Letter from Cody: Year in Review – December 2016

 

A Muslim lady surrenders to Jesus in Malawi
A Muslim lady surrenders to Jesus in Malawi

I am so thankful that we have been “called to liberty.” Galatians 5:13. We are not called to bondage, but to the glorious liberty which Christ promises. Not only are we called to liberty, but we are exhorted to “Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.” Galatians 5:1. What is this liberty to which we are called, and how do we stand fast in it? This liberty certainly is not the freedom that the world offers, which only leads us back to bondage. It is a liberty so much higher than this. “When one surrenders to Christ, the mind is brought under the control of the law; but it is the royal law, which proclaims liberty to every captive. By becoming one with Christ, man is made free. Subjection to the will of Christ means restoration to perfect manhood. Obedience to God is liberty from the thralldom of sin, deliverance from human passion and impulse.” Ministry of Healing, 131. By surrendering ourselves fully to Christ, we are made truly free—free by obedience to the law of liberty! When we have this experience of freedom in Christ, we are called to proclaim this freedom to the captives of this world.

As I look back over the past year, my heart flows out in praise to our God for what He is doing through faithful workers proclaiming true liberty around the world, and I am thankful to be a small part of His work through them. I think of how the Lord used the Orellana family to quickly give disaster relief after the devastating earthquake in Ecuador. As they ministered to people’s immediate needs, the way opened to share the gospel, as well. There is Deborah in Senegal using medical missionary work as an entering wedge to share Jesus’ love in this Islamic country. In the Dominican Republic, Nellie bakes bread for people to teach the blessings of healthful living while also sharing the bread of life with a neglected Haitian village. I think of the hundreds of children being touched by the educational ministry of the De Senna family in the

Sharing the gospel in the villages of the Philippines
Sharing the gospel in the villages of the Philippines

Brazilian Amazon, and of the tens of thousands hearing the message in São Paulo, Brazil through Alexandre’s radio ministry. I think of the dozens of gospel workers in Ethiopia whom I worked with this year. It was thrilling to see the new churches raised up by their labors and meet the men, women and children now rejoicing in the hope of salvation because of the workers’ faithful efforts. I think of the ongoing work in the Philippines through Nanding, Titing, Temtem and others who are sharing the message of Jesus’ soon return with the remote villages in the Philippines. I think of the work of Golden in Malawi as he goes into the neglected Muslim areas and raises up churches for the Master. It is amazing to hear the reports of hundreds being baptized through his labors! I think of how the Lord continues to bless the brothers and sisters in Togo and Congo as they share the message and raise new beacons of light for Him.

As I reflect on the dozens of workers around the world being supported through your donations, as I remember how many evangelistic series you have helped to support, as I consider the medical missionary work that is preparing hearts to receive the gospel, as I recount the baptisms that have resulted from these efforts, as I think of the churches that are now rejoicing for a roof over their heads as they worship our Creator—I praise God for what He is doing and I thank you for your prayers and support that have made all these efforts possible. As I look back over the last year, I give thanks to God for how He is working and for how you have partnered with us in this work. Thank you so much for your help! Without your support, none of this could have taken place! May the Lord continue to advance His work throughout the world and may we soon be at home with Him!

Yours in giving the message to the world,

CodySig1-website


Letter from Cody: Philippines – November 2016

Temtem preaching in a rural village in the Philippines
Temtem preaching in a rural village in the Philippines

I am so thankful for the many promises that God has “something better” for His faithful people. “God having provided some better thing for us…” “But now they desire a better country, that is, an heavenly…” “And to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling, that speaketh better things than that of Abel.” Hebrews 11:40; 11:16; 12:24. The book of Hebrews is full of promises of “something better,” including a perfect, unmovable kingdom. “Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear.” Hebrews 12:28. We are to receive and to be a part of this better, unshakable kingdom, but what does that mean? This better kingdom is not only a kingdom (ruled by a king), but it is also a theocracy (ruled by God). We are not born with citizenship into this better kingdom/theocracy; instead, we must day by day choose to be citizens by placing ourselves under the King’s rule. “The place assigned you by the Lord was under Him in the divine theocracy. You were to learn of Jesus, the Great Teacher, planning and working in accordance with His example. You were to make God first, ever obeying His word. In this would be your strength.” Testimonies, vol. 8, 180, 181. As we put God first in our lives in full obedience to Him, we are taking our assigned place in this better kingdom. To maintain our citizenship in this kingdom/theocracy, we must learn to continually submit to our Heavenly King. “They are discarding the divine Theocracy; for this requires submission to God’s authority, to His mind and will, and by it all who believe in the gospel of Christ are brought into perfect unity.” Letter 8, 1900. May we faithfully take our place in this divine theocracy, living moment by moment in full submission to the authority of our God!

Temtem (center) sharing with Ramon’s friends
Temtem (center) sharing with Ramon’s friends

As I think of this better kingdom and the invitation to join it, I praise God for the many faithful workers around the world giving this message. I think especially of Brother Temtem in the Philippines who is doing just this work. I met Temtem many years ago and was very impressed with his love for people and with his God-given gift for sharing Jesus’ love with others. At the time, he was doing Bible work for our evangelistic series and had started so many Bible studies that he had to ask other workers to take over some of them. Since that time, Temtem has continued to share the message of truth with whoever will listen throughout the island of Mindanao. His reports always highlight the power of personal work to change lives. Recently, he shared how the Lord had directed him to Brother Ramon. God had been working in Ramon’s life and convicting him of his need to change his ways, but he never seemed able to relinquish his bad habits. He drank excessively and smoked copiously and had passed on these vices to his children. Through a brother from another church, Ramon had begun listening to Bible truth and was impressed with the messages, but still he continued with his vices. Providentially, the Lord opened the door for his family to move to another area where they met Temtem, who is always looking for those he can share the gospel with. Temtem began answering their questions from the Bible and shared with them what the Bible teaches about how to be saved. God worked in Ramon’s life and the lives of his children, and Ramon found the power and grace to leave behind his vices. Soon he chose to follow Jesus in baptism. Now, he seeks to share the message of freedom through God’s saving love with his neighbors. Please pray for faithful workers like Temtem who are sharing the message of salvation with men and women throughout the Philippines. If you would like to help Temtem and his coworkers, you can mark your donation “Philippines Workers.”

Yours in submitting to the better kingdom,

CodySig1-website


Letter from Cody: Congo – October 2016

 

Beginning to worship in the new church!
Beginning to worship in the new church!

It is always nice to have an advocate—someone who will speak up on your behalf. In some situations, though, it is not just nice to have an intercessor; it is essential. I am so thankful that this is exactly what Jesus is for us today. We find beautiful promises throughout Scripture: “We have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.” “Who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us.” “Wherefore He is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by Him, seeing He ever liveth to make intercession for them.” 1 John 2:1; Romans 8:34; Hebrews 7:25. We have an Advocate at the throne of God interceding on our behalf who is able to save us to the uttermost! Sometimes, I think that we do not realize just how essential this beautiful truth is. “The religious services, the prayers, the praise, the penitent confession of sin ascend from true believers as incense to the heavenly sanctuary; but passing through the corrupt channels of humanity, they are so defiled that unless purified by blood, they can never be of value with God. They ascend not in spotless purity, and unless the Intercessor who is at God’s right hand presents and purifies all by His righteousness, it is not acceptable to God. All incense from earthly tabernacles must be moist with the cleansing drops of the blood of Christ. He holds before the Father the censer of His own merits, in which there is no taint of earthly corruption. He gathers into this censer the prayers, the praise, and the confessions of His people, and with these He puts His own spotless righteousness. Then, perfumed with the merits of Christ’s propitiation, the incense comes up before God wholly and entirely acceptable. Then gracious answers are returned.” Bible Commentary, vol. 6, 1078. Nothing coming from our corrupted human channels can find access to the holiness of the throne of God, but Jesus mingles His righteousness with our prayers and praise and presents them before God. Praise the Lord for such an Advocate and Intercessor!

Recently baptized new believers in Congo
Recently baptized new believers in Congo

I recently received a report that made me rejoice at how the Lord is blessing and leading His work around the world. The Democratic Republic of the Congo is one of those countries that almost always seems to be in turmoil, but even in difficult countries, the Lord has His people who are pushing forward amid the challenges they face. While there around a year ago, I visited a small but enthusiastic congregation in the regional center of Masi-manimba. They had purchased a plot of ground outside the town and were praying about how to build a church in which they could worship. The Lord provided the means through your donations and we were able to send funds for them to build a simple church to protect them from the elements. The church enthusiastically went to work with everyone pitching in and doing what they could. As others saw the activity they took notice. The people whom they had been studying the Bible with were encouraged to step out in faith and become a part of God’s people. A baptism of ten new believers took place shortly after the church was completed and now still more are studying and worshipping with them in their new facility! A lady from another town saw what was going on and gave funds for them to start building a school, as well. Many of the church leaders are teachers and greatly desire to have a school where the Adventist message can be taught! They and many other believers in the province are excited about a new Bible study set now available in their local

New Bible study set
New Bible study set

language. They are using this tool to share with others the precious message that we know. Thank you so much for your donations and prayers that have made this work possible! Please continue to pray for the believers in Congo as they seek to give the message and make disciples!

Yours in thankfulness for Jesus’ intercession,

 

CodySig1-website


Letter from Cody: Malawi – September 2016

A recent baptism in Malawi
A recent baptism in Malawi

As Joshua faced the promised land, the Lord gave him a solemn charge and promise: “Be strong and of a good courage. . . . This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.” Joshua 1:6, 8. God still desires “good success” for His people, but we must remember the principles that make true success possible. “As God’s workmen bear responsibilities and carry burdens in the great harvest field let them remember that true success comes from God alone, and that every particle of the praise and glory belongs to Him.” Manuscript Releases vol. 21, 400. While we must depend wholly upon the Lord for success, factors in this life affect success, as well. “Diligence, honesty, thrift, temperance, and purity are the secret of true success.” “Success in any line demands a definite aim. He who would achieve true success in life must keep steadily in view the aim worthy of his endeavor. Such an aim is set before the youth of today. The heaven-appointed purpose of giving the gospel to the world in this generation is the noblest that can appeal to any human being.” Education, 135, 262. Like Joshua, we have the highest aim of all set before us. As we seek to take the gospel to the world, following the principles outlined in His Word, God will give true success in this worthiest of all pursuits.

People gather to hear the message proclaimed by Brother Golden
People gather to hear the message proclaimed by Brother Golden

In the African country of Malawi, the Lord is blessing His work with success through the labors of Brother Golden and other faithful workers. Even in the difficult Islamic areas, the Lord is giving Golden the key to reach many hearts. When he first goes into the village, he introduces himself to the village chief and tries to discover the needs of the villagers. He then begins to minister to the people’s needs—supplying food, clothing or other needs. Because of this humanitarian work, the chief will frequently endorse Golden’s work, which opens the people’s hearts to attend Golden’s gospel meetings and hear the Three Angels’ Messages. When Golden presents the truth of salvation through Jesus, he often shares how Abraham took his own son to sacrifice. This beautiful story becomes a bridge for sharing how God gave His Son to be sacrificed on our behalf. In the villages where Golden and the other workers have entered, dozens have decided to be baptized and stand for the truths of the Adventist message—and thus new churches have been started. Recently, the team worked in a village that was home to a Muslim army officer who was so opposed to the preaching of Christianity that he hired a gang of youth to throw stones and shout during the meetings. This continued for several nights, but the evangelistic team kept praying that the Lord would eliminate the distraction. One evening, the officer and his wife visited the meeting location to see if the unruly youth were doing their job. As he heard the message, the Holy Spirit began to convict the man’s heart. He called the leader of the gang to stop the distruption and come listen to the meetings. As they continued attending each evening, the Lord continued working on their hearts, and the officer, his wife and some of the youth they had hired all made the decision to be baptized!

Please pray for Golden and his evangelistic team that the Lord will continue to bless them with “true success” for His Kingdom. If you would like to help them with their work, you can mark your donation “Malawi.”

Yours in praying and working for true success,

CodySig1-website


Letter from Cody: Ethiopia – August 2016

One of Jesus’ most famous promises is this precious assurance of answered prayer: “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.” Luke 11:9. Just prior to this special promise, Jesus gives the parable of the friend coming at midnight asking for loaves of bread. The midnight friend proved very persistent because of an important reason: He was asking for bread to give someone else. Through this parable, Jesus illustrates not only our need of persistence in prayer, but also the true spirit of prayer—asking to give. The Lord loves to answer our prayers and desires us to bring all of our burdens, joys, perplexities and challenges to Him. Still, it gives Him special delight to answer the prayers we offer in His spirit, asking to be able to give to others! How many around us are hungering for the bread of life—bread that we do not have, but do know how to obtain. Like the persistent friend, Jesus invites us to come to Him pleading for the bread of life to share with everyone we know. The promise is sure: “Those who beg at midnight for loaves to feed the hungry souls will be successful.” Christ Object Lessons, 148. Why? “The honor of His throne is staked for the fulfillment of His word unto us.” Ibid. Let us learn that it is not what we have, but what God longs to give that will feed the hungry world with the bread of life!

08-Desta
Brother Desta sharing the faith he once despised

I am still praising God for the blessings He gave us in Ethiopia last month and for how He is spreading His work in this part of the vineyard. Concurrent with the evangelistic meetings, we held a training program for the gospel workers in the locality. In the afternoons, many of the workers took us out to their churches to meet the believers and see how God is continuing to bless their labors. Meeting new workers who had recently found the Seventh-day Adventist message and new churches rejoicing in the truth were the experiences I enjoyed most. One new worker named Desta Boke shared his testimony of how the Lord has been leading in his life. As a minister for another church, he was working with an association for helping community orphans when one day he interacted with a Seventh-day Adventist who gave him a pamphlet. His first response was, “Why are you giving me this trash?” Yet in the evenings, when he studied his Bible, he picked up the tract and began comparing it with the Scriptures. As he studied, he concluded that this was the truth from the Bible. He began to attend Sabbath services by himself and became convicted that he must follow this truth regardless of the cost to himself. When all his former church officers and many members from southern Ethiopia gathered together, he shared with them the truth he had found and resigned his position. It was not easy for Desta. Not only was he now without a job, but his wife opposed the message as well. His former superiors offered him a larger salary and a larger operating budget if he would stay, but he knew he had found something more precious than gold! With his decision made, he began to share his faith with his former church members. Yet the challenges were not over, for his former church sued him, seeking a legal injunction against him sharing his new faith. At court, the Lord prevailed when the judge upheld Desta’s religious liberty to share his faith. Desta has persevered and now even his wife and children have joined him in happily living and sharing their new faith. Today, Desta is a church planter sharing the Three Angels’ Messages. Please pray for Desta and other gospel workers like him who are sharing the Adventist message in villages where this truth has never been heard. If you would like to support these faithful workers, you can mark your donation “Ethiopia Workers.”

08-NewChurch
One of the many new churches needing a simple church building

Yours in asking for and sharing the bread of life,

CodySig1-website


Letter from Cody: Ethiopia – July 2016

I was recently blessed with the beautiful thought found in Titus 3:4, 5: “But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared, Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost.” According to His great mercy and grace, He has saved us through nothing that we could do ourselves. We must cooperate with His cleansing and allow Christ to live out His life within us, but still our efforts amount to nothing. Paul goes on to say, “This is a faithful saying, and these things I will that thou affirm constantly, that they which have believed in God might be careful to maintain good works. These things are good and profitable unto men.” Titus 3:8. We are to affirm these beautiful truths constantly—they are never to get old. Why? So that we can maintain good works. If we do not keep constantly in mind where we came from, what Jesus has done and how He saves us by His love and mercy, our faith will grow cold. “Our acceptance with God is sure only through His beloved Son, and good works are but the result of the working of His sin-pardoning love. They are no credit to us, and we have nothing accorded to us for our good works by which we may claim a part in the salvation of our souls…. It is the fragrance of the merit of Christ that makes our good works acceptable to God, and it is grace that enables us to do the works for which He rewards us.” SDA Bible Commentary, vol. 5, 1122. May we constantly keep these beautiful truths in mind that our works may be fragrant with Christ’s merit!

Pathfinders lead many people to the evening meeting

As I write, I am on my way back from Ethiopia, and I am praising God for what He has done in reaching out to perishing souls. We had a busy trip with evangelistic meetings each evening, worker training in the morning and visits to various churches in the afternoon. As soon as we landed in the town of Donga-Tunto a Pathfinder group from another city was on the ground and marching through the streets to let everyone in the community know about the meetings. It caused quite an attraction, and they marched many people right to the meetings. The town where the meetings were held was chosen because of the difficulties the workers had experienced in working the area. A large Saturday market draws many people and the Pentecostal churches are very strong in the area. The Lord really blessed with multiple miracles. One of those miracles was that the Lord held off the rain every night so that it never disturbed our meetings. It rained many other times, but never did the rain interfere with the evangelism. An even greater miracle, though, was the very strong interest throughout the meetings. While the numbers were hard to estimate, attendance kept growing with somewhere around three to five hundred people coming out each evening. At the end of each meeting, we opened up the floor for questions, and always received quite a number. Many people wondered why our worship style was different from what they were used to since we

The evangelistic meetings in Donga-Tunto, Ethiopia

didn’t shout, jump or clap, so we covered an entire night on the false worship of Babylon. The night that we presented the mark of the beast, we were told that the local churches had been saying that we were the fulfillment of 666 coming to deceive the people. Once again the Bible was allowed to answer the questions. We are so grateful for how the Lord has worked in this difficult territory, with many people making decisions to continue studying and to join the local church. The challenges certainly are not over, but the Lord has worked. Please pray for the follow-up efforts as the workers now have an extensive interest to work with in this previously challenging field.

Yours in working for the Master,


Letter from Cody: Dominican Republic – June 2016

Nelly teaching at the Haitian camp

One of Scripture’s greatest promises is combined with an equally amazing commission: “And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to Himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation.” 2 Corinthians 5:18. We have been reconciled to God by Jesus’ life, death and resurrection so that we can reconcile others to Him. What a great privilege and responsibility! “God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto Himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them…. We pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God.” 2 Corinthians 5:19, 20. What a precious message to give to the world, that God has taken the first step in reconciliation and now we are to grasp ahold of His reconciliation. Not only do we have this message to give, but we have a message to live, as well. We are “ambassadors for Christ,” to represent His thoughts, words and character to the world. “Let them regard themselves as only threads in the great web of humanity, and without delay redeem the time and represent to the world a pure, unselfish benevolence. Representing in character the attributes of Christ, they may carry forward to a glorious completion the work which He left them of reconciling the world unto Himself.” The Medical Missionary, June 1, 1891. As ambassadors for Christ, we are to give a message of Jesus’ love for a lost world, and we are to live Jesus’ love for a lost world. The “ministry of reconciliation” requires us to demonstrate the loving character of our Savior. I am so thankful that we have been reconciled by His blood. May we demonstrate this beautiful “ministry of reconciliation” in our lives and always remember that we are reconciled to reconcile!

Some of the Haitian group after the Bible study

This month, I would like to share about a work that is progressing not so far from the United States, in the Caribbean islands. In the country of Dominican Republic, the Lord is bringing His people to the knowledge of Himself through the ministry of reconciliation. In several out-of-the-way villages and towns, Sister Nelly Severino and her team have been sharing the message of God’s love with some of the poorest outcasts of the society. The Lord is blessing Nelly’s team’s efforts. For several years, they have been operating a bakery that educates people on the benefits of healthful living and helps to provide funds for ministering to the needs of the poor and disadvantaged. Recently, they have been able to remodel and properly furnish the bakery so that it can provide greater service. Another major component of their work has been reaching out to the neglected, looked-down-upon community of migrant Haitian workers. Several years ago, the Lord opened the doors for them to begin a Sabbath afternoon Bible study in the Haitian camp, and now fruit is being seen from their efforts. Recently, after a ministerial student held an evangelistic series in the area, two of the

Recent baptism

Haitians that Nelly and her team have been working with followed the Lord to the waters of baptism! One of those baptized had opposed the baptism of his family members earlier, but now has made his decision to follow Jesus fully. The work continues to go on at the Haitian camp with the Bible studies becoming more popular and being attended by a larger group. Additional people now desire baptism, and Nelly’s team is hoping to get a Creole-speaking evangelist to come and do an evangelistic series specifically for the Haitian group, with hopes that many more will respond to the message when it is preached in their own language! Please pray for the work of Nelly and her team as they seek to minister to the “least of these My brethren.” Matthew 25:40. If you would like to help their work, you can mark your donation “Dominican Republic.”

Yours in the ministry of reconciliation,


Letter from Cody: Ecuador – May 2016

Laurie Orellana & some of the young missionaries

A fascinating verse of Scripture is Matthew 11:12, “And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force.” How does the Kingdom of Heaven suffer violence and how do the violent take it by force? Certainly, we desire to be part of Jesus’ Kingdom, so we need to know how to “violently” strive for it. What is the heavenly violence that gains an entrance into the kingdom? It is not physical violence, but rather “violence” in prayer. “A deep sense of our need, and a great desire for the things for which we ask, must characterize our prayers, else they will not be heard. But we are not to become weary, and cease our petitions because the answer is not immediately received. ‘The kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force.’ The violence here meant is a holy earnestness, such as Jacob manifested. We need not try to work ourselves up into an intense feeling; but calmly, persistently, we are to press our petitions at the throne of grace. Our work is to humble our souls before God, confessing our sins, and in faith drawing nigh unto God.” Review and Herald, February 9, 1897. Jacob wrestled with God with an earnestness and intensity that refused to let go, that clung to God until the answer was given. Jacob was “violent” with God in a way that He calls us each to imitate. God invites us to wrestle, plead, agonize, persevere, trust and surrender in prayer with a “holy earnestness.” How can we obtain this violent, holy earnestness? “Habitually dwelling upon Christ, His exalted character, and the all-sufficient merits of His sacrifice, increases the faith, sharpens the imaginative power, strengthens the longing desire to be like Him, and creates holy earnestness in prayer, that makes it efficacious.” Ibid., August 8, 1878. Beholding Jesus and dwelling upon Him gives us more and more holy earnestness until we become the “violent” who take the Kingdom of Heaven by the force of prayer.

Destruction in a town near the Orellanas’ outpost

Sometimes our zeal and holy earnestness in prayer must translate into swift action, as well. When disaster strikes and people are in need, this is the time to move forward quickly to help those around us. About a month ago, Ecuador was struck with a major earthquake that caused terrible damage to many areas. The Orellana family praises God that He delivered them from any real damage besides a broken vase, but many others in their province of Manabí suffered much worse devastation. Immediately, the Orellanas went to work to help their less fortunate neighbors. Many homes were destroyed, some with the inhabitants still in them. Food, water and utilities were very difficult to obtain with banks and other basic services shut down. The youth being trained at the Orellanas’ mission outpost have a mission field right on their hands, and they are not neglecting the work. Soon after the quake struck, they began delivering water and other necessities to those in need. Caleb Orellana, the teenage son, developed a portable shower for the people’s bathing needs. The team bought as much rice, beans and canned goods as they could to distribute to those in need, and they also supplied hundreds of stocks of bananas and plantains from their own farm. Their mission right now is not to try to convert people, but to demonstrate the love of Jesus in ministering to needs wherever they may arise. Our mission is not just to preach the truth, but to live the truth, as well; and the Lord has stationed the Orellana family with their mission outpost to shine in this dark part of the world. If you would like to help them in their multifaceted work, you can mark your donation “Ecuador.” May we have that “holy earnestness” in prayer for the work going on in Ecuador and around the world!

Yours in serving others and beholding Jesus more,

 

 

 

Cody Francis

 


Letter from Cody: Senegal – April 2016

Deborah teaching a cooking class

Have you ever been so utterly exhausted that you felt like you could not keep your eyes open another moment or take another step? I am sure that all of us have been so weary that rest was the only thing on our mind. Jesus understands our need, not only for physical rest, but even more for the spiritual rest that answers the true need of every heart. “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you, and learn of Me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For My yoke is easy, and My burden is light.” Matthew 11:28–30. As I have been restudying this familiar passage, I have been amazed at its beauty and depth. The rest that Jesus offers truly meets the heart need of all humanity. How do we receive this rest? Acceptance and surrender are the first steps. “Those who take Christ at His word, and surrender their souls to His keeping, their lives to His ordering, will find peace and quietude. Nothing of the world can make them sad when Jesus makes them glad by His presence. In perfect acquiescence there is perfect rest.” Desire of Ages, 331. Only perfect surrender to the will and ways of God can bring perfect rest. As we surrender to Jesus, we need His presence to go with us every day. “Those who have fellowship with Christ have constant rest and peace.” “Wherever the love of Jesus reigns, there is peace and rest.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 410; Evangelism, 638. Full surrender brings us into closer fellowship with Jesus and enables His love to reign in our lives. As we daily walk with Jesus, our rest and peace in Him grows more and more each day. Jesus invites us to enter His rest through surrender and companionship. May we experience this blessed rest!

Taking notes at the cooking class

One country that truly needs the peace and rest of Jesus is Senegal, which contains the westernmost point of Africa. Sister Deborah Ndione has been working in this country as a missionary for a number of years and the Lord is continuing to bless her efforts for Him. With over ninety percent of the population being Muslim and only around six hundred Seventh-day Adventists in the entire country, there is definitely much work to do in sharing the love of Jesus. Deborah has been able to hold healthy living classes for the ladies of the church and community, teaching vegetarian cooking, fitness and other health habits to improve their lives. The ladies have not only started making the vegetarian dishes for themselves, but have been sharing them with their friends and neighbors. Through this means, doors of prejudice are being broken down, creating even more opportunities to share. Deborah also does “tent making” by teaching English, using the opportunity to share Jesus with her students. One such student is Philomene, a university professor. As their conversational English classes progressed, Deborah and Philomene began talking about God and the hope of Jesus’ soon return. As Deborah explained why she was unable to hold their classes on Friday evening, she had an opportunity to share what the Bible says about the Sabbath. Since Philomene had

Teaching an exercise and fitness class

been raised a Catholic, she thought that Sunday was the Sabbath, but after reading Genesis 2:2, 3, she realized that this is not what the Bible teaches. As the classes have continued, there have been many other opportunities to share spiritual things and Philomene has been opening up to Deborah more and more. Deborah’s English tutoring provides a tremendous opportunity to be able to share personally with people and lead them to a deeper walk with the Lord. Please continue to pray for Deborah and her work of reaching men and women in this needy country through medical missionary work and personal evangelism. If you would like to help in her work, you may mark your donation “Senegal.”

Yours in resting in Jesus,


Letter from Cody: Brazil – March 2016

We live in a time when families are under attack like never before. It seems that the biblical family unit as God designed it in Eden is rarely modeled today. This, of course, is just as the Bible predicted: “And as it was in the days of Noe, so shall it be also in the days of the Son of man.” Luke 17:26. In Noah’s day, families were under attack, too. “The sons of God saw the daughters of men that they were fair; and they took them wives of all which they chose.” Genesis 6:2. During this time when families all around were struggling, God asked Noah to build an ark and to raise a family that would demonstrate God’s plan for the family. While most of the antediluvian world refused God’s message of mercy, Noah had a united family who were saved from destruction. What a testimony—a testimony that God is calling us to exhibit to the world today! God has promised that, as in Noah’s day, there will be a family reformation again! “Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord: and he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to the fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse.” Malachi 4:5, 6. “One well-ordered, well-disciplined family tells more in behalf of Christianity than all the sermons that can be preached. Such a family gives evidence that the parents have been successful in following God’s directions, and that their children will serve Him in the church. Their influence grows; for as they impart, they receive to impart again.” Adventist Home, 32. More convincing than the millions of sermons that have been preached and will be preached is a family that reveals God’s working in their lives. While our homes may not be perfect, may we strive to allow God to make them that powerful testimony to the world!

Enjoying the newly completed cafeteria during the campmeeting

I received a special blessing in Brazil a couple of weeks ago as I had the privilege of sharing messages relating to how God wants to bring our homes back to His Eden ideal. SETI (an acronym for Espiritu Santo Evangelistic Training Institute) held a campmeeting with the theme of “Restoring the Family.” It was a blessing for me to be able to share principles from the Bible and Spirit of Prophecy about revitalizing the marriage and seeking to have a home that models God’s design. We met with families who are striving to learn and follow God’s directions in their homes. It was also a blessing to see the newly remodeled cafeteria and dorm and the new lifestyle center that SETI has been completing. With these new facilities they will be able to touch even more people’s lives for Jesus. It was also a blessing to interact with the various students whom the Lord has brought to be trained for more effective service in His vineyard. Every year, a course is offered on the Bible and another course covers health. Some students come for both programs, while others join just the course of study that most interests them. As part of the mission training program, the students spend time reaching out to their rural agricultural community. On the Sabbath during the recent

The main campus at SETI (new facility on the right)

campmeeting, several of the students’ contacts came to the meetings and interacted with the staff, students and guests. With the nearly completed lifestyle center, the SETI team plans to broaden their outreach by ministering to those who would be blessed by staying in a residential lifestyle program. This will also enable SETI to provide a better training experience for the students enrolled in the health course. We praise God for how He is working in Brazil and for the privilege of sharing with the brethren there. If you would like to help the ongoing work of SETI, you can mark your donation: Brazil—SETI.

Yours in preparing for our heavenly home,