09/29/2012: Medical Missionary Opportunity

Medical Missionary Opportunity

In Rural Thailand

 

Elephant on the road to Piyotha.

Last May I had an opportunity to go to the mountain village of Piyotha (Beyota). The villagers are very poor and many are addicted to opium. One lone Seventh-day Adventist church stands as a beacon among fifty similar villages. It takes several hours by truck to reach some of these villages, and a few can only be reached by motorcycle or foot.

Our friend Gayle, who was a registered nurse in the United States, has been working with the villagers in and around Piyotha for a couple of years now. She has invited us to help her establish five to ten medical missionary education and treatment centers to bring light to this heavily suppressed area. We are told in Testimonies, vol. 6, 433,

“… the angels of God are waiting to co-operate with all who will devise plans whereby souls for whom Christ died may hear the glad tidings of salvation….”

We began to pray, and in just a few days the doors began to open.

While visiting Chiang Mai Adventist Academy with Gayle the next Sabbath, we met an elderly Adventist Thai lady named Mrs. Summot. After we shared about our work in Thailand and Gayle’s desire to help the hill people, Mrs. Summot became very excited. She said that she could help us make it happen.

Steve, Gayle and Dr. Prajene and his wife.

On Monday, Mrs. Summot went with Gayle to meet the Chiang Mai Deputy Director of Health for permission to start the health centers. The Director immediately called the head doctor of Gayle’s district and told him we would be coming to see him. Later that week, Gayle and I went to Omkoi district to meet with Dr. Prajene. He offered to bring a team of medical workers to Piyotha and do a health clinic with Gayle for a day.

Two weeks later, I was able to catch a ride up to Piyotha with the medical team. Dr. Prajene, the Chief Physician and Medical Director of Omkoi district was visiting Piyotha with ten members of his staff to run a day clinic with Gayle. She was able to work side by side with them and also provide some medical equipment that was much needed.

At the end of the day, Dr. Prajene visited the small clinic that Gayle has been running from her house and was pleased with all the medicine and supplies she had on hand. “Where did you get all of this medicine?” He asked

“I have purchased it with my own money for the people.” she replied. He was amazed that she would do this for people she did not even know. He was also very impressed with her organization and the patient records she was keeping. Dr. Prajene told us that he was extremely happy that Gayle is actually living with the people and treating them medically. He gave his full support. He told us we can build health education and treatment centers wherever we want and as many as we feel are necessary. He also invited Gayle to come to his hospital in Omkoi and work with him in any area where she feels the need for more local medical training.

God has provided a way through medical missionary health centers to bring the gospel to these remote mountain villages. By meeting the needs of the people, the light of Jesus will shine through and the Adventist message will spread throughout the hills of Piyotha. Churches will grow and these people will be delivered from addiction and gloom.

If you have a team of medical professionals, builders, church or youth groups that would like to come or support our work in Thailand, please email us and share what God is leading you to do.

Will you join us and share the joy of reaching souls for eternity?

The Rawlings Family

By Steve Rawlings. Steve and Lynette Rawlings have moved to Thailand to learn to be a beacon for Jesus in this dark country. Email: rawlings@leadingtothelight.org.  Website: www.leadingtothelight.org.

 

 


09/22/2012: Faithful Under Trial

Faithful Under Trial

Philippines

 

We had been visiting a family here in Impasug-ong, Romeo and Norma Sayusay and their six children, Marvin, 19; Michael, 16; Honey, 14; Aiai, 11; Tonton, 8; and Ronron, 6. They were active members of Fundamental Baptist Church.

One morning as I was washing my clothes, a man wearing a robe came to see me. He said that he was Pastor Desina from the Fundamental Baptist Church. He frankly told me that I should not visit his members, especially Sayusay family.

He said that I always preached about the Ten Commandments, the Sabbath day and food, so I began to explain to him slowly but surely, in a way that would be easy for him to understand. I saw that his face very angry. Then he started reading Galatians 5:4, “Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace.”

So I tried to say that he should continue reading through verse six: “For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision; but faith which worketh by love.” Then I gave him a support text in John 14:15: “If ye love me keep, my commandments.” That means that Galatians 5:4 is not about the Ten Commandments, but about circumcision. “He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.” 1 John 2:4.

He was still very angry and told me that I should stop visiting his members. I answered that there are no boundaries to the preaching the good news, and that is the message of the three angels of Revelation 14.

I told him that I had no choice but to preach and that I would continue to visit his members and teach them from the truth of the Bible. He then grabbed hold of my shirt and put his two fingers into my eyes until my eyes hurt. He was very hot and angry because I still told him that I would not stop visiting those who were willing to learn and to have a Bible study among his members. I also told him that we could not stop those willing to listen to the truth. I tried to tell him that he should relax because he was acting without self-control, and God is watching us and was seeing what he was doing right then. Then he tried to calm down and asked for my forgiveness.

He warned me again that I should not continue to visit the Sayusay family. Then he left. After that I went to visit the Sayusay family and told them what happened. I thanked God because they were very eager to learn more about Bible, and they continued to read more about our beliefs. They attended church from July 2008 to May 2009, when they decided to receive baptism.

They are very happy now because they know the truth. For 21 years, as a member of the Fundamental Baptist Church, Romeo thought that he knew the truth already, but it turned out that there was more exact truth to learn. He asked me, “Brother, there is no religion that can save us, right?” I answered, “That is right, because God is only one who can save us, but there is a religion that is pure. James 1:27: ‘Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.’ So it is pure religion that is not spotted by the world that leads to salvation.”

After becoming Seventh-day Adventists, their family had some difficult trials. They were a joke to their neighbors and some of their relatives. But although his wife was ignored by her siblings and parents, they still continued to attend church and to serve God.

Then their son Tonton and daughter Aiai got dengue fever. They brought them to the Emergency Hospital in Kisolon, and I stayed with the father the whole night. Their mother was crying because when she asked her relatives for help, they told her that the reason her son and daughter got sick was because of her change in religion. She realized that their trials were actually because they had chosen to follow God. Then we prayed in the hospital, together with the members of Impasug-ong church, that God would never leave His son and daughter. Through God’s help, their son and daughter were healed and were discharged after three days. Sister Norma said, “There is nothing impossible with God.”

“There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.” 1 Corinthians 10:13.

God allows us to have trials to prove our characters.

“God tests and proves us by the common occurrences of life. It is the little things which reveal the chapters of the heart. It is the little attentions, the numerous small incidents and simple courtesies of life, that make up the sum of life’s happiness; and it is the neglect of kindly, encouraging, affectionate words, and the little courtesies of life, which helps compose the sum of life’s wretchedness. It will be found at last that the denial of self for the good and happiness of those around us constitutes a large share of the life record in heaven. And the fact will also be revealed that the care of self, irrespective of the good and happiness of others, is not beneath the notice of our heavenly Father.” Testimonies, vol. 2, 133.

“I saw that it is in the providence of God that widows and orphans, the blind, the deaf, the lame, and persons afflicted in a variety of ways, have been placed in close Christian relationship to His church; it is to prove His people and develop their true character. Angels of God are watching to see how we treat these persons who need our sympathy, love, and disinterested benevolence. This is God’s test of our character. If we have the true religion of the Bible we shall feel that a debt of love, kindness, and interest is due to Christ in behalf of His brethren; and we can do no less than to show our gratitude for His immeasurable love to us while we were sinners unworthy of His grace, by having a deep interest and unselfish love for those who are our brethren and who are less fortunate than ourselves.” Testimonies, vol. 3, 511.

 

By Temtem Pedraverde. Support for the work in the Philippines can be sent to Mission Projects International, PO Box 59656, Renton, WA 98058.


09/15/2012: Helping Earth’s Needy Ones

Lord, Send Me

Botswana

Loago Setswalo is planning to return to Batswana in the summer of 2012 to start a training school.

My name is Loago Setswalo, and I am currently 28 years old. I was born in the small village of Shakawe, in the northwestern part of Botswana, Southern Africa.

I had prayed for about three years to be trained in a Bible-based training school to be an evangelist for the Lord. The burden I had was that the truth which I had just received, most of the people in southern Africa did not know. We resorted to inviting American speakers, mostly from Hartland Institute, to our annual youth camps. Then I started thinking, How long are we going to depend on foreign speakers; why cannot one of us go to this college and train, and come back to train others? Although I desired to come here and be a student, little did I know that God’s plan was that I should be the man called to that work of training others.

I have no doubt that God called me to be a student at Hartland College in Virginia. God performed a series of miracles to get me here and keep me here. I had no money for an airline ticket, but within two weeks God supplied it. It was a struggle for me to get a visa, but God did work, and I managed to get it. He also provided the sponsor for my training here. I made a commitment to God that if He would bring me to Hartland College, then I will go back to Botswana and start a training institution for Bible workers and medical missionaries. I enjoy every moment of my training in this college, although I have gone through a series of the most challenging trials of my life.

At the end of the first term I spent at Hartland, I got seriously ill. I was admitted to the University of Virginia Hospital for about10 days. I was diagnosed with tuberculosis of the heart. These bacteria had caused an inflammation in the pericardium, which resulted in the formation of up to a quart of fluid in the pericardia cavity. There was almost five times as much fluid in the pericardia cavity as there should have been. It was only by the grace of God that I survived this deadly disease. They managed to drain the fluid and I received medication for it. The medications had deadly side effects. One of the effects was that I went from having good eyesight to being nearly blind, until the Lord provided me with the prescription glasses some months later. I lost my appetite. My family was also going through a challenging time during this crisis.

I praise God that He has raised me up into good health. This year has been very peaceful, although there are challenges myfamily is currently going through. God has been working marvelously to get this project going. I thank you for your generous gifts and earnest prayers.

An example of the agricultural program at Las Delicias—this will be used as a pattern for the school in Southern Africa.

We have recently been offered land to use for the school, but we still have to go and see it to know if that will be where we will settle. Please continue praying for the work in Southern Africa, especially the school about to start in Botswana.

God’s providence has been really preparing me for the work in Southern Africa. For my internship I went to Colombia, South America. I learned many things that will be helpful in starting a self-sustaining institution. The industrial emphasis I witnessed in self-supporting ministries of South America significantly impressed me. It has given me a way forward and wisdom about how we can start just with simple things.

At Las Delicias Colombia, they have a large plantain and banana plantation. They also grow soy beans and other fruits and vegetables. The students work with the teachers in these places, and the benefits are excellent for the students and the institute. This method of agriculture is not only used to bring profit to the institution, but to educate the students on the correct principles of organic farming. When these students graduate they do not only know their Bibles, but have learned a trade that can be used to help them to be self-sustaining. The agriculture program also serves as a model for the whole state of Quindío. The Department of Agriculture of the state constantly visits the institution to counsel with the agriculture directors. Some in the community and others from different organizations come there to learn how to make compost and grow organic vegetables. My plan is to go back to Africa and start something very similar; I have spoken to some of the directors at Las Delicias, and they are willing to come to Southern Africa to help me start the agriculture program.

Grains being rolled in the Las Delicias food industry.

The other thing that impressed me was the bakery industry they have there. They work with simple things. They only have one mixing machine and one main oven, but they use these to produce enough bread to supply the two restaurants that they own, as well as the campus, and sell some of it on Sundays to some small towns. They also package some seeds, grains, flour and herbs to sell; and they produce granola, soy cheese and other things. The main purpose of the industries is to supply the health food stores that they have, which are located in the restaurants. In all of these industries, students are the ones running and working in them with a few staff members. The restaurants are located in the nearby city. The larger one serves vegan food to an average of 40 to 50 people per day. They also conduct health seminars and cooking classes on some evenings for the customers. Some of them regularly visit the campus on Sabbaths. The people at Las Delicias are faithfully following the Spirit of Prophecy counsel by using the health message as the right arm of the gospel. I want to establish a similar health outreach program in Africa in conjunction with the school.

I know that many are dying without these truths that are so essential for their salvation. It is my prayer and desire to work hard and train young people who will take this everlasting gospel to every nation, kindred, tongue and people in Southern Africa. I have just finished my internship. After graduation in June 2012, I will be headed to Botswana to start the school project. Please pray for me.

 

By Loago Setswalo. To help this project, send your donations to Lord Send Me, PO Box 1, Rapidan, VA 22733. Mark your donations “Purelight For Africa project.”


09/08/2012: Finding the Source of All Strength

Finding the Source of All Strength

Zambia

Moses Muzeya, Director and Pastor.

For the past 21 years, the work of the Three Angels Child Education Mission in Zambia primarily consisted of literature distribution. The truth-filled literature was donated by brethren in the United States and has been distributed in the North-Western province. Some of these were translated into local languages and shared, not only in our province, but all the way into the neighboring country of Angola.

For a long time it appeared that the work would not be fruitful. The outlook was discouraging on its own, but it was made worse by the local Seventh-day Adventist church. They threatened to rescind my membership if I continued my work. I continued and lost my membership.

During this same time, school children were contacting me and pleading for me to help them in any way I could. My finances were so inadequate that I began to send away these pleading students, without providing them with any kind of assistance. This decision pricked my conscience, and I had no peace during this time. I needed to figure out a better way to deal with the issue, so I did some research to identify the problem and find a solution.

Orphans provided with school supplies and blankets.

During this research phase, I found out what was happening to these young people, and I was very shocked to find out what they are going through in this modern age. Can you imagine that within an area of a mere 90 kilometers there are nearly 1,000 orphans leading miserable lives? A good number of these are struggling to fulfill their dreams, hoping that education can give them a future, despite their lack of support. I vowed to find a better method of fighting for the welfare of these young sufferers, some of whom live near my own doorstep, and resolved to present them Jesus as their best Friend and Helper. I pleaded with God for wisdom to implement the simple ministry He was laying upon my heart.

This decision marked the beginning of my desire to minister to these young people. I did not have any financial or material resources, so I thought that associating the ministry with some non-governmental organization would be the only way to move forward.

It was not easy to find an organization that was willing to help, but after a long period of consultation, we found one. However, they promised to unite with our ministry only on the condition that we distribute condoms. We objected, and they withheld their funding.

There is so much truth in this passage: “Too often the worker for Christ fails to realize his personal responsibility. He is in danger of shifting his burden upon organizations, instead of relying upon Him who is the source of all strength. It is a great mistake to trust in human wisdom or numbers in the work of God. Successful work for Christ depends not so much on numbers or talent as upon pureness of purpose, the true simplicity of earnest, dependent faith. … The means in our possession may not seem to be sufficient for the work; but if we will move forward in faith, believing in the all-sufficient power of God, abundant resources will open before us. If the work be of God, He Himself will provide the means for its accomplishment. He will reward honest, simple reliance upon Him. The little that is wisely and economically used in the service of the Lord of heaven will increase in the very act of imparting. … If we go to the Source of all strength, with our hands of faith outstretched to receive, we shall be sustained in our work, even under the most forbidding circumstances, and shall be enabled to give to others the bread of life.” Desire of Ages, 370, 371.

After funding was denied, some friends were able to help in a meager way, and a few pathetic cases were addressed. I was able to distribute a few blankets, food and school supplies to some of the students in nearby schools.

Kabompo high school students preparing Bible study guides for distribution to other students.

I had a very simple routine for the process of providing help to the youth. Typically starting with prayer, I gave them short messages of encouragement to point hearts to Christ, the One who had provided the help that was now in their hands. Next, I paid special attention to cases that needed a one-on-one encounter. Little did I know that this was the beginning of a simple but effective method for bringing the three angels’ messages to government high school students in the North-Western province of Zambia. The path seems to be open for the message to reach many. Most of the young people who study with us often pass their joy and appreciation to others. This has led the hearts of many parents to open up to the gospel as they witness the changes in their children’s characters.

Requests for help continue to come from school authorities in the entire North-Western region, as well as other areas in Zambia. Their main desire is that we help the students find Christ in order to deliver them from satanic attacks, illnesses and the moral degradation which affects even their academic performance in class.

Every time we respond to these calls, the experience is always the same. God is in charge of the work and many supernatural manifestations have accompanied the simple presentation of Christ. We have seen deaf people hear again and visually impaired people see again. Those practicing witchcraft destroyed their implements and surrendered their lives to Christ. Above all, we have seen a great interest aroused in the Word of God.

There are 791 young people studying the Discover Bible Study Guides. Preaching appointments, in addition to requests for Bible studies, are very frequent.

A work of this magnitude is not without its challenges. While the results testify of God’s providence, the many obstacles we face are disheartening. The Seventh-day Adventist church continues to maintain an unfounded fear that our work will lead to the establishment of another church and drain their own of both human and material resources. I finally concluded that worshiping with the students in schools and in village homes is far better under the present circumstances..

The demand is great but the means are few. Our mission lacks funds to meet many of its operational requirements. Some of these needs include:

1. A high-speed Riso copy machine for literature production

2. A vehicle to enable us to reach appointments on time

3. A church building

4. A hammer mill to grind grain to generate income and provide food to vulnerable children

5. Bibles and truth-filled literature for in-reach and outreach programs

 

By Moses Muzeya. Email: threeangelschildeducationmission@yahoo.com. Three Angels Child Education Mission, Box 140095, Kabompo, Zambia, Africa. Phone: 260 977 267 898 or 260 965 267 898.

 


09/01/2012: Helping Earth’s Needy Ones

Helping Earth’s Needy Ones

Mission Update from Davao City, Philippines

 

There were several times when the father got a fever, and no one could help to alleviate his pain, but by strong determination he kept on working as a carpenter in order to support his nine children and sickly wife. In the heat of the sun, he bravely stood and worked just for his dear family, who were suffering from poverty and malnutrition. So our God and His Son Jesus Christ stand for us, unmindful of the severe pain with which Satan inhumanely tortured Jesus. Jesus ignored the pain because He loves us and was determined to manifest that love.

On a recent Sabbath, his wife got one of her frequent severe headaches. I soon learned that one of the reasons that she did not have regular bowel movements was because during the rainy season, their septic system functioned so poorly that the bathroom became stagnant as the septic tank overflowed, making it so unpleasant to use that she simply avoided it altogether. By God’s grace, I determined to visit their house in order get a better idea of their situation, and there I found a number of things that needed to be changed to secure good health. We are also now working for their baptism by God’s grace.

I made an appeal to my church brethren based on 1 John 3:17 to help with the renovation of their septic tank: “But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him?” The Bible also says, “Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others.” Philippians 2:4.

“Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: For I was an hungered, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me…Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.”   Matthew 25:34-36.

One of the most uplifting experiences is self-sacrifice, loving others as ourselves as Jesus taught us. Aside from the clinic work, I prepare cracked wheat to give to one of my neighbors who is very sick, as well as food supplements and herbs. My three children enjoy helping me to prepare herbs for our needy neighbors. “The divine commission needs no reform. Christ’s way of presenting truth cannot be improved upon. The Saviour gave the disciples practical lessons, teaching them how to work in such a way as to make souls glad in the truth. He sympathized with the weary, the heavy-laden, the oppressed. He fed the hungry and healed the sick. Constantly He went about doing good. By the good He accomplished, by His loving words and kindly deeds, He interpreted the gospel to men.” Counsels on Health, 498.

Carl

Just this week, a brother who was baptized two years ago, Carl Lester Taborada, 19 years old, visited our common house. His conversion was the fruit their neighbor’s morning worship. Every time he heard their morning hymns, for him there was a hint of a better life. Through those hymns, Carl and that neighbor became friends. Carl wanted to know about the hymns, and his neighbor shared with him about the gospel. By God’s grace, his neighbor invited a Bible worker to study the Bible with him. Even though Carl was a very worldly person, he happily received the invitation. By God’s grace, he decided to be baptized, despite his family and relatives being against it.

His mother, the family bread winner, died a year ago of breast cancer, and this brought to him a big problem. His father could not sustain them due to certain health problems and left them and married another woman. His eldest brother is a drunkard, and his two young brothers, aged nine and five, are in a relative’s care. He realized that he needed to do something to help his younger brothers when they told him “Kuya (elder brother), our auntie forced us to eat pork.” These words stabbed in his heart and pushed him to take the training to be a call center agent, where promising wages and benefits were waiting. But at the end of the week of training, the Sabbath issue would be a test. Their weekly training would end on Friday at 10 pm. He felt trembling and guilty. As he prayed to the Lord for help, a thought came to him to visit me. He arrived at my home after Sabbath worship at 12 pm. I was surprised at his visit. After learning of his situation, I encouraged him to stand for the truth, and we prayed together. To make the story short, he decided to leave the training, and we invited him to stay in our common house. He is planning to study nutrition and dietetics. He passed the entrance test for this course already, by God’s grace. Envisioning helping the gospel work with the help of medical work, he desires to study nutrition so as to help diseased people, poor and rich, especially our brethren and sisters in Christ, to obtain sound health, aiming at everlasting life.

To this end my dear readers, let us therefore do what the apostle says, “Distributing to the necessity of saints; given to hospitality.” Romans 12:13. Carl Lester needs 7,000 pesos ($164) for his school year and about 5-7,000 pesos for his lodging house and daily food. As he stays here in our common house, we are teaching him to be faithful and to keep in vision the end time gospel work. We taught him also to sell health products, do massage and give health consultations. My brother Bruce and I are planning to help him with part of his daily needs according to our capacity. We are appealing to other brethren likewise to give support to Carl, and by God’s grace, there are two brethren who plan to help. But still we are seeking whomever the Lord will send to pledge the funds for his school year, as the Lord leads. It could be us; it could be you. It depends on whom the Lord shall entrust His means as stewards. Let us help our brother. Let us work hand in hand. We envision that after he graduates from this university, Carl will help our future health institutions as well. He intends to go to school this coming June 2012. “For God is not unrighteous to forget your work and labour of love, which ye have shewed toward his name, in that ye have ministered to the saints, and do minister.” Hebrew 6:10.

Our present needs include the following:

1. Means for our church to establish church school.

2. Support for two full time Bible workers. This is an urgent need.

“Blessed is he that considereth the poor: the Lord will deliver him in time of trouble. The Lord will preserve him, and keep him alive; and he shall be blessed upon the earth: and thou wilt not deliver him unto the will of his enemies. The Lord will strengthen him upon the bed of languishing: thou wilt make all his bed in his sickness.” Psalm 41:1-3.

 

By Joseph Brian Palange. Support for the work in the Philippines can be sent to Mission Projects International, PO Box 59656, Renton, WA 98058.

 


08/25/2012: Touched by Literature and Personal Labor

Touched by Literature and Personal Labor

Prison in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea

Steps to Christ in the Pidgin language will soon arrive in Papua New Guinea via ship.

Eighty cartons of literature were delivered to Port Moresby and put in the Bond Store. Places were being sought to store this literature until it was distributed. No place could be found. Finally a man who worked at the main prison suggested that the literature be stored at the prison. It did not seem like a good place to store literature because the place was full of thieves. But would it be such a bad idea? If the literature got stolen, it would be in the hands of the prisoners! We finally made arrangements to store the literature at the prison. There was one condition to renting this space. Each new prisoner would get a copy of Steps to Christ. God had a wonderful way to solve a problem of storage and to have each prisoner have precious literature in their possession.

 

 

Prisoner’s Testimony from New Castle, 
Indiana, USA

My name is Alan. On December 2, 2011 I began serving a jail sentence. In jail I was given Steps to Christ, and I have read it. It has been a blessing.

I would like to tell you a little about myself. I was a strong member of a church, and in 2007 my wife was killed in a car accident. I stood on the road and told God that I hated Him. I said that if He was in front of me I would kill Him. The next four years of my life were a nightmare. I never found what I was looking for. I tried many different things, but could not find love.

One day I realized that I was broke—I had no money. I had had several surgeries, so I had many pain pills. Even though I took these pills and the pain in my body went away, the pain in my heart did not. Since I had no money, I decided to sell these pills to earn money. That is the reason that I am in jail. In jail I have found my faith again through Steps to Christ. I seek to help the inmates get along with each other

and share the faith of Jesus with them. They call me “Reverend.” I tried to teach Bible truth to them but I had no Bible. I am thankful for the Bible that I received and the other books. Now I can work for the Lord where I am.

“When church members realize the importance of the circulation of our literature, they will devote more time to this work. Papers, tracts, and books will be placed in the homes of the people, to preach the gospel in their several lines…. The church must give her attention to the canvassing work. This is one way in which she is to shine in the world. Then will she go forth ‘fair as the moon, clear as the sun, and terrible as an army with banners.’”—Manuscript 113, 1901.

 

Exciting News for Papua New Guinea

For the first time ever, a Spirit of Prophecy book has been translated into the common language, Pidgin. Presently, 33,000 copies have been printed and are on the ship. When the brethren receive these books, namely, I Go Klostu Long Krais (Steps to Christ), they will smile all day.

 

Evangelism in Remote Papua New Guinea

My name is Ifanke Obili, and I live in Papua New Guinea. Before I share my story with you, I would like to thank God for His wonderful care for each of us as we have had opportunity to share the gospel with those here in Papua New Guinea.

Many people in our country are perishing without the knowledge of Christ. We need many more missionaries to go from door to door with God’s great light. It is such a joy to do what we can to reach these souls for Christ.

Madang Province could only be reached by canoe.

Middle Ramu District in Madang Province is one of the most remote places in our country. This district can only be reached by canoe. A call came from this area for us to share the everlasting gospel. An elder from the Kainantu church and I decided we would answer the call. We were blessed with two other missionaries joining us. The trip was long. We traveled several days by car to reach the motor canoe. It took another thirteen hours in the canoe until we reached the village. We received a very warm welcome.

Our goal was to run a two-week evangelistic campaign. The meetings were held every night. During the day we started construction on a new church. The Lord blessed, and we had people come by canoe from several areas to attend the meetings. This area has Catholic and Evangelical influence. The members of these churches attended the meetings and grew in truth from God’s Word.

On Fridays we went in a canoe to the market place and preached and shared God’s Word with those selling and buying goods.

A church was built of native materials during the two weeks in Madang Province.

After two weeks the church building was complete. We used native material and a few nails we were able to buy with money that had been given. We were able to have Sabbath worship in this church with all those that had attended the meetings and given their lives to Jesus. A meal was shared with all those that had helped to build the church and those that attended the meetings.

 

Two of us returned to Kainantu, and the other two missionaries proceeded to another area and held meetings and built another church. There are missionaries who will keep working with the two new churches. We praise the Lord for allowing us to have a small part in this work. Please pray for us in Papua New Guinea.

 

Inspiration for Personal Effort—Haiti

Marion, though not an Adventist, is an example to us of selfsacrificing service.

Marion, a 67-year-old widow from Florida, was at the edge of retirement. She wanted to do something for others. So she inquired about using her skills as a nutritionist in Haiti working with undernourished children. A few months after retirement, Marion departed to Haiti where she volunteered in a feeding program that served six hundred children a week. By the time her first mission trip had ended she had used her experience to expand the feeding of children to two thousand children per week. Marion died a few years ago at age 86. Between the ages of 67 and 86 she had made forty-four trips to Haiti. In this time period she also had hip and knee replacements and a battle with cancer. She helped establish a school for children in a city outside of Port-au-Prince, which dramatically affected the youth. She also recruited other senior citizens to join her. Her goal was to get her retired colleagues to use their life experience for something greater than winters in Florida.

Let us each seek ways we can help the many needy around us. They can see God’s great love in all our interactions with them.

 

Compiled by John Wolff. Email: johnw@tsn.cc.

 

 

 

A church was built of native materials during the two weeks in Madang Province.

 

Marion, though not an Adventist, is an example to us of self-sacrificing service.


08/18/2012: Laboring for a Harvest

Laboring for a Harvest

Panama

 

“Be patient therefore, brethren, unto the coming of the Lord. Behold, the husbandman waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth, and hath long patience for it, until he receive the early and latter rain. Be ye also patient; stablish your hearts: for the coming of the Lord draweth nigh.” James 5:7, 8.

Here at Living Springs we had a good start to 2012. We have been blessed abundantly by our Lord. We are now enjoying the dry season, and with it, the harvest from our garden. The area where we are located in Panama is called “bean country.” This year we planted seven different varieties of beans. During the planting and growing season we learned many spiritual lessons from God’s book of nature. We worked very hard, and it is so good to enjoy the fruit of our labor now during the harvest. All of these activities help us think of the future when God’s harvest is going to be gathered. Just as in cultivating beans we needed to do different things to ensure the plant growth and development and a good harvest, such as weeding and fertilizing, so it is in the medical missionary work.

An attentive audience at cooking class in San Pablo.

We are called to help different people from different walks of life. We have had as clients here at Living Springs people ranging from a well-known ex-politician from another province to the humble peasant that has nothing to his name. We also have been called to work with other Adventist health professionals at a health fair. It was very successful. Pablo was able to help many people with back problems. Zaida did nutritional counseling. We continue to get calls to have cooking classes. This time even pastors are calling. Praise the Lord! With the local church, we were involved in literature distribution, an activity that was done at the Union level.

Helping in the distribution of Great Controversy books.

Thousands of Great Controversy books were distributed here in Panama. As far as we know, the books distributed were well accepted. The girls continue to be involved in child evangelism with the church. All the areas of service we are called to do will help to ensure a successful harvest when Jesus comes to gather His harvest.

Recently, we were called by one academy teacher to have a meeting with a couple who have two young ladies in one of the Adventist academies. The parents were worried about the influence of the non-Christian students over their daughters. By the grace of God, we were able to answer many of their questions and give them encouraging counsel from the Spirit of Prophecy. These parents were not acquainted with the book Education. They were very surprised at the sound counsel that God had left for parents, students and teachers. The oldest daughter’s best friend was a young girl that was known to be an atheist. She was known to even challenge teachers at school. Through the conversation, the young lady was able to understand how she was being negatively influenced and how to deal with this type of friendship. Her teacher, Brother Rolando, is a consecrated teacher and is trying to help students like these young ladies to stay in the path of righteousness. We can see how true is the need mentioned in the inspired counsel:

“Teachers are needed who are quick to discern and improve every opportunity for doing good; those who with enthusiasm combine true dignity, who are able to control and ‘apt to teach.’ Who can inspire thought, arouse energy, and impart courage and life.” Education, 279

Our first impression during the meeting was that the girls did not want to be in the meeting. After a while, they warmed up to us and freelyshared their comments about their friends and their struggles. Later, Brother Rolando told us how, during Sabbath school that week, the older of the two girls had stood up and had given her testimony. She told the church members how thankful she was to have consecrated teachers and parents that care about her and also gave thanks for a couple that took the time to meet with her family and give counsel on how to meet the challenges they were having at the academy. We say, Praise the Lord! He is using us as a tool to bring “bread in due season” in an area that is badly needed.

Brother Enrique and his wife. He is back to his usual activities after God healed his back.

One of our recent patients was Enrique. Enrique was baptized in our church about three years ago, but he backslid. Recently he injured his back. He had been going to the doctor because of severe back pain. He was only given pain medicine and sent home. Several times he went to get injections for pain but had no relief. His wife finally called us. Pablo went to Enrique’s home to give him therapy. When he first saw him, Enrique could hardly stand up, and was dragging his left leg when attempting to walk. He was under severe pain and had not been able to sleep for several nights. Besides the therapies, he was given herbs for inflammation and pain. Pablo prayed with him and encouraged him to put his trust in God. The Lord blessed tremendously. After a week of treatments, Brother Enrique was able to join us in church. He was walking normally. He continues to study the Bible and had stated that he will start to keep the Sabbath again.

Please continue to lift us up in your prayers. We are frequently called to help individuals with severe illnesses, and we need God’s wisdom to know how to counsel the people that call or come to Living Springs. Some have serious problems and are looking for alternatives to treat their illnesses. One example is a lady that called us few days ago. She has diabetes and kidney failure. She told us that she was taking Lasix (a diuretic), 2 capsules 3 times a day, and was urinating very little. She felt tightness in her heart and chest. She told us, “I keep drinking and drinking water and I don’t know why I do not urinate and my legs are swelling.” She had been discharged from the hospital two days before, and the day after being discharged she had to go to a clinic to receive Lasix by injection and was placed on oxygen. When we encouraged her to return to the hospital, she pleaded that she wanted to come to see us. She stated, “I know you will give me something, and I will be better.” Our recommendation was still for her to return to the hospital. Before she finished her phone conversation she asked what she could take so she could urinate. We mentioned that she could make tea of corn silk. At the same time she was told to seriously consider going back to the hospital if she was having so many problems. We did not hear from her for two days. We decided to call to see if she had followed the recommendation to go to the hospital. When we called, her daughter answered the phone. She told us that her mother was doing very much better. She had drunk the corn silk tea and was urinating a lot. Her swelling was getting better and her breathing and chest congestion were better. They were making plans to come to see us and have a full consultation to learn what she could do to regain her health. They wanted to learn more about what to do naturally to recuperate. We thank the Lord for His mercies, and how He is blessing the humble work that is being done. God is going to finish the work with simple means. He tells us, “If we neglect to do that which is within the reach of nearly every family, and ask the Lord to relieve pain, when we are too indolent to make use of these remedies within our power, it is simply presumption. The Lord expects us to work in order to obtain food. He does not propose that we shall gather the harvest unless we break the sod, till the soil, and cultivate the produce. Then God sends the rain and the sunshine and the clouds to cause vegetation to flourish. God works and man cooperates with God. Then there is seed time and harvest. God has cause to grow out of the ground herbs for the use of man, and if we understand the nature of these roots and herbs, and make a right use of them, there would not be a necessity of running for the doctor so frequently, and people would be in much better health than they are today.” Medical Ministry, 230, 231.

Thank you for your prayers and support, and may we all do our part to secure a great harvest for the Lord.

 

By Zaida Acosta and Robert Ice. Email: 4asaved2serve@gmail.com.


08/11/2012: Keeping the Sabbath of Jesus

Keeping the Sabbath of Jesus

Philippines


“But the end of all things is at hand; therefore be serious and watchful in your prayers.” 1 Peter 4:7.

“Our Redeemer perfectly understood the wants of humanity. He who condescended to take upon himself man’s nature was acquainted with man’s weakness. Christ lived as our example. He was tempted in all points as we are, that he might know how to succor all who should be tempted. He has trodden the path of life before us, and endured the severest tests in our behalf. He was a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief. He was wounded for our transgressions, bruised for our iniquities. The chastisement of our peace was upon him, and with his stripes we are healed. Christ took upon himself our infirmities, and in the weakness of humanity he needed to seek strength from his Father. He was often to be found in earnest prayer, in the grove, by the lakeside, and in the mountains. He has enjoined upon us to watch and pray. It is the neglect of watchfulness and close searching of heart that leads to self-sufficiency and spiritual pride. Without a deep sense of our need of help from God, there will be but little earnest, heartfelt prayer for divine aid. Our hearts are deceitful; our foes, many and vigilant. If we neglect to fortify a single weak point in our character, Satan will assail us at that point with his temptations. He is constantly plotting the ruin of the soul, and he will take every advantage of our careless security.

“Those who in their self-confidence feel no need of watchfulness and unceasing prayer, are near some humiliating fall. All who do not feel the importance of resolutely guarding their affections, will knowledge of divine things, and an ability to fill an important place in the work of God; yet, unless they cherish a simple faith in their Redeemer, they will be ensnared and overcome by the enemy.

“It is because the duties of watchfulness and prayer have been so sadly neglected that there is so great a lack of moral power. This is why so many who have a form of godliness bring forth no corresponding works. A careless indifference, a carnal security concerning religious duties and eternal things, prevails to an alarming extent. The word of God exhorts us to be found ‘praying always, with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance;’ and again, ‘Be ye therefore sober, and watch unto prayer.’ Here is the Christian’s safeguard, his protection amid the perils that surround his pathway.” Review and Herald, October 11, 1881.

Brother Felix and his family.

My name is Felix Bontuyan, Jr. I live in the Southern Philippines with my wife Silveria. My parents are devout Catholics. At age seven my mother started teaching me to recite the “Our Father” and “Hail Mary,” along with many other long prayers. I participated in these rituals until I was fifteen years of age. These prayers were always said twice a day, at early dawn and early evening, to make sure no evil thing would befall us that day.

We never missed attending mass during the feast of our local patron, “Mesa de Gallo.” There were many other holidays that we kept that we were told to keep by the higher powers in Rome. We understood that this was the only way to get to heaven.

When I reached sixteen years of age my relatives encouraged me to confess my sins to the priest—all my sins great or small. I was told this was the last step to attaining salvation. I was on my way to the parish priest to do this when I met a Pentecostal missionary. He handed me literature about salvation. He read to me from the Bible, “If we confess out sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” I John 1:9. I was terribly shocked by the words I heard from the Bible. I asked dozens of questions of my new-found friend, and he gave me answers based on verses found in the Scriptures. He proved to me from the Bible that it was a foolish thing to confess my sins to a man or a priest. Instead of going to the church to confess my sins, I invited my new friend to my home so we could eat lunch together and study God’s Word.

The following day, I started opening the Bible and reading it. Each day I studied these precious words and discovered for myself that the Catholic doctrine is a combination of paganism and traditions of men. In short and plain language, it was a religion of false legends.

Sensing that I had been taking the wrong way, I joined the Pentecostal church. I later married and had children. My family and I fervently prayed to the Lord and directly confessed out sins to Him every Sunday. We attended mid-week prayer meetings and truly felt our supplications were heard by our Heavenly Father.

In 2004, a friend of mine who is a Sabbath keeper was visiting in our home. He explained to me by using God’s Word that the true day of worship, since the creation of the world, is the Sabbath, Saturday. I was anxious to learn more. He explained that Jesus and Adam were both Sabbath keepers, not Sunday keepers. Two texts he used were “God blessed the Sabbath day, and sanctified it; because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made.” Genesis 2:3. “And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up; and, as his custom was, he went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and stood up to read.” Luke 4:16. I was dumbfounded. I thought that Sunday was really the true day of worship, but I was dead wrong.

In May of 2006, I was baptized into the Seventh-day Adventist Church along with my wife and three children. I thank God for His never-ending love and for how He led me to His wonderful truth. I am asking God to forgive me for worshiping on Sunday before I learned the wonderful truth of the Sabbath.

“The days in which we live are times that call for constant vigilance, times in which God’s people should be awake to do a great work in presenting the light on the Sabbath question. . . . This last warning to the inhabitants of the earth is to make men see the importance God attaches to His holy law. So plainly is the truth to be presented that no transgressor, hearing it, shall fail to discern the importance of obedience to the Sabbath commandment. . . .” Evangelism, 232.

I pray that God will bless you with an abundant life as you prepare for heaven.

 

By Edmar Vertudez. Support for the work in the Philippines can be sent to Mission Projects International, PO Box 59656, Renton, WA 98058.


08/04/2012: “When You Sang That Song…”

“When You Sang That Song…”

 

When you sang that song, that’s when I got my faith back.” These were the beautiful words that I heard just a few weeks ago.

Ella was raised in a Catholic home, and one of the foundational pillars of her life was faith in God. Although she did not know much about the Bible, she felt and believed that there was a great Father up in Heaven taking care of His children. She was educated in the field of psychology and was employed as a social worker. She loved her studies, but there was one thing she missed in the medical world—the spiritual aspect of life. Her job often led her face to face with death and suffering, yet knowing that she was not permitted to share her faith or even pray with her clients left a void in her life.

Stine (left) and Judy (right) enjoying their breakfast at Ella’s home.

That, along with certain other experiences, led her to write a thesis on the topic. But like many others, life got tough for her personally. There is no reason to go into the details, but eventually she ended up with deep wounds—spiritual, mental and physical. Her faith was greatly challenged, as well as her life itself.

Finally she found herself in the hospital with pain on all levels. She was fed with yellow Jell-O and morphine. The choice of food was limited, and the bright yellow Jell-O was what appealed to her the most. The pain was excruciating and led to a high intake of morphine. At that time the hospital was trying out a new type of morphine-based medication, which gave her hallucinations and suicidal thoughts.

Praise the Lord for the strong will power He had given her! She was able to say,

A guest receives a treatment at Highwood.

“Enough is enough,” and decided to leave the hospital because the treatments only made her feel worse. She arranged to have one of her friends take her to a hotel after her discharge, where she planned to end her life. Only God knows what would have happened if that plan had been followed. But He had something better in store. Before she left the hospital, she was asked if she wanted the priest to pray with her. She accepted, and shortly after the prayer the word “Highwood” came into her mind. It was as if someone had put it there. She had visited Highwood once as a guest many years before, and now she was reminded of the place.

“Is there any free space at your health retreat to receive a patient directly from the hospital?” was the urgent call we received at Highwood. As Highwood was still struggling to get enough guests, the request was both welcome and easy to fulfill.  Just a few hours later Ella was with us. For her, Highwood became “a little piece of heaven,” as she later expressed it.

The song Stine composed and sang was used by God to turn Ella’s life around. (with guitar)

That evening I was to lead the worship service—we call it “spiritual emphasis” to make it easier for our non-Christian guests to attend. Acouple of hours before worship the Highwood staff met for prayer meeting, and I heard Dr. Bird and our manager, Judy, sharing about the new health guest that had arrived. Judy had been giving her a massage, and Ella had started to pour out her heart to her. This helped me to decide the topic for my worship talk: “One Step at a Time.” After telling a story from the Norwegian mountains about a man immobilized by fear and not knowing how to reach his destination, I sang a song that I had composed at a time when I was in deep mental pain. The story and the song touched her heart deeply, and it was after this that she later said: “When you sang that song, that’s when I got my faith back.”

During her five days at Highwood she experienced a series of ups and downs, but also many miracles. God gave the team insight to give her the treatments and nourishment that helped her physically while the Spirit of God worked with her wounded mental and spiritual health. The same lady that was nearly carried into the Highwood Health Retreat was walking out with a new determination only five days later. She was strong enough to go for normal walks, and she had told Jesus that she surrendered all to Him.

After she left us we continued to keep in touch, and just a few days ago Judy and I went to visit her in her home one Friday night. She invited us to stay overnight. We had a beautiful evening—sharing, reading the Bible and praying together. We told her that we wanted to visit a local Seventh-day Adventist church the next day, and she asked if she could join us! The Sabbath school and the divine service seemed prepared just for her. The people were friendly and invited her to attend Friday fellowship meetings in a member’s home, and she was so happy for the invitation. God has started a good work in her, and His aim is to finish it. (Philippians 1:6) What a blessing and an honor it is to be used as an instrument in His hand!

 

By Stine Gro Struksnæs. Email: stinegro78@hotmail.com.


07/21/2012: Helping the Orphans of Congo

Helping the Orphans of Congo

 

As we desire to share the wonderful Adventist truth with those here in my country of Congo, God has opened a door in a very lost area which has a very large death rate due to AIDS. In the village of Yelenge more than half of the population died because of AIDS in 2007. This is so extremely sad because it has affected children in a severe way. There are many children that have been left orphans due to the death of one or both parents. The Lord led me to this area to share the message of truth. The message of salvation was preached, and people were asked to receive Jesus as their personal Savior. I shared with the people the truths of the Ten Commandments. I especially emphasized the seventh commandment, explaining that to have a relationship with Jesus they needed to keep all of the commandments. An explanation was given about the health danger of AIDS if the seventh commandment was not kept.

But people chose to disobey the seventh commandment. I want to share the sad story of how this problem of AIDS spread very rapidly. A very lovely lady moved to Yelenge. She moved into a home at the edge of the village. Her business was the buying and selling of produce and products used in the everyday life of the villagers. A poor young man whom the villagers did not like asked to help her. He was a faithful servant to her and carried out his work well and made her more prosperous. One day he asked her if he could move in with her, and she agreed. They began living as a husband and wife even though they were not married, thus violating the seventh commandment. This now made him a very important man in the village. He was only acting the part of a husband but was now a rich man.

This lovely lady had to make many trips back to the large city of Kinshasa to sell the goods she had bought from the villagers and to pick up more products to sell to the villagers. One day she left for the city, but she did not return when she said she would. The village women started coming to see the man who was now very respected. Many of these women violated the seventh commandment with this man. In time the man and villagers found out that this lovely lady had died of AIDS while she was away in Kinshasa. Now the whole village was in an uproar because many had been exposed to this dreaded disease. This is how half of the population died in 2007. At this time many of the people in the village remembered what we had taught them about keeping the seventh commandment. But it now was too late because many were dying. Due to the death of the many villagers who had children, there were now many orphans.

Our church had a burden for these homeless children, and we are seeking ways of helping them. When we entered the village, the children were very dirty and had neither food nor home. There were no medical facilities, and many of these young children did not even live to be one year old.

These young children, with whom we shared the love of God, were very scared of us at first. They have lived a life of fear because no one wants to touch them or care for them because they are afraid that they, too, will get the dreaded AIDS disease. It is such a blessing to show these young children the love of Jesus by caring for them.

One day as I was working with these young children, one came to me and said, “Are you not afraid to touch us?” I lovingly reached out and held this young man. He said to me, “If I were your son my life would be so much better.” I responded that I was his father because God had sent me to care for him and God is the Father of all. He explained that he was told that his parents had died of a dreadful disease and that if people touched him he would contaminate them. I assured him that we enjoyed caring for him and the other orphans and were not afraid of contamination.

Our church is caring for some of these young orphans. They are receiving needed medical care, food, clothes and schooling. We are in need of a building and more supplies so that we can care for many more of these precious children. They are being treated very disrespectfully in the village, and it is our desire to care for them in the ways that Jesus would.

A board of directors has been established to direct the work with orphans of the AIDS epidemic. The work has now spread to more villages where AIDS is leaving many young orphans. There are ladies in these areas caring for the needs of these young people. More needs to be done for the orphans, but we lack the funds to do it. Please pray for this work, and if it touches your heart, we ask for your support.

Blessings to you all.

 

By Celestin Kasongo. The work with the orphans of Congo is this quarter’s Thirteenth Sabbath Project. Send your donations marked “Congo Orphans” to Mission Projects International, PO Box 59656, Renton, WA 98058.