Pictures from a baptism in Mindanao, Philippines in April 2016. Praise God!
(Click any photo to see it larger.)
Pictures from a baptism in Mindanao, Philippines in April 2016. Praise God!
(Click any photo to see it larger.)
Worthy of Me
Last school year, I went through a series of studies for those who were interested in preparing for baptism. As the time for the baptism grew closer, it seemed like I was surrounded by difficulties. On three different occasions, I went home to ask my father’s permission to get baptized, but without success.
The last time, Father told me that if I really wanted to get baptized I should go and dive into a pond and then it would be over with. I came back to school, and it was almost time for the baptism. One by one, students added their names for baptism.
I really wanted to become baptized, but I thought again about my father’s words and I felt heartbroken. Our principal announced that anyone who wanted to be baptized should submit their names by Friday evening. All week, those who wanted to get baptized put down their names—all except me, because of the great struggle going on in my mind.
On Wednesday evening, we had a Bible study. After the study, all my friends stayed and signed their names on the list, but I quickly returned to the dormitory. I laid down on my face and thought about my dilemma. Should I follow the Lord Jesus? Or should I follow my family? My mind was churning with thoughts while many of the girls around me were sound asleep. I knelt and prayed to God, “Lord, You see all of my struggles. If You want me to follow You, please give me a clear answer tomorrow. Some people say that You don’t exist, but I don’t believe that. If You want me to follow You, please send something tomorrow that will comfort me and make my heart light again. If You do not answer my prayer, I will not become a Christian.”
As I prayed, tears rolled down my face. When I finished, I slipped into a very sweet sleep. At 5:00 am I went to read my Bible in the classroom where my schoolbooks were. On the top of my books, I saw a little letter. Someone had written something to me.
“I am praying for you. God wants you to have a light heart.” The note ended with a reference to Joshua 1:9. When I saw this little letter, I was so happy! I knew that God truly exists and that He wanted me to follow Him.
On Thursday, I added my name to the baptismal list and I was baptized. I was so happy! The only worry on my mind was what my family would say, but I didn’t feel discouraged.
When school was let out and my friends went home, I sent home the news that I had been baptized. Later, when I went home and my father saw me, he did not call me his child; he called me “white foreigner.” And then he spoke to me about baptism. After that, he never said anything more, and I knew that he didn’t love me very much anymore.
His wife told me, “Among your siblings, your father loved you the most. However, he was very disappointed in you because you disobeyed and got baptized instead of listening to his voice. If you want to go somewhere or do something, he will not approve of it.” She also added, “There is nothing to the Bible. It has been done away with for a thousand years. You worship your God, but you can’t see Him. Christians don’t have peace, and that is why we will have to separate. You can’t worship other gods, but we can worship any god.” Still, I was not discouraged; nothing seemed to affect me.
At that time, I wanted to go to my brother, but my father and his wife did not approve. “If you go to your brother, you will have to bow down and worship him. If you don’t, you will look shameful. If you are not ashamed, I will be very ashamed.”
I said, “I will go. I will not be ashamed.” When I arrived, my brother told me to bow down three times, but I did not bow down. I told him that I was baptized now. My brother asked, “Who told you to get baptized?” I told him, “It was my own choice.” I know that my brother loves me very much. He bought me shoes and clothing and I am very happy.
When I returned home from seeing my brother, my step-mother asked me, “So did your brother love you?”
“Yes,” I said, “he loves me. He gave me what I needed.” She didn’t look pleased and didn’t speak to me again.
Every day I went and worked in the fields. At one point, my father told me that he would give me the money for my return trip and for personal things that I needed. I was very happy. While at home, I was tested in different ways. I was expected to give the daily rice offering, and I was to do different animist rituals. But I refused. My father and step-mother were very angry with me. They called me a name that means “a person who dives into the water.”
The time for my return to school drew near and I had finished working in the fields. It was Sabbath, so I rested, and my father was angry. He no longer wanted to give me the supplies and money I needed for my return to school.
I was to leave on Monday. On Saturday night I had nothing for the trip and I prayed to God, “Please, send me the money for my trip.” I was sure that my father wouldn’t give me anything, and in the morning, after I finished packing, my uncles and aunts came and gave me money. It was enough for the trip! I was so happy and astonished. I knew that God had sent the money for me and I thanked Him.
On Monday morning, when I was going to leave, I came to the front of the house. I was going to go down the stairs when my father said, “I will not give you any money anymore. If I wanted to I could, but because you did not listen to my voice, I will not give you any more.”
At that moment, I realized that my father didn’t love me like before, and I became very discouraged. While I hiked up the mountain trail, my heart was heavy with sadness. When I got to the road, I waited for a car, but none came and I continued to walk.
While traveling, I became sick with a fever, and I couldn’t go on anymore. All I wanted to do is lay down on the side of the road. All my friends left me and went on, and I was left with my cousin and a little boy.
In my heart I prayed that my worries would disappear and God answered my prayer. All my worries did disappear, and then I got my strength back and I could walk. I was very hungry, so I used some of the bus fare money for food. When I got to Mae Tha Wah, across the river in Thailand, our school principal picked us up, along with several other students.
I am very happy now that I am back at school safely and my teachers love me very much. The best and biggest thing is that God loves me the most and saved me when I needed help. I pray that someday my father will call me his child again, and he will love me like before.
By Dah Ku Say of Thailand, as told to Sharon Steck. Sharon serves, along with her family, at Sunshine Orchard Children’s Home and Learning Center in Thailand. To learn more and provide support, go to: www.missions.thesteckfamily.com.
Gifts and Miracles
God breathes life into missionary projects in many different and amazing ways. Here are a few stories from real people in the Democratic Republic of Congo, in the heart of Africa.
Lodima Dowoy was born in Lohodi in 1978. His father was a farmer and he taught his children how to work well in the fields and the garden to have a good harvest. When Lodima was still a teenager, his parents died and he was left to care for his siblings—two brothers and two sisters.
Their life was hard and the situation grew worse every year because the fields didn’t yield enough to provide sufficient food to live on. His brothers and sisters wept often when they remembered their family life back when their parents were still with them.
One day, the village chief called all the inhabitants to assemble together. An Adventist missionary came to the village to teach them about God. The chief said that they could tell the missionary about their needs and plans for future projects. Lodima accepted the call and went to see the visitor. He taught the people about the signs of the end and about the imminent return of our Lord Jesus Christ. He invited the people to fear God and believe the news about the nearness of the Lord’s coming.
Lodima felt rewarded when the missionary invited everyone to accept Jesus Christ as his or her own Lord and Savior and to ask God to help them with their spiritual and material needs. The visitor made an appeal and prayed for each person that came to the front. One of those was Lodima. As he returned home, his siblings suggested that they should claim the promise written in Luke 11:11-13. This message rent Lodima’s heart as they prayed.
Since then, the Lord performed miracles and their lives changed a lot. Their physical weakness disappeared and they were able to work harder in the fields and garden. They were rewarded with a special blessing—30 sacks of peanuts and 40 sacks of rice.
One morning, they were visited by an ancient chief who told them that their father had lent him some money a long time ago, and he wanted to pay the loan back to his children. Their father had died in 1995, but this man wanted to settle the debt after 17 years. This was an important lesson to us: Jesus promised that His Father wants to give good gifts. Jesus invites us to come and taste for ourselves that the Lord is good.
B. David Toko is from the Shele village, and used to be an evangelist for a charismatic church. He was taught by the missionary Joel Mapamu about the signs of God’s kingdom, but he resisted the invitation to serve God even though he had heard the same message back in 2008. But eventually he began to follow the Bible message taught by Adventists, and was supported by his family. One day, the missionary came to visit him at home and he knew that he could share all his sorrows with him. David asked the missionary to pray for him, and he did so. After prayer, the missionary asked him if he had accepted the Lord Jesus Christ as his personal Savior. David realized that he had, and he was baptized.
God led missionary Joel, and through him 150 precious souls were won. After the baptism, Joel taught the new converts how to work for other souls and plant new churches in their territories.
C. Loseke Cyrille, of Yenga village, tells us about the change of his spiritual and physical life when the Adventist message came to them. Every year brother Joel comes through the villages and helps to strengthen their faith. God has blessed his ministry in Yenga village, as well, because among the 756 souls living there, 300 are Seventh-day Adventists. The Adventist church plays a vital role in the community. Despite the lack of Bibles and Spirit of Prophecy books, the villagers of Yenga feel God’s love. The members’ faith has increased and they are engaged in God’s work.
D. Ngangola Ndjomba lives in Lotahe village and says that God freed him from a life of sin. The Savior came to visit him through the Holy Spirit and told him to leave his sinful life. He shares with us the story of how he used to be a thief, terrorizing the neighboring village. He stole he-goats and sold them, using the money to pay for fornication. The missionary came and quoted 1 Corinthians 6:19, 20. This message troubled Ngangola very much. He went to his knees and Brother Joel prayed for him. Immediately, Ngangola sensed a change in his body. He wants to witness before God and before His church that his life was changed completely. This commitment meant that he must dedicate his life to serve God. He understood that his tongue needed to be tamed, because it speaks out of the abundance of the heart. He relates that he is now praising God for the changes in his life, and is His new creature now.
Joel Mapamu, the missionary we have been talking about, was in a major accident while riding in a van, on September 7, 2012. The van was descending a hill in full speed near Kinshasa, when one of its tires exploded. Five people were killed instantly and three were left severely injured. The old taxi van was completely destroyed. Joel’s wife told me that no one would believe that anyone could have survived the accident, yet God decided to spare the life of Brother Joel Mapamu for future missions. He, too, was injured, and brought to the state hospital, but the Lord healed him and he was sent home after a week. We have such a wonderful Creator and Doctor!
One of Joel’s projects was to open the Medical Center of Dikanda. Despite a very limited budget, the Lord blessed the work. The project was completed with the help of many local chiefs and this touched the lives of many villagers. Many of them were converted to the Adventist faith.
God used various people to help with the establishment of this little hospital. Among them was a woman that was not of our faith. She was a very godly woman and I look forward to meeting her again in Heaven. Doctors Without Borders had told her they wanted to sell a surgical bed. She contacted me during my summer mission trip with Brother Joel, and I sent funds to cover the expenses.
In order to function well, this clinic needs more modern instruments and equipment, as well as a fresh monthly supply of medications to help the many patients that arrive daily. The little clinic has the help of a surgeon from Lodja, plus two registered nurses and a midwife, but we are finding it necessary to employ more personnel to keep up with the demand. The biggest need is for a generator for electricity and a van for transportation. In some emergency cases the patients have to be transferred to Lodja, which is 15 miles away—no bicycles, no motorcycles, no ambulance. Some patients haven’t survived the trip due to the lack of proper transportation.
But nevertheless, the Lord has blessed, and during a period where 160 people died of malaria in the Sankuru hospitals, God, in His mercy, blessed our little clinic in a mighty way: the clinic has been open since July 2012 and no life has been lost at the clinic during that time!
By Samuel Minea of Austria. Email: email@example.com.
God Gives an Expected End
“For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, said the Lord, Thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.” Jeremiah 29:11.
Receive our greetings from Panama. The Lord has blessed us these past few months with new insight in the way He wants us to work in giving the message of salvation here in our area. As God has told us in the writing of the Spirit of Prophecy, the medical missionary work will open doors where before we could not enter. We have seen this clearly in the experience we have had in dealing with some people from the Jehovah’s Witness church. Some members of that church asked for help with their health problems.
One example is the experience that we had with one of our neighbors. Since we moved to this town and became acquainted with our neighbors, we had one neighbor that we had not had the opportunity to witness to. She does not belong to any religion. Her husband does not go to church either, and on the weekends we had always seen them going to rodeos and other worldly entertainments. It was a mystery to us how this lady who had an Adventist childhood now seemed so aloof to anything religious. We prayed for a way to witness to her. Earlier when we had first arrived, she brought her youngest daughter to be treated for headaches due to toxoplasmosis. The Lord blessed our effort and her daughter recuperated, but we still could not talk to her about religion. We knew that her mother who had attended the Adventist church at an earlier time was now a Jehovah’s Witness.
About two months ago we received a call from this neighbor. She told me that her mother was sick, and asked if we could help her. Upon our arrival, we saw that her mother was in pain. She told us that all her joints ached; especially her elbows hurt a lot. She also had a high fever. The daughter had given her medication for the fever before we arrived. By the time we arrived, she only had pain. She had been diagnosed with a urinary tract infection and needed an antibiotic injection. She had been the person who used to give the injections in town and now she needed help. After helping her with the injection we gave her a warm fomentation treatment to her elbows, and she stated that she felt better. It was good to be able to minister to this lady. She, a Jehovah’s Witness, allowed us minister to her. Before each treatment, she allowed us to pray in the name of Jesus and never complained. One evening the fever returned and the pain increased. The daughter opted to take her to the hospital. At the hospital, she had a heart attack and died.
As a result of this loss, our neighbor realized her need of God and has requested Bible studies. At first she wanted a book that would help her in her personal study of the Bible. When we offered her Bible studies she readily accepted. It has been very rewarding to study the Bible with this lady. She had many erroneous ideas of God and the gospel of salvation, and it is very encouraging to us to hear her state that she now understands the Bible better.
We have seen God also working in our neighbor’s oldest daughter, who also is Jehovah’s Witness. She has scoliosis, and asked us if we could help her with this problem. She told us that when her mother took her to the doctor as a young girl and she was diagnosed with scoliosis, the doctor sent her home with some calcium tablets and never prescribed any treatments. She suffered from severe back pain. She told us that every week she had to buy a box of pain medication that she would use during the week to control her back pain. After the first two treatments, she announced to us that she no longer needed the pain medication. She is very happy that the therapy she is receiving is helping her. We are praying that one day we may also be able to share the gospel with her. When we study the Bible with her mother she now goes outside.
Another encouraging experience that we’ve had recently was to see how God has blessed one small church in our area. We had been praying and financially supporting an effort in this small church that at one time had a large membership, but in the last four years had decreased to only a family of three. God sent us a young Bible worker that has been used by Him to encourage many of the people that had stopped going to the church. After two months of the Bible worker being in the area, there are about fifteen people that meet regularly at church and they have had had three baptisms. Now the Bible worker will go to another small church where the attendance is only seven members in an effort to encourage the backsliders and bring new members to the feet of Jesus. After two months work in that church, the Bible worker will come to our church and we are planning an evangelistic campaign for the month of January. Please help us pray for these projects. We have a lot of challenges ahead, but we serve a great God who will overrule any difficulty as we, in faith, move forward.
As the text tells us “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, said the Lord, Thoughts of peace….” God wants us to have peace and that promise means a lot to us. When we do God’s work, Satan tries by all means to discourage and distract from the work that God wants us to be doing. We know that until we are in heaven, we will always have a lot of conflict and challenges. This country also is going through a lot of changes as most countries of the world are also going through changes. The government is enacting many new laws. And there is a lot of opposition to the new changes that are in the making. Let us work while there is peace.
We are very thankful that we have the support of our local district pastor. This is one thing we did not have when we arrived here four years ago. We observed that he likes to study the Spirit of Prophecy books. He is also very supportive of the medical missionary work. He has asked us to talk about God’s healing ways at the central church of his district where the topic of health reform is meeting with some resistance.
Thank you for your prayers and support. We have the evangelistic effort program planned for the end of the year and also we have been invited to go to Cuba with the ministry Changing People’s Lives. This missionary trip was planned for October. It was postponed to December. In a way this delay has helped us, since it gives us more time to fundraise for the outreach in that country. The Lord knows what is best and He will give us “an expected end.”
By Zaida Acosta, Living Springs of Health and Education, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Support for the work of the Acosta family can be earmarked “Panama” and sent to Mission Projects International, PO Box 59656, Renton, WA 98058.
All Things Work Together for Good
Chance, misfortune or disgrace: all this flooded my childish mind at the age of thirteen. I suffered from chronic asthma; I could not run outside of the house while the rain was falling, nor be in the river for as long of a time as my brothers and sisters could, because I would have an asthma attack. It seemed that asthma controlled my life and would perhaps kill me.
I have always believed that the ways of the Lord are the best, even when I do not understand them. I believe that now more than ever.
An agonizing moment one night was the method the Lord used to show me the brightness of His love and to cast a light into my young mind. “But without faith it is impossible to please Him.” Hebrews 11:6.
I was trying to sleep, but in vain. I could not breathe! My dad had passed away, so we were alone on a small farm. My siblings were asleep, and Mom was my only company. She was doing all that she could to help me with my asthma; but I just could not find relief. It was raining very hard that night; there was much thunder; and the dense clouds, so full of water, were making the night even darker and more dreadful. My bed was by a window that only had a thin curtain, so I could look out on this terrifying storm.
My mom stayed with me by my bed, while I lay there desperately struggling for every breath. Neither of us was saying anything, but there was plenty of noise because of the storm. Suddenly, I heard a different sound than rain; it was the shaky voice of my mother saying, “I already lost your father; now I’m willing to lose you, if that’s the Lord’s will, if you are not to honor and glorify Him in your youth….” After a pause, she ended with this question, “Son, are you willing to die?”
It was not easy to answer that question. I tried to look at the sky, but it was cloudy, and there were no stars. I thought that it was my last night. I was sure that my expectations, my dreams and projects were all dying in one night. In that moment, I decided to surrender completely in God’s arms, and I pleaded for Him to give me peace. I had the certainty that He was with me, and though I could not see the stars, I knew the “Sun of Righteousness” would light my future, whether it would be in this life or in eternity. Then I answered that upsetting question. “I think I’m willing.” That was all I could say.
When my mom left the room, I fell on my knees and prayed, “Lord, if You give me life, I will dedicate it to You. But, if it is Your will that I die before dishonoring You, let it be so.” Then, I lay down and slept. Since then, I have seen the dawn appear many times, and I have delighted in knowing that the Lord extended my life to serve Him. How could I not love my Lord?
A short time after that frightening experience, God completely restored my health. Because of this, I have made the strong decision to serve Him. Since He is my Father, I asked Him to show me a place where I could learn more about Him and how to work in His cause. This is what led to my becoming a member of Las Delicias Foundation in Armenia, Colombia, on January 26, 2008. This has been a very interesting experience. Here, things are run completely differently from my own concept of God’s work. I have learned very much about God’s ways. At the Foundation, the Lord has put me through different situations to help me to trust more in Him. As a young person, I had goals and personal plans for my life, but now I see it from another perspective. Each day God’s plan gets more meaning than my own plans. I have learned that the Lord’s school is a school of self-denial and surrender, and that in humbleness is found the real greatness of character.
Recently, I went through a rough trial concerning my family. Because of my father’s death, I have had great responsibilities laid on me. One day my mom called me and with tears related to me the difficult financial situation that she was going through. She did not know what to do and did not have the strength to go on, either.
I prayed constantly throughout the conversation, and the Lord gave me just the words to comfort her. I reminded her of how God had worked miraculously to maintain us when she became a widow. By remembering those experiences of how God had manifested Himself in the past, she recovered her spirit. The tears ceased and her faith was strengthened.
The brethren in the church and some relatives said I should be with her to support her through such a critical time. I took it to the Lord in prayer. I prayed, “Lord, I’ve decided to follow Your plans. Please, take charge of my life.” Our Father, Who is not oblivious to the sincere plea of the most unworthy of His children, did not delay in answering my prayer. Not too long after I began praying that prayer, my mom received a call from a stranger, who said, “Mrs. Margarita, your presence is required at the bank to retire this sum of money.” It was an amount that I could not have earned working for a very long time to help her. She called me, but this time, full of joy and new courage. I wept in silence, as I could see the Divine solution. After such an experience, I ask myself, “What will I pay the Lord with, for all of this? Even my whole life is not enough.”
Often when I was facing the responsibility of making decisions concerning my family, I longed for my father’s presence. You cannot imagine how I wished he could be by my side, that I could hear his counsels and receive his support! But I did not have him anymore. Sometimes, I think about the young people that have their parents near but have no appreciation for what they do for them. When death snatches them from your side, you will want them back, but they lie in their graves. You will long for their advice when you have to make big and small decisions, but they are just dust. Once they are gone, you realize that their sermons, watching eyes, corrections, rebukes and even punishments were no problem, if only you could have them back. Please, young people, never forget that “Honor thy father and thy mother” was written by God’s own finger.
Even though sometimes I feel lonely, the Lord continues to manifest Himself to me in very many ways and says, “I am with you.” Recently I was baptized. God had another surprise for me that day. After the doors of the Foundation were opened for me, my other siblings also wanted to learn what I was doing. I have been praying for them. The surprise was that when I got baptized, one of my sisters also decided to confirm her faith through baptism. I made the decision not to cry, but it was impossible for me to hold back my tears while watching my sister being immersed in the waters. In that way the Lord told me: “You are not alone.”
Here, at the Foundation, I found a refuge; I have found a practical place, where I can learn to better serve the Lord and learn more about Him; I have learned patience, perseverance and love for what I did not particularly like before, and I have gained much spiritual development.
“And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose.” Romans 8:28.
This is a text worth memorizing. It is easy to learn but hard to live by and apply to our lives, especially when we have to face misfortune and disgrace.
By Jonathan Santana. Las Delicias, Armenia, Colombia. Website: www.fundacionlasdelicias.org. Email: email@example.com.
Kenya, a World Earnestly Calling
Almost nine years ago when we began the work of spreading the three angels’ messages in Kenya, the work seemed to progress very slowly. At first we focused on supplying Bibles and Spirit of Prophecy books. As the work has grown, our focus remains the same, but the Lord has blessed and opened doors, and we have been able to build churches and worship shelters, three schools and an orphanage. The Lord has also impressed us to expand the medical missionary work. One clinic is operating, and we have plans for two more clinics. Not only does the clinic assist the people physically, but also spiritually.
“Medical missionary work is the right hand of the gospel. It is necessary to the advancement of the cause of God. As through it men and women are led to see the importance of right habits of living, the saving power of the truth will be made known. Every city is to be entered by workers trained to do medical missionary work. As the right hand of the third angel’s message, God’s methods of treating disease will open doors for the entrance of present truth.” Testimonies, vol. 7, 59.
This past year eight new groups have been formed through the work of the Bible Workers and the power of the Holy Spirit. Since there are not enough funds to build churches for these groups, we have built five worship shelters. As the funds become available to build a more permanent church structure, the worship shelter will be used for a children’s Sabbath school room.
A Sunday-keeping group at Rehema began to study with our Bible workers last year. The pastor, two elders and about 15 members were baptized and are now members of the Seventh-day Adventist church. Several other members from that group are studying, and we praise the Lord for them.
About six months ago a Pentecostal pastor became deeply interested in the seventh-day Sabbath. After studying with our Bible workers, he, too, was baptized. He was the pastor of two Pentecostal churches. One of the churches studied with their newly converted pastor and our Bible worker. As a result, the owner of the land where their church building is located accepted the message, and he and about ten of the members were baptized. When we were in Kenya in March, we visited this group. The owner stated that he would give the land and the church to Advent Hope Ministries to advance the work in that area.
“The LORD thy God in the midst of thee is mighty; he will save, he will rejoice over thee with joy; he will rest in his love, he will joy over thee with singing.” Zephaniah 3:17.
“He [Jesus] approaches the Father, with whom there is joy over one sinner that repents; who rejoices over one with singing. Before the foundations of the earth were laid, the Father and the Son had united in a covenant to redeem man if he should be overcome by Satan.” Desire of Ages, 834.
The people have the biggest smiles on their faces when they are told that God rejoices over them when they give their hearts to Him.
The Bible, The Great Controversy, The Desire of Ages, Steps to Christ and Christ’s Object Lessons in Swahili are distributed free of charge to anyone who is studying and desires to learn more. Our four schools (one is still only a structure of leaves and sticks), orphanage and clinic also create interest with many of the people that our seven Bible workers are in contact with. The children from the orphanage like to go to different areas to sing. This generates questions—why do they only sing religious songs? Why do they worship on Saturday? These and other questions are the ideal openings for a Bible study.
Recently a group from an evangelical church, which also has a school with 176 children, has been studying with the principal of our Ibencho school. Out of the 40 church members, only three had a Bible, and they were old and torn. Their pastor and two elders sought further details regarding the Sabbath, and they had questions regarding the cross and the plan of salvation. What an opportunity to share the three angels’ message and the gospel!
“Christ came to our world to represent the character of God as it is represented in His holy law; for His law is a transcript of His character. Christ was both the law and the gospel. The angel that proclaims the everlasting gospel proclaims the law of God; for the gospel of salvation brings men to obedience of the law, whereby their characters are formed after the divine similitude.” Selected Message, vol. 2, 106.
The orphanage that Advent Hope built was made to house 108 orphans. We only have 50 children at present, not because there is any lack of orphans, but to give the workers a chance to adjust to caring for the children. Also, our current water supply is from tanks that catch rain water from the roofs of the buildings. If it does not rain for five days, the tanks run dry, and the children have to carry water from the spring which is about a mile away. In March, the plan was to install a “RAM” pump to pump the water from the spring to the orphanage. Every effort was made to complete this project, but it just did not work. The distance was too great, and the elevation change of 350 feet was just too much. The day after the decision was made that it would not work and that time was being wasted, a truck with equipment to dig a well came to Ibencho. When questions were asked, it was found that a well was going to be dug for the community. Bill talked to the men who were digging the well. They began to search for the best source of water, and they decided to dig about 30 feet from the orphanage property! This truly was divine intervention. Ibencho is a remote area. Well digging equipment is very difficult to find and very expensive to hire. We knew that we would not be able to afford this. But the government provided the equipment and dug the well which hit water at 286 feet. The latrines for the boys had to be relocated, but the government has promised to install the pump in June and then pump directly to the tanks at the orphanage. This is truly an answer to prayer. When this is completed, we will be able to allow more children to come to the orphanage. We have a waiting list of almost 200 children. Please pray for guidance for the workers in training these children to serve the Lord.
As we see the events in the world and are impressed with the seriousness of the times in which we live, may God bless and guide each one of us as we each do our part to spread the truth to others. “Make haste to obtain a fitness for the mansions which Christ has gone to prepare for all that love him. The day is far spent, the night is at hand. Make haste to ripen for Heaven.” Review and Herald, May 30, 1882.
By Bill and Becky Humeniuk. Advent Hope Ministries, Inc., PO Box 100, Campbellsburg, KY 40011. Website: www.biblesforafrica.org
Baptisms in India
I am Pastor Sharath Babu from India. I will be sharing with you the results of evangelistic efforts in India.
In April of 2012 I conducted a revival meeting in a village named Thiruvengalapuram in Cuddapah, Andhra Pradesh. Fifty five years ago in this village, an Adventist church was started. This was the first Seventh-day Adventist church in this area of India. Thiruvengalapuram is a six hour drive from Chennai City, Madras.
We had a team of workers helping during the meetings. At the end of the meetings eight people were baptized into the church. We praise the Lord.
One of those baptized was a young man named Suresh. He ran away from his home twelve years ago and had no contact with his family for all of those years. Everyone who knew him thought that he must have died. Suresh’s father was so worried about him that the stress from worry killed him last year.
Four months before the revival meetings, a friend from this village found him and brought him home. Suresh attended the revival meetings and accepted Jesus as his personal Savior, and I had the privilege of baptizing him.
The village president, who is Hindu, invited me to his home to pray with him. Our reception in the village was good.
We had plans to do nine revival meetings this summer. In June our team went to Kerala, which is on the southwest coast of India, for the last of the nine meetings. This area is where some of the wealthier people live. It was so exciting to see fifteen hundred people attend these meetings. Six people who attended were baptized. I would like to tell you about three of these.
Shruti is a young lady that was baptized along with her parents and her siblings. She is a gold medal winner at the University of Andhra because of her outstanding performance in English Literature. She has a scholarship to America or England to get her doctorate. This family is from the high caste of Hindu. Her father is a lawyer and a very influential man.
Venkanna is a fisherman. He used to pray to three or four Hindu gods each time before he went out to sea to catch fish. He would say that if he arrived back safely with more fish he would give 10,000 Rupees as an offering to each Hindu god. A Christian fisherman told him about Jesus. He began to believe in Jesus. When he went out to fish he prayed a simple prayer to Jesus, asking to bring him back safely and to give him more fishes. That day he had more fish than he had ever caught. He sold them for 100,000 Indian Rupees ( $2000 US dollars). He studied the Bible more with my cousin and attended the Seventh Day Adventist church. At the revival meeting he requested baptism and was baptized.
Roshan is a young man studying computer applications. He is the son of the Central church pastor. His father gave a testimony at the meeting before Roshan was baptized. He told how he had baptized many people, but his son chose not to be baptized. He was very sad that his son did not love the Lord enough to commit to Him. By God’s grace, Roshan came to the revival meetings and gave his heart to the Lord and was baptized. The father was overjoyed.
God worked in a mighty way in the village of Udumudi. Nineteen people were baptized here. The day after the baptism a big storm came to the village, but there was not a disturbance at the meetings. More than one thousand people attended each day. We were thankful for the wonderful response to the meetings.
James is a high ranking police officer that attended one of our meetings with his parents. After the meetings he was baptized. At times police officers come to our meetings to inspect what is going on and see that all is in order. Many of these officers like the meetings and see that our messages teach people to keep the laws. They learn that every one of God’s laws is meant for the good of each person.
We praise God for these nine meetings. Many were blessed by conversion experiences. A total of 57 souls were baptized.
If you would like to help support more of these types of meetings or help sponsor children in a school in India please use the contact information below. Thank you.
By Sharath Babu. The Gospel and Good Health,
26710 N. Yale Road, #18, Chattaroy, WA 99003. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Faithful Under Trial
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.
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.
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.
Laboring for a Harvest
“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.
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.
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.
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: email@example.com.