03/18/2017: Broken Speaker

Broken Speaker

A failed witnessing opportunity is redeemed.

Missing Keys

I’d only had the laptop for a couple of weeks. It was a brand new, professional machine made to handle intensive tasks such as video editing. Yet already, one of its speakers had developed a horrible buzz. Such an early hardware failure made me wonder if I should have purchased a different brand.

The computer did come with a warranty, so I telephoned technical support. After running through tests over the phone, the company decided to send a technician to my home to replace the broken speaker.

The day the technician arrived, he acted rather discouraged. I tried to think of something I could say to cheer him up, but Chris resisted my efforts at small talk. He seemed to prefer to work in silence.

You should give him some literature.

I can’t say I welcomed the thought. Hadn’t he made it clear that he didn’t want to talk? Besides, the company probably prohibited him from accepting gifts. It would be no use to offer!

Soon Chris had repaired the computer, and he asked me to test the new speaker just to make sure. The speakers sounded lovely, but I noticed two buttons missing from the keyboard. I felt bad pointing it out, but I did need those keys.
Chris hung his head. “I’m sorry. I must have popped those off.” He went to work again.

You should give him some literature, the thought came stronger. Then my neighbor came for a visit, and by the time she left Chris had given up trying to put the keys back on. “I can’t do it, even with tweezers,” he said. “I’ll have to order a new keyboard. They’ll send someone out to replace it on Monday. It might 
be me.” Apologizing again, he made his retreat.

Why didn’t you give him literature? Now I felt really guilty. How often did strangers visit my home, and who else would share Christ with this man?

“I’m sorry, Lord,” I confessed in prayer. “I know I let You down. If You send the same technician back on Monday, I’ll give him some literature.”

Monday morning, I reaffirmed my promise in prayer. Sure enough, halfway through the day Chris showed up at my door—in much better spirits than on Friday. The keyboard replacement went quickly, and all the time I knew what I needed to do. Still, I felt timid.

What will you say to Jesus? a still, small voice whispered. 
“Jesus, I know You died for this man, but I’m shy, and I don’t really like giving out literature.” What a preposterous thought! “OK, Jesus,” I prayed silently. “I’ll give him Steps to Christ. But help me! Give me courage.”

Chris finished his task and asked if I had any questions. 
“No,” I said. “Thank you. But hey . . .” He looked up from his briefcase, expectant.

“I work for a mission organization, and I feel really impressed to give this to you.” I handed him a copy of Steps to Christ. “It’s a little book about how to know Jesus. It has really blessed my life.”

For the first time, Chris gave me a real smile. “Thank you! I appreciate that.” Packing up, he turned to the door. “Have a nice day!”
Sweet peace filled my heart. The Holy Spirit had known all along that Chris had a searching soul. Maybe He had sent angels to break my speaker! Then, when I needed the extra encouragement, He sent them again to break my keyboard.

I guess I won’t know for sure until I get to Heaven. I’m praying, though, that I’ll meet Chris there—and together we can thank Jesus for loving us both enough to use a broken computer to get through to me!

Cheyenne Reiswig

Cheyenne Reiswig works from
home as the office manager for
Mission Projects International.


03/11/2017: The Gospel That Changed Me

The Gospel That Changed Me

An alcoholic abandons his destructive habits and begins preaching the gospel.

Like many in my country, I was born into a devoted Roman Catholic family. As a teenager, I developed many vices. I drank liquor and smoked three packs of cigarettes a day. Even after I married and had seven children, I kept drinking and smoking. My parents had taught me that through praying to the saints and Mary and memorizing the Rosary, we could go to Heaven even if we did not change our lifestyle. I always thought, Why should I put forth effort if going to Heaven is so easy? Even if I die, my relatives can pray for me so that I will not stay long in purgatory.

My wife often told me I needed to stop my vices. Her family worried that my smoking would cause a serious illness like tuberculosis. Still, I did not listen. When my three sons reached their teens, they followed my example in drinking and smoking. That was our lifestyle for many years.

One day a pastor came to visit. Even though he was not Catholic, my family and I welcomed him to stay in our house while he did mission work. Of course, we heard his messages often, and eventually I was convinced to join his faith. Yet, I still did not stop smoking and drinking because our pastor said grace alone saves our souls.

Most of my family converted with me, except for my oldest daughter. Instead of joining my church, she became a Seventh-day Adventist. I was so embarrassed that I tried to force her to join my church by hitting her.

Pastor Habla went back home, and my siblings abandoned our new faith. I really admired our pastor, however, so I continued worshiping as he had taught us. It seemed to me that what he preached was based on the Bible, and therefore truth.

Three years went by before our pastor returned. When he came back he told us that God’s real name is YaHusWaH, and that the name Jesus refers to a horse in Greece. It really confused me.

Shortly after Pastor Habla went back home, a big opportunity opened for my family. In another part of our island, the government was offering farm lots free to indigenous people like my family. Leaving our village, we went 
to claim our farm.

Pastor Temtem (center) studying with Ramon’s friends.

Our new beginning proved to be quite a challenge. We had no place to worship because most of our neighbors were either Muslim or non-religious. Then another missionary visited—Pastor Temtem from the Seventh-day Adventist Church. My siblings appreciated Pastor Temtem and the messages he brought us. Among other things, he helped me understand that I should address God as my Father. He also said that according to Matthew 1:21, the name Jesus means “Savior.”

Pastor Temtem taught me what God requires of us to enter Heaven and what to do to be saved. I kept thinking about what he had told me. I saw my family being convinced of his message, not because I was forcing them, but because they understood for themselves. As I read the Bible, I could see for myself that what Pastor Temtem taught was true. Through God’s help I was converted and stopped practicing my vices. Soon I received baptism! Today I am an elder, preaching to my neighbors the gospel that changed me.

 

 

Ramon Tianchon

Ramon Tianchon lives
in southern Mindanao,
Philippines.

 

Pray for Pastor Temtem and the other gospel workers in the Philippines, that they may reach many more confused, needy souls like Ramon and his family!
Donate to the support of the Filipino gospel workers and their evangelistic efforts by sending your contribution to Mission Projects International marked “Philippine workers” or “Philippine evangelism.”


03/04/2017: Vacation Camp

Vacation Camp

Outside the capital of Senegal, an outpost ministry welcomes 49 children to a Christian day-camp.

The rainy season has arrived again in Senegal. The farmers welcome it but many residents do not because of the accompanying problems of flooding, traffic issues and building collapses. When walls and roofs cave in, people sometimes die. My daughter’s family’s home fell in, but the Lord kept everyone safe. I can only praise God!

Last August, we held a 5-day Vacation Camp for children ages 8–14 in the village of Mbirdiam, where we have our outpost center. For any activity in the village, you need the approval of the chef du village. Thus, a week before the camp I visited the chief and explained our plans to hold a children’s camp to do arts and crafts, teach some songs and talk about the values of honesty, integrity and obedience to God and parents. We also would have activities for the mothers. Because of our previous activities in the village, the chief gave us permission without a problem.

To recruit attendees, I printed out invitations for 50 children along with permission forms for the parents to complete. After leaving a few with the chief, I visited several key families, leaving extra invitations for them to share with their neighbors. On opening day we had 36 children—but by the end of the week we 
had 49 campers!

Village women at soap class.

Everyone had a wonderful time. Enyde Roger, the director of Children’s Ministries for the Western Sahel Union Mission, facilitated the camp. Using the theme “A Walk Through the Zoo,” she told animal stories and showed how God’s creatures characterize different Biblical values. We also taught the children songs and let them color pictures of the animals in the stories and make handi-crafts such as paper flowers and place mats. To top it off, we had 
a daily recreation time as well 
as a cool drink.
On Wednesday afternoon we invited the mothers to a workshop on making liquid soap and on Thursday afternoon we held a seminar on physical, environmental and mental hygiene. Thirty-two women attended!

For Sabbath afternoon, we invited the families to a mini-concert and display of the children’s crafts. Our church’s children’s choir would sing with the children from Mbirdiam, the campers would receive certificates of attendance and the mothers would be given their bottles of soap. That morning, however, clouds threatened to spoil our plans. During worship it began to rain, and continued off and on throughout lunch. We kept praying that God would stop the rain before the people came—and He did! The sun came out and dried everything out by the time our guests arrived.

Chef du village, M. Pouye

About 120 people attended the program, including the chef du village. He thanked us for the camp and asked us to do more activities. After light refreshments, everyone left smiling.

Sister Roger has agreed to facilitate more camps at Mbirdiam throughout the year. Meanwhile, I am raising funds to paint the classrooms in the village school, which looks like it has not been painted in many years. A local paint company has agreed to give a substantial discount. I want to at least repaint the interior of the six classrooms as a community service.

The rain continues to pour outside, reminding us of the storms of life. We are struggling here in the world of sin; but praise the Lord, it will soon be over. We have just a few more years to go. Let’s stand fast through the storms that our Father allows to strengthen our faith!

 

 

Deborah Ndione

Deborah Ndione and her
family are missionaries in
Dakar, Senegal.

 

Pray for the ongoing development projects at the ministry outpost in Mbirdiam. For three years, poor infrastructure has prevented the center from connecting to power and water sources. Please pray for this issue to be resolved so the center of influence can be more useful for future outreach events.

Donate toward ministry needs such as the improvement of the outpost center. Contributions may be made to Mission Projects International, marked “Senegal”.


02/25/2017: To Every Mountain and Village

To Every Mountain and Village

Five families begin holding Sabbath services as a result of one couple’s desire to share.

It all started when the Lord placed a burden on the hearts of Sister Dolores and her husband Orlando. Dolores had been raised in the faraway village of San Manuel, and she wanted her friends and loved ones to hear the present-truth message she had come to hold dear. She approached the church about her desire, and a little over a year ago the youth began visiting San Manuel to offer blood pressure checks, pray for the sick and organize Vacation Bible Schools and other children’s activities.

Administering wound careFinding the people very open, the La Zona Church sent Brother Douglas Bravo to conduct an evangelistic meeting in the old school building, with several church members going along for support. God gave success! More people attended than we expected, and the community invited us to come back. Now, different church members go every week to share in this beautiful mountain village. We provide health education, natural remedies, baking classes and basic treatments such as wound care. Before launching into Bible study, we always include a five- to ten-minute health capsule, and the people seem to really enjoy the information. They tell us that our teaching is different from what they hear at the local Catholic and Evangelical churches. They say they had never been taught the importance of taking care of their health. As a result of our efforts, five families are receiving Bible studies and holding Sabbath services at the little schoolhouse. Some have mentioned their desire to be baptized!

It’s a wonderful experience to see people accept the gospel of Jesus—to see people’s hearts being touched by the love of God. We go to share the peace, hope and love of Jesus, but we receive so much more in seeing the villagers’ eagerness to learn about this last-hour message.

Bible studentWe hope and pray that we can send a full-time Bible worker to San Manuel both to teach the people and to train a leader from the local community who can help other souls prepare for Christ’s coming. When I meditate on the great need in San Manuel, tears flow from my eyes because these sheep have no shepherd. Until now, they have never been taught about God’s everlasting love. As we share with them, we also plead with God to cause His Holy Spirit to impress their hearts to surrender to our Savior. We know God hears our petitions, because rain or shine people always come out and listen as we share Bible truth. We present the simple gospel truths without criticizing their engraved beliefs. We just want to let people experience Christ’s love as we share of ourselves, our means, our time, our resources and our talents.

Our hearts have been touched by the great need in San Manuel. They have churches, they have religion, but they lack a personal relationship with a personal God. They lack the knowledge of the Scriptures, the power of God’s Word. We want to help them connect and commune with God so they can obtain Christ’s character and prepare for His coming. May God give us more faith to share the present truth 
in every mountain and village within our reach.

 

gerbert

 

Gerbert Hernandez

Brother Hernandez is a
volunteer at Maranatha Medical
Ministries in Honduras.

 

Pray for the village of San Manuel. Join the La Zona Church in petitioning for a full-time Bible worker to be sent to this village to teach the people and train up a leader for them.

Donate. To support the work in Honduras, send your donation to:

Maranatha Medical
Ministries, PO Box 390,
Keysville, VA 23947.

If you would like your donation to support the work in San Manuel, please send a note indicating your desire.


02/18/2017: When Angels Sing

When Angels Sing

Three Angels’ Chorale, of Hartland College, travels many miles to minister to hearts old and young.

You sounded like angels,” a concert attendee exclaimed. Really? Didn’t she hear the discordant notes? I mused. We’re not professional; we’re just seeking to glorify God.

Spring break 2016 found the Three Angels’ Chorale en route to Florida. Ten days later, we returned with 3,795 miles, 17 concerts, and many divine appointments behind. You see, our ministry goes beyond simply singing.

Three Angels’ Chorale, of Hartland College, travels many miles to minister to hearts old and young.
Three Angels’ Chorale, of Hartland College, travels many miles to minister to hearts old and young.

It’s about recognizing the hurting heart in the crowd, as Elizabeth, one of our choir members, did. A woman’s scowling face had met her gaze as she glanced out to the audience. “After we were finished singing, I was impressed to talk to her,” Elizabeth shared. Through compassion, Elizabeth’s own testimony and a prayer, the story of a deeply struggling individual cascaded out. God used Elizabeth to show this lady that she did not have to face her challenges alone.

It’s about ministering to people not only through music, but also through testimony and teaching. In North Carolina, we held Sabbath School and a concert for a church of Karen people, ethnic refugees from Myanmar. Even more special was the fact that one of our choir members is Karen herself.

It’s about touching the hearts of young and old, like the little Karen boy who asked, “How can you be a missionary?” and the lovely elderly individuals we ministered to at Fletcher Park Inn in North Carolina. It was there that Taro met Mr. John Thurber, a tenor from the King’s Heralds quartet in the 1960s. We were blessed to share music with those, like him, who had spent years of their lives in ministry.

It’s about encouraging backslidden Christians to seek God once more. Upuia invited her two aunts to a concert we held in South Carolina. Unbeknownst to her, they had a Seventh-day Adventist background, but had drifted away from the church. “One of my aunts said that she probably would have never stepped foot back inside that church, until I invited her to the concert. It’s given her a reason to actually want to go back to that church,” Upuia told me.

Photo Credit Alena VlasovaIt’s about sparking an interest in the truth through the messages of the songs. Tina had an opportunity to do so when an old high school friend she hadn’t seen in five years showed up at one of our concerts. Her friend saw a different Tina, one whose life had been transformed through a relationship with Jesus. “Since the concert was about God, what Jesus has done for us, and that Jesus is coming again, our conversation that evening was along those lines. We were able to encourage each other a lot,” Tina recalls.

These anecdotes provide a small glimpse into our varied experiences. Visiting six states, we had the opportunity to sing at Laurelbrook Academy, Greater Miami Adventist Academy, three Seventh-day Adventist elementary schools, an Assembly of God Church, a nondenominational ministry called JAARS (Jungle Aviation and Radio Services), nursing homes and numerous other churches. We even held two Spanish concerts.

Through it all, we realized that God took our inadequacies and turned them into blessings. We all echo the sentiments expressed by Martin: “One thing which I was able to see was that, however I sang, God was there with us. God blessed those people. I was able to see that God definitely sent His angels to sing with us.” Amen!

 

Screen Shot 2017-01-29 at 2.44.20 AMAuthor: Sabrina Petersen

Sabrina Petersen is a second year
student of Hartland
College in Rapidan, Virginia.
livelovenlaugh62@gmail.com


02/11/2017: Seeker on the Street

Seeker on the Street

In a time of need, Yvonne finds the truth on the streets of Melbourne, Australia.

Last January, we held a literature campaign in Melbourne, Australia. A number of old and young went out on the streets passing out truth-filled books and maga-zines and talking to people in the busy thoroughfares. Two of our team members met Yvonne, a young Chinese lady.

shutterstock_431758537
In a time of need, Yvonne finds the truth on the streets of Melbourne, Australia.

Before coming to Melbourne, Yvonne had lived in another part of Australia where she had been visited by Jehovah’s Witnesses. They had given her Bible studies in her home and invited her to their church. Now that she had moved to Melbourne, however, the Jehovah’s Witnesses had not pursued contact with her. She felt a void in her life, as she had really enjoyed the Bible studies and the church visits. Praise God—He allowed us to reach her first! I am sure He sent her out in the street that day to meet our team. As they talked, Yvonne requested a free Ministry of Healing and a Bible.

Some weeks after the encounter, my friend Lorna and I went to visit Yvonne to make sure she had received the books and to offer her personal Bible studies. We found her ready, open and eager! On the first visit, she asked if she could get baptized. After a few studies, Lorna invited Yvonne to visit her home and attend her local church. When a church member asked how she liked her studies with us, Yvonne said, “I want to be baptized, but we need to go through the studies first!”

It’s so nice to study with Yvonne. Already, we have been able to address deep topics such as the Sabbath, God’s Law and the state of the dead. Yvonne has resigned from her former job and is looking for a new one, so of course I have encouraged her to take God’s holy day off work so she can have the special blessing of fellowship with Him.

Lorna, Stine and Yvonne (far right) with friends at the Melbourne Asian church
Lorna, Stine and Yvonne (far right) with friends at the Melbourne Asian Church.

One day after studying the state of the dead with Yvonne, I paused to eat lunch in my car outside her house. I had not even left the area before her messages started reaching me:

“Dear Stine, thank you for your teaching. That was very interesting and helpful. Love 
to you.”

A few minutes later: “In Luke chapter 16, verse 23 it says: ‘And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off and Lazarus in his bosom.’ . . . Did God torment him in hell?”

I sent her a couple of links to helpful articles by Amazing Facts, and she replied: “Thank you so much, let me have a look.” Two minutes later, another message came: “Is it not right to wear the cross on a necklace 
like an image?”

By this time I was about to drive home, so I told her I would get back to her later. It’s been so interesting to meet a person who is so eager, so full of valuable questions and so open for answers!

A few weeks ago Lorna and I took Yvonne to the Melbourne Asian Church to introduce her to our Chinese friend there who is active in ministry. Our church friend invited Yvonne to an afternoon program, and she accepted. Last time Lorna and I visited her she told us some of the new things she had been learning. Our Chinese church friend is happy to help with the follow up, and we are looking forward to seeing how God will continue to work with this precious soul. Keep her in your prayers!

StineAuthor: Stine Gro Struksnaes

Sister Struksnaes is the Bible
worker for Highwood
Health Retreat in Australia.
stine@highwoodhealth.org


02/04/2017: Hope in Turmoil

Hope in Turmoil

Leaders at SETI, an evangelism training center in Brazil, take courage 
amid political and financial upheaval.

Have you heard what’s going on in Brazil? Over the last few years, many political scandals have surfaced, and recently, the president was impeached. Economic turmoil has also reached a climax. Yet one crisis is greater than corruption and economic failure: the emptiness of soul that only God can satisfy. In the midst of the turmoil, Izael Santos Moreira, a 2015 Santo’s Evangelistic Training Institute (SETI) graduate, found a vast field to work for Jesus.

SETI Bible evangelism students 2016
SETI Bible evangelism students, 2016.

In April 2016, Izael received a call to serve as a Bible worker in Pereiras, a small town in São Paulo State. He began home Bible studies in the community and soon opened a small group study with 15 people. Izael also used his knowledge of health ministry when he learned that one of his contacts, Mr. Isaias, had serious health problems that interfered with his ability to understand the Bible. Izael helped him regain his health by putting him through a detox program, exercising with him and teaching him how to eat healthfully, often sharing his own homemade bread with him. As Mr. Isaias began to feel healthier, his heart opened to the gospel.

Izael says, “Blessed be the name of God for SETI! This institution has made a difference in the lives of youth and young adults by helping us prepare ourselves to preach the everlasting gospel in a practical and relevant way.”
As last August’s Olympic games enthralled Brazil and much of the world, a group of dedicated young people arrived at SETI to receive thorough missionary training. Ana Paula Duarte, 28 years old, had wanted to come to SETI for some time. She shares, “My experience at SETI has surpassed my expectations. In the classroom we have been deeply studying the Bible, and just being here has already made amazing changes in my life.

“With lifestyle changes including eating a vegetarian diet and having a set time for waking, eating and sleeping, I feel improvements in my health. My mind is clearer, so I can absorb the classroom teachings more deeply. My favorite work assignment is on the farm. I’ve learned so much by being outside, working the land.

Ana Paula digging holes to plant guava trees.
Ana Paula digging holes to plant guava trees.

“My goal when I leave is to share the everlasting gospel. I am praying that the Lord opens a way for me to continue my studies and become a medical missionary. Certainly, SETI was an instrument in God’s hands to make me realize the importance of true education.” Testimonies like this encourage the team here to keep up the Lord’s work!

The national financial crisis has increased the need to strengthen SETI’s industries—both to help the school support itself and to improve the education students receive in agriculture and manual labor. A vineyard has already been planted and students and staff are working together to establish an avocado and guava plantation so that we can begin to market these fruits. Moving forward in faith that God will bring in the funds to purchase the plants, fertilizer, and irrigation system, workers have been digging holes for the trees and excavating a pond to use as a water supply for the orchard and vineyard during the dry season.

Despite the national crises, we have hope! We see our students implementing the lessons they learned here, and we want to continue making a difference. We want to finish the work! We want to help prepare as many youth as we can to live the life God has planned for us—both here and in the life to come.

Silveli TeodoroAuthor: Silveli Teodoro

Sister Teodoro works as the
academic secretary at Santo’s
Evangelistic Training Institute
in Brazil. secretaria@iceves.org


01/28/2017: Desta’s Defense

Desta’s Defense

God protects an Ethiopian convert from a lawsuit 
aimed at forcing him to stop preaching truth.

As the chairman of an association of most of the Sunday-worshiping denominations in my district in southern Ethiopia, I used to oppose the efforts of the Seventh-day Adventist workers. But God had other plans for me.

It started when an Adventist evangelist handed me a tract. I told him, “Please don’t give me that useless thing.” Yet in the evening, when I studied my Bible, I picked up the tract and began comparing it with the Scriptures. Soon, I began tuning in to a Seventh-day Adventist radio program. Slowly, God’s truths became clear to me.

One day I sat down with my wife and children and told them that I wanted to become a Seventh-day Adventist. My wife said, “You can’t,” but I went to the church anyway to listen in.

Deste with one of the church groups he raised.
Deste with one of the church groups he raised.

My first Sabbath, the elders asked me if I wanted to join the church. I told them, “I can’t answer you today.” But on my third Sabbath there, I made up my mind. I told the elders, “I am going to preach the gospel with you,” and I asked them to pray for me.
When my wife still couldn’t accept my decision, I told her that I hoped that in time she would agree with me. If not, I would give her all our property and leave. That’s how sure I was that I should become a Seventh-day Adventist.

After this, I talked with my superiors and wrote to the churches in my association to inform them of my new faith. At the next regional gathering, I again announced my decision. The main leader asked me, “Are you leaving because of the low salary?”
I told him that wasn’t the problem, but that I had come to understand that the entire Bible is true. Under his questioning, I tried to explain my new beliefs.

After the conference, the association filed a lawsuit against me, saying I was a false teacher who should be forced to stop preaching. I was summoned to appear before the government administrator. “Why are you causing religious agitations?” he asked. I told him that I didn’t know that what I had done was wrong.

Deste with one of the church groups he raised.
Deste with one of the church groups he raised.

After further interrogation, the administrator advised me not to enter other churches and proselytize. Then he added, “You may witness to people that invite you to their homes, and to individuals. Nobody can stop you from talking about God’s truth.”
After the hearing, I went home and told my wife that the government had given me permission to preach the gospel. Putting our son Samuel between us, I said, “I want our children to grow up according to God’s Word. There is no reason for us each to go our own way.”

 

The Lord softened my wife’s heart, and she agreed to study with me and allow the children to attend my church. After my family and I studied the Seventh-day Adventist doctrines, we were baptized together. Then we started preaching the gospel. I’ve even shared with my previous church members!

That was in 2014. Since that time, I have been blessed to serve in a number of Seventh-day Adventist churches, even raising up two churches in new places. About eight people have been converted from my old church. Two of the Sunday-keeping evangelists I used to work with have also been converted, and others are still studying.

God has supported me thus far, and has used all my experiences for good. This gospel is feeding me and making me grow. I am sure God will continue leading me. I will follow Him!

 

Deste Boke

 

Desta Boke is a gospel worker in southern Ethiopia.

Pray for the Holy Spirit to attend the Ethiopian workers’ labors as they share the Word and seek to establish churches in the mountain villages.

Donate. Many Ethiopian gospel workers must find side jobs to support themselves and their families. Your contributions to Mission Projects International marked “Ethiopia workers” provide for their support and enable them to devote their undivided energy to spreading the everlasting gospel.


01/14/2017: Baptism Behind Bars

Baptism Behind Bars

A prison ministry welcomes a precious soul into fellowship with God through baptism.

Last summer we conducted a prison baptism, welcoming one more precious soul into the fellowship of God. This baptism brought our ministry’s total to 17. Praise God!

johny-carmouche
Johny Carmouche Brother Carmouche has been a prison missionary since 2008. Bibles 4 Prisoners grew from this personal prison ministry.

I would love to announce that we baptized 40, 20 or even five inmates last summer, but we need to be careful in the prison environment. Many convicts want baptism to free them from guilt and regret but have no real interest in letting God have His will in their lives. When these men are baptized by other denominations, they seem to think they have gained a spiritual “insurance policy,” and far too often their growth stops. Others seem to view God as a vending machine, believing that if they give Him the right coins, their girlfriend will come to see them or they’ll get a miraculous pardon. At the very least, they reason that being baptized will look good on their inmate record. That’s why we 
try to be sure our candidates’ 
faith is genuine.

God’s work in hearts often progresses slowly. First they begin to attend our meetings. We befriend them and give them study materials as they seem ready. Those who are serious generally don’t request baptism early on, but will say things like, “I’m learning so much.” Or, “I like that you answer my questions straight from the Bible.” Eventually they express a desire to join the church or ask about baptism. When that happens, we start one-on-one studies covering all the Seventh-day Adventist doctrines. We also explain the gospel commission 
and their responsibility to 
represent Christ even in prison. After they understand our doctrines and acknowledge that before being baptized they will take solemn vows, then we are ready to move forward.

Our prison ministry team now serves in four facilities ranging from 20 miles to 110 miles away from us. The recent baptism took place at the nearest men’s facility, where between 10 and 20 attend our Friday evening services. Next is a women’s facility where our ladies minister on Friday evenings. That group has grown from four inmates about three years ago to as many as 20 now. We had a lady there preparing for baptism, but her studies went on hold when she suffered a stroke. The other inmates attend our services regularly and study faithfully.

BC_2x3.5 [Converted]Our largest group is 80 miles away. This is a maximum security facility where men who have committed very serious crimes are serving from 10 years to multiple life sentences. We minister here every Saturday night to sometimes over 100 men, and we’re about to begin an additional mid-week Bible study at the same prison. In addition, we travel 110 miles once a month to another maximum security facility where we minister to over 100 inmates. This facility is split and at each visit they release inmates from only one side of the compound, which means we see about 50 men at each visit. Someday we hope to minister to both sides every month.
Between prison visits we keep busy reading mail and filling requests for Bibles that come to Bibles 4 Prisoners from inmates all across the United States. It’s a blessing when they write to say, “Thank you for your ministry and for helping prisoners like me to learn the truths of God’s Word.”

The lonely holidays take their toll on inmate morale, and this time of year they need God 
more than ever. We must press on to keep sharing the whole gospel—and keep providing 
them with Bibles to read for themselves. Thank you for your prayers and support for this mission behind bars!

Pray for prisoners who need God’s Word to find out about Bibles 4 Prisoners.

Donate. Bibles 4 Prisoners needs to buy a pallet of Bibles to secure a large discount. Donate online at www.bibles4prisoners. com/donate or by mail: Johny Carmouche, PO Box, 972, Locust Grove, VA 22508.

Purchase Brother Carmouche’s autobiography, If I Make My Bed in Hell, through a link at www.bibles4prisoners.com. Proceeds will be used to provide Bibles to prison inmates.

hartland-prison-ministry


01/07/2017: Witness for Truth

Witness for Truth

A Tanzanian girl goes to school to learn a trade, but finds a treasure of far greater value.

“If you go to that church even once, I will put you on the bus and school will be over for you.” Grandfather snarled. “Nobody will become a Seventh-day Adventist in my house!”

Albina
Albina

Albina lowered her head. “I am ready to give up school and go back home if that is what it takes for me to follow my convictions. My decision is based on what I have been reading in the Bible, not my school.”

Evenings full of Bible study had prepared Albina for this confrontation. Weeks back, when she had attended the satellite Bible seminar hosted at the Seventh-day Adventist Church, an angry priest had forced a pledge from her that she would never enter the church again. “You were baptized in our denomination and that is enough for you!” the priest had shouted. Albina’s grandparents, owners of the local bar, had let her know that the priest’s displeasure could mean the end of their business. Under pressure, Albina capitulated.

Yet something had begun in Albina’s heart. She had come to Eden Valley to learn to sew, knit sweaters and weave baskets so that she could go home and help her widowed mother survive—but she had begun to find something even more valuable than these skills. In her second-year reading class, she and the other students had been reading the final 18 chapters of The Great Controversy. Surprised to learn that God’s Law is still binding, Albina wanted to see it in the Bible. She had read her Bible evening after evening while her grandparents kept busy selling alcohol. The next day she would come to class full of questions. With the other girls in the class, she had begun to pray, “Open Thou mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of Thy law.” Psalm 119:18.

Albina and a friend at Eden Valley.
Albina and a friend at Eden Valley

Now Albina knew that she wanted to follow what Jesus taught in the Bible. “This is the way; walk ye in it,” a still, small voice seemed to whisper in her ear. “Ye shall walk in all the ways which the Lord your God hath commanded you, that ye may live, and that it may be well with you.” “If ye love Me, keep My commandments.” Isaiah 30:21; Deuteronomy 5:33; John 14:15.
At last, Albina again told her grandparents that whatever the consequence, she was going to follow the God of the Bible. When she promised to help her grandmother with the Saturday chores on Friday, her grandparents gave in. April 16, 2016, Albina came to church for the first time. We praised the Lord!

When the diocese called upon Albina to explain her desertion, she stated that she had read in the Bible many things that were opposite to what she had been taught in their church, and that she had chosen the church that obeys God’s Word. Stunned, the priest granted his permission for Albina to change her confession.

September 10, 2016, Albina was baptized as a Seventh-day Adventist along with 17 other Eden Valley students. That day, she changed her name from Albina to Witness. The Lord has impressed our hearts to send her to Kibidula, our big sister ministry about six hours away, to attend a 5-month evangelism and health program that will ground her in the Bible and help her become a more efficient “Witness.” Please pray for her and the other students who have chosen Jesus, that they may witness for truth in this land of spiritual darkness!

Elisha and Nadege Vande Voort

This missionary couple operates Eden Valley Foster Care Mission in Mago, Tanzania. Contact: harvester2188@gmail.com