A tragic death brings about 90 baptisms for Christ.
A short walk from my home lies the village of Nazombe. In spite of my repeated attempts to make friends in Nazombe, the villagers resisted my efforts to share the gospel with them. Then one day, the village chief disappeared. Rumors spread that I had killed the chief and sold his body. I realized the situation was grave and that without God’s protection the villagers could take my life. My family and I fasted and prayed for 21 days, asking God to reveal the truth of the chief’s disappearance in order that God’s name be honored.
On the twenty-first day, I met a man from Nazombe on the road. He greeted me by saying, “Pastor, your God is a miracle-working God. The man described how the chief’s body had been found in the river, attached to two huge stones weighing almost as much as the chief himself.
The chief’s brother was eventually convicted of themurder, and I was invited to visit Nazombe. When I arrived, the people welcomed me openly. “Tell us about your God who has saved you,” they begged. I visited each home and prayed with them, shared corn and gave clothes to those in need. Next, I held evangelistic meetings and hundreds of people came to the meetings to hear the three angels’ message. When the meetings were over, I called for the people to give their hearts to Jesus, the Way, the Truth, and the Life. More than 80 people gave their hearts to Christ and were baptized.
The government of Malawi visited me to hear for themselves the story of how the chief’s death had changed the lives of the people. They recorded my testimony and broadcast it over the national radio at least three times. From that time, I have been receiving requests from a number of non-Christian village chiefs to go and teach the people about Jesus Christ.
In 2001, my team and I held an evangelistic meeting for the Paramount Chief Kuntumanji after holding Bible studies with him. He was the only one that I had not visited in the area. The Chief and his guards listened to my preaching and invited me to hold the meetings at his home. He invited all of his junior chiefs to attend daily for 21 days. I introduced Jesus Christ through what happened to Abraham, who was asked by God to offer his only son as a sacrifice to God. When Abraham took his knife to cut the neck of his son, God stopped him and told him not to kill his son but rather the lamb which God provided for him. The son of Abraham represents us, and the lamb represents Jesus Christ. The Chief and his guards plus some 92 people accepted Jesus Christ through baptism. They were baptized together with their wives.
Another meeting I conducted was in Lilongwe Chisapo village. Mr. Muhammad Amin, a former Muslim leader, was listening to my preaching every evening. The tenth day, Mr. Amin came out of his house and wanted to know who was preaching. He told his family to always listen to the gospel. He later came behind the pulpit and whispered to my boy, “Please give me a spiritual book.” I was told and gave him the book Allah’s Healing Ways. He read the book every day, and in the evening he attended the meetings. Later he was baptized together with his wife. He has been joining me during my meetings to give the testimony of his conversion. He is now a head deacon at his church. God is using him to bring more people to His kingdom. This is a non-Christian area where many people have not yet heard the truth.
I just pray to God to win one soul for Him each day. My prayers have been answered, and God has blessed our ministry with many baptisms and new churches established among the unreached people.
Golden O. Lapani
Brother Lapani is a layman with a burden for souls. He conducts evangelistic meetings in predominately Muslim areas of Malawi.
HOW YOU CAN HELP
Prayfor Brother Lapani as he uses friendship evangelism to reach hearts for Jesus.
Give.The work in Malawi is in need of Bibles, church building and food and clothing for the very poor. If you feel impressed to help this work, you please mark your donation “Malawi” and send it to:
Mission Projects International, PO Box 506, Republic, WA 99166-0506
For electronic options, visit: missionspro.org/donate
A young missionary shares hope and Jesus’ love in India.
India. All of the sadness and pain here really gets to me sometimes. So many don’t know Jesus. When I look into their faces, I see pain and hardship. I try to smile at all the ladies and children I pass, but rarely do I get a smile back. At times I feel so burdened with the work that needs to be done. Then I remember that the Lord only calls me to do my part faithfully, and let the circle widen from there.
My girls have many struggles, so at times it can be hard to know how to help them as their dean. But God somehow uses me. One by one, I have been taking each of the 23 girls to buy clothes. They glow with happiness as they twirl around in their new skirts—but I think I get the most joy from it. Because of my frequent visits to the little village market, people have begun to smile and wave when I walk by or stop in at their little shops. I love making them laugh at my attempts to communicate! It’s a fun way to make friends.
One day I took a student named Sikha to the doctor for help with an infected eye. As I sat down in the waiting room, Sikha lay her head on my lap. As usual, it felt like everyone stopped to stare at the strange-looking white girl. A young woman sitting next to me kept casting glances my way until she finally got up the courage to ask me what I was doing here and where I came from. I could make out some of her broken English, and since she had been to college she seemed to understand me fairly well. What we couldn’t understand, little Sikha translated. We had a good chat, and after our appointments, she and her mother helped us get a taxi. As I waved goodbye, I wondered if I would see her again.
One week later, I found myself back at the hospital. At the check-in counter, I turned and there she was! We both had huge smiles as we hugged each other! As we sat in the waiting area, she shared that she had been married five years, but had not been able to have children. She told me that her in-laws were angry, but her husband was so good to her. She looked as if she could cry.
I told her about women in the Bible like Hannah and Sarah who had the same grief in their hearts, and that God sometimes has us wait so we can learn to trust. I told her that I’d be praying for her, and said, “I know the Lord will bless you! I think God planned for us to meet again today!” Even though she is Hindu, she agreed. I never saw her again, but I pray God will use our talk to touch her heart.
One night, as I was having goodnight prayers with the girls in the dorm, one of them said to me, “Miss, please pray for me that I can tell my family about Jesus!” My heart did a leap! I said to her, “Heaven is rejoicing to hear this prayer of yours!” Oh how she smiled! Another girl asked the same request another time. Even though her Father is a drunk who beats her and her little brother, she wants to share Jesus with them both.
I am so blessed, happy and grateful to be working here at this school! The challenges are many, but the Lord always, always gives strength and wisdom sufficient. He awakens smiles in this sorrowful land!
Cortney was a volunteer missionary at a school in India when she wrote this story.
HOW YOU CAN HELP
Pray for the dear children attending missionary schools in India and other non-Christian areas. Many of them come from sad homes, and they need Jesus!
Prayfor missionaries to be sent into Earth’s dark places.
Donateto the work of a volunteer or student missionary you know, and send them notes of encouragement. Give them smiles to share with sorrowing souls around them!
Hair care leads to lessons on health and the gospel.
Opportunities abound in the medical missionary work, though sometimes you have to be creative to harness them. Recently, the topic of natural hair care has been opening doors for me here in Senegal. In this culture, women try everything to grow long hair, but most of their methods actually damage their hair, leaving it brittle and balding.
To address this situation, I recently held a seminar on natural hair care. Keeping hair as the central theme, I branched out and discussed how diet and lifestyle can affect not only our bodies but also our hair. All ten attendees were church members, but even the church is a mission field here when it comes to the health message! As it turned out, they also became ambassadors. At the seminar I gave each woman samples of my homemade, natural personal care products. They seemed especially excited about one particular product: my hair pomade.
Soon requests started coming in to purchase the pomade. Ladies told their friends outside the church about it, and these women called me for hair consultations. This opened the door for me to share the health message with seven women. We would start out talking about hair, and that led into diet, lifestyle, the importance of water, the dangers of the chemicals in many toiletries and the natural alternatives God has provided for us here in Senegal—things like shea butter, moringa and baobab oil. I shared how much God loves us and wants us to be healthy and happy, and even wove in a little bit about the great controversy and how the enemy encourages us to use products that are not good for us. All because of a hair ointment! If you are looking to get healthier contact the best coolsculpting seattle doctor!
Another opportunity to share the health message came at a recent women’s luncheon. I gave foot massages to those who wanted them and spoke about health, massage and related topics. To my delight, my old friend Angie who owns a bookstore in Dakar attended that luncheon. Soon after, she e-mailed me with some questions about fibroids. I shared what I knew, and she then asked me if I would do a women’s health talk at her bookstore.
Of course I would! It seemed the perfect opportunity to fix up a PowerPoint presentation I had on the eight laws of health, adding information on women’s concerns like fibroids, menopause and healthy personal care products. However, I ran into a problem. I did not have a video projector and neither did Angie. The church’s video projector was broken, and no one else seemed to have one to loan. But God is always good. The day before the presentation, I was able to borrow a projector from a school where I had previously taught classes. Thank the Lord!
Twelve women, some Christian and some Muslim, came to the bookstore event. Along with health, I talked about the love of God, the importance of having a relationship with Him and our special role as women. The women piped up and shared their own experiences, and we had an enjoyable evening.
In this Muslim-dominated country, talking about religion can be challenging; but people can see and understand God’s love in the context of health. When you explain the perfect body systems, the gifts of air and sunshine, the invigorating effect of resting and the blessing that even nature can be to our health, these things confirm God’s loving care. Thus a conversation that started with natural hair care can end up helping someone see that we have a heavenly Father who loves us with an everlasting love. I praise God for His health message—and His love!
Sister Deborah and her family are missionaries in Dakar, Senegal. Deborah uses medical ministry, English tutoring, women’s ministry, children’s ministry and other simple methods to make friends to invite to Christ’s Kingdom.
HOW YOU CAN HELP
Pray.Even with the Lord’s blessings, Deborah’s family faces challenges in Senegal. Please continue to pray that the Lord will open the doors for their outreach center to be connected to water and electricity soon. Thank you for your prayers!
Donateto Deborah’s work through Mission Projects International. Please mark your gift “Senegal.”
Special need. If you or your church have a used video projector that you could donate to Deborah’s work, she will use it to share God’s message! Alternately, donate to help her purchase one locally. For details, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Over the years, our little church in Inchelium, Washington has tried many ways to reach our Native American community. We have held health fairs, done door-to-door work and engaged in various forms of friendship evangelism. We’ve also held several evangelistic series, with very sparse results. The local people are polite, but distant. They don’t usually order us off their front porches, but neither do they respond to our invitations. We want our church to be a light in the community, but for years it has felt almost as if a great cloud hung between us and the Natives, obscuring the light we want to share.
In October 2014 we decided to do yet another evangelistic series, this time in a large tent on the edge of town. We hoped the tent meetings would create some buzz—and that maybe people would attend out of curiosity, if for no other reason. Near the large tent for the adults, we put up a smaller tent for the children. To our surprise, more Native American children than adults attended—and they seemed to love the nightly meetings. As we went through the Truth 4 Youth program together, the children joined wholeheartedly in the singing, the gospel presentations and the crafts.
All too soon, our 2-week series ended. We had presented many of the Truth 4 Youth topics, but there hadn’t been time to go through them all. The pastor had invited the adults who attended the meetings to continue Bible studies every Tuesday night at our church. Why couldn’t we continue the kids’ meetings also? We decided to try it. But would they come? Our church is several miles out of town.
They came! In fact, 10–12 children faithfully attended. Each Tuesday evening when they arrived at the church, we offered healthful snacks and then moved into the program, ending with a craft. Following the completion of the Truth 4 Youth program, we created a set of programs based on Psalm 23, with lots of interactive elements. The kids loved it. By the end of the series, most of the kids could recite all or part of the 23rd Psalm, and all had a much deeper understanding of what God could do for them and in them.
After a summer break, a community parent insisted that we start up the weekly program again—and she offered to pick up the children and bring them to the church herself. With this encouragement, how could we refuse? This time we gave the program a name: “Kids’ Club.” The very first week, about a dozen Native American kids ages 4–12 attended. We started with the creation account and are currently going through the Bible story by story. Whatever the topic, we use it as a springboard to acquaint the children with Jesus and help them understand what He can do for them. Most of these kids have never been taught even the basics of the plan of salvation, and they are drinking it up. We encourage them to share what they learn with their friends, and many of them are doing that. At a recent Kids’ Club meeting, a 10-year-old girl reported having spoken about God’s power with over 20 of her friends during the past week!
At the conclusion of each program, we offer a quality craft—something the children will be proud of and treasure. We also offer fun prizes and a take-home poster or tract that they can share with a friend.
Our attendance fluctuates, depending on many factors, including school activities, sports games and family issues. However, a core group of about 15 community children come on a fairly regular basis. This may seem like a small number, but to us it is huge. We know that many parents will be touched through their children. In fact, we are already seeing this happen. For example, the mother of a lively 7-year-old boy told us, “You’ve done the best thing ever for our family to have Kids’ Club for my son.” She wants him to start attending Sabbath School, as well. Several other parents have attended church services and have requested Bible studies. Although we are more interested in heart work than church attendance at this point, one mother of three young girls told me her life goes much better when she goes to church!
We realize we have to treat this group delicately. Many of these children are trying to survive with parents who are abusive, addicted to drugs and/or alcohol, incarcerated or simply absent. Many can’t count on their parents to provide even the basic care, nurturing and instruction that they need. The children are often passed from home to home, and they have learned to be wary of adults. One beautiful 12-year-old girl is a case in point. She has been very slow to warm up, turning away from even a hug. We have respected her need for space, but we haven’t quit loving her and praying for her. A few weeks ago, at the end of a program, she came up to me and shyly offered me the craft she had made that evening. On it she had written a sweet little note. Another 8-year-old Kids’ Club member told his aunt, “The Holy Spirit is going to take hold of me, and I’m not going to do drugs and alcohol like my mom and dad.”
Offering a quality children’s program every week has been a large undertaking, but church members have rallied behind the project. Assistants provide transportation for the children, serve snacks, handle registration, run equipment, lead song service and donate prize items and money for program needs. Others have signed up for our “Adopt-a-Lamb” program, in which each individual child is matched with a mentor who connects with them, shows them God’s love and prays for them.
We know there will be setbacks; the enemy will see to that. However, we have seen how great a privilege it is to minister to children. We know that if we are faithful, God will bless—and we will see precious young souls in the Kingdom. As Dwight Moody once said, “There is no greater honor than to be the instrument in God’s hands of leading one person out of the kingdom of Satan into the glorious light of Heaven.”
By Janet Evert, editor of Young Disciple magazine and children’s ministries coordinator of the Inchelium Seventh-day Adventist Church. For contact information, see www.youngdisciple.org. For information on the Truth 4 Youth children’s evangelist series, see www.t4y.org.
As Joshua faced the promised land, the Lord gave him a solemn charge and promise: “Be strong and of a good courage. . . . This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.” Joshua 1:6, 8. God still desires “good success” for His people, but we must remember the principles that make true success possible. “As God’s workmen bear responsibilities and carry burdens in the great harvest field let them remember that true success comes from God alone, and that every particle of the praise and glory belongs to Him.” Manuscript Releases vol. 21, 400. While we must depend wholly upon the Lord for success, factors in this life affect success, as well. “Diligence, honesty, thrift, temperance, and purity are the secret of true success.” “Success in any line demands a definite aim. He who would achieve true success in life must keep steadily in view the aim worthy of his endeavor. Such an aim is set before the youth of today. The heaven-appointed purpose of giving the gospel to the world in this generation is the noblest that can appeal to any human being.” Education, 135, 262. Like Joshua, we have the highest aim of all set before us. As we seek to take the gospel to the world, following the principles outlined in His Word, God will give true success in this worthiest of all pursuits.
In the African country of Malawi, the Lord is blessing His work with success through the labors of Brother Golden and other faithful workers. Even in the difficult Islamic areas, the Lord is giving Golden the key to reach many hearts. When he first goes into the village, he introduces himself to the village chief and tries to discover the needs of the villagers. He then begins to minister to the people’s needs—supplying food, clothing or other needs. Because of this humanitarian work, the chief will frequently endorse Golden’s work, which opens the people’s hearts to attend Golden’s gospel meetings and hear the Three Angels’ Messages. When Golden presents the truth of salvation through Jesus, he often shares how Abraham took his own son to sacrifice. This beautiful story becomes a bridge for sharing how God gave His Son to be sacrificed on our behalf. In the villages where Golden and the other workers have entered, dozens have decided to be baptized and stand for the truths of the Adventist message—and thus new churches have been started. Recently, the team worked in a village that was home to a Muslim army officer who was so opposed to the preaching of Christianity that he hired a gang of youth to throw stones and shout during the meetings. This continued for several nights, but the evangelistic team kept praying that the Lord would eliminate the distraction. One evening, the officer and his wife visited the meeting location to see if the unruly youth were doing their job. As he heard the message, the Holy Spirit began to convict the man’s heart. He called the leader of the gang to stop the distruption and come listen to the meetings. As they continued attending each evening, the Lord continued working on their hearts, and the officer, his wife and some of the youth they had hired all made the decision to be baptized!
Please pray for Golden and his evangelistic team that the Lord will continue to bless them with “true success” for His Kingdom. If you would like to help them with their work, you can mark your donation “Malawi.”
How often do you thank God for the common miracles He gives, like the food on our plates three times a day; clothes on our bodies; and perfectly formed and functional hands, legs and feet? Did you know that 80% of the world’s population tries to survive on less than $10 a day?1 If able-bodied people around the world struggle to survive, what about the disabled in poor countries like Laos? How do they eke out a living? What do they have to thank God for? What hope do they have?
Laos, the country of my heart, has been one of the most bombed countries on Earth. The scars of war still run deep in many forms. During my frequent travels to Laos, I often encounter people who were born with defects. Sadly, these people experience severe rejection and short, poverty-stricken lives filled with misery and despair.
It is hard to know for sure why Nuy was born deformed and paralyzed from the waist down. Her condition may have resulted from the Agent Orange that was sprayed during the war. Whatever the cause, Nuy is one of many disabled people in Laos. Although she lived a very sad existence for many years, her life and outlook changed from hopeless to hopeful after she met Jesus Christ through a church planter called Racha Si.2
Ms. Racha oversees three worship groups. Every day she goes out visiting people, looking for opportunities to share Christ. She tells everyone she meets that Jesus is the only way to find true happiness and that He alone can give them real help for their problems and worries.
One day while Racha was visiting with new friends, she noticed her friend’s sister, Nuy, lying on the mat in the corner of the room. Racha felt impressed to go over and talk to her. “Sabai dee bor?”3 she asked with a gentle smile. A dark cloud of silence hung over Nuy, who did not even look at Racha or respond. When Racha noticed how thin this lady was, her concern for her grew deeper. Jesus loved this woman! What could she do to help her?
From then on, Racha made a special point to speak with Nuy every week when she visited the home. Eventually Nuy started opening up, and Racha discovered that Nuy’s disability made her feel like a burden to her family and to society. When Nuy confided that she could not see a reason for living, Racha seized the opportunity to share about Jesus and how He came to Earth a long time ago to seek out people just like Nuy who needed healing for their bodies and their hearts. She told many stories of Jesus’ love and healing power and of His great plan to die for Nuy so that she could be restored to full health and happiness in Heaven someday.
After two months of listening to Racha tell about Jesus, Nuy accepted Christ into her heart. Jesus gave her hope. He gave her energy and joy she had never had before. Life no longer seemed meaningless!
Soon after her conversion, Nuy had the idea to try selling water in the market, so she asked her relatives to take her there each day and help her set out her merchandise. To keep the operation simple and practical, Nuy decided to allow people to help themselves to the water and to put the money in a basket next to her. Every day she prays that God will send her customers, and God hears her prayers. Nuy brings in a steady income of 100,000 kips ($12–$13) a day. Her life is now filled with purpose, hope and joy. She no longer worries about her life; instead she trusts that God will take care of her. She is full of gratitude for the value God has given to her as a daughter of the King of kings.
People in the market see how thin and frail Nuy is. One day one of her customers asked, “What will happen to your body after you die, since you are a Christian?”
Nuy answered, “The Christians will come together to pray and sing. We don’t need the monks to come and chant because as Christians we believe that the dead are peacefully asleep and will be resurrected to go to Heaven when Jesus comes back for us. We have everything we need from Him.”
Without the loving efforts of Racha Si, Nuy may never have had a testimony to share in the marketplace; yet thanks to Racha’s witness, Nuy is now a witness herself! Racha faced difficulties sharing with Nuy. At first, the family did not want Racha to help her. One of Nuy’s sisters is a fortuneteller who did not want her sister to become a Christian. The whole family was protective of Nuy, but after seeing the changes in her, their hearts have opened. Now Racha shares the Bible with Nuy’s family every Sabbath afternoon. She hopes and prays that each one will accept Jesus into their hearts.
Now Nuy, once hopeless, is full of hope, looking to the future with confidence that the Lord will lead her. Most importantly, she knows that when Jesus comes back, her disabled body will be changed into a glorious body with no defects. Nuy is full of praises to the Lord, like the psalmist who wrote,
“The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusted in Him, and I am helped: therefore my heart greatly rejoiceth; and with my song will I praise Him.” Psalm 28:7.
There are still many people in Laos living without hope—some who realize their hopelessness and some who do not. Praise the Lord that ASAP Ministries supports many church planters who, like Ms. Racha, work tirelessly to reach out to the unfortunate and the hopeless. Will you help ASAP sustain the workers in the Lord’s vineyard in Laos?
By Samphanh Vannaseng (a pseudonym). Racha Si is a church planter for ASAP Ministries (Advocates for Southeast Asians and the Persecuted). P.O. Box 84, Berrien Springs, MI 49103. www.asapministries.org.
1. See www.globalissues.org/ article/26/poverty-facts-and-stats.
We met Bibi at the end of an afternoon of outreach. In Tanzania, very old women are called bibi, which means grandmother. We had visited about five different homes and were on our way home. On the way back we heard, from a distance, some happy voices and loud laughter coming from an ordinary-looking mud house on a little hill. As we passed under the windows the putrid smell of pombe (a fermented drink made from fruit and/or grain) filled our nostrils. We looked up to see toothless middle-aged and elderly women sitting around tables of the local bar; they were laughing and jesting together with men. They looked at us and we greeted them with “Mapembelo.” “Mapembelo va bene!” they merrily greeted us in return. What a sad sight.
A few miles later, a lady stopped Baraza and exchanged some sentences with him. “She wants us to go and visit her old mother. Shall we go?” he asked. Why not? We turned to the left and entered a little poor-looking, but very clean courtyard. An old lady was sitting on the ground. She seemed to be in her eighties—but age is so difficult to evaluate in this country where hard work and grueling lives, poverty, and diseases have their heavy toll, especially on women. Baraza stooped down and greeted her, “Shikamo!”(a respectful greeting to the elderly) and she turned her face towards him. Her eyes were aged: a gray-white ring at the edge of the cornea told us she is over 60. Her eyeballs have sunk backward into their orbits. Her vision is no longer very sharp.
She took a closer look at Baraza and her eyes lightened with joy. “Oh, you are here! You came!” she exclaimed happily, grabbing Baraza’s hand. She launched into a soliloquy punctuated with deep sighs. After a little while her daughter joined us and offered us some tiny benches to sit on. Baraza introduced us to this bibi who eagerly shook our hands. Baraza explained to us in English: “We had been visiting Bibi for about two years. She was interested in Bible studies and we shared the Bible with her for all this time. But we always found her with a bottle of pombe and she was mostly drunk during the studies. We tried to tell her how bad this was for her overall health, but week after week the bottle was always there, a faithful companion at her side. She told us to pray for and with her. We prayed with her for a long time but she would not stop buying the pombe. So finally after two years we gradually stopped the visits. She just told me that a few months ago she had a terrible vivid dream in which she saw her whole house on fire. Somehow she associated this with her spiritual life and it frightened her so much that she stopped drinking, cold turkey. She has not put a drop of pombe in her mouth ever since. She called all her family members to tell them that she was no longer a drunkard.”
“Then,” Baraza continued, “she asked her daughter, and others who came to visit, to find this little man who was teaching her the Bible and praying with her. She was so persistent that they eventually asked the local priests of the different churches nearby to come and see her and pray with her but she refused to pray with them. She wanted this short man and him only [Baraza is only about five feet tall]. Time passed and today her daughter saw us and insisted that we go to see her.”
“Ndio [yes],” says the daughter acquiescing. “Mother stopped drinking and does not even want to see a bottle of alcohol. This is amazing to us.” She picked up a few small stones from the ground and threw them at the chickens that feasted on corn drying on a little table in the corner. Bibi looked at Baraza and smiled. “Now I want to go with God. You have tried so much to tell me about Him and His love for me. I asked Him to be in my life and now He is my Father,” she said in a childlike way. A current of joy flowed through us. What a simple and beautiful testimony! We might give up on people, but God never does—praise Him! What an encouragement and an incentive to continue praying for our loved ones who are wandering far from God.
The attention of the daughter returned to us. “Mother would like to go to church but she cannot walk anymore.” We then prayed with her and left. The following Sabbath, we decided to go and have a little time of church with Bibi. We had read a verse during the week and thought we would share it with her. It was a rainy day and Bibi was inside her little hut with another bibi and a younger woman. We were offered little benches to sit on and barely fit in the tiny room. In the corner was a fireplace—three stones and some pieces of wood. The room was dark but we can see with the light coming from the open door. This seemed to be the kitchen, the social place in homes here in Tanzania. Elisha attracted my attention to something moving, “It’s a rat.” But looking closer we saw about five guinea pigs. Knowing that in such a poor setting Tanzanians do not have pets, we conclude that this must be some kind of…food. Better chase that thought away. The floor was uneven and so sitting was difficult, but we all managed. Bibi was happy to see us and we exchange a few greetings.
She wanted us to sing and so we took out our Swahili songbook and sang “Yesu Kwetu Ni Rafiki” (What a Friend We Have in Jesus). Then we told her about the Bible verse, turning to Isaiah 46:3, 4: “Hearken unto me, O house of Jacob, and all the remnant of the house of Israel, which are borne by me from the belly, which are carried from the womb: and even to your old age I am He; and even to hoar hairs will I carry you: I have made, and I will bear; even I will carry, and will deliver you.”
Bibi laughed loudly. “He is my Father, my Father…” she repeated. The discussion continued and led us to speak about life after death. We read Revelation 21:1-4. We talked about the New Earth that God is going to make for us. Bibi was thrilled. No more death, no more suffering, no more pain (she touches her poor limbs). “Bibi, you will be able to jump again like a calf in the prairie.” She chuckled and then asked, “But what will we eat there?” We tried to describe the different fruits and food that we have not yet experienced but often think about: the juicy mangos, the fresh pineapples, the creamy avocadoes, and so many other delicious things. “And what will we wear?” asked Bibi again. “We will have shiny white robes and a crown of gold.” Bibi touched her old kitenge that has seen better days—it is now all faded and worn out. She laughed and clasped her hands. Sitting on my left hand was the other old lady; she looked at Baraza, our translator, with eyes ready to devour each word coming out of his mouth, but was silent.
Bibi asks again, “But who will we speak with? What will we be doing?” We told her about all the saved of the previous generations starting with Adam and Eve and Abel, until our time. “They will come and ask about our testimonies, about how you overcame pombe, Bibi; about how God led you out of this terrible sinful planet into His marvelous light. And there will be the angels. You will meet your guardian angel who accompanied you all the days of your life; and beings from all the other planets that Jesus Christ, God Himself, created.” “Ohoooooooooh!” sighed Bibi. “I wish I could die tonight to go there. Oh, how I wish I was there!” We explained to her that even if she died tonight, she would not go directly to heaven. “You will go there, Bibi. When Jesus comes back again, He will call out of the graves those who have died in Jesus, and the living ones will go to Him and they will all go to heaven together.” Bibi had been taught that when you die your soul goes to heaven or to hell depending on how you lived your life. “Mother will sleep well tonight,” said the daughter.
The room was now so full that even a fly would not find enough space to move its wings. The daughter, another lady, and some children had joined us during the course of the discussion. The child on my right was sound asleep. For a little while everyone was silent. We were all enjoying a taste, in our thoughts, of what it will be like when we can see Jesus and live with Him. Some sighed. Bibi’s eyes were shining with joy.
It was time for us to part again. After a closing song we prayed together. The rain had stopped and nature seemed to be cleansed from all the dirt of the week. The trees around were shining, dressed in a new deep green garment. Birds were singing. Our hearts, too… “When we all go to heaven, what a day of rejoicing that will be; when we all see Jesus, we’ll sing and shout the victory….” Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus.
By Nadége Vande Voort of Eden Valley Foster Care Mission. email@example.com. Eden Valley Foster Care Mission, Box 17, Mafinga, Iringa, Tanzania.
Some of my moto-taxi friends call me ‘Grandpa Jesus,’” smiles Mr. Morn Va. It must be because he is always talking about Jesus. Mr. Va wasn’t even a Christian eight years ago. Someone took him along for the ride to a big Seventh-day Adventist camp meeting in Siem Reap, Cambodia. The nice fellowship led him to request baptism. “I began to love Jesus,” Morn Va said, but he didn’t really understand. “At first I believed that I needed to do good deeds to be saved from sin,” he told us. After reading his Bible from cover to cover in one year, truth broke through. “Now I believe that Christ died to give me life.”’Grandpa Jesus’ loves to introduce other people to Christ.
Recently, a 30-year-old man named Savuth hopped onto Morn Va’s moto-taxi. He had seen Morn Va go to church. “Why do you believe in a foreigner God?” he asked. “I do not believe in a foreigner God,” Morn Va replied. “I believe in the Almighty God who can save me and deliver me from sin.”
A few days later he had a chance to share with Savuth straight from his now well-worn Bible. “Jesus is the way, the truth, the life,” Morn Va caringly insisted. Savuth was convinced enough to come to church and start studying the Bible. In this Adventist Southeast Asia Projects (ASAP) Ministries literacy teacher, we have a great example of making disciples. Morn Va, a follower of Jesus, is introducing people to Jesus. It’s that simple. Even so, people often get it mixed up. Recently a friend said, “I’ve been in church all my life. Just in the last few weeks I’m learning to love Jesus.” We are not inviting people to a different set of rules or even a different religion; we are inviting them to a vibrant relationship with our living Savior.
Jesus said to Peter, “Come follow Me.” Matthew 4:19. He found Philip and said, “Follow Me.” John 1:43. When He appointed the twelve, it wasn’t just for ministry; it was “that they might be with Him.” Mark 3:14. And He taught Martha that sitting at His feet was “the one thing needful.” Luke 10:42. Whether you are an ASAP worker in Southeast Asia or a church member in North America, your first job is to spend time with Jesus. Your second job is to help others have that connection, too. This is the gospel. “Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation.” 2 Corinthians 5:18.
One of the best things you can do for new believers is to help them study the Bible in a meaningful way, finding Jesus on every page. I used to meet weekly in the park with a man named Ray. I asked him to read a chapter from the Bible before he came, then we discussed how it personally applied to his life. It was exciting to watch him grow, even getting victory over his alcohol problem. With my own children, I’ve found it helpful to teach them to ask five questions for each passage they read: (1) What does it tell me about God? (2) What does it tell me about humans? (3) Is there a command to obey or an example to follow? (4) Is there a promise to claim? (5) What is God especially trying to teach me today? The point is we need to deliberately help new followers know how to connect with Jesus through the Bible. It doesn’t just automatically happen.
This is also true with learning how to pray. The disciples heard Jesus praying powerfully with great faith. They said, “Teach us to pray,” and He gave them what we now know as the Lord’s Prayer. Luke 11:1.
Like Morn Va, people begin attending church because of friendly fellowship. Others are intrigued by prophecy or a freshly-discovered truth like the Sabbath. However, they may still be far from Jesus. Our job is to connect everything back to the great Center. For example, we can show that the Sabbath is about a relationship with Jesus, and that the people at church are nice because of Jesus.
Making disciples takes time. Our landlady in Thailand, Khru Yuuy, had never known God. In her huge financial difficulties, she had prayed, “Whatever divine beings are out here, please help me!” When we rented her house and she saw us pray, she became convinced it was our God who had answered her prayers. But she had never known the God of the Bible. She knew about gods and spirits who had temples. You had to take an offering and get your help at that specific holy place. Over time she watched us pray in our house, in the car, and at her home. She heard us ask for safety on the road, healing for a friend, and protection from snakes. She learned to talk to God for herself and saw miracles in her own family. Every kind deed, prayer, and story grew her understanding of who our God was. Finally, she watched the Jesus video and agreed to Bible studies. She was the first one baptized in our church plant in Ayutthaya. What a joy to be an “ambassador for Christ, as though God were pleading through us.” 2 Corinthians 5:20.
Khru Yuuy learned a lot more about Christianity after that. However, her greatest need remains—a daily connection with Jesus. That is why, whether you are an ASAP national missionary or a church member in North America, we must keep focused on our main job—to be connected to Jesus and connect others to Him.
“God might have committed the message of the gospel, and all the work of loving ministry, to the heavenly angels. He might have employed other means for accomplishing His purpose. But in His infinite love He chose to make us co-workers with Himself, with Christ and the angels, that we might share the blessing, the joy, the spiritual uplifting, which results from this unselfish ministry.” Steps to Christ, 79.
By Scott Griswold of Adventist Southeast Asia Projects (ASAP). Mail: PO Box 84, Berrien Springs, MI 49103. Website: www.asapministries.org.
It is hard to believe that we are at the end of this canvassing campaign—it has been fun! The Lord has certainly shortened the time for the sake of the elect. As if it were yesterday, I remember when we faced the daunting task of pioneering a canvassing campaign at Mission Education and Evangelistic Training (M.E.E.T.) Ministry. Lord, how is this going to work? Are we adequately equipped? I inquired. And as we studied, the reply came “Many who are qualified to do excellent work accomplish little because they attempt little.” Ministry of Healing, 498. So, we moved with our hands to the plow and what a blessed experience it has been!
Every day whether at lunch or on the van ride home, there was a constant hum of voices as God’s providence was excitedly being shared. Here are some of the many highlights of our encounters with souls. We greatly anticipate meeting again in the New Jerusalem.
“A Muslim got a GC (Great Controversy)!” Jamie exclaimed, jumping in the van. We were parked at the gas station, waiting for her partner to join her and I could tell she could barely contain her excitement. “I pray he reads it. I pray he reads it,” she kept repeating. “We have to pray for him, let’s pray for him!” And she began explaining her encounter. We had recently learned the principle of “making friends” and she was really putting it to use. She sat down beside a young man she saw outside the gas station and showed a genuine interest in him. Their conversation turned to spiritual things and she prayerfully began explaining how some of the apparent contradictions he was mentioning about the Bible were in fact harmonies. The Holy Spirit led her to tell him about the Great Controversy, and to her surprise and delight only after short hesitation, he got it. And it was only as a passing comment that he mentioned he was Muslim. Every day we remember Hussein in prayer.
It was a rainy day, and the spirits of the students still soared. Wiljon knocked on the door of a home where a group of young men were playing video games. He started to speak to them about spiritual things and they quickly began to mock him. He bravely continued, praying as he spoke, and showed them the books. The Holy Spirit then did something marvelous: the room suddenly went quiet. The boys that were first mocking, now sat in silence listening intently to what he was saying. The ring leader, Matthew, had apparently become mute, and could only mumble responses to the questions that were being asked. Wiljon continued—and that same young man got that wonderful book, the Great Controversy!
Another time, while we worked businesses—going from one to another—Sister Sherry was canvassing a gentleman outside the Dollar General. As he listened to the words the Holy Spirit was placing on her tongue, he was convicted. He had just come out from buying some cough medicine for himself and quickly went back inside and returned it. After coming out the second time, he used that same money and gave her a donation for a “Foods that Heal” instead.
While working Huntingdon, Jarrell was returning to his parked car and saw a young man on his front porch. He greeted him and asked if someone had spoken to him yet. The young man, named James, shook his head and began complaining about the car being parked right in front of his house. Jarrell quickly and sincerely apologized and prayerfully pointed the man’s attention to the books. The Holy Spirit continued His work as James opened up and expressed his sincere desire for answers to the many things he was questioning. God’s Answers caught his attention and although he didn’t have enough for a full donation, the Holy Spirit impressed that the book be left with him. They prayed and James expressed his appreciation for the gift. No less than 15 minutes later as we were driving down the street again, there sat James, still outside on his porch, reading his new-found gift!
Later, I had just dropped some more literature to the students at the door and was returning to the car when I saw a young woman sitting barefoot beside a fence, her head in her hands. “Go!” came my command from the Holy Spirit. I stopped by the car and grabbed some free literature and prayerfully started in her direction. I asked if everything was okay and she nodded her tear-stained faced. I introduced myself and asked her if I could pray for her. She again nodded. I squatted down in front of her and gently asked her what I could pray for. “My husband died from an overdose.” My heart dropped. A shriek of laughter erupted behind her. Two sets of smiling eyes appeared from behind the fence. “Mom!” the voices said. Hannah wiped her face, “He left me with four children,” she continued. “I was trying to hide from them.” We prayed together and the Holy Spirit comforted her with reminder of God’s love and promises. She gave me her contact information so that we can continue to see how we can be of help to her during these hard times.
During this eight-week campaign the Lord blessed us to send out a total of 1,988 books, 221 of which were the Great Controversy. 108 individuals expressed an interest in Bible studies, cooking classes, stop smoking classes, and Vacation Bible Schools. We currently have 16 Bible studies in progress. As we continue to labor in this part of the Lord’s vineyard, we are repeatedly reminded that this work is truly much more than merely handing out literature—we are truly making ready a people to meet the Bridegroom.
By Almarie Hill, from Tennessee, United States. For more information about M.E.E.T. Ministry or participating in a future canvassing program, visit www.meetministry.org. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
There are times that we read things that touch our hearts. This happened to me recently with an email sent to me by a friend. The email was about being a champion for God and included the story of John Knox who, after seeing the sleepy state of the church in Scotland, prayed, “Lord, give me Scotland or I die!” It is widely recognized that God answered his prayer and that he was the catalyst that brought the Reformation to the Scottish church. It has been said that Mary Queen of Scots trembled when John Knox prayed. She is reported to have said that she feared Knox’s prayers “more than any army in Europe.”
When I read those words and think of the primitive godliness of Knox and others like John Wesley who were champions for the Lord, I want to have that kind of experience.
It is said that Senegal is a difficult mission field, but I know that nothing is impossible with God. With over 90% of the population being Muslim, we definitely have to be wise as serpents but harmless as doves. Still I am sure that God has a plan for the people of Senegal, and I want to play a part in it.
As many of you know, I am a tent maker like Paul. I work part-time teaching English classes to help support this ministry. After reading the story about Knox, one morning I arrived several minutes before the students. Remembering his prayer, I asked God to give me Senegal. When the students came in, the conversation turned to God, and we spent the entire class time—one hour—talking about God, the Bible and the Koran. It was a wonderful time, and everyone participated. After the class, I thanked God for His mercy and grace. Since that time I have been including this request in my prayers—that God would give me Senegal. I understand that we must be daring in God’s work.
“We do not ask for enough of the good things God has promised. If we would reach up higher and expect more, our petitions would reveal the quickening influence that comes to every soul who asks with the full expectation of being heard and answered. The Lord is not glorified by the tame supplications which show that nothing is expected. He desires everyone who believes to approach the throne of grace with earnestness and assurance.”— Signs of the Times, August 7, 1901.
Recently, a pastor from the Sahel Union gave a talk in Dakar about evangelizing Muslims. It was very inspiring, and I realize that God is working in the Muslim community to bring souls to Him. Many are curious and looking for answers to basic questions. The pastor shared with us the importance of using the Koran itself to inspire trust in the Bible. When we can show Muslims how the Koran confirms many Bible truths, including the Sabbath, we can find common ground and build trust.
One of my students is a university professor who wanted to improve his speaking skills, so we spent the entire class time talking. He always had a lot of questions about the Bible and health. I was surprised to see how similar our views were on certain subjects. He was very open and accepted some of our literature to read.
Recently, I had the opportunity to visit Kine, the wife of one of our newly baptized brothers who was a former Muslim. Though her husband comes to church every Sabbath, she does not. Their journey from Islam to Christianity was difficult, as they had gone to two other Christian churches looking for healing. They are childless and had heard that the first church was doing miraculous things for people. They were cheated out of a large sum of money. Sadly there are wolves in sheep’s clothing ever ready to deceive and abuse the Lord’s sheep. Kine accepts the gospel but is still wary of Christians due to this bad experience. We had a nice visit talking about health and the preparation of vegetarian food, since her husband has recently decided to become a vegetarian. She seemed genuinely interested and asked me to come by again so I could show her how to prepare some dishes.
Lack of electricity is an issue in the rural areas of Senegal. With no access to refrigeration, women have to go to the market every day. Market women and fruit vendors lose a lot of food because of the lack of refrigeration. In looking for ways to evangelize and to support the ministry I began investigating ideas for appropriate technology and found two—a non-electric refrigerator and a solar food dryer. These ideas can be very helpful in allowing families to conserve their harvests and food supply. This is especially important because last year Oxfam, an international non-governmental organization, sounded the alarm that several neighboring countries in West Africa—Mauritania, Niger, Burkina Faso and Mali—were at risk for famine. With the changing weather patterns and its dependence on food imports, Senegal is not immune.
The non-electric refrigerator consists of two clay pots: the smaller one is put inside the bigger one and sand is put between the two pots. The sand is watered twice daily and vegetables stored in the pots can be kept for a week or more. We decided to make this refrigerator as a means to reach the people and support the ministry. I spoke to two potters who agreed to make them, but neither one has finished so far. The first potter is having difficulty keeping the pot from cracking. The second one successfully made a set but got confused on the dimensions. He is making another set at this writing.
The mango season is coming, and I am working on getting the solar food dryers ready. Mangoes are plentiful, and many will spoil and be thrown away. A small tabletop dryer is finished, but we need to finalize the plan for a larger one, as well as a hanging dryer.
Also, I need to identify the right screening material to make the shelves. People use window screening, but I am concerned about the chemicals that are used in the manufacturing of these screens. I know that God has an answer, though. Meanwhile I have adapted a screen from a kitchen device I found in a local supermarket. We will use these in seminars to demonstrate simple food conservation techniques.
I am excited about the future here. I believe that the Lord is opening doors and windows of opportunity for us. In 2011, I was promised a donkey that was finally delivered last week. There are still daily struggles and challenges, but we see the hand of the Lord working with us. We are grateful for the financial support and the prayers. Thanks to the generosity of faithful souls, we have been able to realize the above-mentioned projects, develop an irrigation plan and will soon begin construction on a hangar where we can host larger meetings. There are so many needs, but it is very encouraging when we are able to see our plans come to fruition.
The days are passing into eternity and precious souls are waiting to hear the gospel. Please pray with me that God will give us Senegal!
By Deborah Ndione. Email: email@example.com. Support for this work in Senegal can be sent through Mission Projects International, PO Box 59656, Renton, WA 98058.