in October of last year, they began the meetings with 50 visitors from the community. And you know what? They never went back to Sunday worship again! The meetings ran several nights a week, including Sunday night. They substituted that for their regular Sunday service. Four nights after the Sabbath subject was presented, they came to Pastor Kack and said, “We have decided we want to be Seventh-day Methodists!”
But by the time the evangelistic series was over, the church had decided they wanted to become Seventh-day Adventists. And they weren’t 10 anymore—50 people made that decision!
Pastor Kack shared what he did next: “Suddenly, I had a brand-new Adventist congregation! They were young in the faith, and I wanted to give them a bigger picture of our work and worldwide mission, so I began searching for videos to share with them. I had worked with Pastor McKey years before and knew of his mission work, so I went to the AWR website. That’s when I discovered the AWR mission story videos with Cami Oetman. I have shown one every Sabbath since then and the people absolutely love them. As a result, every month they are giving to AWR. Thank you for what you are doing. Today, this is a very vibrant, enthusiastic and growing church!”
Isn’t that amazing? A Sunday-to-Sabbath church right here in America! It just blew us away! And I know this is just the beginning—a taste of what we will see as we approach the final chapters of Earth’s history and the battle over a name—the name of Jesus.
We love stories like this that show what God can do when we are willing to step out in faith, unafraid to present the whole message. When we remember we are not working alone and that God’s Spirit is the one convicting hearts, we will not be afraid to present the whole truth. And here’s a bonus: Today, Pastor Kack just informed me that the Methodist Convention has agreed to give the church building to the new Adventist congregation! We praise God for that!
THE MIRACLES CONTINUE
God is opening amazing doors of service at Adventist World Radio. We recently finished the first phase of Christ for Europe with 2,100 preaching sites in 38 countries across Europe. Now we’re working on Papua New Guinea for Christ 2024, and already there are 7,000 preaching sites, 10,000 small study groups, and their prayer goal is 600,000 baptisms. It boggles the mind!
This year alone, we’ve distributed more than 40,000 Godpods (solar-powered audio Bibles and sermons) in 28 countries. At a cost of $40 per Godpod, that’s $1,600,000 in Godpods alone! And we just approved another shipment of 26,000! I love God’s math, because if we add up the numbers, there’s no way we can do it, but like the loaves and the fishes, God always works a miracle—and many times that miracle is you!
The work on the Guam antennas continues uninterrupted, and by next year they will all be replaced. These “steel preachers,” whose messages reach across thousands of miles to the 10/40 window in countries closed to the preaching of the gospel by any other means, had slowly rusted after 50 years of faithful service. Replacing them seemed an insurmountable task, but the project is well on its way to completion. Another miracle!
Yes, the expenses are huge, but the returns are enormous, and we move forward by faith, because there is no greater joy than leading others to Jesus and seeing lives changed for the kingdom of heaven!
Thank you for being part of these miracles, for what you do to support the ministry of Adventist World Radio, and for helping to reach millions with the life-saving message that there is hope and salvation—because Jesus is coming soon!
Yours in the Blessed Hope,