06/27/2015: Death & Life

Death & Life

Oregon, USA

 

It may have all began in the second grade when she stole her mom’s cigarettes. Teri’s parents had smoked all her life and so smoking seemed like a normal part of life. So when the opportunity presented itself, little Teri grabbed a whole carton of her mom’s cigarettes and slipped under the neighbor’s porch along with a friend. They started a fire under the porch and tore open the packages. They probably didn’t inhale, but they did smoke every cigarette in the carton. What are the best electronic cigarettes today? The porch caught fire and they got into trouble, but that didn’t stop the smoking. By the time she was 12, Teri was inhaling. She smoked one or two packs every day for the next 38 years.

When she was a teenager she developed a condition called pneumothorax, which is a collapsed lung. This happened to her several times and it got to the point where she could walk into the emergency room and say, “I have a pneumothorax.” The doctors and nurses would never believe her at first because the condition usually presents with severe chest pain and difficulty breathing—most people come in by ambulance, they don’t just walk in casually. Even though this problem can be fatal in some cases, she always managed to recuperate and she began to think she was invincible.

Several years ago Teri Day attended a prophecy seminar in Portland, Oregon, USA, and that led to Bible studies with Pastor Mike Bauler. She was very eager and felt annoyed with him for “stalling” or holding her back. But the truth was that she still had a lot to learn and accept before she was ready for baptism.

She learned that smoking was not only bad for her health but was a sin. She was killing herself with cigarettes and in doing so was breaking the commandments. As soon as she made the decision to quit smoking she bought nicotine patches to help her wean off cigarettes, but the patches wouldn’t stick to her skin. She thought maybe the batch was bad and bought another box, but the same thing happened. Nicotine patches are very expensive, so she couldn’t continue doing that. Finally, she asked the Lord: “If You want me to quit smoking, You’re going to have to help me.” And from that moment on, she never smoked again. She never had any symptoms of withdrawal and the cravings completely vanished. In the past she had tried to stop smoking several times, but her withdrawal symptoms would make her so grumpy that her family would buy her cigarettes just to make her tolerable to be around. But this time there were no issues at all.

In September 2014, Teri awoke at 3:00 am with severe, knifelike chest pain. She tried rolling from side to side to find a position that was comfortable enough to enable her to return to sleep, but nothing helped. Finally, it became bad enough that she knew she had to get help, so she drove herself to the emergency room. A biopsy was performed the next day and she was told she had lung cancer.

Teri made an appointment with an oncologist (cancer specialist) and her family accompanied her to her first appointment with him. The oncologist walked into the room with an arrogant, rude, and uncaring attitude. He bluntly told her and her family that she had three to twelve months to live. Her type of cancer does not respond to treatment and she was terminal. Teri was shocked and numbed and her sons felt destroyed by the news.

The oncologist stated that she could have chemotherapy, but it was going to be radical and could kill her. Then she could do radiation to try to shrink the tumor. Given these options, Teri was considering doing nothing, but her family was furious with this idea. She decided to do everything her family wanted her to do, for their sakes.

She completed one treatment of therapy and it made her extremely sick. Teri is a very strong person, but the pain she went through was too much and she knew she couldn’t do even one more infusion, not to mention doing it every week. She lost 38 pounds after just that one treatment. There was just no way to continue. So she gave her life up to the Lord and chose hospice instead. Having witnessed her horrible ordeal, her family accepted her decision.

Around this time, Pastor Mike and his nurse practitioner wife Amanda visited her. Amanda took Teri’s medical records home to review. Teri was struggling in her heart with feelings of anger and frustration. In fear, she wanted to do anything she could to live. She didn’t want to leave her family because they had not yet accepted God into their lives—who would be there to help them if she left? Why God?

Then this verse came to her mind: “Being confident of this very thing, that He that has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ.” Philippians 1:6. “So,” she realized, “if it’s my time, then it means He’s done with His work in me.” Comfort and calm filled her heart as she understood that God was in control and knew what He was doing. There was nothing to fear. Right then she knew she had to focus on the time she had left.

Teri and her husband had just purchased their house in 2014 and now they put it up for sale. It had five showings in two days and 1000 inquiries online, but strangely no one made an offer. She gave away many personal things and started showing her oldest son how to do her finances. It was around this time that Amanda called her and said that she’d reviewed her records and felt that something wasn’t right. She advised Teri to seek a second opinion.

Teri was able to see a new oncologist right away. She reviewed Teri’s records and came into the room with a big smile, saying, “Forget everything the first guy told you.” She didn’t believe Teri was in stage 4 cancer—in fact, she might be only in stage 2. Teri left the office barely touching the ground. “Maybe God isn’t done with me!” she allowed herself to wonder, daring to grasp onto the doctor’s optimism and confidence.

Teri visited the surgeon the very next day. He said, “I don’t think you’re terminal. I think you’re a candidate for surgery. Can you do that tomorrow?” Oh yes she could! But she asked the surgeon: “Will you promise to pray with me before surgery?” This made him uncomfortable, but he agreed, as long as she was the one doing the praying. So in the morning, she prayed with the surgeon. He told her that they would test every lymph node they found and the moment they found one with cancer they would stop the surgery. On the previous Sabbath, the church had laid hands on her and she knew her whole church was praying that they wouldn’t find any cancer in her lymph nodes.

When she awoke from surgery she learned that they had removed the entire tumor, along with all of the lower lobe of her right lung and half of her middle lobe. There was no cancer in any lymph node they found—even the two lymph nodes that were embedded in the tumor itself! The surgeon wasn’t a Christian, nor was he a normally demonstrative man, but when he came in to see her he was fidgeting and dancing around. “You’re cancer free! This is a miracle!” No one had ever seen anything like it before.

Teri, happy, after giving her life into God’s hands.

Teri knows she is not out of the woods yet. This type of cancer has a history of returning. But the fact that God gave her more time gave her hope, where she had none. It gave her family hope, where they had none. She believes He is preparing her to accept happily whatever comes. He has more work to do in her and He won’t take her when it’s not done. Many lives were impacted by her experience. Her testimony has been shared in Catholic, Baptist, and Presbyterian churches and she was able to speak about spiritual things with the doctors and nurses.

Now Teri knows why her house didn’t sell, God was holding it for her. Her sons are now spending more time with each other. Her youngest takes great pride in saying that he knew God was going to heal her. Teri wants us to understand that we only have today to get our lives in order. Give your life to Him and trust that He will finish His work in you, if you let Him.

By Sheryle Atkin Beaudry of Mission Projects International. Email: editor@missionspro.org


05/30/2015: No Electricity, No Problem!

No Electricity, No Problem!

Philippines

 

“It is a joyous work to open the Scriptures to others.” Testimonies for the Church, vol. 9, 118. “Bring earnestness and fervency into your prayers, and into your Bible readings, and into your preaching, that you may leave the impression that the sacred truths you are presenting to others are to you a living reality. Whatever you do for Jesus, seek with all your powers to do it with earnestness. Never feel that you have attained to the highest point, and can therefore rise no higher…. Set your mind to task, that you may present the truth in a manner to interest them. Seize the most interesting portions of Scripture that you can bring before them, come right to the point, and seek to fasten their attention, and instruct them in the ways of the Lord.” Christian Service, 144.

My report takes place in the region of Lamcade, which is in the municipality of Lake Sebu in the province of South Cotabato in the Philippines. The Lord helped us to discover the need of the people in this area. There is a Sabbath-keeping church there, but the people who live near it say that only five people still actively worship there every Sabbath. I asked them why there are only a few left and they told me that their church has not been nurtured properly and does not have steady leadership. It hurt to hear that, so I attended their church soon after and presented the Three Angels’ Messages. The people were not prejudiced against the message but were interested and willing to hear the truth, and I thanked the Lord for that.

The church members told us that we are welcome to come every Sabbath and preach to them. So we conducted house-to-house Bible studies, visited the backsliders, and conducted a public crusade. God touched the hearts of the backsliders because they all came back and now worship God every Sabbath. As several weeks went by, many of our Bible students from Sunday-keeping churches began to observe the Sabbath and have become church members themselves.

As the work continued, trials came to the little church, but our brethren have stood strong in their faith. Another church demanded that they join them and came and tore down the little church and removed all the materials. This did not stop the church in Lamcade, they continue to meet in homes. They pray that someday they will have their own church building again, in which to worship God. But the Lord is a wonderful provider and He encouraged brothers and sisters in America to send funds through Mission Projects International for a church building! As of now, the building is under construction, but it is finished enough that the church members already worship in it. The brothers and sisters of Lamcade are very thankful from their hearts for your support and the blessing they received.

Since we are still working in Lamcade, my wife and small son and I are staying in the town of Sitio T’wol, which is about six kilometers (about four miles) from Lamcade. We journeyed there on a motorcycle. When we reached the barangay (village) of Lamdalag, we left our motorcycle at the home of Brother Langgong and then walked the final two kilometers (a little over a mile). Because we had a lot of things to bring with us, I could not do it on my own, so Langgong’s family helped us carry everything. During this time the weather was poor and my family and I stayed in the church while it rained outside. When the rain stopped, we proceeded to Sitio T’wol, which is only a short distance away. We stayed in Brother Rudy’s home at night and preached in their courtyard by day.

Because the Philippines does not have a lot of electricity, some places are required to have a rotating brownout. I did not expect that the brownout in Sitio T’wol would be between 6:00 pm to 10:00 pm. I thought we would not be able to continue our work because people would want to go to bed by the time the brownout was over each evening. We went to bed early, since there was not much else we could do in the dark, but then Brother Rudy called. I had a difficult time understanding him because he speaks a different dialect, so he repeated himself in my dialect. He said that many people were waiting outside for the meetings! I was very surprised because they had a long wait for the electricity to come back on in order for them to hear the gospel of God, but as soon as it came on we preached until midnight.

A baptism in Lamcade.

After a week of preaching in Sitio T’wol, we invited the listeners to attend worship on Saturday. On Sabbath, God touched the hearts of the people who had been coming each night, most of whom are from a local Sunday-keeping church. As the Lord’s work expands, I hope to use a generator in order to preach in different villages that also have no electricity during the brownout. There are many more places that thirst for the truth, especially in the mountain areas. A generator would be a big help for the evangelism for these people, and it would cost about 10,000 pesos (about $222 US).

Because of your help in funding our evangelism, many more souls have received the truth and follow the footsteps of our Savior Jesus Christ. In addition to our work in Lamcade, we added 21 souls via baptism, as a result of Bible study and public preaching. We still study church doctrine with them. I was very thankful for the support that you have provided, and especially for the prayers that this work will continue to expand and more souls will decide to follow the footsteps of the Lord.

I am currently in Impasug-ong Bukidnon, and one of the local families used to be involved in the Knights of Columbus but is now very supportive of our work for God. They converted to the Seventh-day Adventist church during a visit by Pastors Cody Francis and Mike Bauler of Mission Projects International. The pastors held a public crusade and are very supportive of the work here, especially the training school and the churches of Impasug-ong and Lafortuna. As we convert to the truth we become colaborers with Christ through help and support.

“A great work can be done by presenting to the people the Bible just as it reads. Carry the word of God to every mans door, urge it’s plain statements upon every mans conscience, repeat to all the Saviour’s command, ‘search the Scriptures.’ Admonish them to take the Bible as it is, to implore divine enlightenment, and then, when the light shines, to gladly accept each precious ray and fearlessly abide the consequences.” Testimonies for the Church, vol. 5, 388.

God Bless!

 

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

 


Letter from Cody: Philippines – Dec. 2014

Juanito’s Catholic Bible

I hope this last month found you coming closer to Christ and gaining fresh new victories in your life. As we witness the events that are taking place in the world around us, we know that Jesus is coming soon. Soon our liberties will be taken away and our work of spreading the Three Angels’ Messages will become increasingly difficult. “The work which the church has failed to do in a time of peace and prosperity, she will have to do in a terrible crisis, under most discouraging, forbidding, circumstances. The warnings that worldly conformity has silenced or withheld, must be given under the fiercest opposition from enemies of the faith.” Christian Service, 158. We know that God’s truth will triumph in the end and will spread through the world with power from on High. God’s people in Babylon will respond to the last warning message and will take their stand with God’s true church, helping to spread the message.

 

 

I have recently returned from the Philippines. I was surveying the work and evaluating the workers and how the message is progressing in these islands of the Pacific. There I witnessed firsthand His sheep hearing His voice and coming out of Babylon to join His church. God used the most unusual method—a Catholic Bible. Juanito was raised a Roman Catholic and later became an Apostolic Church of God pastor. He preached from his Catholic Bible every

Some of Juanito’s church members being baptized into the message

Sunday to his congregation of 200 people. One Sunday, he decided to preach on the subject of the Sabbath. While studying for his sermon, he began searching through his Bible for texts relating to the subject. In the front of his Bible he found a glossary of words and their definitions. There was a list of about 30 words, two of which changed his life forever. He found the word Sabbath, and it said, “Saturday: the seventh day, called the Sabbath.” The next definition he found was the word Sunday, and it said “Sunday: the first day of the week.” He then started to find Scriptures where the word Sabbath was used, and discovered that his dictionary was right; the seventh day was the Sabbath. The Ten Commandments confirmed it; the New Testament established the teaching of the Sabbath as well. After becoming completely convinced about the Sabbath, he started presenting it to his congregation. He began preaching about the Sabbath without telling them it was Saturday. Finally, he was convicted to reveal what the Bible taught on the Sabbath. He was fired by his church superiors and shunned by most of his congregation. But like Nicodemus, many of his church family started secretly coming to him and asking questions. About 70 people started to keep the Sabbath, and within the last ten months he and all this church members have learned the whole Seventh-day Adventist

Juanito (right) and his family with Pastor Titing

message from our faithful workers. This experience is happening in many cities and villages where our workers are ministering to the people in public as well as in private meetings. The work can be spread to many other cities and villages if there are more workers supported and church buildings erected. We plan to support part-time workers with $50 per month to help spread the gospel message. Once a group of believers is established, a simple church structure will be built as a memorial to God’s unchanging Sabbath day! We solicit your prayers and support to help move the message in these dark places of the earth.

 

Yours in the blessed hope,


04/12/2014: Two Hundred 
Families

Two Hundred 
Families

Philippines

 

What would the earth be like if rain never fell? It would be a barren, lifeless, and worthless planet. Trees would not grow and produce the delicious fruit we enjoy every day. Grass would not exist to blanket the barren ground. Without rain, planet Earth would not be able to support life of any kind. As I listen to the rain gently fall outside my window I think about how God uses rain to illustrate deep spiritual lessons.

“All who are consecrated to God will be channels of light. God makes them His agents to communicate to others the riches of His grace. His promise is, ‘I will make them and the places round about My hill a blessing; and I will cause the shower to come down in his season; there shall be showers of blessing.’ Ezekiel 34:26.” Desire of Ages, 141. God is going to cause showers of rain to come down upon those who are fully committed to Him. And as we surrender our hearts fully into God’s hands we become channels, blessing others around us with the truth we ourselves have received.

Just recently I returned from a trip to the Philippines where I saw many brethren who are having this experience. The thought that is uppermost on their minds is: how can I be prepared for heaven and how can I prepare others? As I visited the various workers and their churches, I saw how God was using them to win many souls to the truth.

 

Pastor Aqui

Pastor Aqui (right).

One of our pastors in the southern island of Mindanao became a Seventh-day Adventist about six years ago. Pastor Aqui had been a priest in a break-off Roman Catholic Church, but left this church after hearing one of our evangelists teach, from the Bible, that the papacy is the antichrist. After the meetings, he began searching the Scriptures for himself to discover what the Bible taught about those subjects. After ascertaining the truth from an old tattered Bible, he began working with the local church.

In the last six years, Pastor Aqui has brought more than 200 families to the faith and shepherds their churches. His targets include many of the Catholic churches he formerly led as their priest. Since he knows many of the people who attend these churches, he visits their villages on Sunday, right after church is dismissed. He starts preaching in the public town square. As soon as he sees the people returning home from services, he starts to preach about the prophecies of Daniel and Revelation, from the Bible. Many gather around and listen to the subject the Lord laid upon his heart. He then returns each Sunday and preaches about another subject.

Members of one of Pastor Aqui’s churches construct a simple church building.

Each Sunday that passes, the Lord brings more people to hear the message for that day. Within a few months, some accept the Sabbath message and desire to attend church services.

When Pastor Aqui sees interest from the meetings, he starts building a church. He uses his own money to build a simple house of worship for those who want to keep God’s Holy Sabbath. It’s exciting to see this story repeat itself over and over.

I have visited more than a dozen of the churches he has built with what little funds he has and there are many more that need to be built.

 

José

Another worker that I met while on this trip was a man who had an unusual experience with an angel. This man, whose name was José, was baptized into the Adventist church many years ago, but backslid into the world. He began drinking, smoking, and carousing with his old friends. Soon he was so far from God that he never thought about church or what Jesus had done for him.

One evening, a stranger knocked on José’s door and said that he had something to show him. Without asking who this man was, José followed him to the meeting. José had an unusual feeling that he could trust this man. The stranger took him to our church and walked him to the front door, where a man was standing in the open doorway. Before they reached the church, the stranger told the man that he would find the truth at this church and that he needed to return to God. The man in the doorway welcomed him into the church with a warm smile on his face.

José told the man in the doorway that this stranger said he would find the truth at this church. The man in the doorway got a puzzled look on his face, and said, “What stranger are you talking about?” José turned to introduce his new friend, but there was no one standing beside him. Feeling very embarrassed, he tried to explain the whole story, but the man insisted that he saw no one walking beside him as he approached the church.

He went home that night after the church service with many confusing thoughts. What did all this mean? Who was the stranger that visited with him? He was not completely convinced what all this meant, so he went about doing his fishing business as usual.

José (center, in striped shirt) surrounded by family.

A few weeks later, he had another experience with whale watching dana point, this time it happened while he was fishing out at sea. Fishermen have to get up a few hours before the sun arises if they want to catch any fish. On this particular day, the sun was rising and still he had caught nothing. He decided he would stay a little longer to see if he could catch even one fish. As the boat gently bobbed up and down on the waters of the blue Pacific Ocean, he drifted off to sleep, only to be awakened by something or someone nudging him. As he opened his eyes and pulled away the pampas grass hat that had been shielding his eyes from the glare of the sun, he saw a man standing on the water beside his boat. José was a bit afraid and startled, but the man next to the boat assured him, “Don’t be afraid, José. God wants you to return to Him. He has a work for you to do.” Then the man disappeared right in front of him. As he worked his way back to shore, he wondered: what did God want of him?

When he arrived at his home he related to his wife what had happened at sea. He told her that an angel had visited him again and told him, “Return to me, I have a work for you to do.” As he told the story of the angel visit, his family was convinced that they were not living for God and decided that they all needed to return to the Lord and make Him first. They now faithfully keep God’s Holy Sabbath every week and are zealous to tell others about what God has done for them.

Please pray for the many workers who are having similar experiences with the Lord and are winning souls for God’s glory. If you would like to help support one or several of the workers in the Philippines, it would greatly expand the work. For just $50 per month you could support a part-time worker. If you would like to help build a church, mark your donations: “Philippines Church Building.”

May God bless every one of you!

 

By Pastor Mike Bauler, Mission Projects International, 
PO Box 59656, Renton, WA 98058. 
E-mail: info@missionspro.org. Website: www.missionspro.org.


04/20/2013: God Gives an Expected End

An Open Door

Evangelism in Togo

Paul speaks about having an open door to go and preach the gospel in other places. “Continue earnestly in prayer, being vigilant in it with thanksgiving; meanwhile praying also for us, that God would open to us a door for the word, to speak the mystery of Christ….” Colossians 4:2, 3. This is a story about a unique opportunity that was given to a Bible worker named Timothy.

As we near the end of this earth’s history, there should be seen among us a more intense desire to see souls saved in the kingdom of heaven. We are told that thousands are going to a Christ-less grave, never having heard the true gospel presented to them or seen by those professing to believe the truth.

“Those only who are constantly receiving fresh supplies of grace, will have power proportionate to their daily need and their ability to use that power. Instead of looking forward to some future time when, through a special endowment of spiritual power, they will receive a miraculous fitting up for soul winning, they are yielding themselves daily to God, that He may make them vessels meet for His use. Daily they are improving the opportunities for service that lie within their reach. Daily they are witnessing for the Master wherever they may be, whether in some humble sphere of labor in the home, or in a public field of usefulness.” Acts of the Apostles, 55.

Just recently, I made my fifth trip to Togo, where I was assessing the progress of the work and the workers. I had a small hindrance by hurricane Sandy, and was delayed in my arrival into Togo, but made it eventually and was blessed to see my brothers and fellow workers at the airport.

“From all countries the Macedonian cry is sounding: ‘Come over and help us.’ God has opened fields before us, and if human agencies would but co-operate with divine agencies, many, many souls would be won to the truth. But the Lord’s professed people have been sleeping over their allotted work, and in many places it remains comparatively untouched. God has sent message after message to arouse our people to do something, and to do it now. But to the call, ‘Whom shall I send?’ there have been few to respond, ‘Here am I; send me.’ Isaiah 6:8.” Testimonies, vol. 9, 46.

Timothy, left, sharing God’s Word.

People from all over the country of Togo are crying out for the gospel to be preached to them in their village. From our last trip in 2010, we have started four new churches and many more churches could be started if we had the workers.

Timothy, one of our Bible workers, has started a church in the small city of Sotouboua. Timothy has been working hard to help this new church flourish. This church started with one family and has grown to over forty in a few months. Being a Bible worker in a Muslim and Catholic controlled community is not easy; there are many obstacles to overcome, but the Lord has truly blessed Timothy in his work in this city.

Timothy was out giving Bible studies in the community, when he decided to stop by the hospital to visit some of the sick. While visiting, he came across a man who had been in a motorcycle accident and was hospitalized. While talking to this man, he started to share the gospel with him and the man became very interested in what he had to say. By the end of the conversation, the man wanted him to return and share more about the Bible. Timothy returned and shared more about the gospel and then it led into a study about the Sabbath being God’s day to honor and worship Him. The message about the Sabbath was very new and somewhat confusing to him, since he had worshiped and believed in Sunday all his life. Again the man asked Timothy to return to study more about the Sabbath. The man became convinced that Sabbath was on Saturday and not Sunday and was so persuaded that he started keeping the next Saturday as the Sabbath.

Timothy brought this family into the faith. The family lives in a remote village.

After being released from the hospital he took the message about the Sabbath back to his family and as a result his whole family converted to the message. His whole family is now receiving studies from our Bible worker. They are so excited about the message of Revelation 14:6-12, that they decided they wanted to conduct personal Bible studies in their home themselves. This man lives in a village about twenty hours walk from Sotouboua, so the Bible worker cannot make it there very often, but they didn’t want to wait for Timothy to come, when he could, to conduct the Bible studies, they wanted to tell their village about the Sabbath right then.

“Every true disciple is born into the kingdom of God as a missionary. He who drinks of the living water becomes a fountain of life. The receiver becomes a giver. The grace of Christ in the soul is like a spring in the desert, welling up to refresh all, and making those who are ready to perish eager to drink of the water of life.” Desire of Ages, 195.

This family had been keeping the Sabbath, in their home a few weeks prior to my arrival in Togo. They not only embraced God’s true day of worship, but health and dress reform as well. I wanted to see for myself where this family lived and what their home and village were like. I was able to secure transportation to this village. The village was out in the bush quite a ways from the main road that runs north and south in the country. The car that we secured had to travel along a footpath for the last part of the journey before we arrived at the village.

A Bible study group that Timothy studies with. The group is from the same village as the family pictured above.

When I arrived, I immediately could see that this was a very poor but interesting village. Nearly everyone in the village has a plot of land he or she is farming, so there were small farms dotting the landscape everywhere you looked. It was harvest time for many of the crops, so people were out picking their beans, cutting the heads off the millet or shelling their soybeans by hand.

The first thing this family wanted to do when we arrived was to have a Bible study. We gave this family two Bibles and a few Bible study guides to help them in their home Bible study with the community. The Bible worker, Timothy, led out in a Bible study in French and we studied more about the Sabbath and other doctrines of the Seventh-day Adventist church. After the Bible study, the family wanted to head out into the village to invite all their neighbors. This is a very small village and controlled primarily by the Catholic Church, which does not encourage any sort of study. Off we started, heading down one path and then another to the various huts in the village. Some were very receptive and others not so much.

As we were leaving the village we began thinking about how we can help Timothy take the message to this little bush village in the central part of Togo. I am hoping this will be the next village where we can conduct an evangelistic series and build a church so people can come and worship the Lord on the Sabbath and learn of his ways from the Living Word of God.

Please pray for Timothy and his work in Sotouboua.

By Mike Bauler, Mission Projects International, PO Box 59656, Renton, WA 98058. E-mail: info@missionspro.org Wesite: www.missionspro.org. Support for this work in Togo can be earmarked “Togo” and sent to Mission Projects International.

 


02/18/2012: Doing God’s Will

Doing God’s Will

Philippines

 

“The opinion which prevails in some classes of society, that religion is not conducive to health or to happiness in this life, is one of the most mischievous of errors. The Scripture says: ‘The fear of the Lord tendeth to life; and he that hath it shall abide satisfied.’ Proverbs 19:23.” Christian Education, 67.

“True religion brings man into harmony with the laws of God, physical, mental, and moral. It teaches self-control, serenity, temperance. Religion ennobles the mind, refines the taste, and sanctifies the judgment. It makes the soul a partaker of the purity of heaven. Faith in God’s love and overruling providence lightens the burdens of anxiety and care. It fills the heart with joy and contentment in the highest or the lowliest lot. Religion tends directly to promote health, to lengthen life, and to heighten our enjoyment of all its blessings. It opens to the soul a never-failing fountain of happiness. Would that all who have not chosen Christ might realize that he has something vastly better to offer them than they are seeking for themselves. Man is doing the greatest injury and injustice to his own soul when he thinks and acts contrary to the will of God. No real joy can be found in the path forbidden by him who knows what is best, and who plans for the good of his creatures. The path of transgression leads to misery and destruction; but wisdom’s ‘ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace.’ Proverbs 3:17.”  Christian Education, 68

In Impasug-ong, I walk from house to house looking for precious souls with whom I can share God’s wonderful truths by giving Bible studies to those who are interested. The church here was started through the work of Cody Francis and Mike Bauler. They also made sure that we have a building in which to worship.

We have had many trials, but we know that God never leaves us. As the years and months have passed we have had many souls with whom to share the gospel of Christ. Many helped us in the building of this church.

Each Sabbath the Lord has sent precious souls to worship in this new church building. There are 42 members and 16 children in the children’s division.

Each Sabbath we have a testimony time. At one of these times Brother Joel Luciano and his wife Inday gave a testimony. They have six children. Joel was raised as a Roman Catholic and was a member of the Armed Forces of the Philippines.

Joel tells that when he was a member of the Armed Forces he killed someone who was a member of the Moro-Islamic Liberation Front. Joel heard that the governor of Sultan Kudarat wanted to kill him for what he had done. Joel decided to leave the Armed Forces of the Philippines and move his family to Biwang, Isulan. There he became a layman for the Roman Catholic Church. It was his desire to serve the Lord.

In time, Joel’s whereabouts were discovered, and he again knew that his safety and the safety of his family were in jeopardy. His father-in-law told him to go to Impasug-ong, Bukidnon. His father-in-law had a brother there and said he would help Joel and his family to get established in this new area. Joel and his family moved.

As I was doing house-to-house visits I came to Joel’s home and gave them a pamphlet. I found that he was born in the same place I was—the town of Cotabato. I also discovered as we visited that he had a brother-in-law who had been in the police force. This brother-in-law studied God’s Word and was baptized by Pastor Palange, and he became a Seventh-day Adventist. He followed his convictions and resigned from the police force to serve the Lord. This brother-in-law is living in Cotabato, and I know him.

We continued Bible studies with Joel and his family. Each Sabbath we invited them to church. Joel’s wife came to church with their six children. Joel told his wife that he could not go to another church as he would die for his church (Roman Catholic).

We needed to build a parsonage for our pastor, so I asked Joel to help build it as he has carpentry skills. As we worked together building the parsonage, we talk much about the reality of the Bible and he asked me many questions about the Seventh-day Adventist church. He questioned me on the state of the dead and other topics. The Holy Spirit through the Bible helped us answer his many questions.

On the next Sabbath, he was with his family in church. He said that he thought that he could serve God by becoming a layman for the Roman Catholic Church. “All that I have learned while being a layman was a lie,” he said.

He and his family came to church every Sabbath, and we studied with them in their home each night for six months. At a camp meeting in December of 2007 he and all of his family were baptized. We praise the Lord for this.

There was no work for him at Impasug-ong so he and his family moved to Kisolon and the Lord blessed him with work to support his family. He is also an elder for the Kisolon church and is sharing with others.

As Jesus is coming soon, we each need to be busy doing His work of sharing this wonderful message of salvation. “Behold, I come quickly,’ Christ declares; ‘and My reward is with Me, to give every man according as his work shall be.’ Revelation 22: 12. The Lord at His coming will scrutinize every talent; He will demand interest on the capital He has entrusted. By His own humiliation and agony, by His life of toil and His death of shame, Christ has paid for the service of all who have taken His name and profess to be His servants. All are under deepest obligation to improve every capability for the work of winning souls to Him. ‘Ye are not your own,’ He says; ‘for ye are bought with a price;’ therefore glorify God by a life of service that will win men and women from sin to righteousness. 1 Corinthians 6:19, 20. We are bought with the price of Christ’s own life, bought that we may return to God His own in faithful service. We have no time now to give our energies and talents to worldly enterprises. Shall we become absorbed in serving the world, serving ourselves, and lose eternal life and the everlasting bliss of heaven? Oh, we cannot afford to do this! Let every talent be employed in the work of God. Those who receive the truth are, by their efforts, to increase the number of men and women who shall be laborers together with God. Souls are to be enlightened and taught to serve God intelligently; they are to be continually increasing in the knowledge of righteousness. All heaven is interested in the carrying forward of the work that Christ came to the world to do. Heavenly agencies are opening ways for the light of truth to shine to the dark places of the earth. Angels are waiting to communicate to those who will take hold of the work that has been pointed out to us for years. Shall we not manifest an interest to set in operation ways and means for the opening up of city work? Many opportunities have been lost through neglecting to do this work at once, through failing to go forward in faith. The Lord says: ‘Had you exercised faith in the messages I have sent, there would not be such a lack of workers and of means for their support.”  Testimonies, vol. 9, 104, 105.

 

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


12/03/2011: Medical Ministry Project

Medical Ministry Project

Three Angels Messages (3AM) Wellness Center is the name that we have chosen for our new lifestyle center from the various suggestions given by our beloved brethren. The plan of this project is indeed of divine origin. Although we made many mistakes, from the very beginning divine Providences helped us step by step to get established. Through visions and dreams in the night seasons, through encouragement from brethren in the faith, through the people who kept asking us to put a wellness center in different localities—this planned project has become a reality. It is not for our personal interest but for the cause of God. I experienced severe discouragements from those inside and outside of the faith in pursuing this plan. But the joyful faces of our patients that receive our treatments encourage us, because before God brought us here, their only hope was earnest prayer with tears.

Welcoming banner for the health center. Brian’s wife (back) and sister (front) are on the left.

We sent letters of appeal to our brethren in the faith here and abroad asking them to help us with this project. Although we did not receive the help we asked for, we still believe that it was part of the Lord’s plan. Step by step God guided us until our wellness center was completed. Pastor Mike Bauler of Mission Projects International conducted the dedication ceremony attended by brethren in the faith and friends on May 29, 2011. An earnest prayer for the workers ascended to our God.

Several days before the dedication, several patients visited us to receive treatments. I visited a woman who works hard at washing clothes for her neighbors in order to support herself and her family. She had a mild stroke, so I visited her and gave her counsel about the causes of disease and how to treat it. I gave her herbs to relieve her high blood pressure which was 160/120. She receives free medicine every month from the Catholic Church, but it has not been effective. I pray that God will bless the treatment that I am giving her and that it will be an opening wedge to share the gospel with her. As I write this, we have several patients waiting for our services even though we are not quite ready to be open to the public. Two women are here for hydrotherapy and massage, a Catholic priest wants to do our detoxification and rejuvenating program, and a public school teacher wants a health consultation.

As I prayed early this morning, the Lord impressed me to write a letter of appeal. Sometimes I am hesitant because I know that

Brian in his office, ready for service.

God owns everything and I do not want to burden my fellow mortals. In the plan of salvation God beautifully depicts the work of the believers as soldiers in the midst of a severe and difficult war. Yes, we are in the war indeed. We can picture these soldiers sacrificing and denying self while fighting for their nation, thinking not of themselves but of their fellow soldiers in order to have a strong company. This is their glory. So it is in the Lord’s battles. Helping one another in times of difficulty is the glory of the believers. Heroism is a much better treasure than fine gold or silver! May we be found as heroes in the sight of God during our sojourn in this last epoch of earth’s history. “Character will always be tested. If Christ dwells in us, day by day and year by year, we shall grow into a noble heroism. This is our allotted task, but it can not be accomplished without help from Jesus, without resolute decision, unwavering purpose, continual watchfulness, and unceasing prayer. Each has a personal battle to fight; each must win his way through struggles and discouragements. Those who decline the struggle, lose the strength and joy of victory. No one, not even God, can make our characters noble or our lives useful unless we make the effort necessary on our part. We must put features of beauty into our lives. We must seek to expel the unlovely traits, while God works in us to will and to do of his good pleasure.” Youth’s Instructor, November 12, 1907. “If hardships are borne and trials are endured by our soldiers fighting in behalf of their country to obtain the mastery and bring to obedience the rebellious, how much more willingly should the soldiers of Christ endure privation, self-denial, and taxation for His sake!” Gospel Workers, 199.

Brian assisting a patient.

The Three Angels Messages Wellness Center was designed to lead people to Christ Jesus. This is our purpose! While writing this appeal, I was reminded of the three young people that I gave Bible studies to in our church. Yesterday I talked with them and encouraged them to enroll in the Bible Training School in Bukidnon. They are willing to work for Christ but need someone to help and guide them. Since they have no funds for the tuition fee, I told them that God will provide it if it is His will. This June 2011, the school will start the next training session. How I pray that God will touch the heart of someone to financially support these students for their school year. One of the main reasons why I desire to establish a wellness center is to support young people enrolled in the Bible School and to support the Bible workers of the Lord. I pray this is your interest as well.

As you read my article, I pray that the Lord will open your heart to consider this calling or lesson for us. It may be a calling for you to do something to sustain the field of the Lord here or it may be a lesson to remind us of our duties and responsibilities.

Below are listed our immediate needs:

• 15-20,000 pesos ($350-$465) for the food supplements and herbal medicine. (Note: We have several supplements here that were purchased from another wellness center. But the price is so high to purchase them that way that we cannot make enough profit in order to sustain our center and the staff. We can get a much better price by purchasing in bulk. We long to be able to purchase them soon so that we may be ready to help those in need.)

• 7-10,000 pesos ($160-$235) for additional chairs, bed sheets for our two massage beds, renovation for our massage bed, pillows, towels, bowls and basins for the hydrotherapy treatments, box for our sauna, etc.

• 5,000 pesos ($120) for the installation of our own electric meter.

I would like to end this appeal with these words to be a reminder to us until the coming our Lord Jesus Christ:

“Wake up, brethren and sisters. Don’t be afraid of good works. Be not weary in well-doing, for you shall reap in due time if you faint not. . . . Encourage in yourselves a love of hospitality, a love to help those who need help. You may say you have been deceived, bestowing your means upon those unworthy of your charity, and therefore have become discouraged in trying to help the needy. I present Jesus before you. . . . One soul wrenched from Satan’s grasp; one soul you have benefited; one soul encouraged! This will a thousand times pay you for all your efforts. To you Jesus will say, ‘Inasmuch as ye have done it unto the least of these My brethren, ye have done it unto Me.’” Welfare Ministry, 97.

 

By Joseph Brian C. Palange. Email:jbrian_palange@yahoo.com. Support for the work in the Philippines can be sent to Mission Projects International, PO Box 59656, Renton, WA 98058.

 


10/08/2011: IFRA DA BEKS and Baptists

IFRA DA BEKS and Baptists

As I visit and conduct Bible studies with people around the world, these questions continue to be asked: How much time do you think we have in this world?  Do you think we are nearing the end?  Many are seeing the signs of Jesus’ coming in all the disasters that are occurring at an alarming rate.  These disasters are happening so fast that we soon forget about the last one and are thinking about the devastation of the current one. God is speaking to each of us, letting us know that He is coming and that we should be ready.  “You will be hearing of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not frightened, for those things must take place, but that is not yet the end.  For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and in various places there will be famines and earthquakes.  But all these things are merely the beginning of birth pangs.” Matthew 24:6-8.

“We are living in the time of the end. The fast-fulfilling signs of the times declare that the coming of Christ is near at hand. The days in which we live are solemn and important. The Spirit of God is gradually but surely being withdrawn from the earth. Plagues and judgments are already falling upon the despisers of the grace of God. The calamities by land and sea, the unsettled state of society, the alarms of war, are portentous. They forecast approaching events of the greatest magnitude. The agencies of evil are combining their forces and consolidating. They are strengthening for the last great crisis. Great changes are soon to take place in our world, and the final movements will be rapid ones.” Testimonies, vol. 9, 11.

Revelation predicts that as we approach the end, the devil will be working contrary to God’s purposes because he knows that his time is short.  “Therefore rejoice you heavens, and you that dwell in them. Woe to the inhabitants of the earth and of the sea! For the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knows that he has but a short time.” Revelation 12:12.  “In accidents and calamities by sea and by land, in great conflagrations, in fierce tornadoes and terrific hailstorms, in tempests, floods, cyclones, tidal waves, and earthquakes, in every place and in a thousand forms, Satan is exercising his power.”  Counsels on Health, 461.

As Satan is wreaking havoc and ruin in our earth, God is not standing by in silence; He is preparing men, women and children in

The former IFRA DA BEKS priest’s son (center) and his wife stand with Mike Bauler of MPI, who brought the truth to his new church.

various places around the world to stand before Him without spot or wrinkle. There are many people that we do not know of right now whom God is preparing to use in the final movements in other churches, and He wants us to go out and seek these souls and connect with them. In a recent trip that I took to the Philippines, this was certainly the case.

 

Early in 2010, I began to receive reports from our workers in the Philippines that there were whole churches accepting the Seventh-day Adventist message. The churches that were coming into the faith were a break-off from the Roman Catholic Church, called the IFRA DA BEKS. (Iglesia Filipia Rizal Apostol sa Dios Amahan sa Balaar Espiritu ni Kristo sa Silangan ). There are approximately sixty-two of these churches in the Philippines, and our workers began conducting evangelistic campaigns within these churches. Not all of the priests would allow our workers to preach in their pulpits, but some were willing. In early 2010, there were two of these churches who had accepted the Three Angels’ Messages and are now keeping the Sabbath from week to week and are growing because of their witness to those in their villages.

In my visit to the Philippines in late 2010, I had the privilege of conducting a prophecy seminar in the third church, who had asked for us to come and preach our message. In the small village of Oregon there was one of these churches who allowed us to come and present the message of truth to their congregation. As a result of the messages that were presented, there were about twelve families who accepted the truth but had to leave the church where they had worshiped for years because the majority of the people opposed the truth. One of the brethren who had accepted the truth donated some of his land in order that they could build a church and conduct Sabbath worship services. The church members have now built a simple structure and are holding church services every Sabbath.

This year, I returned to the Philippines to see how the work among these churches was progressing. In over a year’s time, five more IFRA DA BEKS churches have organized and are worshiping on God’s holy day of rest because of the diligent efforts of the Bible workers.

Bible study on the former Baptist brother’s front porch.

While I was there, I visited with one of the leaders of these churches. He was the son of an IFRA DA BEKS priest but had listened to the message spoken from the Bible and decided to follow and obey the truth that he was seeing from the Bible. This cost him dearly. Jesus said that following the truth would be a cross. “And the brother shall deliver up the brother to death, and the father the child: and the children shall rise up against their parents, and cause them to be put to death. And ye shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved.” Matthew 10:21, 22.

 

His father turned against him and then persuaded other family members to do the same. The father also influenced many in the small village where he lived to turn against his own son and treat him coldly. This man truly has a cross to bear, but praise the Lord that he decided that following and loving Jesus was more important than even his own father, mother and friends. This is a scenario that has repeated itself among all these churches where our workers are preaching the last warning message.

These are not the only denominational churches who were willing to have our workers preach in their pulpits.  On my most recent trip, it was arranged by our workers for me to be able to conduct a prophecy seminar within a Missionary Baptist church in a small village in Davao Oriental, and this is how it happened.  Pastor Aque, whom we have been supporting, was appointed by a government official to be the vice president of a task force to combat the drug usage among the youth in his area. He was among more than 100 pastors who were chosen to be a part of this program. Since Pastor Aque was vice president of this program, he had meetings to attend with all of the other pastors.

It was at these meetings that he met Pastor DeCampo, who was the pastor of the Missionary Baptist church about forty-five minutes away from his home village. Pastor Aque started sharing the Three Angels’ Messages with him whenever they met together. Then the pastor started asking him to come to his home and study with his whole family. After Pastor DeCampo was convinced about the Sabbath and other truths, Pastor Aque asked him if he could share the truth with those in his own church. Pastor DeCampo agreed and asked if Pastor Aque would conduct a prophecy seminar in his church specifically for the members of his church.

Shortly after this, the Bible workers started going out and doing house-to-house labor with those in this small village. As the Bible workers were visiting and inviting the people to the meetings, they found many who were open to Bible studies. They found many whom the Lord had already prepared to receive the message. One such man that the workers met had been a backslidden Baptist but was being prompted by the Holy Spirit to start studying his Bible again. This was long before the Bible workers started going from door to door in his village. As he was studying, he was being impressed with the very truths that he would hear being presented in the evangelistic seminar at the Baptist church. He is now a strong believer in the truth and is sharing the message of the Sabbath and Christ’s soon return with his neighbors. The few pastors that are in this small village are attempting to prejudice the people in the community against this man, but God is overthrowing the plans of the enemy. There are many who are showing up on his doorstep and asking questions about things the pastors are using to confuse their minds. He has now started morning and evening Bible studies under the front porch of his house, and many people come to study the Bible before and after they do their work.

Another man they met was out in his fishing boat early one morning with his nets in the water and was laying down in his boat waiting until he would pull his nets back in. Suddenly, he felt as if someone was watching him but knew he was way out at sea and no one was around. Then he looked around the other way and saw what looked like an angel staring at him. This being told him that he would meet someone who would invite him to come back to church and that he should not refuse. The angel then disappeared. The next day one of our Bible workers knocked on his door and invited him to come to our prophesy seminar that we were conducting in the Baptist church. He told him that he had already been invited and that he was for sure going to be there.

There were eight families who took their stand after the meetings were over and who kept their first Sabbath while I was there. Many gave their testimonies that Sabbath and told their stories of how the Lord worked to bring them into the message.

Please pray for these dear souls who are in these other churches. There are many who are searching for truth but have not found it. It is our duty to seek the lost wanderers out on the mountain going astray.

May God keep us faithful!

 

By Mike Bauler. Email: mike@missionspro.org. Support for the work in the Philippines can be sent to Mission Projects International, PO Box 59656, Renton, WA 98058.


05/21/2011: Finding the Treasure

Finding the Treasure

A Testimony from Oregon, U.S.A.

 

A couple of years ago, Jesus touched my heart, and I began to seek Him. I had a longing to know Him, but did not understand what I was feeling or exactly what I was looking for.

At this specific time in my life, I spent a lot of my free time at garage sales. I enjoyed the solitude and simplicity of “treasure hunting.” I began finding these wonderful Bibles, tapes and other religious items. I would buy them and give them to family or friends. However, the desire to seek Jesus became stronger, so I began to seek out churches to attend.

I first visited a Baptist church by my home. One afternoon I had an overwhelming desire to go to the church—in the middle of the day! I got up and walked across the street to the church—all the way thinking, “I am nuts!” I boldly knocked on the pastor’s office door; and instead of being received with open arms, I was met with skepticism and coldness. I apologized for imposing, and I shared the story of the strong desire I had to seek Jesus. I shared what knowledge I had of Jesus from Sunday school as a child, from family and friends and from TV movies.

He then extended me a few minutes as he told me he was very busy. He invited me to sit down, and I quickly explained what I was experiencing. He explained that he had been hesitant to speak with me because he thought I was going to ask for money! He got up and went to a bookshelf and returned, handing me two books to read. He thanked me for coming, said a short prayer and sent me on my way. I knew when I left his office this was not where God wanted me to be. I kept searching.

My sister-in-law belongs to the Catholic church and is very active within the church. I went to her and explained the feelings I was having, and she excitedly invited me to attend a class offered by her church. It was several weeks long and explained their faith in detail. She said she would go with me, so I agreed to go.

About the third week, I noticed I had not heard one thing about Jesus in this class and became confused and anxious as to why I was there. It was not satisfying, and I asked the priest why we had not talked about Jesus during this time. He explained that it was important to understand the traditions of the church, but that Jesus was everywhere. I did not understand, and I did not continue in the classes either. I did not believe this was where God wanted me.

I have to admit, I was frustrated. I still did not know what I was looking for. Then, shortly afterwards, I received a postcard in the mail about a prophecy seminar. It sparked an interest immediately, and I decided I would go.

As I attended the nightly presentations, I learned that what I thought I knew was false. As the evenings went by, I had a tremendous amount of fear and anger building up in me. I would go home angry and repeat what I had heard to my husband.

Each time the nightly seminar was over I swore I would not return. I would leave so angry! I would call people in my family who I had thought were very religious and knowledgeable. I repeated to them what I had heard. To my surprise, they agreed that it was true! Oh, how surprised I was then! I asked them, “Why has no one told me?” They responded that they thought I knew.

I was drawn back to the meetings, and with more curiosity, but very guarded. It was not until the evening the Sabbath truth was given that the anger began to subside. As Pastor Mike used the Bible to show me the truth about the Sabbath, I realized how blind I was.

My husband was as surprised as I about what I was learning. He shared what I was telling him with some friends at his Harley club. They said it sounded like a cult. Then my husband talked with a pastor that attends his Harley club and shared this story with him. And the pastor said it did not sound like a cult, but to just keep his eye on me. This pastor invited my husband to his church, and they prayed for me that I would not be led into a cult and that I would make the right decision.

Pastor Mike began Bible studies with me after the seminar had completed. I was a smoker and had smoked for many years. During one of the Bible studies he told me I needed to stop smoking, for it was a sin. He said that my body was a temple for God and that I needed to take care of it in order for God to dwell there. He told me of the power of prayer, and told me to pray to God. At first, I have to admit, I did not give this prayer thing much confidence!

It took me a couple of weeks to get the courage up to attempt to stop smoking. But I found myself thinking about it all of the time. I did not want to continue to sin. But I also knew how hard it would be because I had tried many times before. I decided I would buy some nicotine patches to help with the withdrawal symptoms. Then some days later I found the courage to try, and I knelt down and prayed. I asked God to take the desire to smoke from me, to give me the strength to stop smoking. Then I promptly put on a patch.

Not long afterwards I found the patch on the floor. It had fallen off. I picked it up and put it back on. But it would not stick. At first I was upset because the patches are expensive and I thought maybe I had gotten an expired batch. They should last 24 hours. I opened another patch and put it on. Soon it, too, fell off! Then I began to think, “Okay, God, if you want me to quit, you’ll have to do it.”

I do not recall any desire to smoke for the first few days; but as time continued, there were cigarette cravings, but they were always manageable with prayer. It has now been over a year and a half since I last smoked. I no longer have any craving for cigarettes. Praise the Lord!

Teri Day’s baptism. July 24, 2010.

I continued in weekly Bible studies with Pastor Mike and began attending church on the Sabbath. I began to find strength from the Sabbath meetings with fellow believers. I found myself looking forward to Sabbath and was filled with a desire learn and to share my testimony with whoever would listen.

Soon I began to feel a division in my home between me and my loved ones. My home became a battleground. Tempers flared between each of us often. My family refused to come to church with me. They wanted me to stop going. They said that I was not the same anymore. They said, “The church is taking you away from us. You spend too much time with your church. You are not at home anymore.”

But through it all I continue to strive to keep the Sabbath. I do continue to feel isolated at home; however, the desire to learn has never left me. I surrounded myself with studies and readings. On July 24, 2010, I was baptized into a Sabbath-keeping church! All of my family members were there to share this wonderful day! Praise the Lord!

My family members now say they are happy that I have found a church; however, they continue to refuse to hear the truth. Please pray for me and my family.

By Teri Day. Teri is a member of the Historic Message Church in Portland, Oregon. For more information on their prophecy seminars, email Pastor Mike Bauler: mike@missionspro.org.

 

 


05/14/2011: Against the Forces of Darkness

Against the Forces of Darkness

Togo

 

Togo, West Africa, is the seat of the cultish practices of the voodoo religion. It is a land of witch doctors and sorcery. It is a place where curses from the village witch doctor really come to pass if a sacrifice is not made to appease the spirits, and where babies are subjected to facial scaring to identify them with a particular family and village. Nothing has changed for thousands of years in regard to sorcery in this land. Modern sorcery is not much different from what we read about in the Bible during the time of Ahab or the Pharaohs.

Just recently, I visited this small country tucked between Ghana and Benin. My main purpose for traveling to Togo was to conduct an evangelistic series, evaluate the work and organize a training school for the workers. While I was there, I saw firsthand what God’s people are up against when preaching the Third Angel’s Message to this country of darkness and superstition.

Devil dancing.

One day I found myself face-to-face and shoulder-to-shoulder with hundreds of sorcerers, each trying to display their power and see who had the greatest magic. The victor would control the village in which he lived. He would be revered by all in the village as someone with great authority who has the ability to know and communicate with the spirits. To be the village witch doctor means more livestock, bribes and many gifts.

These gatherings draw many sorcerers and want-to-be witch doctors from all the surrounding villages. At these meetings the sorcerers perform the most degrading acts of violence to themselves to prove the power of their magic. They will stab themselves, lacerate their flesh and eat live animals (such as snakes, frogs and rats). The devil will perform many acts of trickery for these witch doctors. When a sorcerer becomes possessed of the devil, he can cut himself and then heal the wound to show that his power is greater than the next sorcerer.

These are all acts of delusion performed by the devil or his evil angels. The devil cannot heal or create anything, but he can pretend. When Aaron and Moses were in the court of Egypt, Pharaoh asked them to show some miracle to prove who they were, so “Aaron cast down his rod before Pharaoh, and before his servants, and it became a serpent.” And the Bible says that “Pharaoh also called the wise men and the sorcerers: now the magicians of Egypt, they also did in like manner with their enchantments. For they cast down every man his rod, and they became serpents: but Aaron’s rod swallowed up their rods.” Exodus 7:10-12. Commenting on these verses Ellen White says:

“The magicians seemed to perform several things with their enchantments similar to those things which God wrought by the hand of Moses and Aaron. They did not really cause their rods to become serpents, but by magic, aided by the great deceiver, made them to appear like serpents, to counterfeit the work of God. Satan assisted his servants to resist the work of the Most High, in order to deceive the people, and encourage them in their rebellion. Pharaoh would grasp at the least evidence he could obtain to justify himself in resisting the work of God performed by Moses and Aaron. He told these servants of God that his magicians could do all these wonders. The difference between the work of God and that of the magicians was, one was of God, the other of Satan. One was true, the other false.” Spirit of Prophecy, vol. 1, 184.

Several interesting points are made in this paragraph. The sorcerers were aided by the great deceiver to perform these miracles of trickery for the purpose of resisting the work of God and deceiving the people. This is the devil’s game plan in this country of darkness and superstition. He wants to counteract the work that God is doing in hearts and to deceive the people into thinking that they cannot break free from this satanic power.

The devil is working hard through every means at his disposal to keep his subjects in his grasp. Even if one was to stop believing in the superstitions and ancestral worship that most of the people of Togo revere, the devil has a deception especially prepared for that person. There is a very large denomination in Togo called the Assemblies of God. They teach their congregations to leave this life of devil dances and sorcery; but if you were to attend their services on Sunday, the dancing in the church is very similar to what happens at a devil dance.

The Bible workers that we support face these circumstances every day that they are out witnessing. The hold that the devil has on the minds of these people who believe these teachings of their forefathers is very great. But “nevertheless He left not Himself without witness….” Acts 14:17.

Paca's Testimony.

Three years ago there was a man by the name of Paca who came to the evangelistic meetings that we were holding in the same village where I was this year. I remember baptizing him in the river near the place where we held the meetings. I had never heard his testimony of how he became a Christian. But this year, after I preached about Sunday worship being the mark of the beast, he gave his testimony to encourage those who were hanging in the balances about their decision to keep the Sabbath. He told about his former life of drunkenness and revelry. He told about his involvement in the occult practices of the witch doctors and sorcerers. He told about how he had been working very hard to become the next village witch doctor.

All that changed when he listened to the all-powerful Word of God at the meetings. The Holy Spirit convicted him of his sins, and he responded. He decided that he would give himself totally to the Lord. He tossed out all alcohol from his home and never touched it again. Since that time he gave up the idea of becoming a sorcerer. He is now a full-time Bible worker for the church and is bringing many souls out of their superstitious beliefs through his witnessing. His testimony inspired many at the meetings to make a complete surrender to the Lord.

After witnessing the devil’s power displayed in these devil dances, I wanted Satan’s power to be broken in the lives of those who were coming to our meetings. I visited with and knew many who were struggling to let go of their former beliefs that have been handed down through their parents and grandparents. Some took their stand, but some buckled under the pressure from parents and friends. But God’s Word is more powerful than all of Satan’s schemes to hold people in superstition.

We were able, during the meetings, to witness true conversions taking place right before our eyes. Souls were being wrestled from the grasp of Satan’s many machinations. The workers had labored hard with many of these dear souls months before I arrived, and many of them made their final decision to obey and follow the Lord in keeping the Sabbath and all of His Commandments by the time that the public meetings had ended. Much prayer and Bible study was invested in these precious souls, but it was not in vain. The last Sabbath that I was there, we held a baptism in which 43 persons took their stand to follow Jesus into that watery grave. When we ask God to send His Holy Spirit ahead and prepare people’s hearts to receive the truth, He answers.

The workers have opposition from the Roman Catholics, Muslims, Evangelicals and the ancient superstitions of the fathers. But God’s Word is being proclaimed in this country with power. Please pray that the forces of darkness can be broken in this nation.

By Pastor Mike Bauler. Pastor Mike is the mission projects coordinator for Mission Projects International and the pastor of Historic Message Church in Portland, Oregon. Email: mike@missionspro.org. Support for the work in Togo can be sent to Mission Projects International, PO Box 59656, Renton, WA 98058.