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The International Paper for Seventh-day Adventists

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Comprehensive

Health Ministry

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Evangelism

Beyond the Numbers

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God, Still With Us


North American Division | n a d

Aug ust 2015 The International Paper for Seventh-day Adventists

Augus t 2015

C O V E R

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Zimbabwe Leads the Way

By Andrew McChesney

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Comprehensive

Health Ministry

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Evangelism

Beyond the Numbers

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I n late May, thousands were baptized in southern Africa. This is how it happened.

God, Still With Us

V I S T A

By Ted N. C. Wilson

God is looking for a people faithful to His mission.

20 Time Is Running Out

By Lowell C. Cooper

Working harder by working smarter

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By Pardon K. Mwansa

Jesus and Paul had their challenges too.

32 Real World Gospel M I N D S E T

By Rick McEdward

35 Witnessing With Relationships T E S T I M O N Y

By Nozomi Miyagi

36 Breaking Barriers

C O M M E N T A R Y

By Anthony Kent

A series of small steps reaches others with the gospel

Amazing Growth

D E V O T I O N A L

Getting past society’s noise to communicate the good news

8 A Faithful Mission W O R L D

30 Evangelism Beyond the Numbers C H A L L E N G E

S T O R Y

N A D

F E AT U R E

By Odette Ferreira

Embracing the opportunities of studying abroad.

Why is progress so rapid in some parts of the world?

D E PA RT M E N T S 3 W O

R L D

R E P O R T

3 News Briefs 6 News Feature 10 NAD News 14 NAD Update 17 NAD Perspective 18 NAD Letters

19 W O R L D H E A L T H Comprehensive Health Ministry 28 The Global Church A N A L Y S I S

www.adventistworld.org Available in 10 languages online

29 S P I R I T O F Go Forth!

P R O P H E C Y

42 B

I B L E Q U E S T I O N S A N S W E R E D

God, Still With Us

43 B I B L E S T U D Y When God Surprises 44

I D E A

E X C H A N G E

The Adventist World® (ISSN 1557-5519), one of the Adventist Review® family of publications, is printed monthly by the Pacific Press® Publishing Association. Copyright © 2015. Send address changes to your local conference membership clerk. Contact information should be available through your local church. For information about advertising, contact Glen Gohlke, 240-329-7250 (glengohlke@msn.com). PRINTED IN THE U.S.A. Vol. 11, No. 8, August 2015.

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Adventist World - nad | August 2015


A Ministry of Healing

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e all know the conversational quiz by which we try to clarify priorities. It typically begins, “If you could only say one thing about _______, what would it be?” Reducing all the possible answers down to one somehow convinces us that we are getting at the most essential thing. But when we turn that process to the life and ministry of Jesus, we find ourselves confounded by the sheer variety of things that we must say of Him. Among so many others, we need to say of Jesus that He is “truth,” that He is “love,” that He is “judge,” that He is “Savior.” Had you asked that question across Judea and Samaria in the first century A.D., however, the favorite answer would have undoubtedly been “healer,” for that is how the vast majority of people encountered Him. Even those who had but little idea of His teachings or His kingdom nonetheless discovered Him in hands that once again could grasp a tool, dread diseases that miraculously disappeared, and blind eyes that now could see a human face—His human face—for the first time. And they loved Him for the healing; followed Him because they had been healed; joined His cause because they glimpsed in Him a power to heal the world of more than physical afflictions. So it is that all who intend today to build up the kingdom of Jesus must ultimately commit themselves to the work of healing that was so central to His earthly ministry. Preaching, urgent as it is, will never be enough: teaching, wise and timely as it can be, will never have the greatest impact. Truths become truly life-giving when they find a home in bodies that have been restored. This is why for 150 years, God’s remnant church for the endtime has uniquely underlined how preaching, teaching, and healing always move together. In every place where Seventh-day Adventists share the Bible truths that heal the heart they also share the ministry of health that makes the wounded whole. As you read this month’s cover feature, “Zimbabwe Leads the Way,” pray for your neighbors and your friends who will discover Jesus as you demonstrate His kindness for their physical well-being.

WORLD REPORT

Adventist Church Will Release

All-New Encyclopedia The Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventism will debut online in 2020. By Andrew McChesney

The two-volume 1996 edition of the SDA Encyclopedia, left, and the first 1966 edition.

A d v e n t i s t

W o r l d

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hurch leaders have approved a completely new, Internetcentered encyclopedia to replace the Seventh-day Adventist Encyclopedia, first published in 1966. The new Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists will debut online in early 2016 and be overseen by the General Conference’s Office of Archives, Statistics, and Research (ASTR). The General Conference’s Executive Committee has earmarked US$1.6 million for the five-year project. “Unlike its predecessors, no future major revision process will be required, because of the continuous updating of the encyclopedia’s Web site,” ASTR said in a statement. “Thus, while the production of a new encyclopedia will be time-consuming and not cheap, it means a similar outlay of resources will never be necessary again.” ASTR is also partnering with the Adventist Review and Adventist World magazines, which developed an early model for a Wikipedia-style online Adventist encyclopedia. The two Continued on next page

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WORLD REPORT magazines will work to encourage congregational and crowd-sourced histories of local churches, Adventist institutions, and individuals, while the ASTR effort will focus on scholarly contributions to understanding Adventist history and experience. “We’re excited at the prospect of involving thousands of Adventists— laypersons, retirees, and members of congregations—who have unique knowledge they can share with this world-embracing project,” said Adventist Review/Adventist World editor Bill Knott. In addition to text, the online edition will feature video and audio and draw on the expertise of thousands of Adventist scholars worldwide. It will be available in all major languages, including English, Spanish, French, and German. “We are working with divisions to translate the encyclopedia into the major languages spoken by church members,” ASTR director David Trim said. The idea for a Seventh-day Adventist encyclopedia was first raised in 1959. The Review and Herald Publishing Association initially decided against the idea, but, upon completing the nine-volume Seventhday Adventist Bible Commentary in 1962, voted to publish the encyclopedia as a complement to the series. The project was announced at the 1962 Spring Council, and the single volume Seventh-day Adventist Encyclopedia produced by a staff of eight was released in January 1966. A revised edition was published a decade later in 1976. A substantial revision began in 1993 that resulted in the publication of two volumes in 1996. n

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Jamaican Gives Up

His Dreadlocks—

His All— for Jesus Rastafarian runs to the barbershop before being baptized. By Dyhann Buddoo-Fletcher, IAD

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oing more than 30 years without a haircut did not disqualify a 66-year-old Jamaican man from baptism. But his decision to dart out of an evangelistic meeting and find a barbershop convinced the pastor that he was willing to sacrifice all for Jesus. George Johnson, a Rastafarian adherent who had taken a Nazirite vow not to cut his hair, told an astonished audience at a Seventh-day Adventist tent meeting in northern Jamaica that he once believed in the divinity of the former emperor of Ethiopia and had made plans to move to Africa. But now, he said, his loyalty was to the Creator God and he longed to go to heaven. “Even if I had to cut off my hand to accept Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior, I would do it,” Johnson, freshly trimmed and shaved, said at his baptism. With his voice choking with emotion, he added: “Nobody forced me to be baptized. No woman seduced me either. I hear them saying that Haile Selassie is God, but my God created the heavens and the earth.” Because of Johnson’s testimony, several people decided to accept Jesus and get baptized during the recent

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Evangelist Livingston Burgess speaks with George Johnson on Sabbath, April 4.

four-week “Prepare to Meet Thy God” evangelistic series. A total of 15 people were baptized. Johnson asked to be baptized after deciding that his decades-long search for a church that taught biblical truth had ended at the tent meeting. He had lived for more than three decades as a devout Rastafarian, a religious movement that emerged from Jamaica’s slums in the 1920s and 1930s. Rastafarians are united in their


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and made arrangement to meet the next day for further Bible studies.

C o u r t e s y o f G e o r g e J o h n s o n

“Who Is This Man?”

George Johnson before and after his haircut.

pride in African heritage and belief in the divinity of the late Ethiopian emperor Haile Selassie I. Their lifestyle often includes wearing their hair in dreadlocks, the ritual use of marijuana, avoidance of alcohol, and vegetarianism. Dreadlocks Versus Jesus

Johnson said he had visited many churches before attending the evangelistic meetings in the city of Falmouth.“For 60 years I have been in the dark,” he said. “When I went to the campaign, I heard the evangelist preach. My eyes were opened. The good news filled my heart. I found my church, and I am not leaving it!” The path toward baptism was not easy. Johnson decided to give his heart to Jesus at the start of the second week of the meetings. But the local senior pastor, Carlington Hylton, was uncertain if Johnson was ready. The two

spoke before the evangelistic meeting opened on a Sunday evening. “I went to the tent early, about 6:30, to get acquainted with the candidates presented by the Bible instructors,” Hylton said. “George was shown to me as a prospect sitting in the front seat of the tent, waiting for his baptism. I asked the Bible instructor if there was any discussion with him about his hair, and I was told, ‘No.’ ” Hylton spoke with Johnson about his religious beliefs.“I asked him if he was a Rastafarian or if his locks were just a hairstyle,” the pastor said. “He told me he was a Rastafarian and was hoping to go back to Africa, where his forefathers are from. He said that he had taken a Nazirite vow, and his hair was his covenant, and it should not be cut.” Hylton said he realized that Johnson needed more time. He assured Johnson that he was not being denied baptism,

But that same night, after listening to evangelist Livingston Burgess preach, Johnson went missing. He reappeared in line with the baptismal candidates. “Who is this man?” asked Clavour Tucker, a local pastor who had just led the candidates in completing their baptismal vows. “I didn’t recognize him, nor did anyone else,” Tucker said. “So I asked Elder Burgess to find out who he was. To our astonishment, it was George! He had gotten a haircut, a clean shave, and was ready for baptism.” He said the excitement grew under the tent as the audience realized what had happened, and many began to clap with joy. “We all couldn’t believe what had taken place,” Tucker said. “You see, at that time of the evening most barbershops are closed. But George found someone to cut off his dreadlocks just in time to be baptized.” Hylton said he was amazed, and his concerns were laid to rest.“There was nothing I could do. The man wanted Jesus so badly that he went and cut off his locks,” he said. “The cutting of the hair for me was a public statement that George may not know much, but he knew that God wanted him. I could not deny him baptism.” Johnson said in an interview that he had no regrets about giving up his hair.“When I listened to the sermon that Sunday night, I reflected that I had been in the dark all these years,” he said. “I couldn’t wait another day. I wanted to be baptized now. After hearing all that good news in the Bible, I realized that I needed Jesus now. That is why I cut off my hair.” n

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M e o l dy

M a s o n

WORLD REPORT

T

he church will be unlike any you have ever seen. Just steps from a fashionable shopping plaza in an affluent town near Washington, D.C., the Living Hope Seventh-day Adventist Community Church is taking shape under the curious eyes of neighbors in a gated community on one side and patrons of a country club with a golf course and bubbling fountains on the other. “The nice thing is that everybody who comes into this community will see this building,” said Teenie Finley, a lifestyle coach who with her husband, evangelist Mark Finley, are the originators of the project. “A woman already came by and said, ‘What’s going up here?’ when we put up the construction sign.” When Finley replied that the site would host a church and community center with healthy cooking classes, stress management courses, and Bible and archaeology seminars, the woman exclaimed, “I want to come to these classes!” But that’s not all that the church will offer. The community center on the first floor will also have a resource center where people can read books and watch DVDs about health, family, and the Bible. A prayer room will offer a quiet place for busy people to meditate on the things of eternity. A planned walking club will meet on some Sundays for a vegan buffet breakfast that might include oatmeal pancakes, blueberry-flaxseed pancakes, blackberry cobbler, French toast made with cashews instead of eggs, scrambled tofu, and fruit— enough variety, Finley said, to show that vegans are not limited by their plant-based diet. The meal will be followed by a short, Mark Finley-led

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Mark and Teenie Finley showing an architectural rendering of the church at the construction site, background.

Adventist Church of the

Future

Rises in Virginia Mark and Teenie Finley are involved in building a church that will be open seven days a week. By Andrew McChesney devotional and an outing on the 17 miles (27 kilometers) of walking trails near the church. Longer-term plans envisage possibly opening a juice bar and vegetarian sandwich shop at the shopping plaza and organizing Bible land tours of archaeological sites. “We see this as really making an impact in the community,” said Mark Finley, Teenie at his side, as he took Adventist World on a tour of the

Adventist World - nad | August 2015

construction site and surrounding community in Haymarket, Virginia. The church also promises to serve as a model for Adventist churches of the future. The Haymarket church also will function as an evangelism center, with the Finleys and the church’s pastor, Robert Banks, leading four- and eightday intensive training sessions for Adventist leaders and lay members once a month.


Sabbath services will be held in a second-floor sanctuary with seating for 225 to 250 people. An on-site media center will give the church the capability to broadcast, giving it an international reach. All About Community

The Adventist world church has placed an emphasis on making every Adventist church a community center over the past few years, with its leader, Ted N. C. Wilson, calling for comprehensive health ministry initiatives that meet people’s physical, spiritual, mental, and emotional needs. Some churches offer cooking classes and others have resource centers, but few have plans quite as ambitious as the Haymarket church. “We want our pastors and laypeople to see that churches have to engage in their communities,” said Mark Finley, an editor-at-large for the Adventist Review and Adventist World magazines. “The methods may be different in each community, but the principle is the same. You try to do everything you can to make an impact for Christ in that community, just as Jesus did.” Construction started this spring on the US$4 million building, a dream come true for the Finleys, who have preached and led health seminars in nearly 100 countries over the past half century. Both are now 70 and feel a responsibility to share what they have learned with the next generation of Adventists. “I know that 10 years from now I am not going to be able to jet all over the world, holding evangelistic meetings,” Mark Finley said. “So the question is: How do you pass on what you’ve learned in 48 years of evangelism? My desire is to pass on to others any skills, any gifts, any knowledge

that God has given me.” The church will function as their base. Slated to open in January 2016, the community center will be staffed by volunteers every day of the week.“Often churches are the least economically efficient buildings in the world because they’re open only once a week,” Teenie Finley said. “Our church will be open seven days a week.” This is not a case of “build it and they will come.” Although the Finleys keep a busy travel schedule, they also are deeply involved in the community. Mark Finley, for example, lectures on how to improve grades at a nearby community college. His last class was attended by 100 students. “It’s amazing,” he said. “We talk about the impact of vitamin B on the brain and the impact of a wholesome diet on the thinking process. We talk about exercise and adequate sleep and their impact on study. The students love it.” “A Project of Faith”

Teenie Finley was impressed to start the project after praying about the lack of an Adventist church in Haymarket, the Finleys’ hometown. One day, on her morning walk, she was surprised to see a sign on a grassy knoll reading “Future Church Site: For Sale or Lease.” She felt an overwhelming need to pray, and she began to pray daily over the sign, pleading with God that this would be the site of an Adventist church. Then one evening she told a layevangelism training seminar she was conducting that every church needed to be a training center. An attendee whom she had never met before pressed her for more information on the sidelines of the meeting. As she

spoke with him, she mentioned that she had found the future church site and that she wished she and her husband could open an evangelism training center there. The next day the attendee told her: “I went home last night and prayed about what you had told us about, and God impressed me to give you $50,000.” More donations flowed in as soon as the Finleys opened a special fund at the General Conference, the administrative body of the Adventist world church, to deposit the $50,000 and to seek God for further direction in the funding. One friend decided to contribute an additional $50,000, while another gave $7,000. The $107,000 was far from the required amount. But the Finleys took the unexpected seed money as an indication that they should move forward in faith. About the same time, Mark Finley and Tommie Thomas, an elder at the nearby Warrenton Adventist Church, approached the company that owned the church site and the surrounding community. To their surprise, the company offered them a better site. Teenie Finley had been praying at an undeveloped lot in a corner of the community, but the new site was located right in the heart of the community and boasted a parking lot and other amenities. Through a series of miracles, God provided the finances necessary to purchase the property and begin the building process, Mark Finley said. The last funds remain to be raised, but he expressed confidence that God would see the project through to the end. “This is a project of faith,” he said. “It’s a miracle.” n

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MISSION W O R L D V I S T A

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n last month’s World Vista column (“Called to Faithfulness: Now Is the Time” www.adventistworld. org/2015/july/called-to-faithfulnessnow-is-the-time.html), we looked at God’s call to faithfulness, faithfulness to Christ, to His Holy Word, to His church and prophetic movement, and much more. Jesus Christ is our role model and Savior. Through His righteousness and grace we can be faithful because He is faithful. Praise God He has called us to be a people, a church, with a mission. And what a wonderful mission it is, a mission to bring hope and healing to a dying world, a mission to proclaim the Three Angels’ Messages, a mission to share the wonderful news of Christ’s soon return. This divinely-appointed mission is the reason the Seventh-day Adventist Church exists, and it is a calling given to everyone—women and men, young people, children—regardless of age or gender.

Mission and Theology

Our unique, God-given mission springs from Revelation 14:6-12—the Three Angels’ Messages—God’s important messages for these last days of earth’s history. Some people may say these messages are politically incorrect and not advisable to preach. But I tell you that the Three Angels’ Messages are the most important messages to share. They are our theology and mission, and the reason for God’s wonderful remnant church. Seventhday Adventist theology and mission are inseparable. Everyone Is Needed

To reach the more than 7 billion people in the world for Christ and the important truths revealed in His

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By Ted N.C. Wilson

A

Faithful

Mission Answering the call Word, every Seventh-day Adventist is called to play an important part in God’s final mission of mercy to this dark world. We are told, “The light that God has given His people is not to be shut up within the churches that already know the truth. It is to be shed abroad into the dark places of the earth. Those who walk in the light as Christ is in the light will co-operate with the Saviour by revealing to others what He has revealed to them. . . . In the world today men and women are absorbed in the search for worldly gain and worldly pleasure. There are thousands upon thousands who give no time or thought to the salvation of the soul. The time has come when the message of Christ’s soon coming is to sound throughout the world. Unmistakable evidences point to the nearness of the end.”1 This work is not just for ordained ministers, but for everyone who believes and knows the truth. We are called to work together in fulfilling this important mission. Lay members are vitally important in carrying for-

Adventist World - nad | August 2015

ward the truth for this time. In your places of work, in social interactions, in your day-to-day activities, reveal the attractiveness of Christ and others will be drawn to know the source of your peace and happiness. Be willing to share the hope that is within you: the hope of Jesus’ soon return. We must remember that the ability to accomplish this work is not in human beings, or in programs or policies. The power and truth presented are found in the Word of God, in the Spirit of Prophecy, in earnest prayer, and in the Holy Spirit. “‘Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,’ says the Lord of hosts” (Zech. 4:6) Our biblical message unites us as a worldwide people and guards us from isolating ourselves from society and from each other. People of the Book

We are living in a time when many people do not want to hear the straight Word of God. They want to hear only what sounds good to them. Church members, preach the Word in


Live like the Lord is coming soon—because He is!

season and out of season. Live like the Lord is coming soon, because He is! We are to rely completely on the Lord and His precious Word. Let’s increase the understanding that we are “people of the Book,” accepting God’s precious Word with the clear hermeneutical understanding that we use the historical-biblical approach for interpreting its messages. We do not accept the historical-critical method, which places human interpretation above the Bible interpreting itself. As historicists, we believe that the Bible explains biblical prophecy with the understanding that the waymarks of history and the fulfillment of prophecy are clearly indicated and permeate history. We stand on the sure Word of prophecy. We also accept fully the wonderful counsels given to us through the writings of Ellen White. The Holy Word and the Spirit of Prophecy empower us to accomplish our great work in announcing Christ’s return. Agents for Christ

As ministers and lay members work hand in hand, let’s share this heavenly message in every way possible; through small groups, personal witnessing, public evangelism, publications, social media, and many other ways, including through the effective comprehensive health-ministry. Let’s prepare people for Christ’s soon coming by doing what God has asked, empowered, and equipped each of us to do. An amazing promise is found in Christ’s Object Lessons: “It is the privilege of every soul to be a living chan-

nel through which God can communicate to the world the treasures of His grace, the unsearchable riches of Christ. There is nothing that Christ desires so much as agents who will represent to the world His Spirit and character. There is nothing that the world needs so much as the manifestation through humanity of the Saviour’s love. All heaven is waiting for channels through which can be poured the holy oil to be a joy and blessing to human hearts” (p. 419, emphasis supplied). Challenging Times Ahead

As the conflict between truth and error intensifies, a shaking will take place in God’s church. Ellen White predicted, “As the storm approaches, a large class who have professed faith in the third angel’s message, but have not been sanctified through obedience to the truth, abandon their position and join the ranks of the opposition. By uniting with the world and partaking of its spirit, they have come to view matters in nearly the same light; and when the test is brought, they are prepared to choose the easy, popular side. . . . They become the most bitter enemies of their former brethren.”2 Those who hold fast to their Savior, and refuse to abandon the truths found in the Three Angels’ Messages, realize that they must perform their duty in presenting these messages and leave the results with God. With “faces lighted up” they will “hasten from place to place to proclaim the message from heaven. . . . Miracles will be wrought, the sick will be

healed, and signs and wonders will follow the believers. . . . Thus the inhabitants of the earth will be brought to take their stand. The message will be carried not so much by argument as by the deep conviction of the Spirit of God. . . . The rays of light penetrate everywhere, the truth is seen in its clearness, and the honest children of God sever the bands which have held them. . . . Notwithstanding the agencies combined against the truth, a large number take their stand upon the Lord’s side.”3 My brothers and sisters, this is the exciting future for which you and I are being empowered and equipped to finish God’s great work as we proclaim these mighty messages. Only by relying completely on Jesus and the power of the Holy Spirit will we be able to accomplish anything. God is preparing us for something unusual: the outpouring of the latter rain of the Holy Spirit. Mission-minded fellow believers, all heaven is waiting. Are we ready to answer heaven’s call? Are we willing to dedicate ourselves fully to the Lord and allow Him to work through us to reach those who are perishing? Jesus is coming soon! n 1 2 3

Testimonies for the Church, vol. 9, pp. 24, 25. The Great Controversy, p. 608. Ibid., p. 612.

Ted N.C. Wilson has

been president of the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists since 2010.

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NAD NEWS

NAME, ADDRESS, NEED (left): Triage nurses gather health information before patients receive care. OPEN WIDE (center): Dentists used lawn chairs in make-shift dental suites as they and their assistants treated patients. THE WORKERS ARE FEW (right): Dentists and dental hygienists worked 12-hour days to accommodate the needs of their patients. P HOTOS :

Because We

Care

■■ “Why are you doing this?” was a question heard repeatedly by many of the 600 people who stood in line to receive free medical, dental, vision, and other services during the two-day Arizona Sonshine event at the Prescott Valley Event Center June 17-18. The response: “Because we want to demonstrate to our community the love of Jesus!” The event was planned to coincide with the nine-day Arizona Conference camp meeting, held at nearby Camp Yavapines in Prescott, Arizona. Community outreach is always a feature of the camp meeting, but this year Steve Salsberry, a local pastor, had a bigger idea. He and his committee wanted to bring Jesus to the community in the form of free health care. In addition to

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medical care, participants were offered spiritual components such as counseling, literature, and an invitation to attend camp meeting and nearby Seventh-day Adventist churches. When Prescott Valley mayor Harvey C. Skoog toured the facility, he was overwhelmed by the generosity of those who volunteered free medical services to residents of his community. He immediately gave authorization to book the center for next year for an entire week at no charge. More than 200 volunteers made the event a success. Physicians, dentists, ophthalmologists, nurses, counselors, pastors, and others joined greeters, information gatherers, and other helpers who made the long wait seem worthwhile.

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A r i z o n a

C o n f e r e n c e

One resident brought her camping gear to stay overnight to be first in line. She said, “I don’t have insurance and cannot afford dental care. I need this help. And at no cost, I’m thrilled to be here.” A nearby hotel donated toothpaste and other toiletry items. One of the housekeepers at the hotel came for care. Her employer gave her two days off to complete her dental work. He said that next year the hotel would be available for accommodations and more free toiletries. The longest lines were for dental care. Dentists worked nearly 12 hours straight, and noted that they needed much more help. A dentist from Loma Linda University who worked at the event plans to bring a team from the dental school next year that will include dentists and dental technicians. Tony Anobile, Arizona Conference president, was thrilled with the success of the program and is eager to feature Arizona Sonshine at next year’s camp meeting. —Phil Draper, Arizona Conference


Ad a l b e r t o

G o m e z

RADIO MINISTRY: Leaders and participants in the newly-inaugurated Radio Adventista Los Angeles fill the stage at the White Memorial Church.

H e n r i q u e z

■■ It took six years of planning by Oscar Garcia, a pastor in the Southern California Conference (SCC), to create an online radio station. On April 11, more than 1,800 church members came together at the White Memorial church in Los Angeles to inaugurate Radio Adventista Los Angeles (RALA), an online radio station. Garcia and other leaders praised God that He had made it possible for this project to become a reality. RALA began in collaboration with the SCC Communication Department led by Betty Cooney, director; and supported by SCC Hispanic Region director Luis Peña. “As a result,” said Garcia, “the members who make up this region can have a radio station that will contribute to the preaching of the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ 24 hours a day. The station offers a variety of programming that will allow access for promotions of different programs for SCC Hispanic churches.” Adalberto Gomez, a pastor and former radio station manager from El Salvador, spoke during the inaugura-

tion. “In October 1998 I was notified that I would be the director of the Adventist radio station in El Salvador that was being installed at that very moment,” he said. “Three days later we began broadcasting with eight cassettes and seven CDs, for four hours a day only. It remained that way for several weeks, with very little equipment. A radio leader visited one day, wanting to know why we were among the most listened-to radio stations! He was surprised to see our limited equipment. God said, ‘Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, says the Lord of hosts’ (Zech. 4:6). With your help, Radio Adventista Los Angeles will be a powerful instrument in the hands of God.” A steering committee of 10 persons oversees the work and planning of RALA. Two dozen volunteers share their messages and music with joy as they are training and working as online broadcasters, publishers, and developers. These individuals devote their time to broadcasting online several hours a day. (Access the station at www.radioadvent istala.org and through the Adventist Radio Los Angeles App, which can be downloaded from iTunes and Play Store. “It is our prayer and vision that God will bless these efforts and that, in

F i d e l

Hispanics Inaugurate Radio Adventista Los Angeles

MAKING WAVES: Marcela Paniagua is one of two dozen volunteers for Radio Adventista Los Angeles.

the near future, we can also establish a broadcast radio frequency for the glory of God and to continue spreading the gospel of salvation,” said Garcia. “To be part of Radio Adventista Los Angeles is a great responsibility,” said Gloria Huerta, one of the station presenters and a collaborator on a nutrition and health program. “It is also a dream come true to have the opportunity to create your own niche and record programming not only for Adventist listeners, but for anyone tuning in to learn about healthy lifestyles, about the mercy and love of God and to reach out to anyone struggling with life’s issues.” Huerta’s presentations focus on mental health and healing. “Radio Adventista Los Angeles is a virtual radio station that was established with a dual purpose,” said Garcia. “The first purpose is to reach out to the Southern California Hispanic community with the good news of the gospel. Second, though, it will serve as the voice and the means of communication between the Hispanic Region and the 54 Spanish-speaking congregations here in Southern California.” —Betty Cooney and Myrna Garcia, Southern California Conference Continued on next page

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■■ Although she died in 1915, the transforming power of Ellen White’s writings and the impact of her ministry have created new hope for hundreds of thousands of Black Americans. During the agonizing pain of slavery, Ellen White, an abolitionist, wrote that God placed the same value on the colored slave as He did on the Hebrew slaves of biblical times and declared, “Let my people go!” From October 17 to 23, Oakwood University will celebrate 100 years of Ellen White’s enduring legacy. This celebration highlights more than the passing of an American humanitarian whose work has been legendary. Born November 26, 1827, in Gorham, Maine, her prophetic ministry spanned 70 years of American church history. Ellen White supported the brainstorm of her son, Edson White, who built a steamboat to sail the Mississippi River, teaching newly freed slaves to read through his Gospel Primer. Ellen White was also instrumental in the establishment of a school in

Adventist World - nad | August 2015

Z o e U n i v e r s i t y

■■ Eager to serve those who are homeless, Ocala Adventist youth sponsored Outreach Ocala one Sunday in March at the Tuscawilla Park pavilion. This outreach was promoted by Generation. Youth. Christ. (an Adventist-laymen’s Services & Industries ministry) to encourage other young people to spread the love of Jesus in their communities. The first 100 individuals at Ocala Outreach received a care package including: socks, soap, granola bars, a blanket, and three GLOW tracts. During the afternoon, 57 people received haircuts, 30 received massages, and nearly 100 enjoyed the meals provided. “Thank you for what you have done for us here today,” said one guest. “It means the world to us. I know the Lord will bless all your efforts.” Testimonies like this made worthwhile the efforts of organizer Gabriella Orta, and her co-planner, Shadai Perez. —Herb Pritchard, Ocala, Florida

Oakwood University Celebrates Ellen White’s Legacy

Huntsville, Alabama, to train Blacks to be gospel workers. Eight of the first 16 students at the school in Huntsville were graduates of Edson White’s Morning Star outreach. From those humble beginnings, gospel workers carrying out Christ’s Great Commission have served all around the world in the specialties of medicine, education, sciences, pastoral ministry, administration, business, law, and evangelism. Today, Oakwood University’s enrollment is approximately 2,000 students, with five established academic schools. The Ellen G. White Research Center, in conjunction with the School of Religion and Theology and the Oakwood University Church, will sponsor October’s Symposium on Social Justice. Some of the presenters will include Leslie Pollard, president of Oakwood University; Carlton Byrd, senior pastor of the Oakwood University church; and Mervyn Warren, a religion/theology professor at Oakwood University. —Jonathan A. Thompson, Ellen G. White Research Center, Oakwood University

Oa k w o o d

Florida Youth Catch the Vision to Serve

P HOTOS :

FOR THOSE WHO ARE HUNGRY (left): Amanda Raices (left), Gerimar Medina, Kaylee Asencio, and Rosmarie Orta were among the 30 young people who helped serve 100 meals at the Outreach Ocala event. JUST A TRIM (middle): Carol Claytor helped provide haircuts for 57 people. WITNESSING BY WORDS (right): Robert Kvetko (right) distributes religious literature to community members.

A r a u z

NAD NEWS

A LEGACY COMMEMORATED: Oakwood University, now a campus with nearly 2,000 students, was founded in part because of the influence of Ellen White.


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N A D U P D AT E

SONscreen Film Festival Celebrates Student Filmmakers By Communication staff, North American Division

M

ore than 145 student and professional Christian filmmakers participated in the 2015 SONscreen Film Festival held at La Sierra University (LSU) April 2-4. SONscreen has been celebrating creativity in film as it relates to spirituality since 2012. The Way a short-film produced by Walla Walla University student Erik Edstrom took home this year’s Sonny Award for Best in Festival. A modern, post-apocalyptic retelling of the biblical account of Paul’s conversion on the road to Damascus, The Way also won a Sonny for Best Dramatic Short. The 29-minute film, directed by Jesse Churchill, was produced entirely by Wall Walla University film students for an astonishing $600.

The other big winner at SONscreen 2015 was I Will Not Fear, produced by Mark Comberiate and directed by Nick Lindsey from Southern Adventist University (SAU). The documentary short follows Ed Rusk as he prepares to participate in an Ironman Triathlon in order to improve his health. Rusk faces a major challenge as he falls ill during the race. I Will Not Fear was honored with the Audience Choice Award and Best Documentary Short. Dillan Forsey won a Sonny for his cinematography on the film. The Sonny Award for Best Screenplay was awarded to director Kristi Ayon for Lord, Hear My Prayer, a film produced by students from Saddleback College in Mission Viejo, California. The film about domestic abuse

was the only award winner from a non-Adventist college. Tim Tram won Best Audio Design for his work on this dramatic short film. “It was an amazing experience to witness this incredible gathering of the most creative and talented visual storytellers,” said Julio C. Muñoz, director of the film festival. “The success of this year’s festival was possible only because of the strong foundation set by the previous three festival directors. I hope that SONscreen will continue to grow and demonstrate to young filmmaker that their talents and films are supported and needed by the Adventist Church and their communities.” Christoph Silber, award-winning screenwriter, director, and producer, kicked off SONscreen 2015 with a keynote presentation entitled “The Road Not Taken: Finding Success on the Narrow Path.” Silber, an adjunct professor of Film and Television Arts and script writing at LSU, has won an international Emmy and co-wrote The Trapp Family: A Life of Music, which is slated for theatrical release in December 2015 in the United States. Other Adventist professional filmmakers screened their recent projects

SONscreen Film Festival’s 2015 Sonny Award Winners Best in Festival | Erik Edstrom “The Way” Walla Walla University

Jury Selection | Mark Soderblom “The Pilot” Pacific Union College

Best Animated Short | Jason Dull “A Day With Granny” Southern Adventist University

Audience Choice Award Mark Comberiate, Nick Lindsay, Dillan Forsey “I Will Not Fear” Southern Adventist University

Best Dramatic Short | Erik Edstrom “The Way” Walla Walla University

Best High School Short Summer Medina “Just Milk” Redlands Adventist Academy

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Best Documentary Short Mark Comberiate “I Will Not Fear” Southern Adventist University

Adventist World - nad | August 2015

Best Screenplay | Kristi Ayon “Lord, Hear My Prayer” Saddleback College

Best Cinematography Dillan Forsey “I Will Not Fear” Southern Adventist University Best Sound Design | Tim Tran “Lord, Hear My Prayer” Saddleback College


for participants at the film festival. Jason Satterlund screened the awardwinning film he directed, The Record Keeper, a feature film based on Ellen G. White’s book The Great Controversy. Also screened was Old Fashioned, the faith-based romantic drama that recently earned nearly $2 million in theaters across the United States. The film was produced by several Christian filmmakers including Adventist filmmakers Nathan Nazario (lead producer), David George (director of cinematography and director of Southern Adventist University’s film program), Zack Gray (executive producer and film professor at SAU), Melody George (production designer), Rajeev Sigomoney (co-producer and head of Pacific Union College’s film program),

and the film’s writer, director, and star, Rik Swarzwelder, named Washington Adventist University’s 2015 Alumnus of the year. Film and television professionals representing the Adventist Church’s Hope Channel and Stimme der Hoffnung, the media center for the Adventist Church in Europe, also participated in the festival. Adrian Dure and Wolfgang Schick made a keynote presentation during a preview screening of Arnion, an innovative production based on the book of Revelation co-produced by media teams from Germany, Norway, and Novo Tempo, the Adventist Media Center in South America. The 2015 SONscreen festival also debuted its first Mini Movie Challenge

ALL YOUR MINISTRY NEEDS FROM

hosted by award-winning filmmaker Nathan DeWild. Participants had two hours to divide into film crews, conceive a story idea, write, film, and edit a two-minute film. The films were judged by a panel of professional filmmakers and screened on awards night. A record 41 selections of the 2015 SONscreen Film Festival were screened and judged by this year’s jury: Suzanne LeBrun, a teacher at Beltsville (Maryland) Adventist School; Dwayne Leslie, director of Legislative Affairs for the Adventist World Church; Tim Madding, lead pastor, Beltsville Adventist Church; Stephen Niver, writer/director/producer and member, Director’s Guild of America; and Jason Satterlund, director of The Record Keeper. n

AZ

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NAD PERSPECTIVE

fa m i ly

By Debbie Pinto

Prayers

The following letter was written by Debbie Pinto, incoming president of the Adventist Intercollegiate Association, a body that represents the student leaders of all the Seventh-day Adventist Colleges and Universities located in the North American Division. A recent series of tragic events, occurring on or near our Adventist campuses, caused Pinto to reflect on the need for corporate prayer as we lift up the students living, studying, playing, and worshipping in our schools. Pinto requested that we share this letter with readers of Adventist World, so we can join her in supporting our students in prayer as they enter a new school year.—Editors

Dear Church Family: At Oakwood University, across the street from the student center, is a newly planted tree. It was planted at sunset, on Sabbath, April 12, by student association leaders of 11 Adventist colleges and universities in North America. The students from each campus formed a circle next to the tree to pray for the families and friends of Union College, Walla Walla University, and Southern Adventist University. A student from Union College recently suffered a tragic gymnastic accident, but has given us hope through her recovery. Walla Walla University also faced tragedy when a student passed away in February from a fatal car accident. A student from Southern Adventist University passed away in March from natural causes. On May 22, a student from Pacific Union College died in another tragic accident. While these losses have brought unity to our campuses, we seek for unity in prayer from our church family. As the body of Christ, we have a responsibility to care for one another. We must pray that He continues to grow and guide our young adults who

will be our leaders in these final days. I’m writing to ask for your prayers. We’re tired of heartache. We’re tired of confusion. We’re tired of being paranoid about which campus will face the next tragedy. We desperately have to pray for the thousands of students who attend our schools. We desperately need to pray for the families who are missing their loved one at the dinner table. We desperately need to pray for the roommates, study groups, teachers, classmates, and so many more, because in the end these tragedies affect us all. The lives of those lost represent some of our most magnificent minds and beautiful personalities. And while we miss them, we have the wonderful hope that the next sight they see will be the glorious return of our Savior. I wonder if prayer for our universities and colleges has not been a priority. Ellen White wrote: “Unceasing prayer is the unbroken union of the soul with God, so that life from God flows into our life; and from our life, purity and holiness flow back to God” (Steps to Christ, p. 98). Students on our Adventist campuses want to be included in that “unbroken union.” Thank you to those who have been praying unceasingly, to those who will begin passionately praying for our schools, their students, staff, teachers, and administrators. My prayer is that our schools will experience greater peace and productivity because of our prayers. n

Debbie Pinto is president of the Adventist Intercollegiate Association.

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We need to be more attentive to needs so we formulate lasting friendships with newer or younger church members. —Sonia Gott, Maryville, Tennessee More Than Children’s Ministry

NAD Letters Arise, Shine, Jesus Is Coming!

Ted N. C. Wilson’s article “Arise, Shine, Jesus Is Coming!” (June 2015) was very inspiring. Thank you for publishing that message. I was concerned, however, about the picture on page 8 of Jesus at the door knocking with a solar disc above His head. Would He be pleased? Thank you for listening. Judi Knoefler Oregon The image you mention, from the Library of Congress, depicts a halo around Jesus’ head, designed to represent Christ’s holiness. We are glad you enjoyed the article. And we all look forward to the day Jesus returns! —Editors. Sabbath School Lessons

Julio C. Muñoz’s article “Finding Community, Diversity, and Acceptance” (May 2015) bothered me. The author writes that he doesn’t have time to study the Sabbath school lessons to teach for their Sabbath school class, yet he has time to watch movies that he shares with his class. Is this what we really want to share with our readers instead of the Word of God and the Spirit of Prophecy, which are being discussed in our Sabbath school lessons? Dan C. Loma Linda, California

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Lynetta Murdoch’s “A Ministry for Children and Their Parents” (May 2015) brought to mind those “days of early motherhood,” negotiating steps with a diaper bag, purse, and babe in arms to the mother’s room in the balcony. Although the room was wellfurnished, you have to wonder what the architect and design committee was thinking, for it certainly was not safety. This simple article really “struck a chord” with me. As a church, we spend thousands of dollars on evangelistic meetings yet lose those in our midst. The revolving door says we need to be more attentive to needs so we formulate lasting friendships with newer or younger church members that, in turn, speak volumes to the community. In losing young families, we are losing potential students to attend our church schools. If we don’t take care of families at church, what’s to make them think we’ll take care of them in our schools? If we offer assistance based on the needs of our own congregations, then possibly the community will hear and know “that we are Christians by our love.” After all, the young couple mentioned in the article left “the truth” for a church denomination that met their “needs.” Sonia Gott Maryville, Tennessee Ellen White Is . . .

I’ve wanted to write for quite some time about the way in which Ellen White is identified or referred to in some of the

Adventist World - nad | August 2015

The Inte rnationa l Paper f or Seven th-day A dventist s

Apr il 2015

BETWEE N

SADDUCEES & PHARISE

22 An Answ er for Nominating Commthe ittee

Angels at Work in South Afric

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Adventist World and Adventist Review articles. She is sometimes mentioned as “co-founder” of the church; or referred to merely as “White.” Why do we hesitate to identify her as the “messenger of the Lord?” I am glad to see the 2015 Discovering the Spirit of Prophecy series about her work and legacy referring to her as “God’s messenger.” This should happen more often, as she often identified herself as “messenger of the Lord.” Not too many years ago she was referred to as “Sister White” or “Ellen White.” Priscilla McNeily Collegedale, Tennessee Adventist World and Adventist Review magazines unequivocally support the identification of Ellen White as God’s messenger for His end-time church, evidenced by the regular appearance of selections of her writings in the pages of these two international magazines. Most references to Ellen White as “cofounder” of the church, or using the simple reference of “White” are in news articles, which use language more recognizable by those not familiar with her ministry and work. —Editors


W O R L D

H E A L T H

By Peter N. Landless

Comprehensive Health Ministry

We have been hearing more about “comprehensive health ministry.” Is this just another program or “buzzword”? Is anything really practical happening in the church and, more important, in local communities?

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omprehensive health ministry (CHM) is a term used to reflect and embrace in a more modern parlance the meaning of “medical missionary work,” a term used by Ellen G. White urging the church to engage in wholistic caring and healing. CHM includes not just health workers but also pastors, teachers, administrators, and every church member. When CHM is incorporated into the Mission to the Cities initiative, the result could be “the setting in operation of a mighty movement such as we have not yet witnessed.”1 A primary objective is to keep Jesus as our “pattern man” and to follow Christ’s method, ministry, and mission alone. As a world church program comprising numerous departments and administrators, CHM’s goal, by God’s grace, is to promote physical, mental, and spiritual well-being. It strives to model the self-sacrificial ministry of Christ in a broken world. What does comprehensive health ministry look like? This special initiative has four basic markers: When put into practice, it appears as if Jesus is among us! Those who are sick are cared for; those who are hungry are fed; those who are naked are clothed; sympathy, love, and inclusivity abound. It is not merely a method but rather a ministry and a mission, extending the healing ministry of Jesus Christ “to make people whole.”

It is concerned as much with wellness and wholeness as it is with the treatment of disease. Preventive lifestyle initiatives are vitally needed. The continuum of care addresses the whole person in every aspect, including physical, social, mental, and spiritual. All people seek wholistic health, even though sometimes they may not be fully aware that the ”void” that may exist is spiritual wholeness. There are many practical areas where this “commodity” of health—a common goal desired by all—can make the difference with youth, children, and adults of all ages, as well as in our various ministries and endeavors such as our education systems, chaplaincy programs, and development and relief initiatives. CHM does not belong to the Health Ministry Department; rather, it is a ministry and mission for every church worker and every church member. Our churches can become community health centers and provide instruction in balanced healthful living, cooking and nutrition, smoking cessation (Breathe-Free 2), and recovery ministry. They can run seminars that destigmatize mental health problems and help people better cope with depression and anxiety. The Adventist health message, when practiced with balance, has as many mental and emotional benefits as it does physical. Mega health events treating disease and providing dental and ophthalmic care have been run

P h o t o s : E a s t V e n e z u a U n i o n M i s s i o n / IA D , A D RA M y a n m a r , A D RA I n t e r n a t i o n a l

with great success in San Francisco and San Antonio in the United States, and Harare in Zimbabwe, with recipients viewing the gracious love of Jesus through the lens of His servants’ practice of selfless CHM. As every church member embraces comprehensive health ministry, every church may become a center for health promotion. We maintain relevance in our communities by practicing Christ’s method of mingling, sympathizing, meeting needs, winning confidence, and sharing timeless spiritual truths of salvation and eternal life. Our challenge to pastors, educators, health workers, and every church member is to get involved! And, oh yes, to even share the 2015 Mission Book, Health and Wellness: Secrets That Will Change Your Life.2 A United Ministry

My heartfelt appeal: We can’t do it alone. We need one another. We are all part of the body of Christ. As Paul stated: “For in fact the body is not one member but many” (1 Cor. 12:14). Together, and with God, we can! n 1 Ellen G. White, Medical Ministry (Mountain View, Calif.: Pacific Press Pub. Assn., 1932), p. 304. 2 Order at www.adventistbookcenter.com/health-wellnesssecrets-that-will-change-your-life.html, or contact your local conference, union, or division publishing department for more information.

Peter N. Landless, a board-certified nuclear cardiologist, is director of the General Conference Health Ministries Department.

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MISSION D E V O T I O N A L By Lowell C. Cooper

Time Is

Running Out

How will the work be finished? “Without Me you can do nothing” (John 15:5). Seventh-day Adventists are very conscious of living at the end of time. On the brink of eternity, we are absorbed with the shortness of time. Our speech and other communications are shaped by the conviction that the second coming of Jesus is imminent, and we have much work yet to do. How can we possibly get it all done?

chair. Living under a sense of urgency had so concentrated her attention on one thing that she overlooked another.

End-of-time Thinking Galvanizes Focus

How Does One Live in the “Last Days”?

A woman in her mid-30s arrived at the airport departure gate for her flight. She had come early and thus had time to relax and read her book. Several moments passed. Suddenly she leaped to her feet and exclaimed, “I left my phone in the car!” She glanced at her watch, threw her book and jacket on the chair, cried, “I’ll be back,” and headed down the corridor. Through the corridor, past security and check-in counters, out the door, across the road, and down the walk to the parking lot. At last she reached her car, grabbed the phone, slammed the door, and began the return journey. Gasping for breath, she arrived at the security line, the place where one experiences eternity in the present. Finally through security, she summoned her last energies and leaned in to a frantic dash for the boarding gate. Other passengers had already boarded. The agent stood ready to close the door and caught sight of this desperate person coming down the corridor. Without breaking stride, the passenger arrived at the boarding gate, grabbed her coat, presented her boarding pass, and headed on to the plane. She made it just in time—clutching her phone, purse, and jacket—but she had forgotten her book on the

What should be prioritized on a person’s or the church’s agenda at the end of time? How does a church live under the pressure of end-time thinking? The Gospel of John records a conversation between Jesus and His disciples when one might say Jesus was living in the “end of time.” Chapters 13-17 of John’s Gospel present a fascinating summary of this last meeting before the crucifixion of Jesus. He ate a meal with the disciples, washed their feet, spoke about His betrayal, reaffirmed that He had chosen them, gave a new commandment, described the work of the Holy Spirit, and used the vine and branches as a symbol of the relation between Him and His disciples. These words of Jesus were spoken to His disciples. However, down through history those who view themselves as His disciples have heard these words as though they were being addressed directly to themselves. I have often wondered why Jesus didn’t have much to say about finishing the work. One might have expected that His last discourse with those who would carry on His mission in this world would be about strategy and tasks. Why didn’t He talk about theological truth, organizational structure, strategic initiatives, and succession planning? With just a word or two He could have resolved doctrinal ques-

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tions that have created havoc among His followers for centuries. A paragraph or so about church structure and leadership would have been enormously helpful; perhaps an insight about the use of technology and social media. And how, with such a burgeoning world population, are His disciples then and now to reach all nations, cities, and people? The Primacy of Relationships

At this, His last opportunity to outline a strategic plan for mission, Jesus spends His time on relationships more so than on tasks. Many of us are task-oriented. We want a program, clear instructions, a time line, and specific performance targets. Instead Jesus says, “He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing” (John 15:5). A somewhat similar situation is recorded in the Old Testament. At the command of God, Moses led the people of Israel out of Egypt, through the sea, into the wilderness. Then He is summoned to meet with God on Mount Sinai. What Moses needs is an organizational chart and a strategic plan, a blueprint of how to get this undisciplined mob of slaves moving across the wilderness and into the Promised Land. He spends 40 days there on the mountain, enough time surely to get the priorities, technicalities, structures, and strategies sorted out. But instead He comes back to the people with a code of conduct and a diagram for a worship place. God doesn’t seem to be in much haste about getting to the Promised Land. His first priority is to create from this motley assortment of tribes a community that embodies the character of God Himself. He wants them to know Him and become like Him. The invitation to God’s people is to become a new kind of human community, not merely to accomplish some task. He seeks to create a people who will reflect His own character, people who “proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light” (1 Peter 2:9; see also Matt. 5:16). How Will the Work Get Finished?

During the early days of our service in India, the ministerial director convened a meeting of department leaders and pastors in the local field. At the end of a long day of presentations on various topics he suddenly announced that there would be a quiz. We were all rather surprised and not a little embarrassed, for we had not paid strict attention throughout the day.

The ministerial director went to the chalkboard and simply drew a few blanks and wrote a few words that looked like this:

_ will do the work if _ will fur nish the _. He asked us to fill in the blanks so that the completed sentence could serve as a reliable compass for our ministry. We were silent for some time. Slowly, tentatively, a few suggestions emerged. Ministers will do the work if church members will furnish the means. Lay members will do the work if pastors will furnish the training. The church will do the work if the conference will furnish the plans. We were serious about our suggestions. But after each proposal the ministerial director shook his head with obvious disappointment. “You are not getting it!” he declared. Some tense moments of silence passed. Finally he returned to the chalkboard, filled in the blanks and wrote the reference. “God will do the work if we will furnish Him the instruments.”* We were all in a teachable frame at that instant. Those last few minutes of a long day’s meeting have been etched indelibly on my mind. Effectiveness in ministry, in witnessing, is rooted in relationship more than in method or technique. I must not let the pressure of “finishing the work” divert my attention from the Lord of the work, the source of spiritual power for both my life and my work. n * Ellen G. White, Testimonies for the Church (Mountain View, Calif.: Pacific Press Pub. Assn., 1948), vol. 9, p. 107.

Lowell C. Cooper has served 16 years as a

general vice president for the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists.

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MISSION C o m m entar y

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n May 18, 2015, I read an article on the Web site of the Adventist Review entitled, “Zimbabwe: 30,000 Baptisms Expected in One Sabbath.” It reported about the plans of the church in Zimbabwe to baptize more than 30,000 people into the Seventh-day Adventist Church on one Sabbath. In 2014, while attending Annual Council meetings at the Seventh-day Adventist Church headquarters, I listened to reports of baptisms from different parts of the world. One African division leader reported that concurrent evangelistic meetings had resulted in 50,000 people being baptized in Uganda in one month. When we heard a report about Japan, the leader told us that Japan struggled with negative growth, meaning that not only did they not baptize, but that

they lost some members. Reports from Europe reported baptisms in the tens, not tens of thousands. Anthony Kent takes up their challenge on page 22 of this issue. When one reads about the impressive numerical growth in Africa, then hears about very low growth in other parts of the world, one is compelled to raise questions. Why is Africa responding in such powerful ways to the gospel? Are there cultural, sociological, historical, or even theological factors that could explain such a phenomenon? What does this kind of growth mean? What are the challenges that come with such rapid growth? And how can church leaders in Africa deal with these challenges? In this article I hope to respond to some of these questions. Reasons for Rapid Growth

Leading people to Christ is undoubtedly God’s work through the Holy Spirit. Yet there are factors that enhance the work of the Holy Spirit and make it easy for people to turn to God. The following are some of those factors, particularly in Africa: First, there are fewer pastors on the payroll in Africa, resulting in laypeople

Amazing

being active in ministry and church leadership. Many of these laypeople are passionate about soul winning and baptisms. My first pastoral assignment involved five congregations. I know of some who pastor as many as 35 congregations, with each congregation having as many as 300 people, or even more. This means that instead of having salaried pastors do ministry, ministry is done by laypeople. Second, public evangelistic meetings are big in Africa. It’s a continent where people still have time to attend meetings. This is not the case in Western countries, where time is money. One does not have to struggle to find an audience ready to listen in Africa. Many come to public meetings in droves, many are convicted by God’s Spirit, and many are baptized. Third, poverty and suffering are key factors that contribute to people in Africa turning to God for help. Many parts of Africa suffer from war, hardship, and poverty. There seems to be a direct link between being in need, experiencing suffering, and turning to God. In some parts of Africa, with less poverty and booming economies, growth is not reported in thousands

By Pardon K. Mwansa

Growth

What’s happening in Africa?

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There seems to be a direct link between being in need or experiencing suffering and turning to God. of people, as in those parts of Africa that are less developed. Fourth, new converts in Africa identify strongly with the mission of the church and want to witness to others about Adventism. When I became an Adventist, the first thing I wanted to do was to share with others the truths I had discovered. I remember conducting my first evangelistic meeting as soon as I became an Adventist. I was only 18 years old, and we baptized 35 people. Challenges of Rapid Growth

While rapid growth is great, it has its own challenges. Often new members are not adequately prepared to live and uphold the values that the Bible upholds. As a result, many of them leave the church within a short period of time, or just live a very nominal life that does not reflect true Adventism. Second, many times the rapid church growth is hindered because of lack of sufficient human resources, materials, and means to nurture and adequately establish the faith of those who have come in. In some instances there are not even church buildings in which people can gather every Sabbath for worship. Often divisions reporting high numbers in baptisms also report high numbers of church dropouts. Throughout the centuries challenges of rapid growth have been similar. The book of Acts reports in several places rapid growth, thousands joining the church, at times daily (Acts 2:41; 4:4). But with this report came challenges that the church faced. For example, in Acts 6 the leaders start to experience administrative problems that arise as a result of rapid growth. Acts 15 records a controversy that arose as a result of the church growing beyond the Jewish people into the Gentile community. Some believed and taught that circumcision was necessary for

salvation, while others did not think so. The apostles responded to these threats in many ways. We can note three responses: First, they established a governance system that included appointing local church elders as the shepherds of local congregations (Acts 6 and 14). Second, they wrote letters and highlighted God’s Word as the only foundation of truth, thus combating erroneous teachings. Finally, they trained young leaders who could help in teaching the truth by traveling from one region to another (e.g., Timothy and Titus). The challenges of rapid growth show up in the early Christian church in the fourth century. Prior to the Edict of Milan in A.D. 313, Christianity was illegal and unpopular. But following this edict, the state proclaimed that all religions should be tolerated. This made being a Christian easy and in some cases even attractive and fashionable. Historians have noted this: “The fourth century was a glorious period in Christian history. Great numbers of converts were made from all levels of society, Christian leaders advanced to prominent positions in society.”1 Sullivan, Harrison, and Sherman also report the consequences of such growth: “The avalanche (flood) of converts, no longer faced with the terrible possibility that baptism might spell martyrdom, diluted the spiritual fervor that had characterized the preConstantine Christian Community. Discipline within the growing Christian ranks became more difficult. Christian practices of worship and Christian doctrine were threatened with obliteration before the flood of Greco-Roman religious practices and ideas still held by many of the inadequately trained and spiritually lax converts.” They further state: “The influx of pagan ideas and practices generated numerous heresies that set

Christian against Christian in battles in which no quarter was given.”2 Possible Solutions to Challenges of Rapid Growth

There is nothing wrong with rapid growth. As a matter of fact, many of us would rather manage the challenges of rapid growth than little or no growth. The following are some suggested ways drawn from the Bible and experience in ministerial practice that have helped deal with challenges of rapid growth: 1. Focus on lay training: This would include training laypeople in areas such as church leadership and governance, church heritage and doctrines, and church growth. 2. Supply sufficient materials for nurturing of members: Reading of the Bible and other Christian literature has always helped nurture members. 3. Establish educational institutions in which young people are trained in divine things and nurtured in Christian faith. 4. Mobilize and engage all believers in ministry. Asymmetric growth is nothing new. Paul’s preaching at Athens was met with little success (Acts 17:16-34); yet in Berea, people listened and studied God’s Word eagerly (verses 10-12). When we preach the everlasting gospel faithfully, we can leave God to organize the harvest, whether plentiful or scarce. n 1 This and the following comments are based on R. E. Sullivan, J. Harrison, and D. Sherman, Short History of Western Civilization (New York: McGraw-Hill, 1993), p. 237. 2 Ibid., p. 238.

Pardon K. Mwansa,

originally from Zambia, serves as a general vice president for the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists. He lives with his wife, Judith, in Laurel, Maryland, United States.

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MISSION C over S tor y

S

even figures sat in dark shadows against the brick wall of the closed shopping center. Huddled in thin blankets they sought to stay warm in Zimbabwe’s chilly night air. “This is bad,” Nkosilathi Khumalo, a staff member with the Zimbabwe Union Conference’s communication department, said as he walked toward the group after an evening evangelistic meeting in an adjacent field. “We can’t leave them here all night. They are sick and will only grow worse in the cold.” The seven people had traveled several hundred miles in desperate hope of being first in line when a free clinic opened for its last full day in the shopping center in Chitungwiza, a city near Zimbabwe’s capital, Harare.

The two-week free clinic, organized by the Zimbabwe Union Conference to coincide with two weeks of evangelistic meetings by Adventist Church president Ted N. C. Wilson, had astonished the country and received wide coverage on national television and in newspapers. Waiting lines were common; they usually started to form around 3:00 a.m. Khumalo called over Innocent Gwizo, coordinator of the free clinic. They spoke with the waiting patients and telephoned the district’s Adventist pastor to see whether he could help. The next morning I found Gwizo in the shopping center’s packed central plaza, where more than 1,000 people were waiting for treatment. Gwizo, the Adventist Church’s director of

AIDS relief programs and health ministries in Zimbabwe, said the seven patients had slept in the pastor’s warm home and eaten a hot breakfast. All received free health care. Then Gwizo grabbed my arm, his eyes lighting up with joy.“You know,” he said, “one of the women asked me with great puzzlement this morning, ‘Why are Seventh-day Adventists doing this health expo? Why would you help so many people for free?’ I told her that we are only obeying Jesus.” But, Gwizo said, the woman persisted. “Other churches in Zimbabwe glorify their church leaders, but you Adventists are always talking about Jesus,” she said. “Why is that?” Gwizo told her simply: “We love Jesus.”

Zimbabwe Leads A mega free clinic promises to shape the Seventh-day Adventist Church’s work going forward.

By Andrew McChesney

COMING TOGETHER: On Sabbath, May 23, people gather for the inauguration of a new church building (left) constructed in Darby, Zimbabwe, in just one week. P HOTO : N k o s i l a t h i K h u m a lo


M c C h e s n e y A n d r e w

K h u m a l o N k o s i l at h i

the Way Health Is Part of the Gospel

The free clinic promises to shape the Seventh-day Adventist Church’s work going forward. A team of 550 volunteers ended up providing about US$2.5 million in basic health services to 34,513 patients at the event, one of several examples of how the Adventist Church sought to follow Jesus’ lead and care for people’s physical and spiritual needs during evangelistic meetings at 914 sites across Zimbabwe on May 17 to 30. About 30,000 people were baptized as a result of the outreach effort. “The Chitungwiza health expo has sent a message to the world that God’s plan to help people be balanced . . . physically, mentally, socially, and spiritually—is a powerful plan,” Wilson said as he thanked the volunteers during the last evangelistic meeting. Peter N. Landless, the Adventist world church’s top health officer and a board-certified nuclear cardiologist,

IN THE NAME OF THE FATHER (left): People being baptized in Bulawayo. LET THEM COME (right): Linda Sibanda, programs coordinator for the Chitungwiza free clinic (left), speaks with a 3-year-old boy waiting with his father for pediatric care.

said this was the first time he had seen a free clinic care for so many people on a sustained, daily basis. He suggested that it offered a model for the church to replicate elsewhere. “This has been a most amazing experience because it has shown you don’t have to have extravagant expos but you must have thorough expos,” Landless said in an interview only steps away from the entrance of the shopping center. “That’s what meets the needs of the people right at the grassroots level, and particularly here, where there has been a need for screening and basic health care. The needs have been met, and people have just rejoiced.” Gwizo himself had trouble fathoming the enormous impact that the free clinic had on Zimbabwe. “I have no doubt that the Lord did this expo,” Gwizo said after the event ended. “This was not a human program. This was God in action because, as director of

the expo, I am surprised by the results too. Nothing is impossible with God. We need to think outside the box.” The Adventist Church has sought to care for people’s physical and spiritual needs since its origins in 1863, but it has placed an increasing emphasis on blending the two in a “comprehensive health ministry” in the past five years. The first major free clinic treated about 3,000 people over three days in two California cities last year. It was followed by a three-day event that provided US$20 million in free health care to some 6,200 people in San Antonio, Texas, in April. The core medical team behind the Chitungwiza free clinic has organized a couple small, one-week free clinics in the country’s second-largest city, Bulawayo. But the potential of its work captured the attention of local church leaders this past September when it staged a three-week free clinic in Marange, a remote area in east

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Zimbabwe with no public health services nearby. While only five doctors, four nurses, and 36 other volunteers participated in the free clinic, it resulted in 220 baptisms and the establishment of 10 new churches in the area. Similar results could emerge from Chitungwiza’s free clinic, where scores of patients attended evangelistic meetings next door. Several are already preparing for baptism, including a former drug user who was forced by his wife to enter an intensive 10-day addictions recovery program. The wife marched her husband to the addictions recovery booth near the start of the free clinic and ordered him to stay there, Gwizo said. Organizers operated the addictions recovery program in a building near the free clinic, and people who sought assistance to overcome addictions to cocaine, marijuana, alcohol, and tobacco lived and ate with medical volunteers for 10 days. To enroll, patients were required to surrender their cash and cell phones. “The man says he is grateful that he is now free from addictions to drugs, beer, and tobacco, and will be baptized and become an Adventist,” Gwizo said. Twenty-four people finished the program and received certificates during a graduation ceremony attended by Dorcas Sithole, deputy director of the Zimbabwean government’s Mental Health Services. Four graduates gave speeches thanking the church. Sithole was so impressed with the program that she asked the church to showcase it at a nationally televised event to mark No Tobacco Day. Opening Other Doors

Other patients also expressed gratitude for their treatment, but perhaps among the most thankful were those who left cured of diabetes. Dr. Masima Mwazha, one of the members of the core medical team behind the free clinic, said he would long remember the joy of seeing people complete a

26

program in which they were fed a diet that reversed their conditions. Linda Sibanda, another member of the core medical team, said she was in awe that the free clinic had touched so many lives. “The Adventist Church will never be viewed the same in this country again,” she said. Patients aren’t the only people delighted with the free clinic, which leased vacant retail space in a halfdeserted shopping center. The shopping center’s other tenants, which include food stores and a pharmacy, saw sales soar. The only disappointed tenant was a dentist whose office couldn’t compete with the 30 dentists offering free services, said organizers of the free clinic. But the organizers found a way to make peace and leave the dentist beaming. The 30 free dentists referred all their patients to his office for follow-up work, and 200 to 300 of the several thousand dental patients were expected to end up paying for his services. The free clinic was not without its challenges. The biggest issue was the unexpectedly large turnout, which left organizers scrambling at times to find

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the finances to meet the demand. Even after the free clinic closed, major surgeries were continuing to be performed at the Chitungwiza Central Hospital as volunteer doctors worked through a backlog of patients who had been accepted for treatment. The US$25,000 needed to cover those surgeries was only raised later. Meanwhile, church members have been busy doing follow-up work with 49,784 contacts made at the free clinic. Every person will be visited at least three times by church members, and smaller health expos will be conducted in Chitungwiza churches to nurture them. In addition, the local Adventist Church was making use of its freshly burnished image to strengthen its collaborative relationship with government agencies and nongovernmental organizations. Zimbabwe’s vice president, Phekezela Mphoko, and health minister David Parirenyatwa praised the free clinic, and the government and various organizations have extended invitations to the church to partner with them on health issues. But the free clinic and the broader I M A G E s :

A n d r e w

M c C h e s n e y


FAREWELL (top left) Ted N. C. Wilson and Paul Ratsara wave goodbye to church members in Gweru on one stop of their itinerary of three Zimbabwean cities. RECONDITIONED: Paul Charles, communication director for the Southern Africa-Indian Ocean Division, tries out a bed at the ASI-refurbished ward at Harare Central Hospital. PACKED OUT (right, bottom left): Thousands of Adventists listen to Wilson speak at an athletic stadium in Bulawayo. evangelistic effort in Zimbabwe is only the beginning, said Paul Ratsara, president of the church’s Southern AfricaIndian Ocean Division, which includes Zimbabwe. Ratsara has actively encouraged comprehensive health ministry throughout the division, and his office covered a large part of the free clinic’s expenses, also stepping in when well-intentioned local organizers accepted more patients than they could afford. “This is not the end. This needs to be the beginning of the big effort,” Ratsara said. “Evangelism is not an event. It is a process and a way of life Once you are an Adventist, you are not only a disciple, you are a disciple maker.” n

Andrew McChesney is

news editor for Adventist World.

Many Projects, One Goal Thousands of people were baptized across Zimbabwe as one of the Seventhday Adventist Church’s biggest initiatives to share Jesus resulted in the unified efforts of many groups, including ASI, Light Bearers, and scores of church members who gave Bible studies. Baptismal numbers were trickling into the Zimbabwe Union Conference’s headquarters, but preliminary estimates indicated that church leaders had met their goal of baptizing 30,000 people in a country with more than 800,000 Adventist believers. Adventist Church president Ted N. C. Wilson declared that the church members who went door to door offering Bible studies were the real heroes. “What you have done in Chitungwiza is unbelievable,” Wilson told more than 1,000 people standing before him in a Chitungwiza field at Sabbath services. “I have preached the Word, but what you have done is more important,” Wilson said as about 35,000 worshippers listened. Church members descended on Chitungwiza about a month earlier to go door to door offering Voice of Prophecy Bible lessons provided by Light Bearers, a U.S.-based supporting Adventist ministry. About 9,000 lessons were circulated in Chitungwiza, and 5,043 people graduated, church leaders said. The Voice of Prophecy work carried out in Chitungwiza was replicated elsewhere. In addition, church members

led some 5,000 small-group Bible studies ahead of the two-week evangelistic meetings. Among the other events that drew people to the meetings: n An Adventist free clinic provided basic health care to 34,100 patients at a shopping center during the two weeks that Wilson spoke in a nearby field. n Adventists built a 200-seat church in just six days in Darby, Zimbabwe, and celebrated its inauguration with the baptism of 101 new members. n A groundbreaking ceremony for a US$100,000 Adventist school financed by the church’s Iowa-Missouri Conference was held in a district of Chitungwiza that lacks any schools. n ASI renovated a ward in the Harare Central Hospital. The value of the work was US$160,000, but actual costs were closer to US$40,000 thanks to the efforts of volunteers. The evangelistic meetings changed more than the lives of people in Zimbabwe. A record 30 young adults from the church’s Arkansas-Louisiana Conference were among the 77 non-Zimbabwean speakers who presented the ShareHim sermon series during the two weeks. Wilson wrapped up the meetings with a lightning trip between three cities, preaching to the crowd of about 35,000 people in Chitungwiza before hopping on a plane to speak to 20,000 in Gweru and 50,000 in Bulawayo.

— Andrew McChesney

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MISSION A N A L Y S I S

THE GLOBAL

CHURCH

Largest Countries With Little or No Adventist Presence*

Adventist to Population Ratio*

1:90

Oceania

North America

1. Afghanistan 2. Democratic People’s Republic of Korea 3. Syrian Arab Republic 4. Somalia

1:142

1:132

South America

Africa

1:160

1:975 Europe

5. State of Palestine

Ratio of Adventists to Non-Adventists, 10/40 Window*

Asia

1:1,236

The 10/40 window refers to regions of the Eastern and Western Hemispheres between 10 and 40 degrees north of the equator. Roughly two thirds of the world population lives here, and most of them practice Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, animism, or atheism. Many governments formally or informally oppose Christian work of any kind within their borders.

1:157

Outside 10/40 window

Inside 10/40 window

1:1,654 *As of December 2012 Source: General Conference Office of Archives, Statistics, and Research


S P I R I T

O F

P R O P H E C Y

Humanity must touch humanity. By Ellen G. White

Go Forth!

Tell others of redemption.

G

od could have sent angels to work for the reformation of man, but He did not do this. Humanity must touch humanity. The church is the Lord’s instrumentality. He works through those that are willing to be worked. If the church had cherished a sense of her accountability, fervent, earnest messengers would have carried the truth to countries far and near. God’s living Word would have been preached in every corner of the earth. What was Christ’s last commission to His disciples before He left them? Lifting up His hands, He blessed them, and said, “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.” . . . Christ’s commission is to be received and acted upon. We are to go forth in faith, with earnest prayer for the promise of One who has said, “Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world.” With the promise of such companionship, we are guilty of great unbelief and disobedience if we refuse to take up the cross of selfdenial and self-sacrifice.

God Uses the Teachable

The words, “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature,” are spoken to every individual. We may be adapted for different branches of the work; but while we do our part unselfishly, we are obeying the command. Do we search the precious Word of God interestedly, that we may say, “The entrance of thy words giveth light; it giveth understanding unto the simple,” not to men and women of weak intellect, but to those who cherish simplicity of heart and mind, who are willing to be taught by the Holy Spirit, that they may know how to open the Word of life to others? As we communicate the light that has found entrance to our souls, the Holy Spirit gives increased light, and our hearts are filled with the precious joy of the Lord. . . . God will use humble men [and women] as His instruments. Even though they have but one talent, if they trade upon it, it will increase. The great fault in the church is that the work of saving souls is so limited that

the advancement of the kingdom of God is slow. A backslidden church is the sure result of a selfish church—a church that does not use her talents in cooperating with Jesus to restore the image of God in men. We are to minister to every creature. A responsibility is laid upon us to work for all—our friends, our acquaintances, those who are bound up with the world and alienated from God. The apparently amiable and agreeable are to come into the sphere of our labors. The truth is for them as much as for us, and we must say, “Come.” God has entrusted the knowledge of the truth of redemption to every converted soul, and this knowledge is to be given to others. With a tender, sympathetic heart, tell them of the great truth of redemption. If we are in earnest, we can and will so speak that all will see that we have the love of the truth in our hearts. The frivolity and love of amusement that we encounter may chill our soul, but it will not silence the message we bear as Christ’s witnesses. And each soul saved will save other souls; for those who are truly converted will realize that they are the depositaries of sacred trusts. What rich blessings will follow pure, consecrated effort, the worker depending on God to give the increase! n This is taken from the article “Christ’s Commission,” published in Review and Herald, April 26, 1898. Seventh-day Adventists believe that Ellen G. White (1827-1915) exercised the biblical gift of prophecy during more than 70 years of public ministry.

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MISSION C H A L L E N G E

Evangelism

By Anthony Kent

Beyond the Numbers

When challenge is the norm

A

s soon as the appeal began, responders came running down the slopes of the hill. Their faces were smiling, eager and alert; they were excited! Their response continued, a steady stream of people moving down the hill into the open area in front of the stage. These candidates had received Bible studies from a team of pastors, elders, and other qualified instructors. They had just heard the last sermon of an evangelistic series. They had come prepared, dressed and ready for their baptism: women in white robes or dresses, men in white shirts and dark trousers. This was one altar call that was difficult to conclude. People simply kept on coming, until 2,495 of them had come forward for baptism. We baptized them in a nearby Olympic-sized swimming pool, 36 pastors officiating at one end of the pool and another 20 pastors at the other. Two long, patient lines of candidates—one of women, the other of men—streamed into the pool in careful order, for 56 pastors baptizing in unison. Twenty years later Oscar Osindo, my interpreter for these evangelistic meetings, still beamed with joy as we allowed these wonderful memories to wash over us.

The Difficult Places

But Uhuru Park, central Nairobi, Kenya, is not evangelism’s only locale, or its only kind of result. In many regions of the world, sharing the gospel is a formidable challenge. In rural, secular Australia, where I ministered for years as a pastor and evangelist, where the population is sparse and where people are not easily persuaded, leading a person to Jesus and into the Seventh-day Adventist Church is no walk in the park. Large numbers being baptized remains an illusive dream rather than a fond memory. And Australia is not unique. Vast areas of Europe, North Africa, West Africa, Asia, and the United Kingdom are difficult to evangelize. Mere mention of the much-cited 10/40 window evokes mental imagery of evangelistic hardship.

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And while the United States has its God-centered “Bible Belt,” not all of North America fits that characterization. Indeed, difficult is the norm in many places on our planet. Difficult Is Not New

This is neither new, nor peculiar to our era. Even Jesus, who was lovely in every way, dramatically anointed by the Holy Spirit at His baptism, dedicated to prayer, free of all spiritual, personality, and character ART :

“ T h e

S t o n i n g

o f

S t e p h e n ”

b y

J u a n

d e

J u a n e s


defects and disorders, faced rejection during His evangelistic efforts. Luke 9:52, 53 provides us with a glimpse of some of the resistance He endured: “And he sent messengers on ahead, who went into a Samaritan village to get things ready for him; but the people there did not welcome him” (NIV). Opposition wasn’t confined to Samaritans. The people of Jesus’ hometown of Nazareth gave Him a memorably toxic send-off: “And they got up and drove Him out of the city, and led Him to the brow of the hill on which their city had been built, in order to throw Him down the cliff ” (Luke 4:29, NASB).1 This is hardly hometown hero adulation. True, Jerusalem was at times responsive: at Jesus’ triumphal entry, when Peter and others preached on the day of Pentecost, following the healing of a crippled beggar at the Temple’s Gate Beautiful. Crowds raced to see the healed man and to listen to Peter proclaim the message of Jesus (Acts 3). But these exceptional instances contrast with Jesus’ lament “Jerusalem, Jerusalem . . . how many times I yearned to gather your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, but you were unwilling” (Luke 13:34, NAB)!2 Jerusalem is the city where He was crucified. Stephen had his evangelistic meeting in Jerusalem conclude in less-than-ideal circumstances. For this man described as “a man full of faith and the Holy Spirit” (Acts 6:5) there was no parade of baptismal candidates. Instead there was an evangelist’s funeral. Then there was Saul, later called Paul, specifically selected and identified by the ascended Jesus as “a chosen vessel of Mine to bear My name before Gentiles, kings, and the children of Israel” (Acts 9:15). Yet Paul encountered enormous opposition during his evangelistic ministry, especially in Jerusalem. Not all of his evangelistic endeavors were stellar numerical successes. What then of those today who attempt to evangelize less-receptive hearts and regions—how should we regard them, their efforts, and their ministry? How easy it is to conclude that some evangelists simply don’t pray earnestly enough; or that God, for some reason, is not with their effort! How easy to question the motives or character of speakers or leaders when the baptismal numbers are unimpressive. Some may blame a poor work ethic or substandard technique, or even some hidden, scandalous, secret sin inhibiting the work of the Holy Spirit. From my observations these seldom have their basis in reality. So many people who positively share the good news about Jesus are inspirational, loving, and lovable Christians. They are faithfully living and sharing the Word. And the size of their harvest is not much different from that of the perfect Jesus and the amazing apostle Paul in many places.

Some people and communities are more receptive to the gospel than others. Jesus had more success at the Samaritan village of Sychar (John 4) than He did at the unnamed Samaritan village described in Luke 9. Similarly, the Bereans of Acts 17 were more nobly attentive to Paul and his message than were some of his other audiences. And because we don’t dare question the spiritual qualities of Jesus and Paul when we read of their evangelistic disappointments, we need to extend the same charitable attitude to those dedicated, faithful, and gifted workers of today who labor in fields full of thorns and stony ground. Why aim our weapons of criticism and condemnation on these messengers of God, particularly at their backs! Responding to the Challenge

So what should we do in those tough and difficult regions? Ellen White urges us to be “the most unflinching” where Jesus is most despised; “to fight the battles of the Lord when champions are few—this will be our test.”3 There is much that we can do, especially, as this quotation points out, in terms of spirit and attitudes. We must persevere; we must continue praying; and we have to keep dreaming and believing. Knowing that Jesus’ blood was shed for the stubborn as much as for the willing; treasuring memories of God’s past miracles of conversion; harboring His promises for the future; savoring His presence with us always (Matt. 28:20)—all these will kindle warm hope within! Moreover, let’s dare to experiment. Jesus can give us new bottles filled with new wine of wisdom. Then we can pour out its refreshment for the surprise and spiritual gratification of gospel-thirsty men and women. Beyond this, however challenging the circumstances, nothing must dampen the eagerness of our search for opportunities to witness. We may ever be privileged to hear the voice of the Holy Spirit’s whisper in our ear, “This is the way” (Isa. 30:21). Focus on Jesus: His life, grace, message, ministry, and faith! And know that ultimately, Jesus wins! n 1 Scripture

quotations marked NASB are from the New American Standard Bible, copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. 2 Scripture texts credited to NAB are from The New American Bible, copyright © 1970 by the Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Washington, D.C., and are used by permission of copyright owner. All rights reserved. 3 Ellen G. White, Testimonies for the Church (Mountain View, Calif.: Pacific Press Pub. Assn., 1948), vol. 5, p. 136.

Anthony Kent, a General Conference

associate Ministerial Association secretary, loves to witness for Jesus, regardless of the circumstances.

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MISSION M I N D S E T

W

hen I see the world around me, I often wonder how people will be able to catch a glimpse of Jesus or make a decision to follow God. Increasingly secularism, political agendas, and competing spiritualties seem to silence the voice of God calling people to “come, and follow me.” Those around us need to know God and His love, and need to understand Jesus’ sacrifice and message. How can we be more like Jesus in order to reveal Him to others in our neighborhoods, or to the billions from other religions who don’t yet know Him? Jesus’ life is an example of beauty and simplicity that has power to guide our mission today. Lessons from the incarnational ministry of Jesus are an antidote for busy and often distracted disciples.

Incarnation and Mission

Two names stick out in the angel’s message to Joseph: Jesus was to be His name (and a fact, for Yahweh would save); Immanuel was His mission, for Immanuel means “God with us” (Matt. 1:23). The mystery of the Incarnation cannot be underestimated. There was a tremendous sense of expectancy at the time of Christ’s birth. Messianic expectation was the buzzword of the time. Daniel’s prophecies were highly regarded in Judaism, affirming the arrival time of the new king. Jews expected a deliverer who would free them from the hated Romans. Messiah would be a liberator. But first century A.D. Jews did not get what they expected. What they actually saw was a picture of God completely different from anything they expected. Consequently, they did not recognize the Messiah when He came. Even today it’s important to pay attention to Christ’s incarnation. In fact, six essential characteristics of the Incarnation provide a solid foundation for mission. 1. God came down: God condescended to be with us; He became human. In so doing, Jesus presents a different picture of God, a God who is interested in us and whose love for His creation drives Him to be with us. In Eden, before the Fall, God had fellowshipped personally with His creation. After the Fall, while direct interaction of God with humanity happened at key moments, God interacted primarily through providence and revelation, but rarely face to face. The sanctuary was provided as a picture of God’s love and plan of salvation; but even that was an inadequate

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Real World

Gospel Christ’s incarnational mission By Rick Mc Edward

substitute. The Incarnation demonstrates what “God with us” truly means. 2. God made Himself nothing: I never got this one. Remember Paul speaking about Christ, “who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness” (Phil. 2:6, 7)? God not only stepped down to be human, He chose to be born in poverty, to take the role of a servant. He made Himself nothing for us. Jesus later clarified that He had not come to be served, “but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Mark 10:45). That caught many by surprise. People expected a conqueror; instead they got a servant. This led to His summary rejection by many. 3. He identified with us: Jesus lived everyday life as a real person, and experienced the same limitations we feel today. He felt grief and joy, knew hunger and sleeplessness, experienced friendship and rejection. Christ had to get dressed, take baths, and deal with cuts and bruises.


Lessons from the incarnational ministry of Jesus are an antidote for busy and often distracted disciples. First century A.D. Palestine had mosquitoes, flies, and roaches; Jesus had to deal with them and other unsavory realities of life. Jesus was fully human. His incarnation demonstrated to the universe a God who so identified with creation that He became one with us. Jesus also identified with His own culture. He was born in a Jewish home; He went through Jewish rites of passage. In growing up, He learned the ways of life and practiced the culture of His Jewish ancestry. He extended Himself to learn an earthly culture in order to reveal God’s love to those whom God had chosen to receive His revelation. 4. Jesus came as a baby: He came to earth as a learner, not an expert. Christ was the God-man. If ever there was a rationale for someone to present himself as having all of life’s pieces figured out, Jesus could have done it. Jesus chose to come as an infant and experience childhood, and grow into adulthood. He did not have to be a learner, but He humbled Himself from the standpoint of heaven in order to be relevant to a world that, unfortunately, was not ready to receive Him. 5. Jesus touched the physical needs of people before their spiritual ones: An incarnational presence would not be complete without meeting the real needs of people. Jesus understood their hunger and thirst. He healed their diseases. He touched them, cast out demons, and performed miracles. Jesus displayed compassion for people at the level of their physical and emotional pain. You remember Ellen White’s famous quote: “Christ’s method alone will give true success in reaching the people. The Savior mingled with men as one who desired their good. He showed His sympathy for them, ministered to their needs, and won their confidence. Then He bade them, ‘Follow Me.’ . . . The poor are to be relieved, the sick cared for, the sorrowing and the bereaved comforted, the ignorant instructed, the inexperienced counseled.”* 6. When He spoke, Jesus talked in ways that could be understood: He told stories, parables, and proverbs. He related to people in ways of familiarity. He used images from agriculture and other walks of life that were familiar to people living in the first century A.D. He told stories about shepherds, stewards, and bosses. In each of the stories Jesus communicated important truth in ways His audience could grasp. Jesus met people where they were. He practiced the discipline of communicating eternal truths based on His hearers’ readiness to receive. Jesus wanted His message to be heard, so He used everyday experiences familiar to those listening.

His Mission and Ours

With a great passion for humanity, Jesus gave it all up. Consider what Jesus lost in coming to this earth. Think about the heavenly courts, the peace of dwelling in the divine throne room, the magnificent angel choruses, the beauty and splendor and majesty of the Father’s presence. This was all part of His routine. He was protected from privations, disease, and consequences of living on a fallen planet. He had perfect communion with the Father and the Holy Spirit; millions of angels stood ready to serve His every needs. Could Christ, the Son of God, have accomplished this phase of the plan of salvation from heaven? No He could not. His Incarnation could not be a celestial pose. The road to our salvation involved poverty, danger, and the earthy smells of an animal shelter full of dung and flies. The sights, sounds, and smells of real life were all around Him. What an uncomfortable entrance this must have been for the King of the universe. I wonder if Jesus ever hit His thumb with a hammer while working in Joseph’s carpenter’s shop. I wonder about His boyhood and the hustle and bustle of His neighborhood in Nazareth. As an adult He had no job; He never married; and He was homeless. He wandered with His followers from place to place, at times all night outside under the starlit countryside of Palestine. Yet all these disadvantages could not dampen His love for us. He literally gave up everything in order to save us. Jesus relinquished Himself to a criminal’s death for the twofold purpose of revealing, on a grand scale, His love for us in order to stand in our place and consummate the plan of salvation that had been under way already for thousands of years. His mission was selfless. He suffered as a human, He was tempted as a human, and He lived without sin or compromise. How would our mission change if we took this incarnational approach? n * Ellen G. White, The Ministry of Healing (Mountain View, Calif.: Pacific Press Pub. Assn., 1905), p. 143.

Rick McEdward is director of the Global Mission Centers at the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists and lives with his wife, Marcia, in Laurel, Maryland, United States. August 2015 | Adventist World - nad

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MISSION T E S T I M O N Y Author Nozomi, seated extreme left, with families from her “Mommy and Me” class. Her husband, Dr. Shishin Miyagi, is seated next to her.

for romantic miracles. It is seen as a time to spend with one’s boyfriend or girlfriend in a romantic setting.

Witnessing With

Relationships Everyone can share their faith By Nozomi Miyagi

I

n the summer of 2013 we arrived in Guam, where my husband would serve as missionary physician at the Guam Seventh-day Adventist Clinic. Guam is the largest of the Mariana Islands in the northern Pacific Ocean, surrounded by beautiful beaches and blue sky. I wondered what I could do to minister to people here as a stay-athome mother.

Finding My Witness

As I observed the island’s history and culture and the needs of the people, praying and asking God for help, I was convinced that I should use my Japanese background to reach people around me. Of the more than 1 million tourists who come to Guam every year, approximately 70 percent are Japanese. Besides this, many Japanese live here, and work for the tourist industry. I found that mothers of younger kids are particularly easy to reach, since I also have three small children. I decided to open my house every Tuesday morning and hold a Mommy and Me class. The format is almost like a little toddlers Sabbath school, consisting P h o t o : N o z o m i M i ya g i

of singing traditional Japanese songs, sharing a story, and learning letters and colors. Then we eat lunch together. At first I did not mention that I was a Christian, but soon participants started to realize that my family is different. They asked: “Why doesn’t your family eat meat?” “Why do you go to church on Saturday?” “Why do your kids pray before they eat?” Each time they asked, I had an opportunity to tell them about my faith and beliefs. One day I read them a book about the true meaning of Christmas. One mother came to me and said, “This was the first time I’ve understood the true meaning of Christmas!” Christmas in Japan is quite different from Christmas celebrated in countries with a Christian heritage or a large percentage of Christians. Only 0.5 percent of the Japanese population is estimated to be Christian, with the majority of Japanese being tolerant of all faiths: Buddhism, Christianity, Shinto, etc. But Japanese are great lovers of festivals and celebrations, including Christmas. Christmas Eve has been hyped by the media as a time

Going Further

As I became more comfortable sharing my faith, I invited my group to my church’s cradle roll Sabbath school class. To my surprise, they accepted my invitation. Though it was their first time coming, they felt comfortable and enjoyed the class. After all, it was just like their regular Mommy and Me class. Most of the mothers ended up staying for the church service and the potluck. Since then many of them have been coming to church on a regular basis. I thank God for giving me this opportunity to share my faith. I pray that my friends will continue attending church and eventually accept Jesus as their Savior. Jesus says, “You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain” (John 15:16). Every one of us has been appointed to do something for God: full-time workers, students, people between jobs, retired, or even stay-athome mothers like me. God has chosen us to go and bear good fruit, and reach people around us for Christ. n

Nozomi Miyagi earned

her religion degree from Andrews University in 2005. She serves with her missionary doctor husband, Shishin, in Guam, Micronesia, and is involved in women’s ministries.

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N A D F E AT U R E

Breaking By Odette Ferreira

Barriers

Studying abroad is a gateway experience in so many ways

T

he expression “breaking barriers� is so frequently used in religious, social, and academic circles that at some point it may start losing its powerful impact. However, not many other expressions emphasize the urgent need of building bridges among human beings in this dangerously fractured world. Better

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communication and deeper caring is doubtless part of the solution. Adventist Colleges Abroad (ACA) exists to break barriers and build bridges through study abroad. More Necessary Than Ever

How will new generations cope with the constant changes brought

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about by the reality of an evershrinking world? People live side by side, from all parts of the planet, bringing with them not only different languages, but also, and often, opposite ways of thinking and acting. We must not be content to only observe the changes around us, we must insist that better ways of understanding ALL

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OFF TO THE RACES: Students from Sagunto, Spain, enjoy riding camels on a cultural trip to Morocco, North Africa.

and communication are necessary. In this cross-cultural era, so many opportunities have been and will continue to be lost because of a lack of global sensitivity. Barriers often develop because of semantics. But their roots run much deeper than simple linguistic miscommunication, even though language is the main component in understanding one another. Those barriers have to be lifted if we are going to live together and function competently in this multicultural society, and even the church. And the effort has to be mutual.

As a language and culture consortium of the North American Division (NAD) and its universities, the mission of ACA is to encourage students to acquire fluency in foreign languages, but also to help them embrace differences and acknowledge that “different” does not necessarily connote “better” or “worse.” Things do not always have to be exactly the same to be acceptable and even appreciated. We are all God’s children, and we have to learn to understand and love one another in a better, more spontaneous way. ACA’s invitation is: “Come, see the world with us. Learn how to live in it.” It completes our ACA motto: “Adventist Colleges Abroad: Learning without borders.” ACA is a great asset in Adventist higher education, and it deserves its place in it. ACA recently celebrated 50 years of its program at Collonges, France; 40 years at Sagunto College, Spain; and 20 years at River Plate University (UAP), Argentina. Over the years, thousands of students have participated in these programs, which offer, besides the curriculum in culture and modern languages, other components such as Art, Music, Religion, even biblical Hebrew. Various languages are offered, such as Spanish, (UAP, Argentina, and Sagunto College, Spain); German (Bogenhofen, Austria, and Friedensau, Germany); Portuguese (Brazil Adventist University, Brazil); French (Collonges, France); Italian (Villa Aurora, Italy); Arabic (Middle East University, Lebanon); Chinese (Hong Kong Adventist College, China); Hebrew (Jerusalem Study Center, Israel); Russian (Ukrainian Adventist Center of Higher Education, Bucha, Ukraine); and even a program without the foreign language component but with a

wealth of cultural information—Literature, History, Music, Religion, and Business—at Newbold College of Higher Education, England. Many students complete their requirements for language majors and minors during their year abroad, as well as combined majors in other courses. A growing numbers of students are getting minors in Art through our Italian program. The good news is that they receive financial aid as if they were studying in the United States. Get An Education, See the World

ACA cultural tours are part of the academic requirements, and a lot of traveling and cross-cultural experience adds to the wonderful adventure of studying abroad. From Argentina to France and Hong Kong, from Austria to England, from Brazil to Spain and Germany, from Lebanon to Ukraine, from Israel to Italy, the choices are numerous and each one more exciting than the last. ACA is a passport to the world, and former students claim it was the most impressive event in their lives, ever. Those feeling are transparent in the quarterly anonymous evaluations. Students write about the wonder of learning about the world at large, the wonders of God’s creation, the glories of diversity, of differences embraced with loving care. The programs have strong spiritual components, and we often read phrases like: “I met God in Argentina,” “I grew so much spiritually,” or “I felt so close to God.” About 40 percent of ACA students go on to work for the church or related organizations, as they bring their linguistic and crosscultural skills to God’s service. A number of ACA alumni have also

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PARTNERS IN EDUCATION (above): ACA students and staff gather for a photograph near the end of their time together. AHEAD OF THEIR CLASS (right): These graduates from Pacific Union College wear sashes indicating that they are proficent in a second language after studying abroad during their college/university experience.

served at the United Nations and other international organizations. Study abroad is a key for opening doors in modern society, both academically and professionally. Many of our students have opportunities to do internships while abroad, which contribute to their professional success in the future. The new generation will better know how to cope with changes in society at large because they have been made aware of its changes as they are happening. Speaking a second language helps develop an area of the brain that would otherwise remain untouched. Multilingual skills are proven to avoid or delay Alzheimer’s disease, to help develop self-assurance, the capacity of coping in emergencies, cultivate decision-making skills, and many others. In the last few years, our American ALL

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universities, which are very supportive of these programs, have founded a new tradition by having ACA students march during graduation with the ACA sashes (a process started by La Sierra University), the colors of their home university, the ACA logo and the flag(s) of the country/countries where they studied abroad. It is a wonderful addition to their regalia and it calls attention to the possibility of adding this great academic, spiritual, and cultural dimension to their American curriculum. The thousands of students and professionals who have lived the ACA experience associate it with academic and professional success. For example, if two young people apply for the same job, one of them fluent in Spanish after having studied abroad, the one who studied abroad will be given a job almost 100 percent of the time.

And that applies to all the other languages and international experiences. The new generation can and will understand this need better than any others before as the world becomes a more complicated place in terms of understanding one another and living together. Young people will implement this better than their elders, benefitting themselves, the wider society, and our multicultural church. ACA provides tools for the experience of a lifetime. Speaking to be Understood

Before the Tower of Babel, the world started with one language. It will end with one language: the language of love, the language of heaven. In the meantime we have to continue the mission given by Jesus to spread this gospel to all parts of the world. Communication skills and cultural

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awareness are necessary ingredients to accomplish that enormous task. ACA can and will help prepare our young people for that privileged task. As an ACA student said after he came back home from Spain: “What can be better than ACA? You learn so much about different cultures; you become fluent in foreign languages; you travel the world as a part of your program and tuition; you have fun; you get closer to God while trying to adapt; you get to be friends with so many people from distant lands as well as from your own country.” So many testimonies from present and past students bring joy to our hearts: “ACA opened my eyes to the world” (a former student from Italy); “I will never be the same person again. I know I am a better person now

because my love for people includes the whole world now” (an alumnus from Argentina); and as one student said publicly after returning from Germany: “If you cannot go ACA for a year, go for a quarter or two, if you cannot go for one quarter, go for the summer, but JUST GO!!!” ACA has been called a well-kept secret in Adventist higher education, even though both ACA and our American universities advertise it as much as possible. ACA is supported and sponsored by the North American Division of the church, which makes it possible for colleges and universities abroad to offer such programs as part of the North American universities’ curricula. It is a program through which everyone involved wins. We are blessed

with wonderfully committed faculty and staff. The ACA students’ spiritual wellbeing is as important as their academic achievements. Loving care is a vital part of each one of our programs. Helping students become global citizens in the twenty-first century is important for a balanced education. But ACA has an even a higher goal: making them citizens of God’s kingdom. n

Odette Ferreira is

director of Adventist Colleges Abroad (www.aca-noborders.org), department of Education, North American Division.

Is your advertising off target? Call 240.329.7250 to to explore how to best reach your audience with Adventist Review and Adventist World .

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LEAN ON ME: A visit to Italy’s leaning tower of Pisa provides a photo opportunity too tempting to pass up.

Getting

Started

It’s easy to enroll for ACA programs. Students just have to visit the user-friendly Web site www.aca-noborders.org and look for “Summer Programs” or “Full-year Programs.” Once they fill out the application, they print it out and send it to the Admissions office of their home university, where they must enroll as ACA students. Once they get all the required signatures, the North American University sends the application to ACA headquarters in Maryland. ACA then sends packets of acceptance, information, and documents for student visas, academic information, traveling, conditions abroad, medical coverage (through Adventist Risk Management), and much more. Original applications are then sent to the schools abroad. Financial arrangements are made at NAD universities and include financial aid. ACA charges the home universities, and the payments are transferred abroad through the General Conference Treasury. With 50 years of experience, the whole process works like clockwork. Students, parents, and educational institutions receive information from the ACA office, where questions are answered by e-mail or by phone. Academic information, as well as travel and other advice, is printed in ACA bulletins, flyers, and other materials. Students not studying in Adventist colleges/universities can also apply through an Adventist institution and have their credits transferred when they return from abroad. Often those students feel so welcomed by our universities in the United States and

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abroad that they decide to continue their studies in the Adventist university where they were accepted with open arms. That has been one of the positive and interesting results of these programs. The academic year abroad is available for college or university students only. But academy and high school students can participate in the summer programs. The credits they earn can be used for academy or high school credit, or, if they have completed their sophomore year of high school, they are entitled to defer their credits for college if they wish. In this case, they have to enroll in one of the participating colleges/universities. Most ACA high school summer students choose to have their credits apply for college. There are several proficiency levels in ACA programs. Beginners are allowed in all summer programs. Students who have studied language and pass a placement exam allow faculty abroad to put them in the course level that corresponds to their knowledge and comfort zones.

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B I B L E

Q U E S T I O N S

A N S W E R E D

God,

Does the

ascension of

Christ mean that He is no longer with us?

Still With Us

I will use your question to share a few thoughts about the significance of the ascension of Christ. The return of Jesus to the Father is an important chapter in the history of the cosmic conflict between good and evil, and it deserves much more attention than it usually receives. 1. Ascension and Incarnation: At His ascension the incarnate Son of God did not abandon His human nature. The disciples saw Jesus taken to heaven (Acts 1:9-11), and even there He still is “the Man Christ Jesus” (1 Tim. 2:5). It was not a disembodied mind that went up to heaven, totally divested of the materiality that defines humanity. Jesus took with Him His human body because it is an inseparable component of His human nature. In fact, Jesus’ bodily resurrection testifies to His bodily ascension. His ascension did not mean the end of His incarnation. 2. Ascension and Absence: It is impossible to speak about the ascension of Christ without affirming His absence. He left His disciples behind: “I will be with you only a little longer,” He told them (John 13:33, NIV). Any attempt to locate Jesus among us here on earth distorts the biblical teaching of His ascension. This is particularly the case with respect to the teaching of the real presence of Christ in the bread of the Eucharist. He ascended, and no one can bring Him down to earth. Yet Christ is present among us in the person and work of the Holy Spirit. Although Jesus was going away, He promised to send His disciples “another Helper” (John 14:16). He went so far as to tell them that although absent, He would come to them through the Spirit (verse 18). Absence does not mean abandonment. 3. Ascension and Exaltation: Christ’s ascension led to the exaltation of the Son of God. This was the moment when He “was taken up in glory” (1 Tim. 3:16, NIV). Since this is the glory that was His “before the world began” (John 17:5, NIV), the ascension affirms the preexistence of the Son of God. He who descended also ascended (John 3:13; 6:38). The incarnate God now sits at the right hand of the Father (Acts 2:33) “crowned with glory and honor”

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(Heb. 2:9). He rules with the Father from the cosmic throne of God. He has “all authority . . . in heaven and on earth” (Matt. 28:18; cf. Phil. 2:9-11). The ascension proclaims Christ’s cosmic victory. 4. Ascension and Space: The ascension means that Christ’s work on behalf of the human race was not finished. Otherwise, He would have established His kingdom on earth after His resurrection (cf. Acts 1:6). Where did He go? He ascended to be our high priest in the heavenly temple (Heb. 6:20; 8:1, 2). The ascension tells us that Christ left one space/place—our world—to go into another—the heavenly temple, to minister on behalf of His people. These two places are deeply connected in that what takes place in heaven impacts God’s people on earth. There is no disconnect between what happens in His space and what happens in ours. The Lord still cares for our planet. 5. Ascension and Time: His ascension did not take Christ into a timeless realm disconnected from ours. It was a historical event that intersected earthly and heavenly realms of existence. Christ’s enthronement marked the moment when the Spirit was poured out on His church (Acts 2:33). These two different events, in different places, occurred at the same time. Prophetic time points to this time connection. Events in heaven and earth occur at the proper time as indicated by the prophecy (e.g., Gal. 4:4). For instance, the beginning of Christ’s work of judgment in the heavenly temple is connected to our time through the 2300-year prophecy (Dan. 8:14). What Christ is doing before the Father is related to the history of His people. While He intercedes for us (Heb. 7:25), we are here on earth fulfilling the mission of the church (Acts 1:7, 8). When His high-priestly ministry closes in heaven, the mission of the church closes on earth. Then the absent Christ will come back in glory. His ascension anticipates a moment of permanent reunion. n

Ángel Manuel Rodríguez has served the church as a pastor, professor, and theologian.


B I B L E

S T U D Y

When God

Surprises By Mark A. Finley

I

recently followed the footsteps of the apostle Paul on a journey to Greece. What impressed me most was the power of the gospel to change lives. Paul courageously preached in some of the most influential, sophisticated cities of his day. Hearts were touched. Lives were changed. Entire cities felt the life-transforming grace of God. In this month’s Bible lesson we will journey with Paul to some of the political, intellectual, and commercial centers of the ancient world, and study together the power of the cross.

1

What prompted the apostle Paul to travel to the European continent? Read Acts 16:6-10. Paul was sensitive to the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Although he must have been perplexed initially when the doors to preaching the gospel in Asia were closed, he had confidence that if God closed one door, He would open another.

2 Where were Paul’s first evangelistic efforts in Europe? Read Acts 16:11, 12. Philippi was a city in Macedonia, northern Greece. It was on the Egnatian Way, the road that connected East and West. This influential city probably had a population of more than 100,000 people. Paul knew that if the gospel was going to make a difference in Europe, he must begin in its great population centers.

3

Who were the first three converts as the result of Paul’s ministry in Europe? Read Acts 16:13-34. What are the characteristics of these three individuals? What are their similarities? What are their differences? The gospel changed the lives of a wealthy businesswoman, a demon-possessed slave girl, and a middle-class Roman jailer. The gospel changes lives, all kinds of lives. In Paul’s first evangelistic endeavor in Europe we have a demonstration that the power of the gospel reaches all humanity. ART :

“ Pa u l

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At h e n s ”

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4 How did Paul describe the believers in Berea? Read Acts 17:11. What are the implications for our own personal Bible study? 5 What was the impact of Paul’s teaching in Athens? Did he have any converts in this center of intellectual and philosophical thought? What do you discover as you read Acts 17:22-34? Paul carefully reasoned with the philosophers of Athens on Mars Hill. He met logic with logic, and the Greek intellectuals were amazed at his clear reasoning. One of the city’s most influential men, Dionysius, a prominent judge, was converted to Christ, as were a number of other men and women.

6 In Athens Paul used a more intellectual, rational approach. What were his tactics in Corinth? Read 1 Corinthians 2:1-5. 7

Although Paul faced major challenges in Corinth, what was the result of His preaching there? Read Acts 18:8-11. There were miracles of God’s grace everywhere Paul preached. The gospel transformed the most desperate lives. Light penetrated the darkest minds. Grace reached and delivered men and women caught in the grip of sin. Paul’s message of God’s love and grace speaks to our hearts today. Nothing is too hard for God. His power for us is still available through His Word. He is still in the business of changing lives. He still surprises us with the majesty of His love, the power of His grace, and the glory of the gospel. n August 2015 | Adventist World - nad

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IDEA EXCHANGE W av e b r e a k

M e d i a / T h i n k s t o c k

I’m not having any success convincing [my friends] what the Bible says about what happens when we die.

Letters Heavenly Hoax

Thank you for an always-excellent magazine! I’m an Adventist, and I am the morning receptionist at the local Salvation Army. I am not having any success convincing them what the Bible teaches about what happens when we die. There are quite a number of funerals at the premises where I work, and I get frustrated hearing coworkers say that the dead person has been “promoted to Glory and is with Jesus.” I’ve asked a few of the Salvationists to show me where it says that in the Bible, but the conversation soon ends, as they don’t care to hear what I believe the Bible says. I thoroughly enjoyed John Bradshaw’s News Commentary “Heavenly Hoax: How a 6-Year-Old Boy Fooled the World” (April 2015), and was wondering if it could be sent to me in a

Prayerw

—Claudia Kolb, Australia

format I can post onto Facebook— this would be a neutral but powerful way of getting the message across, not only to them, but other friends who aren’t Christians. Claudia Kolb Australia Use the Internet link for the article as a post by copying and pasting it in from our sister publication’s Web site, www. adventistreview.org, into a Facebook post. Here’s the link: www.adventist review.org/church-news/heavenly-hoaxhow-a-6-year-old-boy-fooled-theworld. To view article in magazine layout, you can download the PDF from the archives at www.adventist world.org. —Editors. Bee Stings

Peter N. Landless and Allan R. Handysides wrote a useful article on “Bee Stings” (April 2015). As a beekeeper, I have experienced stings (and bites) from many Apidae, Vespidae, and

Formicidae. Most of us beekeepers keep epi sticks handy. One day I suffered more than 30 stings on my wrist from my normally peaceful Carniolan-Italian honeybees. I dropped their broad box, and that alarmed them to defend their home and queen. My wrist immediately swelled up, and my fingers looked like big dill pickles. The swelling soon spread up my arm to my shoulder. Fortunately, two members of the Toll Gate, West Virginia, Adventist Church are good doctors. I went to the small medical center in town, and one doctor used powdered charcoal mixed with Metamucil and water on my arm. By morning the swelling, itching, and pain were gone. I look forward to the World Health column each month. Keep up the good work! Gregg Smith S t. Marys, West Virginia, United States

P HOTO : YANN

BOI X

PRAISE

Please pray for my mother, who is getting ill from the smoke coming from her neighbors’ home. Also pray for the neighbors, who have children that are breathing the smoke. Claire, United Kingdom

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Please pray for my family, especially my granddaughter, who is having trouble in school and church. Victoria, South Africa

Please help me as I pray for my education. I’m at a standstill, and I see no meaning in life. Moses, Kenya

Thank you for your prayers. I need them as I prepare for final exams. Farlone, Haiti

Please pray that God heals me; I feel as if I’m fighting evil spirits who are making me ill. Julia, via e-mail

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Q uote

Withdrawal From Caffeine

Thank you for publishing the courageous testimony “Withdrawal: Confessions of a Caffeine Addict” (January 2015). It touched me deeply, and I want to share it with others. How do I get a copy in English? We have not received the English version of Adventist World for quite some time. Charlotte Panousopoulos Geneva, Switzerland Adventist World is produced by the Seventh-day Adventist Church and distributed to members free of charge. We endeavor to meet the needs of each world region where we distribute the magazine. We are also on the Internet at www.adventistworld.org, in several languages, including English. —Editors. God Bless You

May God bless you all abundantly for the good work that you are doing in Adventist World magazine. Keep it up! I will pray for you. Leta Temesgen Ethiopia

Letters Policy: Please send to: letters@adventistworld.org. Letters must be clearly written, 100-word maximum. Include the name of the article and the date of publication with your letter. Also include your name, the town/city, state, and country from which you are writing. Letters will be edited for space and clarity. Not all letters submitted will be published.

Health care is not just healing the sick; it is creating health. —Esther Dyson, New York City, New York

Boys Versus Girls In high school, girls outperform boys in most countries of the world, even in countries where women’s rights are restricted. Researchers from the University of Missouri (United States) and the University of Glasgow (Scotland) analyzed 1.5 million teenagers’ achievement in reading, math, and science. Girls outperformed boys in 70 percent of the countries examined. Source: The Rotarian

Thank you for your prayers for my baby nephew. He is now eating every four hours but still has health challenges. Pray that this baby continues to heal and grow. God’s grace is sufficient! Mavic, South Korea

Please pray for my friend who is struggling with terrible sciatic pain and trying to recover from bone graft surgery for bone cancer. Bonnie, United States

The Place of Prayer: Send prayer requests and praise (thanks for answered prayer) to prayer@adventistworld.org. Keep entries short and concise, 50-words or less. Items will be edited for space and clarity. Not all submissions will be printed. Please include your name and your country’s name. You may also fax requests to: 1-301-680-6638; or mail them to Adventist World, 12501 Old Columbia Pike, Silver Spring, MD 20904-6600 U.S.A.

Pray for God’s guidance in my work. Mariela, Peru August 2015 | Adventist World - nad

45


IDEA EXCHANGE “Behold, I come quickly…”

123 years ago

In 1892 Sarah Elizabeth Peck traveled to Cape Town, South Africa, as one of the first woman missionaries of the Adventist Church. In Cape Town she served as a teacher. She was also in charge of the school’s kitchen and laundry. In her spare time she taught some advanced classes. The following year she helped organize the first church schools in Africa. Peck was born in Wisconsin, United States, in 1868. When Ellen White was in Australia, Peck worked as her editorial assistant, a role she continued when White moved to California. In 1906 Peck was appointed education secretary for the California Conference, where she began preparing materials to teach reading in Adventist schools. The result was True Education Readers. She was a principal author of a Bible textbook, God’s Great Plan, and nearly 20 other books. She served in the General Conference Department of Education until her retirement. Peck died in St. Helena, California, a few weeks after turning 100 years old. I M A G E :

C e n t e r

f o r

Ad v e n t i s t

R e s e a r c h

Spend Money,

See the World According to the United Nations World Tourism Organization, people from the following nations spend the most on international tourism (in billions): 1. China..................................... US$165 2. United States...................... US$112 3. Germany.............................. US$92 4. United Kingdom.................. US$58 5. Russia................................... US$50 Source: USA Today

46

Adventist World - nad | August 2015

Our mission is to uplift Jesus Christ, uniting Seventh-day Adventists everywhere in beliefs, mission, life, and hope.

Publisher The Adventist World, an international periodical of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. The General Conference, Northern Asia-Pacific Division of Seventh-day Adventists®, is the publisher. Executive Publisher and Editor in Chief Bill Knott Associate Publisher Claude Richli International Publishing Manager Chun, Pyung Duk Publishing Board Ted N. C. Wilson, chair; Benjamin D. Schoun, vice chair; Bill Knott, secretary; Lisa Beardsley-Hardy; Daniel R. Jackson; Robert Lemon; Geoffrey Mbwana; G. T. Ng; Daisy Orion; Juan Prestol; Michael Ryan; Ella Simmons; Mark Thomas; Karnik Doukmetzian, legal advisor Adventist World Coordinating Committee Jairyong Lee, chair; Akeri Suzuki, Kenneth Osborn, Guimo Sung, Pyung Duk Chun, Suk Hee Han Editors based in Silver Spring, Maryland Lael Caesar, Gerald A. Klingbeil (associate editors), Sandra Blackmer, Stephen Chavez, Wilona Karimabadi, Kimberly Luste Maran, Andrew McChesney Editors based in Seoul, Korea Pyung Duk Chun, Jae Man Park, Hyo Jun Kim Online Editor Carlos Medley Operations Manager Merle Poirier Editors-at-large Mark A. Finley, John M. Fowler Senior Advisor E. Edward Zinke Financial Manager Rachel J. Child Editorial Assistant Marvene Thorpe-Baptiste Management Board Jairyong Lee, chair; Bill Knott, secretary; P. D. Chun, Karnik Doukmetzian, Suk Hee Han, Kenneth Osborn, Juan Prestol, Claude Richli, Akeri Suzuki, Ex-officio: Robert Lemon, G. T. Ng, Ted N. C. Wilson Art Direction and Design Jeff Dever, Brett Meliti Consultants Ted N. C. Wilson, Robert E. Lemon, G. T. Ng, Guillermo E. Biaggi, Lowell C. Cooper, Daniel R. Jackson, Raafat Kamal, Geoffrey Mbwana, Armando Miranda, Pardon K. Mwansa, Michael L. Ryan, Blasious M. Ruguri, Benjamin D. Schoun, Ella S. Simmons, Alberto C. Gulfan, Jr., Erton Köhler, Jairyong Lee, Israel Leito, John Rathinaraj, Paul S. Ratsara, Barry Oliver, Bruno Vertallier, Gilbert Wari To Writers: We welcome unsolicited manuscripts. Address all editorial correspondence to 12501 Old Columbia Pike, Silver Spring, MD 20904-6600, U.S.A. Editorial office fax number: (301) 680-6638 E-mail: worldeditor@gc.adventist.org Web site: www.adventistworld.org Unless otherwise indicated, all Bible references are taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1979, 1980, 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. Texts credited to NIV are from the Holy Bible, New International Version. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. All rights reserved worldwide. Used by permission. Adventist World is published monthly and printed simultaneously in Korea, Brazil, Indonesia, Australia, Germany, Austria, Argentina, Mexico, and the United States. Vol. 11, No. 8


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August 2015 nad  

August 2015 nad

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