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The International Paper for Seventh-day Adventists

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19 Exercise and Breast Cancer Risk 32 Steps to Christ at 125 42 Disciples With Swords

Growing

Faith

A new look at planting churches


North American Division | n a d

Nove mb e r 2016

C O V E R

The International Paper for Seventh-day Adventists

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Nove m b e r 2016

19 Exercise and Breast Cancer Risk 32 Steps to Christ at 125 42 Disciples With Swords

S T O R Y

Planting Grace and Patience

By Bill Knott

It’s a long process between sowing and harvesting.

Growing

Faith

A new look at planting churches

8 Looking to Jesus W O R L D

V I S T A

21 Angel in a KGB Uniform

B E L I E F S

By Richard Aguilera

How we are both different and the same.

32 Steps to Christ at 125

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I S C O V E R I N G O F P R O P H E C Y

T H E

S P I R I T

By James R. Nix

A small book makes a world of difference.

34 God’s Work in Us

His ministry on our behalf continues. D V E N T I S T

U N D A M E N T A L

By Ted N. C. Wilson

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30 The Paradox of Unity and Variety

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H E R I T A G E

By Pavel Liberanskiy

Being a Christian in the Soviet Union was not easy.

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E V O T I O N A L

By Donald L. Bedney II

We don’t often see it, but God does. So do others.

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N A D

F E AT U R E

Desmond Doss: Adventist, War Hero, Legend

Dan Weber interviews Charles Knapp about Hollywood’s treatment of a conscientious objector.

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

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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 Exercise and Breast Cancer Risk

43 B I B L E S T U D Y The Real Truth About Our Lord’s Return

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

I D E A

E X C H A N G E

Disciples With Swords

www.adventistworld.org Available in 12 languages online The Adventist World® (ISSN 1557-5519), one of the Adventist Review® family of publications, is printed monthly by the Pacific Press® Publishing Association. Copyright © 2016. Send address changes to your local conference membership clerk. Contact information should be available through your local church. PRINTED IN THE U.S.A. Vol. 12, No. 11, November 2016.

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Adventist World - nad | November 2016


No Life Without Growth

WORLD REPORT By Chigemezi N. Wogu

Ghanaian Adventists Share Jesus in Europe

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W O G U

African immigrants are part of a recent phenomenon called “reverse mission.”

C H I G E M E Z I

“When we plant something, it’s because we expect it to grow. If we don’t expect it to grow, we call it a burial.” The speaker’s sobering words were a reminder to all of us at the church planting conference that establishing new congregations of faithful believers is a core function of the church’s mission, and has been since the days of the apostles. When Jesus commanded His disciples— “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you” (Matt. 28:19, 20)— He fully intended that a local expression of His body would be the place where that discipling would take place, where baptism and inclusion would be celebrated, and where men and women would daily grow as they “learned Christ” (Eph. 4:20). Some have even described the apostle Paul’s letters to the churches of the first-century Roman world as a kind of “church planting newsletter.” Paul’s letters contain all the doctrinal instruction, practical counsel for specific situations, and personal greetings one would expect from the man who saw the founding of new congregations as the central way He served his Savior. Church planting—whether in family homes, rented storefronts, in open-air tinroofed shelters, or even under trees—is an essential part of Christ’s plan to enlarge His kingdom and save still more men and women. It’s not an optional activity for His church, a task reserved for the unusually zealous or those discontent with where they currently worship. Church planting is the way that millions of seeking people will finally experience the unmatched joy of being part of a faithful, worshipping, witnessing body of believers who are eagerly expecting the soon return of Jesus. As you read this month’s special cover feature, ask the Lord for the gift of ears so that you may hear—and act on—His invitation to you to faithfully support new congregations.

Richard Opoku Atakora, from Italy, distributes Bible lesson invitations in Stadskanaal, the Netherlands.

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camp meeting of 1,000 Ghanaians in a small Dutch town indicates that Adventism is thriving in Europe through a phenomenon called “reverse mission.” The twenty-second annual Euro-Ghanaian camp meeting, held in late August in Stadskanaal, is a result and catalyst of reverse mission, when people who became Adventists through the work of European missionaries are bringing the gospel back to an increasingly secularized Europe, organizers said. In an example of this, young adults from the camp meeting set aside an afternoon to share their faith through music and religious literature in Stadskanaal. “The leaders wanted to encourage the youth in outreach,” Stephen O. Bimpeh, a Ghanaian pastor in Amsterdam and outreach coordinator for the camp meeting, said in explaining the initiative. Last year several visitors showed up at the Ghanaian camp meeting after the outreach day. Among them was a young man who was so impressed by the Adventist street music that he decided to attend the evening program, Bimpeh said. Although little research has been Continued on next page

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WORLD REPORT

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gave Atakora the opportunity to tell them more about the Sabbath. Perhaps the desire of Atakora and other camp meeting attendees to share Jesus in Europe was best summed up by Allard Huizinga, the 17-year-old teen who helped his father bring the Sabbath sofa to Stadskanaal. “I like it,” he said of witnessing. “It’s God’s work.” and that is what we have to do.” n

once declined an invitation to attend a social event on Friday night. When Italian coworkers asked why, he explained that the Sabbath is his time to worship God and to rest. This came as a surprise to his coworkers. “Why would a young man decide not to go out on a Friday and instead go to church?” one coworker after another asked him. They wanted to know more. This

Dutch Adventist Leader

By Nelske Verbaas

Welcomes Burglars

But only during opening hours

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he leader of the Seventhday Adventist Church in the Netherlands has issued a message of forgiveness after an overnight burglary attempt at the church’s headquarters. Two male suspects were detained at the church’s headquarters in the central Dutch town of Huis ter Heide after the building’s alarm system was tripped, said Wim Altink, president of the Netherlands Union Conference. The suspects initially hid in the attic, but the police located them using thermal imaging, Altink said. When they tried to flee, they fell through the ceiling and got stuck between two walls. Firefighters were called in to rescue them, while a police helicopter circled overhead. “Let the authorities know that we have forgiven the perpetrators and prayed for them,” Altink said in the statement on the church’s Web site. Staff who arrived for work in the morning were grateful that nothing

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was stolen but were saddened by damage caused to the historic building. Altink said a wall had to be broken down to free and then detain the two men. The ceiling was also damaged in their attempted escape. It was not immediately clear how much jailtime the suspects might face. But Altink said he would be happy to see the suspects in an Adventist church one day. “They are welcome to attend a service in one of the churches provided they promise to use the front door during opening hours,” he said. n T E D

conducted on reverse mission in Adventism, scholars are watching closely as this phenomenon unfolds among Adventist immigrants in Europe and North America. Ghanaian immigrants worked together with European Adventists to spread the gospel during the camp meeting, and they are engaged in outreach across Europe. Among them were a Dutch father and son, Bob and Allard Huizinga, who drove 140 kilometers (85 miles) across the Netherlands to bring a “Sabbath sofa” to the Stadskanaal camp meeting. The pair learned about the sofa, a project started by young Adventists in London, on YouTube and decided to replicate the effort in the Netherlands. En route to camp meeting Bob and Allard Huizinga dragged the sofa from one town street to the next, inviting passersby to take a rest on it. When met with a flurry of questions, the two explain that the sofa gives an opportunity to rest. They then speak about the rest offered by the Sabbath. The Sabbath sofa is a simple project that for some reason compels people to open up, Huizinga said. He and his son once placed the sofa beside a traffic jam and then watched in amazement as people waited patiently in line just to sit down and talk about their problems. “It is crazy, but in five minutes they tell their whole life story,” Huizinga said. Richard Opoku Atakora, who lives in Italy, distributed invitations for Bible correspondence lessons in Stadskanaal during camp meeting. But Atakora said he engages in a different kind of witnessing at his workplace: living by example. Coworkers often ask why he acts in certain ways. For example, Atakora

Firefighters broke a hole into the wall of the Netherlands Union Conference’s headquarters to free two suspects.


A N D R E W S

U N I V E R S I T Y

Ray McAllister holds the Dr. Jacob Bolotin Award for his work in coding Braille.

By Danni Francis and Andrew McChesney

First Adventist Awarded

“Nobel Prize for

Blindness”

Ray McAllister helps blind students read ancient biblical texts.

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n a first, a Seventh-day Adventist has received the “Nobel Prize for Blindness” for coding braille in ancient biblical languages that allow blind students to study original texts on their own. Ray McAllister, a blind adjunct teacher at Andrews University and a licensed massage therapist, and his organization, the Semitic Scholars, were awarded the prestigious Dr. Jacob Bolotin Award by the National Federation of the Blind. The award, which came with the highest possible cash prize of $20,000, recognizes individuals and organizations that have made significant contribu-

tions toward integrating blind people into society. “It is my prayer that this award will give me the recognition I need to negotiate with scholars around the world so I can have access to the text materials I need,” McAllister said. The National Federation of the Blind praised the Semitic Scholars for their achievement. “A cash prize of $20,000 went to the Semitic Scholars, a group of three blind academics who created a braille code for ancient biblical languages so that source documents of religious texts can be studied independently by blind students in their original con-

text, a feat that was previously impossible,” it said in a statement. The Semitic Scholars is comprised of McAllister; Sarah Blake LaRose, a braille transcriber and professor of Hebrew and alumna of Anderson University in Anderson, Indiana; and Matthew Yeater, president of the Michiana, Indiana, chapter of the National Federation of the Blind. This award, known in many circles as “the Nobel Peace Prize of Blindness,” is named after Jacob Bolotin, a hardworking blind physician and strong advocate for blind individuals, who practiced in Chicago from 1912 until his death in 1924 at the age of 36. Being the first Adventist to receive the award is not McAllister’s first achievement. In 2010 he became the first blind person to earn a doctorate with a concentration in Old Testament from the Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary on the campus of Andrews University. He currently works as an adjunct teacher for the university’s School of Distance Education and International Partnerships in Berrien Springs, Michigan. For the braille project, McAllister initially used a computer to convert his own version of Greek and Hebrew symbols into braille letters and show them on a braille display, a device with something similar to magnetic pins that pop up in the shape of braille words. But he said that he realized that he needed something that would appear more like braille Greek and Hebrew, just with extra symbols. So he developed coding for those symbols not already established in braille. Hebrew, for example, has accent marks that help the reader know Continued on next page

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WORLD REPORT when to pause while reading that can be used to inform readers how to chant or sing the text. But those symbols were not previously charted in braille Hebrew. “Since chanting is a task a blind person can enjoy, I felt the need to prepare Hebrew Bibles in braille with all these symbols,” McAllister said. “Once I developed these symbols, I needed to have them peer reviewed.” In 2007 LaRose developed a braille table for biblical Greek and Hebrew, with all their technical markings. With guidance from LaRose, McAllister completed a system that could be used to prepare text for blind persons. Using this system and Microsoft Word’s “search and replace” function along with the Aleppo Hebrew Bible, McAllister translated the text into braille. “I converted that entire Hebrew Bible, accents and all, into braille, and, yes, I have chanted Hebrew from it fluidly,” McAllister said. “I also converted many other Hebrew documents, Semitic inscriptions, and many Greek documents into braille.” In 2014 McAllister entered a partnership with Duxbury Systems, a company that produces software to convert documents of various languages into braille. Through Duxbury, McAllister began working with Yeater, who had been working with the company to set up a system for converting biblical language documents containing many languages, including English, into braille. Looking ahead, McAllister said he hopes to convert many more texts into braille. “I have no idea how God will lead,” he said. “I only know that He has led thus far, and what is to come will only be even more of an adventure.” n

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Galina Moskalenko standing on the porch of the Adventist church in Bugskoe, Ukraine.

Woman Turned

10 Percent of Town Into Adventists

Galina Moskalenko’s conversion story reflects the story of her town. By Andrew McChesney

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ention Galina Moskalenko to any Seventh-day Adventist believer in southern Ukraine, and you’ll likely see a big smile followed by profuse words of praise. Say her name to any of the 1,400 residents of Bugskoe, and the response will be similar. Moskalenko was the first Adventist in this sleepy Ukrainian town in the early 1990s, and her influence has resulted in a remarkable 10 percent of the population joining the church. No other municipality in Ukraine has such a large percentage of Adventists among its population, Ukrainian church leaders said. Moskalenko also is leader of the Bugskoe Seventh-day Adventist Church, a position that she didn’t seek and that is a far cry from her days as a power plant worker who wore short skirts and feared eternal damnation. Moskalenko, 54, credits two activities with propelling the church’s growth: prayer and Total Member Involvement. “Our church does not end at its walls,” Moskalenko said. “Our church is the whole town.”

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The story of Seventh-day Adventism in Bugskoe is the story of Moskalenko’s own conversion, a process that started in 1989 when a coworker asked her for a tube of lipstick. Bugskoe did not have a church of any sort when Moskalenko arrived with her husband, Vladimir, in the waning days of the Soviet Union. Bugskoe is located about 80 kilometers (50 miles) from the nearest major city, Mykolaiv, a southern Black Sea city with a population of a half million. It took an Adventist World reporter about two and a half hours of careful navigating on badly potholed roads to reach the town. Moskalenko worked hard in the town and, as part of her job, traveled several times a month to Nova Odesa, about 30 kilometers (20 miles) away. She also made extra money by furtively selling hard-to-find cosmetics, which she obtained from a friend. A Request for Lipstick

During one visit to Nova Odesa a coworker named Tanya approached Moskalenko, who was 28 at the time,

P H O T O S :

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Galina Moskalenko says: “Our church does not end at its walls. Our church is the whole town.”

with a hushed request for a light tone of lipstick. “Why do you want that kind? It’s barely visible. Does your husband not allow you to wear lipstick?” Moskalenko said, smiling slightly as she recounted the incident. Tanya shook her head. “Then why?” Moskalenko said. Tanya smiled. “Are you a believer?” Tanya nodded. Moskalenko asked where Tanya attended church and whether she could go as well. “Come to Nova Odesa on Saturday,” Tanya said. “Why Saturday?” “It’s a long story,” Tanya said. “But come on Saturday, and I’ll tell you.” The next Sabbath Tanya led Moskalenko to a small, simple building. Moskalenko said she would never forget what happened inside. “As soon as I entered, I saw a crowd of people racing toward me with outreached arms,” she said. “They greeted me as if they had been waiting for me their whole

lives. They hugged me and kissed me. They were so happy.” Moskalenko shyly took a seat in the corner. Dressed in her favorite apparel—a short skirt, a low-cut blouse, and lipstick, all bright-red— she felt naked. But she forgot her selfconsciousness as she listened to the pastor. It seemed as if he had prepared the sermon just for her, she said. “The pastor said: ‘If you accept Jesus, you are forgiven, your sins are taken away from you, and you will not face judgment. You will be free,’ ” Moskalenko recalled. The words stunned her. Growing up, she had repeatedly heard from her Orthodox parents that she should be good because she would be judged for all her sins at the end of time. “When you worry about judgment for 28 years and suddenly you are told that you can be free, the feeling is indescribable,” Moskalenko said. “On the bus on the way home, I told everyone: ‘It turns out that we are forgiven. You just have to believe and accept!’ ” She was baptized two years later. Her husband followed two years after that. Thriving as Adventists

Times were tough in southern Ukraine in the early 1990s. Food and jobs were scarce. The collective farm had folded after the Soviet collapse, and the Moskalenko family lived on the only farm in the area. “When we accepted God, we didn’t know how to live,” Moskalenko said. “We thought: What can we do? How can we help people stop stealing so they can work honestly?” People were taught to steal, Moskalenko said. Farm workers stole grain. Car factory workers stole cars. If people didn’t steal, they were considered bad workers.

The Moskalenkos decided to give away their grain to the townspeople: a ton for one family, and a ton and a half for another, each according to its needs. “We told them: ’We are helping because it’s difficult to make ends meet, but you have to learn how to live honestly this year,’ ” Moskalenko said. The townspeople did just that. The Moskalenkos taught them how to grow their own gardens. Their home was always open. Anyone who needed clothes could take some from the closet. Food was always ready in the kitchen. “Do you know how nice it is to come home and find a signed note reading, ‘Thank you so much. We ate here’?” Moskalenko said. “When people saw what we were doing, their hearts were changed.” She and her husband started work on a first Adventist church in the town in 1994. By the time it was completed, it could not contain all those who wished to worship there. So they built the new church, which was dedicated in July. Moskalenko has always been the local church leader. Asked for the secret of the church’s growth, she emphasized prayer and the total involvement of church members in the community. Many of the 100 members and their 30 children gather at the church to pray at 6:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. day. Church members are also always out in the community, helping in vegetable gardens; cleaning up streets; and visiting those who are sick. “Last Sunday we had a funeral for a woman who left a husband and children. We covered the funeral and an accompanying meal at our own expense, even though that family doesn’t live here,” Moskalenko said. “The whole town sees that.” And that, she said, is why 10 percent of the town is Adventist. n

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W O R L D

V I S T A

to J esus Looking Our Friend and Advocate

By Ted N. C. Wilson

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ast month we discussed the importance of doctrine and found that the teachings of God’s Word define who we are as a people (Rev. 12:17); what our mission is (Matt. 28:19, 20); and the end-time message we are to proclaim (Rev. 14:612). (See “Ready to Give an Answer” at www.adventistworld.org/2016/ october.html.) Let’s look briefly at one of our most distinctive biblical doctrines: Christ and the heavenly sanctuary. This beautiful and important teaching is vitally important for us to understand. In the book The Great Controversy we read that “the intercession of Christ in man’s behalf in the sanctuary above is as essential to the plan of salvation as was His death upon the cross. By His death He began that work which after His resurrection He ascended to complete in heaven.”1 We Seventh-day Adventists have always taught that Christ’s life of perfect obedience to God’s will and His death on the cross provides “the only means of atonement for human sin, so that those who by faith accept this atonement may have eternal life.”2 In the earthly sanctuary, a model of the sanctuary in heaven, Christ is represented by the perfect sacrificial lamb slain during the morning and evening sacrifices. The blood of this lamb represents the blood of Christ in atoning for our sins. Justification and Sanctification

But it represents only part of Christ’s work for us in the heavenly

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sanctuary. The sanctuary service provides a perfect illustration of justification and sanctification, with Jesus, represented by the sacrificial lamb, shedding His blood to remove our guilt, and Jesus, our high priest, ministering for us in the Holy of Holies, sanctifying us through the removal of sin. You may read the entire Fundamental Belief 24, “Christ’s Ministry in the Heavenly Sanctuary,” at http://bit. ly/BibleBeliefs. Most aspects of the earthly sanctuary and its services have to do with Christ’s righteousness and how judgment was to be carried out. The laver for priests’ washing represented the cleansing power of Christ. The table of showbread represented Jesus, the Bread of Life. The seven-branched gold candlestick represented Jesus, the Light of the world and our lives. The golden altar of incense just before the curtain separating the holy place and the Most Holy Place, represents the prayers and petitions to God for forgiveness. Its horns were touched with blood from the sin offering, and blood was sprinkled before the veil, showing the transference of guilt from the person to the sanctuary. The curtain between the holy and Most Holy places didn’t reach the ceiling, so the incense drifted into the Most Holy Place over the mercy seat of the ark of the covenant, where the symbolic service of atonement and intercession took place connecting heaven and earth. The ark of the covenant, overlaid with gold, contained the actual Ten

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Commandments, some manna, and Aaron’s rod that budded, showing God’s constant interest in our lives and His care for our needs. The ark’s mercy seat was made with one solid piece of gold and protected by two golden cherubim angels with one wing stretched on high while the other was folded in reverence and humility. This represented the reverence with which heaven regards the law of God and the interest in the plan of redemption (what the judgment is all about): our deliverance through the blood of Jesus, our humble submission and confession to Him, recognizing our need of forgiveness, and the deliverance that He offers at the judgment. “Thus in the work of Christ for our redemption, symbolized by the sanctuary service, ‘mercy and truth are met together; righteousness and peace have kissed each other.’ Ps 85:10.”3 Where Sin Belongs

Once a year the high priest entered the Most Holy Place to cleanse the entire sanctuary of sin. On that annual Day of Atonement two goats were brought to the door of the tabernacle. One was slain as a sin offering for the people, with the blood being brought into the Most Holy Place and sprinkled on the mercy seat representing Christ’s blood shed for us. Then the high priest placed his hands on the head of the live goat—the scapegoat representing Satan—and confessed all the accumulated sins of Israel, thus transferring the sins from the sanctuary to the scapegoat. The scapegoat


was then led into the wilderness to die, showing that Satan will ultimately bear the final penalty of sin and will die, putting an end to his temptations. After His resurrection Christ ascended to heaven and began this special ministry, interceding for us as our high priest. Hebrews 4:14-16 says, “Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession. For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need” (KJV). It’s His right and privilege to represent us, to be our high priest, our advocate, our lawyer. Hebrews 6:19 indicates that He entered “into that I M A G E :

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within the veil” (KJV) in the holy place doing His work of mediation for 18 centuries, and then, according to the prophecy of Daniel 8:14 (“Unto two thousand and three hundred days; then shall the sanctuary be cleansed” [KJV]), He entered the Most Holy Place to begin His final work of judgment and ministry on our behalf. The Entire Plan of Salvation

We are now living during Christ’s final work of sanctuary cleansing—the judgment. It’s part of the entire plan of salvation, which began before the foundation of this world, a plan based upon Christ’s work of salvation for us on this earth and in the sanctuary in heaven It shows the entire universe how God is working to save us. And since it’s God’s plan, we have no need to fear.

M A C N A U G H T O N / I N T E L L E C T U A L

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The sanctuary doctrine and the judgment are important theological reasons Seventh-day Adventists are engaged in mission. Soon Christ will return and ultimately place the final penalty on the one who deserves it—Satan. The blood of Jesus Christ, our sacrifice on the cross, and the ministry of our high priest, Jesus Christ in the heavenly sanctuary, have one purpose: that those of us who submit to Him, confessing our sins and accepting Him as our Savior, may be made right with God and have eternal life. We don’t have to fear the judgment if we know the Lamb, if we know the High Priest, if we know the coming King. As we place ourselves in Christ’s saving and ministering hands, we can acknowledge with Paul: “Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them” (Heb. 7:25, KJV). This beautiful theological message will drive our mission. The proclamation of the first angel of Revelation 14, “the hour of His judgment has come,” is good news! Soon sin, sorrow, and death, will be over. When we fully surrender our lives to Jesus, we are safe in His hands. What a Creator! What a Redeemer! What a High Priest! What an Advocate! What a Friend! What a sooncoming King! n 1 Ellen

G. White, The Great Controversy (Mountain View, Calif.: Pacific Press Pub. Assn., 1911), p. 489. 2 From Fundamental Belief 9, “The Life, Death, and Resurrection of Christ,” www.adventist.org/fileadmin/adventist. org/files/articles/official-statements/28Beliefs-Web.pdf. 3 Ellen G. White, Patriarchs and Prophets (Mountain View, Calif.: Pacific Press Pub. Assn., 1890), p. 349.

Ted N. C. Wilson is

president of the Seventhday Adventist Church. You may follow him on Facebook and Twitter @pastortedwilson.

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NAD NEWS L A K E U N I O N C O N F E R E N C E C O M M U N I C AT I O N D E PA R T M E N T

Volunteer medical professionals treat patients in Grand Rapids, Michigan, during a two-day free health event in August.

ACS Helps Lead National Mass Care Exercise

Refugees Receive

Dental Care

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at Grand Rapids Event

ore than 100 refugee patients received $40,000 worth of medical care in the form of dental cleanings, extractions, and root canals when the Grand Rapids Central Seventh-day Adventist Church teamed up with the newly formed Myanmar company and local New Hope Baptist Church to hold a free dental and health event on August 12 and 14. The pop-up clinic, located on the New Hope Baptist Church campus in Grand Rapids and staffed by Adventist volunteers, was visited by nearly 200 refugees from west Michigan during the two-day event. “We realize that a lot of our refugees either don’t have access to dental care or don’t have a way to access it,” said Bob Stewart, pastor of the Grand Rapids Central Adventist Church, in a WZZM Channel 13 report. “So we felt that there was a need.” Dentists, hygienists, nutritionists, massage therapists, and beauticians volunteered during the event that

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coincided with a Rwandan camp meeting. Translation services for refugee populations were also available in five languages, including Burmese, Rwandan, and Zomi. Yvette Weir, a local dentist and church member, was the lead local organizer. “I am very much interested in mission, so when there was a need for someone to coordinate I volunteered,” she said. Qowsay Muharib, a local dentist originally from Iraq, said that helping at the event was “a reward in itself. You don’t need to get any compensation; it’s a good thing.” The event was so successful that another clinic was held in late August; and more clinics are being planned in the Lake Union Conference in coming weeks. —Information gathered from reports by the Lake Union Conference communication department and WZZM Channel 13, an ABC affiliate in Grand Rapids.

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■■ On August 22-25, 2016, Adventist Community Services (ACS) was a lead partner in the 2016 National Mass Care Exercise (NMCE), hosted by the state of Missouri. Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Region VII and State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA), along with the Red Cross, Salvation Army, and an array of other nongovernment organizations (NGOs), conducted the fifth in a series of mass care exercises in this year’s host state of Missouri. The FEMA Region VII states of Iowa and Nebraska also participated with others in the region. Eastern Jackson County, Missouri, in the Kansas City metro area, and the city of Independence conducted the largest play event of its kind to date as part of the NMCE. More than 835 individuals volunteered for the “live play” part of the exercise in Kansas City, which included more than 125 Adventists. During the exercise 516 evacuees (role players) were run through the system and registered, then transported to shelters. This innovative exercise was based on a scenario of a 7.7 magnitude earthquake in the New Madrid Seismic Zone of Missouri, which would likely affect eight states, with the most severe damage in Tennessee, Arkansas, and Missouri. Forecasted damage in Missouri from this catastrophic-level event would include more than 4,735 fatalities, 180,000 injuries with 70,240 requiring medical aid, and 238,000


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An evacuee role player receives medical treatment during the National Mass Care Exercise conducted in Missouri on August 22-25, 2016.

Nearly 700 Served in Texas Free Health Clinic

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people needing to evacuate from the impact zone. The exercise was designed to illustrate how the community would respond during an earthquake. W. Derrick Lea, ACS Disaster Response (DR) director for the North American Division, reports that during the course of this exercise in Jefferson City, Missouri, approximately 180 individuals representing different agencies and organizations simulated the resources they could bring to play in a live event. Shortfalls to be

Central States, Kansas-Nebraska, and Rocky Mountain conferences. Dickhaut adds, “The Adventist Church was hugely recognized for the large turnout of volunteers and role players at all of the ‘hotwash’ meetings in [Kansas City] and at the State Emergency Operations Center in Jefferson City. Our Adventist volunteers worked tirelessly in the exercise.” He says that one exciting development was the “contagious synergy” that occurred among the many local nonAdventist volunteers. Collaborative partners included LDS (Latter Day Saints) Charities, Red Cross workers, the Sunnydale Academy (Missouri) senior class, and more. —Kimberly Luste Maran, NAD ACS, and the Iowa-Missouri ACS contributed to this report.

addressed later were also highlighted. Representatives from around the country, including state and federal authorities, sent personnel to observe and capture how this exercise was conducted. Action reports will be used to create plans for others in state emergency management offices nationwide. Jody Dickhaut, ACS director for the Missouri half of the Iowa-Missouri Conference, reports that the “mass care exercise live play in Kansas City was a success, providing vast amounts of ‘lessons learned’ data that will help fill in the gaps and strengthen our response plan and training.” Dickhaut, who worked closely with the exercise core planning team at the state level for the past year, shares that ACS Disaster Response (ACSDR) volunteers from the Kansas City metro area and across the state of Missouri were instrumental in providing crisis-care response services as greeter-screeners and ambassadors at the evacuee reception center located at the Silverstein Eye Center Arena in Independence. With similar operations taking place all across the region, ACS had support personnel from the Iowa-Missouri,

A patient receives a free eye exam during the July 2016 Jumpstart Health Clinic in Killeen, Texas.

■■ Devon Darson cried when she called the Jumpstart Free Health Clinic number. “The guy answered the phone and said, ‘We’re here to serve you.’ And I cried,” she says. “That’s the word that God used. He said, ‘I’ve come to serve you and not to be served.’ ” Darson is one of 2,000 patients whose lives were touched by the almost 700 volunteers who converged on Texas July 13-15, 2016, to follow Jesus’ example of serving others. Approximately one year ago, during the 2015 national ASI convention in Spokane, Washington, the idea for Jumpstart Free Health Clinic was born. Dawn Lewis, who had volunteered earlier that year for the Your Best Pathway to Health megaclinic held in San Antonio, Texas, was moved by her experience, and was inspired to bring such an event to her Continued on next page

November 2016 | Adventist World - nad

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teered in the lifestyle department. Andrea Becca, who served in the area of massage and hydrotherapy, was thankful to participate in the clinic as well. “When I got the information about this volunteer opportunity,” she says, “just knowing there’s a need, I thought, What a wonderful way to serve! That’s the way Christ served, and I want to follow His example.” —Pat Humphrey; this article originally appeared in the August 2016 Southwestern Union Record.

Greater New York Conference Commissions First Female Pastor ■■ The brisk, rainy afternoon of July 9, 2016, did not deter well-wishers from attending the commissioning service for Julian Jones-Campbell at the English camp meeting in Wingdale, New York. Jones-Campbell is the first woman in the Greater New York Conference (GNYC) to be commissioned to pastoral ministry. For the past 10 years Jones-Campbell, who is also a registered nurse, has served the GNYC as an associate pastor at the Grand Concourse church and a pastor of the Wakefield church. She is presently serving as a pastor at the Five Towns and Macedonia churches. G. Earl Knight, former GNYC president and newly-elected president of the Atlantic Union Conference, congratulated Jones-Campbell and her husband for sticking with ministry and giving their best to the Master. “This is a groundbreaking day for the Greater New York Conference,” said keynote speaker Ivan Williams, director of the North American Division Ministerial Association. His directive reminded attendees that

Adventist World - nad | November 2016

R O H A N

hometown of Killeen. She pitched the idea to the ASI Southwest Chapter board. It accepted the challenge. Soon after the ASI convention, several entities, including the Southwestern Union Conference and Metroplex Adventist Hospital, along with several churches and leaders from the Texas Conference and the Southwest Region Conference, became engaged in a collaborative effort to bring hope and healing to Killeen area residents. Support from the hospital, local businesses, community leaders, and church organizations began to pour in. One year later civic center doors opened at 7:00 a.m. on July 14, 2016, and long lines of tired people who had camped out overnight began to pour into the center, eager to receive muchneeded dental, vision, and medical care. During a day and a half nearly 2,000 people were served with free health care and more. In addition to dental, vision, and medical services, patients were offered free haircuts, massages, lifestyle and nutrition counseling, mental health counseling, and pastoral care. “I know God sent me here,” says Terri Young, who had endured extreme pain and swelling from a broken tooth for more than a month prior to attending Jumpstart. “I am just so grateful, especially for the people who have shown so much compassion toward me,” Young added. “I just don’t know what I would do without this program” she exclaimed. But Jumpstart may have made a bigger impact on the nearly 700 people who served as volunteers. “I truly appreciate the opportunity to be of service for God. This was my first time with Jumpstart (my heart is still racing!), and I look forward to the next one,” said Rosie Taylor, who volun-

W E L L I N G T O N / G L E A N E R

NAD NEWS

Newly-commissioned pastor Julian Jones-Campbell (center) stands with G. Earl Knight, Atlantic Union Conference president (left); Patrick Campbell, JonesCampbell’s husband; Ivan Williams, North American Division Ministerial Association director; and Alanzo Smith, former ministerial secretary for the Greater New York Conference.

“God looks into our future. He sees that we will fall, but He still has a gospel assignment for us. . . . He still gave us the opportunity to be colaborers with Him.” Addressing Jones-Campbell, Williams said, “He is using you to be a conduit of God’s grace to bring others to Him. In doing so, you will bless His name by blessing others as you serve.” Jones-Campbell’s husband, Patrick Campbell, stood by her side during the service. After the prayers and laying on of hands by fellow pastors, Jones-Campbell was presented with a plaque, gifts, and flowers. “If you are tired and feel like giving up, I’ve got news for you,” said Williams to Jones-Campbell. “You’re breaking ground today, Pastor Campbell, for other sisters coming behind you. Hold your head up high, for God has called you, and no one can take your personal testimony away.” —Lisa González, GNYC Adventist News; this article originally appeared in the September 2016 Atlantic Union Gleaner.


Serving communities in Christ’s name ACS Offering - December 10, 2016 communityservices.org NORTH AMERICAN DIVISION


She said being here felt right.

N A D U P D AT E

W

hen the young adults walked into church, I could tell they weren’t from Pohnpei in the Federated States of Micronesia. At the end of the program I participated in August, I introduced myself and found out that they were student missionaries at the Pohnpei Seventh-day Adventist School. From Southern University, Union College, and Walla Walla University, these Adventist young adults were ready to tackle a year of teaching and serving on this little island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, far from their families. The young missionaries brimmed with hope and an attitude that this was where God wanted them to be. After setting up an appointment to go out to dinner together, we parted ways that Sabbath afternoon. I left thinking about the way they handled themselves, and about the dreams and hopes they’d shared in our brief conversation. I kept thinking about the unknowns and the circumstances they would encounter throughout the year. Being a parent makes you think that way. But I also saw it from their perspective: how they had taken a year out of their lives, knowing this was important enough to do so. The Guam-Micronesia Mission is part of the North American Division, but these student missionaries were half a world away from what they know to be normal, adjusting to a rhythm of life and culture that is so different. Teachers and Role Models

I visited them during school hours one morning and saw them in action. Samuel taught a computer class in a room with no functioning air conditioner. When I asked about it, he just said they were going to fix it soon, and

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The author (left) takes a selfie with student missionaries he met who are taking a year from their studies to teach in various capacities in Micronesia.

By Armando Miranda, Jr., associate director, youth ministries, North American Division

Dedication and Dreams in

Pohnpei

A year as a student missionary is very revealing.

that class must go on. I asked Kim’s students what Bible verse they learned that day; it was on the board: “You shall have no other gods before me.” I saw Daniel and Jimmy in the middle of recess, children all around, laughing and playing with them. I saw high school students listening and taking notes from the young teachers as the teachers tried their best to teach the material and

Adventist World - nad | November 2016

make sure the students took notes. In the evening, as we went off for pizza at the only local place where we’d all fit (one of only two options), we all piled into the back of the school’s truck. The missionary teachers were happy about the prospect of a good meal (they have to cook their own meals, and many answered “cereal” when I asked what they’d been eating).


When It Feels Right

As we sat down for dinner, I asked the student missionaries why they chose to be there. One mentioned that this year would best help him prepare for what he thought God wanted him to do: “I’m a business major with a religion minor. When I graduate, I want to be in the mission field. I want to be a missionary [in Iraq], and being a missionary here, learning about this, prepares me for what’s to come.” Another one mentioned how her parents did not fully support her choices: first, of attending an Adventist university, and second, of losing a year of school to be a missionary. She said that even though she didn’t know exactly what was going to happen, being here felt right. She is an educa-

She said being here felt right. tion major, and this is an experience in which she’ll definitely learn what it means to be a teacher. Then there was Kayla, the only returning student missionary. This was going to be her second year on the

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island. Kayla shared with me that this year the student missionaries (SMs) will try to jump-start the youth program on the island. “It’s been hard,” she said, “since most SMs leave after one year and there’s no continuity.” They are going to try to encourage more locals to lead, but getting them interested and invested is going to be a challenge. As we parted, Kayla, voice breaking, thanked me for dinner and asked me to remember the SMs and the challenges they face. Their dreams and plans are big, and sometimes they feel all alone and helpless. These brave young adults are taking the gospel to the other side of the world with courage and hope. They need our prayers and support as they embark on this journey. n

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NAD PERSPECTIVE By John Bradshaw

Are You Ready for

Hacksaw Ridge?

M

ore than 70 years ago an unlikely hero saved the lives of dozens of American soldiers during one of the bloodiest battles of World War II. Now his story is about to explode onto movie screens all over the world (U.S. release is scheduled for November 4). The international press is already hailing Hacksaw Ridge as a potential Oscar winner. The film tells the story of Corporal Desmond Doss, a Seventh-day Adventist combat medic who single-handedly rescued 75 soldiers during the battle of Okinawa, in the midst of a hail of enemy gunfire. As a result of his bravery, Desmond Doss was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor, the United States’ highest military honor. While Doss’s story has been told many times, Hacksaw Ridge is the first feature film to recount his remarkable heroism. The movie is directed by Hollywood heavyweight Mel Gibson, who, having fallen afoul of Hollywood and the media on numerous occasions, may finally have found redemption according to critics. David Rooney of the Hollywood Reporter has called the film a “forceful comeback.” Hacksaw Ridge received a 10-minute standing ovation following its premiere at the Venice Film Festival. It looks like Hacksaw Ridge is going to be huge, and that matters for Christians. It’s likely that millions of people

are going to watch the powerfully told story of a Seventh-day Adventist war hero. And they’ll learn about—and talk about—not only his deeply held beliefs and faith, but also the remarkable God who enabled Doss to carry himself with such outstanding grace, commitment, and bravery. Hacksaw Ridge neither downplays Desmond Doss’s Christian faith nor minimizes his beliefs. Instead, the movie respectfully and accurately portrays Doss’s steadfast faith in God. Corporal Doss, a private first class at the time of the Battle of Okinawa, is presented as a balanced, Sabbathkeeping, vegetarian, Bible-believing Christian who was moved by faith in God to adhere to his beliefs in the face of overwhelming opposition. Gibson’s Hacksaw Ridge is an inspirational story of a Christian’s unwavering faith in God. In one of the later scenes of the movie, Doss—played by Hollywood leading actor Andrew Garfield—does all he can to save American servicemen. After lowering a soldier to safety, Doss prays, “Lord, give me one more!” Each time he lowers another soldier to safety the prayer is repeated: “Lord, give me one more!” Doss’s prayer is a prayer that should be prayed by Christians everywhere. “Lord, give me one more. Help me get one more!” While time is running out for Planet Earth, precious opportunities are being presented to reach this world for Christ. Disciples

of Christ recognize that witnessing opportunities present themselves in countless ways, even through Hollywood blockbusters. Hacksaw Ridge was not made by Seventh-day Adventists. Nor was it made for Adventists. But it presents Adventists with an unprecedented opportunity to speak up for Christ. Doss’s story thrusts the church into a global conversation. Hollywood is presenting Christians everywhere with a multimillion-dollar opportunity to come along behind this headline-grabbing movie and speak in favor of the God—and the faith—of Desmond Doss. Churches and members have to be ready to engage in conversations with those who watch Hacksaw Ridge, and be prepared to answer questions about what drove Doss to be steadfast in his faith in God. It’s not hard to imagine that God has allowed the production of Hacksaw Ridge specifically for such a time as this. Not to glorify Hollywood, or war, or Doss, but to call attention to the theme of faith and grace. Desmond Doss now rests beneath a simple grave marker in the Chattanooga National Cemetery in Tennessee. Ten years after his death Hollywood is telling the story of his battlefield heroism. It’s now up to those of us still living to tell the story of his Savior, the power of grace, and the promise of Jesus’ return. n

John Bradshaw is speaker/ director for It Is Written, a media ministry of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in North America.

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I teach at Southern Adventist University, and I am privileged to interact with great students every day. I am constantly amazed at the things these young people deal with on a daily basis. Everyone has a powerful story to tell. Valerie Lee Collegedale, Tennessee Christ’s Method

NAD Letters Getting Ready

Thanks for “A Heart for Mission” (September 2016), the Week of Prayer edition for everyone to read. I read carefully Ted N. C. Wilson’s remarks, and I wanted to fast for the world church during our time together. I choose to fast for God’s people to experience, as Ellen White wrote, “a settling into the truth, both intellectually and spiritually, so they cannot be moved—just as soon as God’s people are sealed and prepared for the shaking, it will come. Indeed, it has begun already; the judgments of God are now upon the land, . . . that we may know what is coming” (The Faith I Live By, p. 287). Robert Rouillard Lakewood, Washington

My thanks to Gary Krause for his article “Mission With Love, Christ’s Method” (September 2016). His opening illustration about Stephen and Hetty Haskell’s work in New York City in 1901 is a story that, I suspect, many Adventists may not be familiar with. We’re all familiar with Ellen White’s statement about working as Jesus worked, by mingling, showing sympathy, ministering to needs, and winning confidences. And in his excellent piece Krause left us with some concrete examples about how to do that. Only after we’ve done all those things have we won the right to ask people to follow Jesus. We have to

Start with Us

I enjoyed the Week of Prayer issue of Adventist World, especially Cheryl Doss’s “All Believers in Mission.” Doss says that when sharing the gospel with others, the best place to start is with what He has done in our own lives.

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Adventist World - nad | November 2016

plant the seeds before we can reap a harvest. Naomi Cardenas South San Francisco, California Pray and Act

I was a little surprised to read the article “Adventists Gather in Washington, D.C., to Pray, Call for Action” (September 2016). Don’t get me wrong: I was delighted to read about Adventists doing something to address the violence that has become so much a part of life in too many North American cities. But it seems as though our emphasis as a church has been to ignore social issues so we could emphasize our prophetic message about Jesus’ soon return. But I submit that raising our voices against violence, especially that which has such a pronounced racial component, is as important as our prophetic proclamation. Gun violence is certainly getting more news time than prophecy. And for that reason I am proud that our church is raising its voice. Bennett Barker Jersey City, New Jersey


W O R L D

H E A L T H

Exercise and

Breast Cancer Risk

Health Benefits Associated With Regular Physical Activity CHILDREN AND ADOLESCENTS Strong evidence Improved cardiorespiratory and muscular fitness Improved bone health Improved cardiovascular and metabolic health biomarkers Favorable body composition Moderate evidence Reduced symptoms of depression ADULTS AND OLDER ADULTS Strong evidence Lower risk of early death Lower risk of coronary heart disease Lower risk of stroke Lower risk of high blood pressure Lower risk of adverse blood lipid profile Lower risk of type 2 diabetes Lower risk of metabolic syndrome Lower risk of colon cancer Lower risk of breast cancer Prevention of weight gain Weight loss, particularly when combined with reduced calorie intake Improved cardiorespiratory and muscular fitness Prevention of falls Reduced depression Better cognitive function (for older adults) Moderate to strong evidence Better functional health (for older adults) Reduced abdominal obesity Moderate evidence Lower risk of hip fracture Lower risk of lung cancer Lower risk of endometrial cancer Weight maintenance after weight loss Increased bone density Improved sleep quality

By Peter N. Landless and Allan R. Handysides I am a 35-year-old female and enjoy good health. I am very busy as a mother, wife, and schoolteacher. I don’t get to exercise much, and I have a family history of breast cancer. Does exercise really reduce the risk of breast cancer?

W

e are victims of the tyranny of an overfilled schedule! Despite all the time and laborsaving devices we may utilize, we struggle to find time to care for the fitness of our bodies and, even more sadly, the well-being of our relationship with Christ. Both these activities require time and intentional planning. Our wholeness of body, mind, and spirit depend on the priorities we choose. Exercise is a form of physical activity that is planned, structured, repetitive, and performed with the goal of improving health and fitness. Regular exercise is not only a preventive measure; it also works to maintain health at its best, is protective, and provides many benefits. The Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans (PAGA) Advisory Committee, comprising 13 leading experts in the field of exercise science and public health, summarizes the benefits of exercise in the table to the left.1 The findings of the studies that have led to these recommendations are applicable across nations and ethnicities. Compelling evidence proving that people who are physically active for approximately seven hours a week have a 40 percent lower risk of dying prematurely than those who are active for fewer than 30 minutes a week continues to emerge. There’s even substantially lower risk of premature death when people do two and a half hours of at least moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity a week.

Regular exercise has been shown to decrease the risk of breast cancer in women. In a recent analysis of the 2013 Global Burden of Disease Study, not only was the protective effect of regular exercise confirmed for breast cancer; it was shown that there is benefit in even the lower activity level groups (150 minutes of walking per week). The protection increases in moderately and highly active groups. With colon cancer, diabetes, coronary artery disease, and stroke, a similar pattern for the benefit of exercise emerged. More than 150 years ago Ellen G. White said, “Walking, in all cases where it is possible, is the best exercise, because in walking, all the muscles are brought into action.”2 Take time to exercise—your health is at stake! n 1

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, pp. 9-12. For online version, go to www.Health.gov/paguidelines. 2 Ellen G. White, in The Health Reformer, July 1, 1872.

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

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SPECIAL SUPPLEMENT

The

Loma Linda Report MANY STRENGTHS. ONE MISSION.

November 2016

‘He is the first doctor we’ve ever trusted’

Patient family honors physician through Healing Hands program By Heather Reifsnyder

wife, Joyce, and patient Steve Kayne. “He is the first doctor we’ve ever trusted,” the Andersons wrote in praise of Namihas when making their gift. George Anderson is cancer free thanks to treatment by Namihas for both prostate cancer and basal cell carcinoma. “Dr. Namihas’ ability to listen and talk ‘with you’ at your level instead of ‘at you,’ along with his deep patient caring, and his expert yet flexible medical and creative protocol skills, set him apart,” the Andersons also said.

About the Healing Hands program The doctor who calms the fears of he 2016 Olympics are now a patients and family members following a memory, but thanks to loyal pafrantic trip to the emergency department; tients, gold was recently presented the therapist who helps patients get back to radiation medicine physician Ivan Namion their feet; the nurse who holds a young has, MD—specifically, a gold pin from the mother’s hand as she gives birth to her Healing Hands grateful patient program at first child—every staff member at Loma Loma Linda University Health. Linda University Health shares the same The Healing Hands program allows goal: to make patients and their loved patients to express their gratitude for ones whole again. extraordinary care by making a donation Patients and their families are at their of any amount in honor of a physician or most vulnerable when they’re in the hosstaff member. First-time recognipital. Their caregivers—a doctor, Loma Linda University Health physicians tions are commemorated with a nurse, therapist, or chaplain—care silver lapel pin for the honoree to and staff are committed to fulfilling Christ’s for them emotionally and spirituwear proudly. Once 10 donations ally, as well as physically. At Loma ministry of teaching and healing—and being Linda University Health, that are made in a person’s honor, he or she receives a gold Healing speaks to a mission of caring for His Healing Hands to those they serve. Hands pin. the whole person. Gifts made in Namihas’ honor reached Namihas received his gold pin in a cerThe premier medical organization in 10 when he was recently recognized by emony September 13, during which other the region, Loma Linda University Health patient George Anderson, along with his radiation medicine staff members were depends on the support of former patients also honored. and families who received the best, most Patient Mark Vander- compassionate care possible. slice recognized six staff Many times, these individuals bond members. with their caregivers. That’s why the HealVanderslice says: ing Hands grateful patient program pro“I had a relapse after vides them with an opportunity to make five years with cancer a gift to Loma Linda University Health [and had to] undergo in honor of the physician or staff member radiation treatment. Of who helped make their stay easier. course, I wasn’t pleased to Making a gift through Healing Hands hear this. However, I felt allows patients and family members to confident in the care of enhance the care at Loma Linda UniverLoma Linda University sity Health, while sending a message to the Medical Center. caregiver who made their stay more com“When I came to the fortable. That recognition lets them know radiation department, I their dedication was noticed. Ivan Namihas, MD (in green), shows his gold Heal- expected good service; If you or a loved one have been impacted ing Hands pin, signifying 10 grateful patient dona- however the service I by staff or alumni of Loma Linda Univertions made in his honor. He is pictured with fellow received was extraordinary. sity Health, we would be pleased to hear radiation medicine staff members and Judy Chatigny, I came across some very from you. You can share your story by MSN (right), executive director of LLU Cancer Center. kind and caring people.” sending an email to friends@llu.edu.

T


A D V E N T I S T

H E R I T A G E

M The author as a conscript in the Soviet army

By Pavel Liberanskiy

IN A God does many impossible things.

PART 1

y four siblings and I grew up in a friendly, active church full of children and young people. Despised for our faith in God in the wider community, we participated in school debates about God’s existence and Christian values, all without the benefit of Adventist books. When Adventist children in Moldova stopped attending school on Sabbath, it unleashed a storm of indignation and persecution. Each Sabbath police officers, school representatives, and Communist administrators came to our churches. They interrupted our worship, fined our parents, and threatened imprisonment. Their fury strengthened our faith. In church we learned music, studied the Bible and read Ellen White books on a regular basis. We learned how to preach Christ while facing persecution from a fiercely atheist regime. We children often had to jump out of the church’s rear windows and escape into the garden as police tried to block all the exits in an attempt to fine our parents for bringing us to church. Other kids joined age-based Communist youth organizations: Octobrist, age 7-11; Pioneers, for teenagers; Komsomol, the All-Union Leninist Young Communist League for older youth. While they kissed Komsomol flags, swearing allegiance to the party, we trusted in God, loved our parents, and dreamed of becoming missionaries and being free one day.

Joining God’s Church and Moldova’s Army

At 17, one year younger than the law permitted, I walked to a church 20 kilometers (12.5 miles) away and got baptized one Friday night. Music became my major missionary witness. Educational advancement was almost impossible in Moldova: Saturday Adventist World

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W A O D V R E L N D T VI S I ST T A H E R I T A G E

During his two years of military service, the author did his best to be faithful in his duties to God and his fellow soldiers.

classes were obligatory; atheists labored to convince us to deny our faith and break the Sabbath; refusal brought expulsion. Unable to study, I taught myself a variety of useful skills. A book by one of our pastors, Myth and Reality, helped greatly in my discussions with others about God’s existence and the Bible’s reliability. My turn for the two-year Soviet Army draft came on November 12, 1979. My church prepared a farewell party for me and urged me to be faithful. That autumn morning I found myself in a noisy, godless crowd of drunk draftees. I faced my first challenge when an inspector said, “Give me two rubles.” Then she presented me with a Komsomol card. “I cannot take this,” I said. “I don’t agree with this organization’s atheistic ideas.” She insisted that I take it and move on. A huge crowd waited its turn behind me. “I’m an Adventist, and I can’t accept the Komsomol card,” I repeated. “Take the card and go,” she said rudely. “All this religious nonsense will be beaten out of your young head!” Others in the line told her that I was a Christian and that I didn’t need the card. But she insisted. I noticed that someone had already signed my

22

documents. My heart was sick at my situation. Through childhood and high school I had consistently resisted identifying with the Communist Party. But now the card was in my pocket! What should I do with it? My First Assignment

We boarded buses for Beltsy, northern Moldova. There we went through a final inspection and medical check. As a member of Komsomol I was enrolled in a team of missile troops and advised that I would soon

Adventist World - nad | November 2016

be sent to a place of service. On my first night away from home and church family I prayed a lot, asking that God’s will be done in my future in the army. I went to my plank bed in the barracks wondering what to do with my Komsomol card. Then I remembered that Dmitriy Unak, an Adventist pastor, lived in the area, though I had no idea where. I decided to ask his advice. Somehow I slipped away from the barracks, followed God’s angel into the night, and found the pastor’s


We trusted in God, loved our parents, and dreamed both of becoming missionaries and being free one day. house. I woke him and his wife and started to explain the purpose of my visit. They were both interested and suspicious about my Komsomol card. We prayed. They gave me good advice and kept my Komsomol and personnel record cards. The pastor promised to meet with the government’s commissioner for religious affairs to report on how Komsomol leaders were treating Adventists. In Gudauta, Abkhazia, my first place of service, my first serious challenge was food. Almost everything was cooked with pork or fat. My diet was limited to bread, tea, sauerkraut, and maybe porridge. Before training began, I was called to the commander’s office to show my Komsomol and personnel record cards. “I’m not a member of Komsomol,” I said. They couldn’t believe it: only Komsomol members were admitted to this secret missile military unit. Calmly I spoke about my faith, objecting to the fact that my country’s laws didn’t allow me to practice it. They were infuriated. I stated that, following the Bible, I would not work on Saturday, and would not carry any weapons. Their response—at a time when the Soviet Union was fighting in Afghanistan— was that I had a duty to protect my country. The senior officer presented me with a stack of books of Soviet

military regulations, and told me how many years of prison I would get for violating each law. I responded, “I’m not going to fight my conscience, regardless of the cost. You may put me up against this wall and sentence me to death. I’ll be faithful to the God I trust.” In the silence that followed they sent me out to reconsider. They told me to forget about my beliefs during my two years of service. I stepped out and praised God for being with me. The Major

Our training began on my poor food, intense running and physical exercises, cleaning, drill, six to seven hours of sleep, and sidelong glances from officers and soldiers. Everyone quickly learned of my faith. Some, especially Muslims, applauded my determination to be faithful to my religious principles. I won all the athletic competitions and mastered all my technology classes. When asked where I had learned these skills, I answered, “Nowhere.” I earned everyone’s respect. Major Serdyukov, our troop’s welleducated, well-mannered chief of the Committee for State Security (KGB), invited me to his office. We talked about my life and religious beliefs. He showed me booklets about what some Adventists had done. One

night they saturated regions around the Black Sea with anti-Soviet booklets that had turned up in his office mailbox. He wanted to find the people responsible for it. I assured him that this was against my church’s position; that it may have been the so-called Adventist-reformist church. He was concerned about the presence of an Adventist in this secret military unit. He seemed worried about what to do with me. I suggested that he transfer me to a neighboring military unit in Sochi that was preparing for the 1980 Olympic Games. He had me write to Mr. Sinicin, commander of the Baku Military District. “Tell him everything you think necessary,” he said. I wrote my statement. I mentioned my transfer request. I referred to Article 52 of Soviet law on freedom of conscience, and asked for the opportunity to practice my religious beliefs while in military service. The major accepted my statement and promised me an answer within a few days. n To be continued.

Pavel Liberanskiy is

director of publishing ministries, stewardship, and trust services for the Euro-Asia Division.

November 2016 | Adventist World - nad

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C OV E R S T O RY

I

t takes a long time to reclaim land from the sea, but the Dutch have been patiently doing it for centuries. Creating new land—polders—from the tides for farming and communities requires careful planning, great investment in dikes and pumping equipment, and long calendars. It’s not a task for those who require instant or impressive results. Success is measured over decades and generations, as all true success should be. So it really shouldn’t surprise us that one of the most successful targeted programs of church planting in global Adventism is also one of the longest running, and centered in the Netherlands Union, a small but vibrant piece of the church’s Trans-European Division.1 With but 58 churches and 16 companies embracing a church family of 5,736,2 the total membership of the Netherlands Union is the size of one midrange Christian megachurch in the Americas or Africa. Unlike those supercongregations, however, Adventism in the Netherlands boasts a highly diverse collection of languages, cultures, worship styles, and customs that constantly requires recalibration and negotiation. And patience. “Do not despise these small beginnings, for the Lord rejoices to see the work begin,” the prophet reminds us (Zech. 4:10, NLT).3 The scale on which God’s Spirit works is never the metric of success: it’s the relative increase which always gains the Master’s praise (Matt. 25:14-20). And a 32 percent growth rate in the 15 years since the Netherlands Union began its unique program of church planting4 reminds

Adventists everywhere of Zechariah’s counsel. Much of that remarkable growth in a region widely known as “post-Christian” and secular is owing to the unusual manner in which church planting in the Netherlands has moved forward. Once the heartland of vigorous Calvinism, the Netherlands today is pervasively secular, with only 30 percent of the population officially belonging to a Christian church, and only one third of those—10 percent of the population—attending each week.5 But 37 Adventist church plants have started in the nation of 17 million in the past 15 years (an average of more than two per year), with 31 of them continuing to thrive. “The typical Dutchman doesn’t look for a church at all,” says Rudy Dingjan, church growth coordinator for the Netherlands Union since 1997. “His grandparents left the church; his parents heard about it; and he has never heard anything about it. The typical church plant for secular people won’t start worship services for a long while. They will first build a community, a core of people who feel at home together, perhaps with a small group or house group. Activities that bond that group more closely will begin. Gradually they will begin—maybe once a

Planting

Grace and

Patience By Bill Knott


Vibrant Praise: An annual gospel concert brings many community friends and colleagues to the FOCUS church plant in Arnhem, Netherlands.

month—with a worship service.” (See “Keeping Their FOCUS” sidebar.) Dingjan’s long tenure and well-articulated philosophy of church planting is a major part of the region’s success with church planting. Initially skeptical about claims that church planting methods first modeled in Australia could work in the very different cultural setting of Holland, Dingjan and several other pastors became convinced that lay-driven—rather than pastor-driven—church plants would better serve the rapidly changing “world” that is Dutch culture. “We stress the point that a church plant should always

be directed to its neighborhood,” he says, “so that people who live there should do it. And they should be connected to the society, to people living there. They’ll probably stay, because they live there.” Church plants across the small nation are as diverse as the populations now emerging in Dutch culture. Ghanaian Twi-speaking church plants grow up near those launched by descendants of Dutch Indonesian Adventists. Dutch and Papiamento language church plants from the Caribbean have also contributed to the remarkable surge occurring near several of the country’s large cities, including Rotterdam and Amsterdam. Immigrants from across Europe

Keeping Their By Bill Knott

I

t looks like an “ordinary” Adventist congregation, if by “ordinary” you include a congregation meeting on Sabbath afternoon in a rented community center. The worship service seems familiar: congregational praise, led by keyboard, instruments, and vocalists; an invocation; Scripture reading; prayer; a choral anthem; a sermon from the Word. But when you discover that more than 80 percent of the

FOCUS

40-member congregation— and all the members of the choir—aren’t members of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, you quickly realize that the FOCUS church plant in Arnhem, Netherlands, is anything but “ordinary.” The vibrant, multiracial, multilingual church plant grew out of the dedication a Dutch Moluccan family, the Fautngiljanans, whose family emigrated from Indonesia two generations ago. Coached by

Pastor Ton Steens and his wife, Sonja, to start a house group of friends and neighbors, the gathering that grew into the FOCUS church plant ranged in age from 18 to 68. The fun, relational Bible studies in the Fautngiljanan home every second and fourth Sabbath afternoon grew into twicemonthly worship services (first and third Sabbaths) in September 2013 at the nearby Ontmoeting community center on the south side of Arnhem,

It’s a whole family commitment: father Joseph and elder son Ryano, 24, play percussion and help with the praise singing. Mother Delyana joins younger son Giordano, a talented vocalist, violinist, and piano player, in leading congregational worship. The brothers have long performed in musical groups throughout the Netherlands. When Giordano began inviting fellow students from the music conservatory where he studies to perform religious music at the FOCUS worship services, a major new opening into the Arnhem community appeared. “I was surprised that so many of those rock band

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and the Middle East now gather in small, family-style units alongside native Hollanders, creating a multicultural tapestry in a region in which some have mistakenly believed that Adventism is declining. “Adventism in the Netherlands is one of the most diverse and vibrant expressions of this movement I’ve seen anywhere around the globe,” says Netherlands Union president Wim Altink, first elected in 2007. “We’re learning how to live together as brothers and sisters in the faith, even when we start from very different cultural experiences of faith. God is welding us into one people who can effectively reach out to this remarkable nation.” A typical church plant begins with six to 10 people, usually from an existing congregation, Dingjan says, though some have launched with as many as 20 to 30 persons. Some of the lay-organized, lay-led groups are focused on a particular city or neighborhood: others attempt to reach members of specific language, age, or cultural groups. Some plants are highly traditional, using structures drawn on the Church Manual, while others emphasize more contemporary approaches, using music and worship styles appealing to younger audiences.

Founding Family: Ryano, Delyana, Joseph, and Giordano Fautngiljanan musicians who were invited were so eager to join me,” Giordano says with a broad smile. “They appreciated the reverent and warm atmosphere in the FOCUS worship. Time and again they accepted the invitation to sing songs of praise to God. They wanted to know the

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meaning of the text they had to sing, and experienced for a while what it means to live a life with God. By learning the text they were asked to sing, they discovered what God can mean to you—what His works and character are.” There is method to Giordano’s invitations: “I

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Netherlands Church Planting Coordinator, Rudy Dingjan

“Wherever the church is planting more churches, that’s where the growth of the church is happening,” Dingjan says, pointing to 15 years of data. “And where church planting isn’t happening, there’s no growth. Congregations may keep their current numbers, but there’s no growth. Every church can grow for 20 years, but it’s an exception if it can keep growing after that if it doesn’t plant a new congregation.” “It’s the same as it is with us men,” he adds with a sly grin. “We grow for 20 years, but after that we only grow wider, not taller.” Pastors have very different roles in the church plants in the Netherlands Union than in most other regions of the world church. While much of the church planting advice in the Americas and Africa stresses the need for talented, gregarious pastors who build new congregations around their own gifts, the pastors in Holland function almost exclusively as coaches rather than congregation leaders. With nearly 75 existing congregations and companies and just 24 credentialed pastors, almost every minister already has responsibility for two or three established churches. There simply aren’t enough employed individuals to take

deliberately choose happy songs about the joy a Christian experiences when confronted with the love of God,” he says. “This is my way of sharing and communicating my faith with others.” Another highlight of the FOCUS church plant is the “healthy high tea,” organized on the third Sabbath of each month as a free vegetarian meal for all community members. Many community members now regularly attending the FOCUS group first made contact with the

church plant through the monthly meals, discovering both good food and a warm, vibrant community of believers. Special events have also proved highly attractive to the Arnhem community, including an annual FOCUS gospel concert; an outreach program to immigrants awaiting naturalization as Dutch citizens; a special dinner for area children; and a weekend retreat that allows ample time for friendship and faith sharing between the core group of Adventists and their many community friends.


By Gerson P. Santos

1

As of the October 2016 Executive Committee of the General Conference, the Netherlands Union Conference has been reorganized as the Netherlands Union of Churches. See the 2016 Annual Statistical Report of the General Conference, available at http://documents. adventistarchives.org/Statistics/ASR/ASR2016.pdf. 3 Scripture quotations marked NLT are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved. 4 See comparisons between the 2001 and 2016 Annual Statistical Reports. 5 “Geloven binnen en buiten verband,” Sociaal en Cultureel Planbureau, Apr. 28, 2014.

Sharing Christ’s love tangibly in São Paulo, Brazil

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P O M I N

he A Gente Cuida (We Care) church plant is located in an upscale residential neighborhood in São Paulo, Brazil. During my visit on Father’s Day I met a group of young adults, with some children, distributing cards, balloons, and a special delicacy for those walking or jogging in this public park. We Care is the motto of an energetic group of young adults who have been developing community projects for more than two years. Using the principles of “Christ’s method alone,”* they have been mingling with people and trying to meet their needs in different ways. This church plant engaging its community started on the streets; sometimes it even had worship in a public square. Later it was decided to move the worship to the office space of a marketing company offering more opportunities for spiritual growth. The non-Adventist owner of the marketing company decided not to charge any rent. Churches often offer programs they like, instead of thinking of the kind of programs the community would like. We Care took a different route. The young adults, involved from the beginning, spent months visiting the community and listening to its needs. Splitting up into small groups serving a specific block, they became “pastors” of that block, offering spiritual advice and listening carefully to the needs of individuals. Recognizing the presence of many nightclubs and pubs in the area, they began offering water to people drinking alcohol, shared relevant scientific data, and helped minimize the consequences of alcohol dehydration. After all, people usually meet the Great Healer when they are sober. Members of We Care often connected with people on the street, offering them water bottles on Saturday nights. Soon people began to respond positively to these acts of kindness on the group’s social media page. “We always try to talk to

D A N I E L A

week-by-week responsibility for the full calendar of Bible studies, midweek prayers meetings, social activities, and community health events now typical of many church plants in the Netherlands. “Each church plant has a pastor assigned to it, but as a coach, not the primary preacher or leader,” Dingjan adds. “The pastor is the one responsible for the identity of the church and the theology of the church, but is chiefly the equipper of the church. He or she should train the people in correct Bible understandings and effective preaching, but not try to do it all themselves.” Most pastors preach only at the church plants they coach once a month, and are crucial only for baptisms and celebrations of the Lord’s Supper. All other leadership in church planting—teaching, organizing, and most preaching—is done by members of the core group, who make assignments, create accountability, and imagine new outreach. “If you want to be involved in a church plant in the Netherlands, you’d better train yourself to be able to preach,” Dingjan adds with a laugh. “There simply aren’t enough professional ministers to go around—and we wouldn’t want that role for them even if they were available.” “We aren’t looking for pastor-driven growth or church plants,” he concludes. “That isn’t the New Testament model. If you’re overorganized ‘from the top,’ you don’t grow. One of the big mistakes of many Adventist church plants around the globe is that they assume that a church plant is all about the Sabbath worship service.” “That’s simply not workable. The church is a community of people who also meet to worship on the Sabbath. When it works well, church members are involved with their neighbors on the street, with colleagues in the community, and with all those whom the Spirit is drawing through all kinds of events beyond Sabbath morning. We’re trying to build a community of faith that functions all through the week—a community that also has the opportunity to worship and celebrate together on Sabbath with the friends it has made.” Patience. And the faith to believe that “He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ” (Phil. 1:6). That’s the way Jesus is reviving His church in the Netherlands—and in so many other places. n

We Care

2

An actor was passing by Paulista Avenue and he talks to one of the Open Up volunteers for more than two hours about existential and spiritual topics. November 2016 | Adventist World - nad

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* Ellen G. White, The Ministry of Healing (Mountain View, Calif.: Pacific Press Pub. Assn., 1905), p. 143.

Gerson P. Santos, originally from Brazil, serves as an as-

T I A G O

M E N E Z E S

sociate secretary of the General Conference in Silver Spring, Maryland, United States.

Mother and daughter having fun as they participate in a We Care Kids activity during a beautiful sunny afternoon at the Horacio Sabino Square.

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V L A D I M I R

people,” says Marceli, one of the leaders of We Care. “Sharing God’s love has given us many opportunities to help others.” Another project is called “open up.” Every Friday night We Care group members bring stools to a busy street sidewalk with a sign asking, “Are you tired or depressed? Open up and talk.” Johnny was passing by and stopped to talk. Impressed by the group’s desire to help, he stayed. Years before, as a teenager, he had lost his father and felt great disappointment with God and established religion. “God doesn’t exist,” he felt. “If He existed, He wouldn’t have let something like that happen.” When Johnny arrived home that evening, he prayed, “God if You exist, I heard Your voice today through those young people on the streets.” He attends a small group of We Care and is studying the Bible. We Care not only focuses on local needs, however. During the past year it has partnered with ADRA and sent 100 tons of water to assist disaster relief in another Brazilian state. It has also partnered with a state university doing research on the role of spirituality in drug addiction recovery. In this program its members were able to connect with more than 250 teenagers, almost 50 percent of whom have stayed clean after completing the program. Local music and drama programs have been offered in public squares and people have responded positively. One neighbor watched the program, connected with We Care on social media, and is now attending services every week. Today about 35 young adults meet every Sabbath to worship together and care for their community. Their absence would be missed!

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C OV E R S T O RY

By Andrew McChesney

Siberian Church Built on Prayer Good news for Siberia

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ocal church members will long remember the day last winter when the first Seventh-day Adventist church opened its doors in Russia’s Siberia region. After two decades of praying they found an affordable plot of land in 2011. Michael Ryan, then a general vice president for the Adventist world church, visited the site and offered a special prayer. With more prayer and faith, constantly invoking the prayer of Jabez, that God would bless them and enlarge their territory (see 1 Chron. 4:10), members constructed the building. Church pastor Vladimir Nosov attended the first worship service that winter evening. “We had no furniture, or even chairs, but the building was complete,” Nosov said. “Church members felt an extraordinary joy. Light seemed to spill over the walls and fill the place with a special glow. People touched the walls with their hands in awe that God had answered so many years of prayer. Tears flowed from many eyes. Prayers were heartfelt and fervent.” Prayers for a church began around 1990 when the first Adventists arrived in Nyagan, a town of 56,000 people located in an inhospitably cold region akin to the Arctic. An attempt to buy a small building collapsed several years ago, crushing the small group’s hopes. “They were beside themselves,” said Vasiliy P. Stefaniev, president of the West Siberian Mission, whose territory includes Nyagan. “But the pastor encouraged them to believe that


People attend Sabbath school classes at the Nyagan church.

By Gaspar Colón

This Locksmith Makes

Keys to the Heart

God had prepared something bigger, and their prayers were answered.” A handsome, two-story church building slowly took shape. At the same time, the congregation began to grow. “People were baptized every year of the construction,” said Alexey Novoselov, former president of the West Siberian Mission, and now executive secretary of the East Russian Union Mission. “The church had five to seven members; now it has nearly 30.” Today the church is well known in its community, church leaders said. Its members are active in the community, and taxi drivers don’t need directions to the church. Five students from the Zaoksky Adventist Seminary, near Moscow, will arrive by year-end to assist the church in gospel outreach. The church is also planning its first evangelistic program led by Ryan, now a special assistant to the Adventist Church president, and Michael Kaminskiy, president of the EuroAsia Division. “The Nyagan church is not very large, but it’s friendly and close-knit,” Kaminskiy said. “I must especially point out the hospitality of the pastor and his family. The pastor is a kind and caring person. This is one of the reasons new people come to the church.” Nosov said the church looked forward to even more miracles. “We continue to pray and believe that the Lord will open more opportunities,” he said in one of several e-mail exchanges. “We wish to serve Him!”

The Nyagan Seventh-day Adventist Church in Siberia.

Na Seung Il and his wife, Na (Choi) Eun Kyeong, invite small groups to study the Bible with them in a room over their business.

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a Seung Il and his wife, Na (Choi) Eun Kyeong, own a locksmith shop in the city of Gangneung in east-central South Korea. Not long after they purchased the building where their shop is located, Mrs. Na approached her husband: “Let’s open a small group center on the third floor of our building.” After they raised funds and remodeled the building, the Small Group Mission Center was opened in March 2013. At first they paid more attention to the small-group work than their own business, often closing the shop in order to care for the ministry they had started. “God tremendously blessed us. When we returned to the shop in the afternoon, customers who visited in the morning all came back.” Three groups meet on the third floor of the building: a mothers’ group, a deacons’ group, and a middle-aged group. They named the last one Attic, wishing to experience the presence of the Holy Spirit in their attic. In that group many members have experienced God’s guidance. Mr. Cho Nam Il renewed his faith after 25 years and led his wife to Jesus. He said, “I do my best to model Christianity to my wife.” The group encourages his late blooming faith. Mrs. Kim Jeong Soon started attending church, along with her husband. When she was diagnosed with lupus, the small group was a real support. “In the small group we can encourage one another.” A few months later her lupus proved to be a misdiagnosis. Mrs. Choi Seon Rang had a car accident while she was returning home after a small-group meeting. Even though she was broke six ribs, she thanks God that the small group is there for her and her husband. Mr. and Mrs. Na have learned that they can be involved in active small-group ministry for the Lord through the contacts they make in their locksmith business. This is their key to unlocking the hearts of their neighbors.

Gaspar Colón is mission integration coordinator for Adventist Review/Adventist World.

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F U N D A M E N T A L

B E L I E F S

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remember as a child attending the General Conference session in Dallas, Texas. For the first time I was exposed to a wonderful variety of people from all over the world. I was amazed at all the colors of the costumes, the sounds of instruments I had never heard, and the fascinating languages being spoken. I became aware that the church in my little corner of the world was very different from churches in countless other corners of the world. As I grew into an adult, my fascination with global variety expanded. I started to look for opportunities to travel. By the time I was 12 I had visited a half dozen countries. By the time I graduated from college, I had visited about 30. With my current count of 72 countries visited, I appreciate more than ever the breadth of variety that is the world we live in. And because of the hundreds of Adventist churches I have attended around the world, I appreciate more than ever the uniqueness of Adventism’s denominational diversity.

The

NUMBER 14

Paradox of

Unityand Variety Celebrating the uniqueness of our global church

By Richard Aguilera

Facing the Paradox

As a world church we are confronted with the paradox of having to function with both variety and unity. At first glance, we tend to think that must be difficult. But when we look at the classic biblical reference about the variety of different body parts working together with one common goal, our assignment starts to make more sense. The apostle Paul wrote, “There is one body, but it has many parts. But all its many parts make up one body. It is the same with Christ” (1 Cor. 12:12, NIrV).* In other words, the eye may be amazing, but so is the spleen, as well as the foot. They each work to make a single body function properly, and none of them can do the job of the other. The key is in understanding that each part has a different job, but their purpose exists only in making a single body function. As we know, if the spleen is separated from the body, it will die. Satan Versus Our Paradox

Satan, our enemy, does not want us to figure out how each can be different, yet all be one. Paying attention to the

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news on any given day will show that his agenda is to convince people that variety and unity cannot coexist: not on the planet, and not even within God’s church. Satan’s mission is to put a wedge between us and God, as well as wedges between the church body parts in order to divide us. He will try to amputate parts of the body using a variety of strategies. He will use politics, religion, language, race, and any other issue necessary. If you’re not sure about what I’m saying, try looking up some church-related online forums or Facebook posts. You’ll discover quickly how divisive some issues can be. I recently saw a Facebook post about an individual who unfriended a number of people as the result of a religious discussion. That discussion escalated to such a level that one wonders whether the Christian participants truly understood the meaning of the word Christian. Christian, of course, means Christlike. This is just one sad example of how one group of “church people” ended up tragically divided.


Sharpening Our Focus

Evidently it’s possible for people united in their commitment to believing and living the right truths to end up divided while aiming at the same goal. But the insights derived from recognizing our distinctions and differences does not need to be in tension with our common commitment to the truth as it is in Jesus. Much of the energy invested in opposing each other’s cultural markers may be invested instead in developing ways for us to work together. Ironically, many earnest church members, quick to spot and almost as prompt to denounce the things in which others differ, may genuinely think they are doing the right thing. It may not occur to them that the quickness of their eye is directly related to the superficiality of their observations. Perhaps if they were to tarry a little longer, look a little closer, and think a little harder, they might find in the object of their critiques a soul sister or brother who loves God and truth as deeply as they themselves do. How do we learn to go forward together? We must focus on the points that unite us. We must completely

Unity in the

Body of Christ

The church is one body with many members, called from every nation, kindred, tongue, and people. In Christ we are a new creation; distinctions of race, culture, learning, and nationality, and differences between high and low, rich and poor, male and female, must not be divisive among us. We are all equal in Christ, who by one Spirit has bonded us into one fellowship with Him and with one another; we are to serve and be served without partiality or reservation. Through the revelation of Jesus Christ in the Scriptures we share the same faith and hope, and reach out in one witness to all. This unity has its source in the oneness of the triune God, who has adopted us as His children. (Ps. 133:1; Matt. 28:19, 20; John 17:20-23; Acts 17:26, 27; Rom. 12:4, 5; 1 Cor. 12:12-14; 2 Cor. 5:16, 17; Gal. 3:27-29; Eph. 2:13-16; 4:3-6, 11-16; Col. 3:10-15.)

understand that God loves every single person, whatever the surface differences, whether attire, coiffure, music, or styles of prayer. We must completely understand that our holy calling is to love and serve others and to share the good news of hope and salvation. Loving enough to go beyond the surface may even take us beyond Fundamental Belief 14, to conversations about evangelism and soul winning. It may allow God to use us for the expansion of His kingdom on earth. It may teach us to embrace purple-haired, nose-ringed visitors at our church one day. Divinely imparted flexibility will allow us to rejoice with heaven over different-looking, differentsounding souls on a path to the Savior and the kingdom. If we can make deep truths and deep love our global focal points, unity in the midst of variety is a much more attainable goal. And when “God’s love has been poured out into [all] our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us” (Rom. 5:5, NIV), the music of our harmony becomes the inevitable and joyous result. Our Unique and Common Duty

In the end, for the sake of godly oneness, that awesome trait of the eternal Trinity, and for the sake of Jesus, who prayed to that end, we must each constantly ask ourselves probing, even difficult questions: Am I falling for Satan’s tricks? Am I even aware of his strategy? Have I found myself in a heated argument with someone about one of our church’s “issues”? Has my church board ever bitterly clashed over an agenda item? Have I ever done something destructive that plays perfectly into Satan’s plans of dividing people, even as I’ve convinced myself that I was acting for the good of the church? We must be ready, not only for the honesty of Spiritinspired answers, but for the changes wrought by Spiritinspired reform that will make us the answer to Jesus’ prayer: “Father, I pray they will be one, just as you are in me and I am in you. I want them also to be in us. Then the world will believe that you have sent me” (John 17:21, NIrV). n * Bible texts credited to NIrV are from the Holy Bible, New International Reader’s Version. Copyright © 1985, 1996, 1998, 2014 by Biblica, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Richard Aguilera is president of One Mustard Seed, Inc., a kids’ ministry that celebrates the wonder of God’s creation. November 2016 | Adventist World - nad

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D I S C O V E R I N G

T H E

S P I R I T

O F

P R O P H E C Y

Steps to Christ

The original Steps to Christ published in 1892 by the Fleming H. Revell Company

125

at

By James R. Nix

A Christian classic still inspires.

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llen White’s most printed and widely translated book, Steps to Christ, turns 125 years old in 2017. How did such a powerful little volume happen to be published, and what can all of us do next year to share even more widely the blessings of this spiritually uplifting book? Originally printed in 1892, Steps to Christ was one of several Christ-centered books that Ellen White produced during the 1890s.1 Following the 1888 General Conference session, with its renewed emphasis on righteousness by faith, Ellen White and others spoke on that topic in churches and at camp meetings. As a result, several ministers asked Ellen White to produce a small Christcentered book that could be sold by evangelists and in bookstores.2 She had written a number of articles on conversion and the Christian life that had been published in various denominational publications. The request now was that those materials be incorporated into a book for wider distribution. Ellen White’s longtime secretary Marian Davis was assigned the task of finding and assembling White’s various writings on Christian experience into a book manuscript. Davis searched through Ellen White’s published articles in the Review and Herald (now Adventist Review) and Signs of the Times, as well as chapters in her

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previously published books, personal letters, and her unpublished manuscripts, looking for the best material for the new book. In some instances Ellen White wrote new material to complete chapters, or rewrote things she had written earlier so they would fit better in the book. The work of preparing the manuscript took place in 1890 and 1891. The origin of the title, “Steps to Christ,” is unknown. However, in the summer of 1891, when the completed book manuscript was circulated at an educational convention in Harbor Heights, Michigan, it was well received. Discussions were held concerning how best to achieve the widest distribution for the new book. Having it printed by a non-Adventist publisher was suggested. George B. Starr, who as a young man prior to becoming an Adventist had worked in 1875 for Dwight L. Moody in Chicago,3 suggested that Moody’s brother-in-law, Fleming H. Revell, be contacted to determine if he would be willing to publish the book.4 When originally published in 1892 by the Fleming H. Revell Company, Steps to Christ contained only 12 chapters. The following year, the International Tract Society in London wanted to publish the book in the United Kingdom.5 In order to secure a British copyright for the book, Ellen White added a

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new introductory chapter, “God’s Love for Man,” that has been retained in all copies of the book published by the denomination. Although three editions of the book were produced by Revell within the first six weeks following its publication, and a total of seven editions were published during its first year, in 1896 Revell agreed to sell the copyright to the Review and Herald Publishing Company. Several years later the Review transferred the copyright to Ellen White.6 No accurate count of the total number of copies of Steps to Christ printed during the past 125 years exists. Millions of copies of the book (long out of copyright) have been published, both by the denomination and by private organizations and individuals. Likewise, the exact number of languages into which it has been translated is also unknown. However, the Ellen G. White Estate is aware that this powerful little life-changing book has been translated into more than 165 languages. Favorite Quotes

Although Steps to Christ can be profitably read and reread, with something new discovered each time, another reason for its ongoing popularity is the many choice quotes found in it. Here is a sampling that illustrates the simple yet practical nature of the book. Read the book for yourself to


Over the years, Steps to Christ has been published in dozens of languages and scores of formats.

discover many more similar insights for growing in Christ: “Prayer is the opening of the heart to God as to a friend. Not that it is necessary in order to make known to God what we are, but in order to enable us to receive Him. Prayer does not bring God down to us, but brings us up to Him.”7 “Why should the sons and daughters of God be reluctant to pray, when prayer is the key in the hand of faith to unlock heaven’s storehouse, where are treasured the boundless resources of Omnipotence?”8 “Consecrate yourself to God in the morning; make this your very first work.”9 “When Christ abides in the heart, the whole nature is transformed.”10 “God never asks us to believe, without giving sufficient evidence upon which to base our faith.”11 “Keep your wants, your joys, your sorrows, your cares, and your fears before God. You cannot burden Him; you cannot weary Him.”12 2017 and Beyond

After being around for more than a century, what are some simple things that all of us can do next year to intro-

duce—or reintroduce—this wonderful book? Here are a few suggestions: Read the book yourself. It has only 13 chapters, so everyone can find some time during the year to read the book. Imagine what an impact would be felt in our churches if every Adventist worldwide prayerfully and thoughtfully read Steps to Christ in 2017! You can read it, along with the Bible and other readings, for family worship. Small groups (either at church or in individual homes) can study the book, pastors can preach sermons based upon the themes found in the book (what about a sermon a week for one quarter?), teachers can use the book for class worships, school chapels, etc. Likewise, the book can be the focus of employee worships in conferences offices and health-care institutions. Share the book with family, friends, neighbors, work associates, or in other ways. Steps to Christ is available for free download in multiple languages at www.egwwritings.org. It is also available as an audio book in a few languages. For well more than a century Steps to Christ has proved to be a great blessing to the millions of people who have

read it. As Tim Poirier summarized in his article written on the centennial of Steps to Christ: “We don’t know who first suggested to Ellen White the idea of a simple book on Christian experience. But one thing is certain: that person had no idea of the millions who would have their first introduction to Christ through that one little volume.”13 Equally certain is that we can again be blessed, and continue to bless others, by reading and sharing Steps to Christ in 2017. n 1 Steps

to Christ (1892), Thoughts From the Mount of Blessing (1896), The Desire of Ages (1898), Christ’s Object Lessons (1900). 2 W. C. White and D. E. Robinson, The Story of a Popular Book “Steps to Christ” (St. Helena, California, “Elmshaven” Office, August 1933 [mimeographed]), p. 1. 3 Seventh-day Adventist Encyclopedia (1996), vol. 11, p. 702; Denis Fortin and Jerry Moon, eds., The Ellen G. White Encyclopedia, 2nd ed. (Hagerstown, Md.: Review and Herald Pub. Assn., 2013), pp. 519, 520. 4 The Ellen G. White Encyclopedia, p. 1198. 5 The Fleming H. Revell Company had waived all international publishing rights. See Tim Poirier, “A Century of Steps,” Adventist Review, May 14, 1992, p. 14. 6 The Ellen G. White Encyclopedia, p. 1198; White and Robinson; Poirier, pp. 14, 15. 7 Ellen G. White, Steps to Christ (Mountain View, Calif.: Pacific Press Pub. Assn., 1956), p. 93. 8 Ibid., pp. 94, 95. 9 Ibid., p. 70. 10 Ibid., p. 73. 11 Ibid., p. 105. 12 Ibid., p. 100. 13 Poirier, p. 15.

James R. Nix is director of the Ellen G. White Estate.

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D E V O T I O N A L

By Donald L. Bedney II

Work inUs No need to despair

God’s

A

re you ever frustrated with your spiritual life? Has the proverbial “one step forward, two steps back” scenario of your daily walk with God left you feeling beaten down and discouraged? Do not despair because you seem to be headed downhill. There’s hope!

Hope From Paul

In his letter to the believers at Philippi, Paul shares a promise of divine help that completely alters our perspective on spiritual condition and growth. Paul probably didn’t at first imagine Philippi as a place for optimism. He had been abused, tortured, and illegally imprisoned there. Yet his letter to the saints inspires by its overflow of confidence about God’s work there: “I thank my God every time I remember you. . . . God began doing a good work in you, and I am sure he will continue it until it is finished when Jesus Christ comes again” (Phil. 1:3-6, NCV).1 Of the many encouraging points worth remembering in this passage, I will mention four: God’s Work in Us Has Already Begun

After Adam and Eve sinned, God immediately offered them hope through the promise we call the protogospel, the earliest intimation of the gospel of deliverance from the pit into which they had fallen: “I will make you and the woman hate each other. Your children and her children will be enemies. Her sib will crush your head. And you will bite his heel” (see Gen. 3:15). As God promised our first parents, He will “implant” enmity against the serpent (the devil) and sin into the heart of humanity. Our awareness of the inappropriateness of our actions,

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and our despair about the direction of our lives, are a work of God within us, fulfilling the promise of Eden. Our reaction against certain behaviors and thinking, even against our own thoughts and actions, is a blessing, not a curse. We know that something in us fights against the power of evil. Apart from the work of God’s Holy Spirit there is no natural human conflict with the works of darkness. Rather, sin comes naturally to us all; we love darkness rather than light (see John 3:19). But the Holy Spirit’s work changes that. God’s Work in Us Is Internal Work

When the Lord commissioned Samuel to anoint a new political leader for His people, Samuel thought he knew the criteria for the position. As he observed Jesse’s firstborn son he thought he could see in Eliab a reproduction of the Saul prototype— great stature, good looks. It confirmed that the Lord had sent him to the right place. He had been afraid, at first, to

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carry out God’s order: anointing a new king while Saul, whom he himself had anointed, was still alive and in command, was inviting a death sentence on his own head. “If Saul hears about it, he will kill me,” Samuel explained to God (1 Sam. 16:2, NLT).2 But now, looking at Eliab, Samuel was glad he had listened to God, and glad that God had enabled him to overcome the obstacle of fear for his life that had threatened to keep him from obeying God’s divine instructions. He was happy to be God’s man in the right place at the right time. Bewilderingly, however, the Lord was now saying that Eliab was not His man: “But the Lord said to Samuel, ‘Do not consider how handsome or tall he is. I have not chosen him. The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outside of a person. But the Lord looks at what is in the heart’” (see verse 7). God’s primary interest is our internal spiritual condition. Therefore, His work begins on the inside, renewing and transforming our hearts and minds.


God’s Work in Us Is Progressing

Because the pieces of the puzzle are so difficult to put together, we are tempted to give up. Perhaps Ezekiel best summarizes this promise of change: “I will give you new hearts. I will give you a new spirit that is faithful to Me. I will remove your stubborn hearts from you. I will give you hearts that obey Me. I will put My Spirit in you. I will make you want to obey My rules. I want you to be careful to keep My laws” (see Eze. 36:26, 27).

I recently read about the brain’s ability to record and store changed behavior patterns. I learned that two types of fibers, axons and dendrites, extend from the brain cell membrane. Axons transmit, or send, messages; dendrites receive messages. Australian researcher John Eccles studied these components of the brain and noticed tiny enlargements on the sending fiber that looked like miniature buttons, so he called them “boutons” (French for buttons). The boutons secrete chemicals that move the body to action by causing messages to leap across the synapses, the space between two cells, and travel down the line of brain cells to the rest of the body. Researchers know that thoughts or actions often repeated actually build boutons at the tip of nerve fibers, making it easier to repeat those thoughts or actions next time around. Habit patterns, once formed, are never erased. What does this mean for us? It’s the reason bad habits are so easy to repeat, and so hard to break! In response to our spiritual stumbles, Satan says: “See, you haven’t changed! You’re still the same old messed-up person you were before you met Jesus.” Our behavior suggests that Satan is right. But that’s Satan’s superficial judgment, like Samuel gazing at Eliab, Abinadab, and Shammah. For though our feet may find the well-worn ruts of bad behavior more often than we should, new brain pathways are being formed as we choose to walk in obedience. God’s work in us is progressing along the path of faith: “Just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him” (Col. 2:6, NIV). We receive Christ by faith. And by

faith, by our continued trust in Him above the evidence of our failures, He will be able to do His perfect work in us (see James 1:4). God Will Finish His Work in Us

As Paul summarizes: “God began doing a good work in you, and I am sure that he will continue it until it is finished when Jesus Christ comes again” (Phil. 1:6, NCV). My wife and I work on puzzles occasionally. Some are easy, but some are hard to put together because the puzzle pieces are so similar. Because the pieces of the puzzle are so difficult to put together, we are tempted to give up. In the same way, a look at our internal spiritual condition can tempt us to give up and, like a defeated boxer, “throw in the towel.” But Paul admonishes us never to give up. We cannot afford to let ourselves be fooled by our apparent failure. No matter how bad it looks from a behavioral standpoint, we know that God has not given up on us. He will finish what He started. Like Paul, we can afford to look to the future with optimism, not about our own virtue, but about the reliability of God working in us, who always finishes what He starts. n 1 Scriptures

credited to NCV are quoted from The Holy Bible, New Century Version, copyright © 2005 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. 2 Scripture quotations marked NLT are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

Donald L. Bedney II

is senior development officer for Andrews University. He and his wife, Elynda, live in Berrien Springs, Michigan.

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N A D F E AT U R E

DESMOND Desmond Doss on Okinawa before he rescued at least 75 U.S. soldiers during one of the bloodiest battles of World War II.

ADVENTIST, WAR HERO, LEGEND His story, now a major motion picture, is poised to thrust Adventism into the secular spotlight. Dan Weber, communication director of the North American Division, recently sat down with Charles Knapp, retired U.S. Army colonel and chair of the Desmond Doss Council, to talk about the new film Hacksaw Ridge, the council’s role in the film’s production, and what significant impact the telling of the Doss story might have on Adventists and the church. Knapp served in the military for 29 years as a doctor, most of that time with combat units. For the past 11 years he has been chair of the Doss Council, which was chartered in 2000.—Editors. Tell us who Desmond T. Doss was.

Desmond was a patriot. He was a Seventh-day Adventist serviceman, and a hero for his exploits and valorous service during World War II. Among many awards, he earned the Congressional Medal of Honor in 1945 for service, heroism, bravery, and courage beyond any C O U R T E S Y

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DOSS expectation, and was the first conscientious objector to be given that honor. He will soon become a world legend. You knew him personally?

I did. I met him in 1952. He was a slight man. About five feet eight, quite slender. He probably never weighed more than 145 pounds. But he was wiry, and he was strong. As a boy, he liked to run. He worked hard in the shipyard and was used to handling big timbers. Desmond had good endurance and felt that he could do everything a combat soldier could do. What specifically earned him the Congressional Medal of Honor?

Desmond single-handedly saved the lives of at least 75 men in one day on the battlefield in Okinawa, Japan. He actually saved many more lives than that on the Maeda Escarpment before that one fateful day. The Maeda Escarpment was the last defensive stronghold for the Japanese. During the battle, entire companies would be wiped out as they climbed over the escarpment edge. Desmond went up with the 77th Infantry Division, and, as a medic, he was busy rescuing wounded soldiers. What makes the Doss story a “story of faith”?

Desmond was an Adventist who lived his faith. He often read the Bible, and he believed in peace. He valued human life. He was assigned to a rifle platoon and said, “No, I can’t train with a weapon.” He excelled in all the physi-

cal requirements. In fact, repeatedly he did better than the other soldiers. He knew how to handle a gun; as a boy he had fired weapons in target practice. He never used a weapon in anger, and never so much as [pointed it] at anyone. He knew how to handle a weapon. But he refused to bear arms. And he was badly abused by other servicemen during training because they were trying to build a combat team, and the fear was that they couldn’t depend on him. For Desmond, it was a matter of conscience: he couldn’t and wouldn’t violate his beliefs. He was eventually given a direct order to pick up a weapon. He refused and was brought up on court martial charges. He continually told them, “I want to serve. I want to care for you. I want to be on the battlefield.” Desmond stayed firm and was not indicted. Desmond also ran into difficulty with the Sabbath. It was such a problem for him that he pleaded: “I’ll do whatever we normally do on Saturday, my Sabbath, on Sunday,” and had to work much longer hours. He tells his first sergeant, Sergeant Howell, played

by Vince Vaughn in the movie, that he can’t drill and do elective things on Sabbath. And though he says “can’t,” the clear implication is that this is his choice. He’s thought it through, and this is what he’s chosen. Doss wanted to serve his country and serve in the most dangerous place: out on the battlefield. That was a theme he expressed throughout his life, until his death. Desmond was always a humble man. He only had an eighth-grade education. But he had a lot of street smarts, and a strong, strong will. Most of all, Desmond had a simple faith. It was a faith you could not break. In that regard he became exemplary, not only to his fellow soldiers, but to those of us who served. Some people wonder why Hollywood gets to tell the story. What’s your response?

I don’t think the Adventist Church could ever tell this story in the manner that Hollywood does. Hollywood movies, Hollywood music, and, as some observers and futurists say, the Internet/virtual reality are the three greatest transformers of American culture. This is a transformational film. The film has been shown to focus groups, both secular and faith-based. Faith-based groups have been univer-

Dan Weber, NAD Communication director, interviews Charles Knapp, retired U.S. Army colonel and chair of the Desmond Doss Council, about Doss and the new film, Hacksaw Ridge.

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SHORT • SHARABLE • VIDEO-ON-DEMAND IS HERE

VISIT ARTV.ADVENTISTREVIEW.ORG


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Left: U.S. President Harry S. Truman presents Desmond Doss with the Congressional Medal of Honor on October 12, 1945. Right: Charles Knapp, chair of the Desmond Doss Council sally positive about the film. They repeatedly use five words in their surveys: powerful, evocative, inspirational, transformational, and faith. Bill Mechanic, Hacksaw Ridge producer, told me when I was invited to be on the set to meet Mel Gibson, who directs the film and all of the other cast and crew, “This may be the most transformational film that Hollywood has made, certainly in the past 50 years.” He’s not prone to hyperbole; he knows the potential of the film. Would Desmond Doss be happy with the film?

Yes, he would. It would be very difficult for him to watch it, because Desmond, like a lot of our young men and women who serve now, came home with what we now know as PTSD [post-traumatic stress disorder]. Back then it was called “shell shock.” There’s no question that Desmond suffered from it. He dealt with PTSD partly by talking about it, which is effective. How do you feel the Adventist Church is portrayed in the film?

The Adventist Church is mentioned several times. Desmond publicly indicates that he’s a Seventh-day Adventist. But Desmond does not stand behind the church. He stands as a

Daniel. He stands alone and says, “This is what I believe.” Desmond believed, as I do, that salvation is individual and personal. My church does not save me; God saves me. That comes through in “simplistic magnificence” in Desmond’s own words. That’s what makes it so powerful. Desmond never wavered, and the elements of his character and faith come through in the film. He has integrity and honesty, and [tries to follow] the Ten Commandments. He chooses not to kill. At the end of the film the Sabbath plays a major part.

and it garnered multiple awards. It was of socially redeeming value in a number of film festivals. It’s been shown more than 12 times on national television. And it’s been an inspirational documentary for churches. I’ve shown it to thousands of veterans in public theaters and in church auditoriums. The Department of Defense asked if it could show it on Armed Forces Network, which goes out all around the world. On two different occasions it was shown on Armed Forces Day, and another time on Veterans Day. It’s also been on the Pentagon Channel.

What is the Desmond Doss Council?

The Doss story has been told a variety of ways (see sidebar). Why Mel Gibson? Why now?

The Doss Council was formed at Desmond’s request in the late 1990s. He wanted to see that his life story was protected, preserved. He was also a collector, and had collected much about World War II and about his life. We were given the challenge of preserving that memorabilia and protecting his intellectual property. The first activity of the Desmond Doss Council was to seek a director and a producer who could capture the essence of Desmond’s service. The Conscientious Objector, a 2004 documentary by Terry Benedict, was the first film. This film was well received,

After the documentary was released in 2004, premiering at the international Pathfinder camporee in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, Desmond said that he no longer had the energy and didn’t feel that he had the understanding or the trust of the movie industry. He authorized the Doss Council to allow his story to be told if a trustworthy producer could be found with the ability to portray his story accurately, and through which the Doss Council had the opportunity to influence the script. Terry Benedict, and a lot of other people, including Fred Knopper, who

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N A D F E AT U R E

For many years Desmond Doss was an honored guest at various Veterans’ Day events.

was at the time chair of the Doss Council; Gabe Videla, a co-owner of the largest physical special effects company in the United States and a Seventh-day Adventist in Hollywood who knows the scene very well; and I started searching. Eventually we found Bill Mechanic. Mr. Mechanic, a former president and CEO of Twentieth Century Fox, immediately caught the vision of this story. He then took it to various studios, and in the early years there were a lot of struggles. Some studios thought it was too religious. The timing wasn’t right. Then, when the economy tanked (2007-2008), a lot of things went away. We started all over again. Finally in February 2015 Mechanic was able to obtain financing from Fox Studios, an Australian film company, and a couple large film financing companies here in the United States. We learned that they were going to make the film, and that Mel Gibson would be the director. This isn’t an Adventist film. But what should the average member know?

This film was not made for the Adventist Church. We did not have any creative input. I’m not even advocating that anyone go see the film. But our neighbors will; I’m absolutely convinced. Opening in 3,000 theaters, the film is optioned to be shown in every major movie distribution area of the world. Forty-six areas have already paid millions of dollars for the options to show this movie. It will be captioned in who knows how many languages. The film will be released in P H O T O

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November, but trailers are out there now. People have been asking me, “Aren’t you a Seventh-day Adventist? I know you go to church on Saturday. Tell me about your Sabbath.” It’s going to be a conversation starter for Seventh-day Adventists like nothing we’ve ever experienced. What can Adventists do to be prepared for questions?

In Adventist evangelism, when we have a major cultural event as a church, we often end up in react mode. We react to the conversation that gets started. We know this movie will create a conversation. The question we have to ask is: Are we prepared to enter into that conversation and keep it going? These are not conversations that are immediate bridges to baptism. They are conversations about the things that make, we hope, each mem-

ber tick, and what they believe. It’s going to be interesting that Adventists will, for better or for worse, be measured and judged against the representation of the [kind of] Adventist Desmond Doss was. During one of our meetings, Mr. Mechanic asked me if the church was prepared for Desmond to no longer be a story within the church; were we prepared now that he is going to become a world legend? Mel Gibson told me personally that he watched the documentary several times, that he had read the book. They were very serious about doing this right, and emphasizing what book authors often say: truth sometimes is stranger than fiction. This time it’s not strange; it’s magnificent. And it’s an opportunity. n For ideas about how to talk to your friends about “Hacksaw Ridge,” visit: http://ow.ly/gMox304AquZ.

DESMOND DOSS AND THE MEDIA 1946

—True Comics publishes a story about Desmond Doss’s combat role. One of the bestselling editions of True Comics in that time period is still coveted by comic collectors.

1959

—Ralph Edwards features Doss on an episode of the NBC television show This Is Your Life.

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1967

—The Unlikeliest Hero, by Boonton Herndon.

2004

—The Conscientious Objector documentary, by Terry Benedict.

2005

—Desmond Doss: Conscientious Objector, by Frances M. Doss.

“The Conscientious Objector,” a documentary film about Desmond Doss, won several awards when it was released in 2004.

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B I B L E

Q U E S T I O N S

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Disciples With

Why did Jesus ask His disciples to buy swords (Luke 22:35-38)?

Swords

Jesus’ address to His disciples sounds a little strange and has been interpreted in different ways. I will provide a brief summary of the passage, a discussion of several views, and a specific reading of the passage. 1. Reading the Text: Jesus is alerting His disciples that when fulfilling their mission, things will not be as they were before. When He sent out the 70 (Luke 9:1-6), Jesus told them not to make any particular preparations—“I sent you without purse, bag or sandals” (Luke 22:35, NIV)— because they would not face significant opposition and would not lack anything. But now the situation is different. From this moment on, the disciples would face opposition and persecution, and they needed to be ready for it. Now they should take “a purse and a bag,” and if they did not have “a sword” they should buy one. To demonstrate that the situation is different, Jesus spoke about what He would experience. He would be treated as a transgressor (a lawless one), but it would happen in fulfillment of a messianic prophecy (Isa. 53:12). This is one of the places in the gospel in which Jesus announces His death and gives it redemptive significance based on Isaiah 53. In order to save them, He would suffer the fate of the wicked as their substitute. The disciples seemed to miss the point because of their concern about swords. They asked Him whether two swords would be enough for their protection. Jesus’ answer: “That is enough/enough of this!” 2. Literal Interpretation: Some find in this passage indications that in some way the historical Jesus was willing to identify Himself with the goals of the Zealots in their opposition to the Romans. They see the call to carry swords as a call to attack them. This interpretation is hardly defensible, and most commentators have rejected it. Others take the language literally, arguing that after Jesus’ death the disciples would need better equipment for their mission. They would have to provide for themselves and carry swords because traveling throughout the Roman Empire would be dangerous and occasionally they would

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have to defend themselves. The context suggests that Jesus is alerting them about facing opposition for the sake of the gospel. Jesus’ reference to His own experience illustrates the way His disciples should face their enemies; there was no violence in Him. In fact, when He was arrested, Peter used a sword to defend Him, but Jesus reprimanded him (Luke 22:49-51). A literal sword was not going to be part of the disciples’ equipment when they faced opposition. In a more allegorical way, the two swords have been interpreted in Christian history as the temporal and spiritual powers of the church. This view is not based on the text but in the history of the church (the union of church and state). 3. A Figurative Interpretation: Based on the fact that the words of Jesus are illustrated by His own experience, it is better to interpret the language of His speech figuratively. Jesus is asking the disciples to prepare, because a time is coming when they, like Him, will face ferocious opposition. They need to prepare themselves, as much as possible, to face the enemy. This is described using the language of a soldier. Good soldiers provide for their own food and defense. The disciples would need to be thoroughly prepared for their spiritual conflict. They would even need “a sword,” because they will be involved in a mortal, spiritual battle (see Eph. 6:10-20). The disciples interpreted the words of Jesus literally: “Is He saying that each one of us should have a sword? That could be expensive. How many swords should we have?” There were two: “See, Lord, here are two swords” (Luke 22:38, NIV). Jesus, somewhat frustrated, answers them, “Enough of this!” (i.e., stop this nonsense [cf. Deut. 3:26; 1 Kings 19:4]). The phrase is explained in Luke 22:51: “No more of this!” (NIV), rejecting the use of physical swords. Jesus uses literal language to refer to spiritual realities in the conflict against spiritual powers. We need to be fully equipped; we need a “sword.” n

Angel Manuel Rodríguez has served the church as a pastor, professor, and theologian. He is now retired, living in Texas.


B I B L E

S T U D Y

By Mark A. Finley

The

Real Truth About Our Lord’s Return

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n a world looking for hope, the return of our Lord is the “blessed hope” of each believer (Titus 2:13). If death were a long night with no morning, and if the grave were a dark hole in the ground with no way out, our human existence would be filled with despair. One of the Bible’s central truths is the return of Jesus to this world. The second coming of Christ is mentioned more than 1,500 times in the Bible. It is mentioned an average of once in every 25 verses in the New Testament. In this month’s lesson we will focus on what the Bible teaches about the second coming of Jesus.

1 What reassuring promise did Jesus give to His followers just before His death and resurrection? Discover the answer in John 14:1-3. Just before His death, Jesus encouraged His disciples with the promise of His return. He reassured them that one day He would return. The second coming of Jesus is as certain as the promises of our Lord. He would not mislead us. He is really coming again to take us home; to take us to a place where suffering, heartache, pain, and death will be gone forever and we will eternally enjoy fellowship with Him.

2

What testimony did Old Testament prophets give regarding Jesus’ second coming? Read the passages listed below and summarize them in your own words. n Psalm

50:3 25:9 n Daniel 2:44 For every prophecy in the Old Testament on the first coming of our Lord there are eight about His second coming. In both the Old and New Testaments the return of Jesus is prominent. n Isaiah

3 What testimony did the apostle Paul give regarding the return of Jesus? What happens to the righteous dead when Jesus returns? What about the living righteous? Compare 1 Thessalonians 4:13-17 with 1 Corinthians 15:51-57. I M A G E :

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4 Does the Bible describe what happens to the unsaved or wicked when Jesus returns? Do they receive a second chance for salvation? Read the following texts Revelation 22:11, 12; Hebrews 9:27, 28; 2 Thessalonians 1:7-11. Every day God gives us new opportunities to accept His love and respond to His grace. His mercies are new every morning (Lam. 3:22, 23). If we fail to respond to His gracious invitation, we will be consumed by the brightness of His glory at His second coming.

5 How does the Gospel of Matthew describe the second coming of Jesus? Discover the answer in Matthew 16:27. 6 Both Revelation 1 and Revelation 22 describe the second coming of Jesus. What eternal truths do you learn Revelation 1:7 and Revelation 22:7, 12, 20? 7 What did Jesus say about being prepared for His return? Read Matthew 24:42-44. Jesus earnestly appeals to each one of us to be ready for His return. You may wonder what it means to be ready for Christ’s return, or how to be ready. It isn’t complicated. To be ready for Christ’s return simply means to accept the salvation He so freely offers, and in response to His amazing grace surrender our lives fully to Him. You can do it by bowing your head and offering a simple prayer of commitment. If you’ve never done it before, why not take a moment and commit your entire life to Him right now? And if you’ve already surrendered your life to Him, why not rededicate yourself now in prayer? n November 2016 | Adventist World - nad

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M I L A N V I D A K O V I C’ , A D R A S L O V E N I A

IDEA EXCHANGE

...every human deserves the opportunity not only to survive but to thrive. —Maja Ahac, Slovenia

Letters June Blessings

In the article beautifully crafted and written by Maja Ahac in Slovenia (June 2016) I believe what she said: that “every human deserves the opportunity not only to survive but to thrive.” The author and I dream that one day we will welcome every person into God’s family, regardless of the country they came from. without using invalid excuses about why we should not accept them. Seeking the lost is everyone’s responsibility. One way of seeking them is “to provide basic care, . . . to raise voices for the voiceless, to empower the powerless, to be a blessing to humanity— just as Jesus was.” All the pages of the June edition are a blessing and a reminder for all of us, most especially

PrayerW

those who work hard to rescue the perishing. In these last days when the devil is roaring like a lion seeking the weak to devour, we should be alert (by praying always), work out our salvation, until we reach the pearly gates, where there will be no more inequalities, human rights violations, extrajudicial killings, pain, and death. There are 7.4 billion people on this planet today. May we all join in snatching others from the lake of fire as we await the impending second coming of the Lord. Lawrence Elijah Tesoro Philippines History

In “A Brief History” (May 2016) I noted the statement that the first Adventist missionaries to Africa were Abraham C. Enns and Johannes Ellers

in 1903. I believe that C. L. Boyd and D. A. Robinson, who arrived in South Africa in 1887, were the first Adventist missionaries to Africa. I believe that the Solusi Mission in Southern Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) established in 1894 was the first Adventist mission station in Africa. Missionary families arrived at Solusi in the same year, or very soon thereafter, including A. S. Carmichael, MD. By 1901 many had died of malaria, leaving W. H. Anderson as the only survivor. Solusi was but one of several mission stations in Africa established in whole or in part by Anderson. a man totally dedicated to African missions. He often traveled for weeks throughout Africa on foot or ox wagon to establish missions. Herbert I. Harder California, United States

PRAISE

My mom is still in the hospital in stable condition after her stroke, but cannot talk. I am praying that God will touch her tongue. Thank you for continued prayers. Jasmine, Canada

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I love helping orphaned children and unprivileged people. Pray for me to get the necessary support from donors. Daniel, Uganda

Fast and pray that God will send rain to South Africa as we experience the worst drought ever. Harriet, South Africa

At work a lot of money that I was in charge of disappeared. We looked everywhere, but to no avail. Please pray for me. Florence, Cameroon

I feel drawn to a ministerial role of leading our young people to Christ Jesus. I’m also dating a young woman who could use spiritual encouragement. Please pray for both of us. Abade, Uganda

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More Friendship Needed

SWEET

My thanks to the editorial team of Adventist World for the Friendship Issue (May 2016). I found the content informative and nicely designed with non-Adventists in mind. I have a number of friends who are open to the gospel, so the issue was a welcome way of connecting with them. One of my friends lives in India, and I sent a copy there. Please repeat friendship issues in the future. Thanks so much, and blessings to all the editors and authors. Herbert Pfeifer Germany Inspired

Thank you for Angel Rodríguez’s article “The Glory of The Lord” (January 2016). I am not an Adventist, but his article and others inspired me very much as I read the magazine. Thank you and God bless. Samuel Nwagbo Nigeria

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.

More people are born on September 16 than on any other day in the year.

Source: Harvard University/Better Homes and Gardens I M A G E :

P I X E L S Q U I D

FOR YOUR

Brain The more good health habits we have, the less we lose cognitive ability. Try to maintain these heart-healthy ideals: n no smoking n healthy body mass (less than 25 percent) n physically active (at least 150 minutes a week) n healthy total cholesterol (less than 20 mg/dL) n healthy blood pressure (less than 120/80 mmHg) n healthy blood sugar (less than 100 mg/dL) nb  alanced diet (rich in fruits, veggies, and whole grains; low in sodium and sweets) Source: Reader’s Digest I M A G E :

Please pray for me to get a job in computers so that I may be able to give God tithes and offering. Meshack, Kenya Please pray for my husband to keep the Sabbath. He is Adventist, but struggles with this. Natukunda, Uganda

P I X E L S Q U I D

Please pray for us in Indonesia, especially the Adventist youth, so that we can always obey God’s will, and be always humble and love one another. We are all for Jesus Christ. Meidi, Indonesia

Please pray for our work. Thank you so much for your kind favor. Shiful, Bangladesh 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.

November 2016 | Adventist World - nad

45


IDEA EXCHANGE

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. Adventist Review Ministries Board Ted N. C. Wilson, chair; Guillermo Biaggi, vice chair, Bill Knott, secretary; Lisa Beardsley-Hardy, Williams Costa, Daniel R. Jackson, Peter Landless, Robert Lemon, Geoffrey Mbwana, G. T. Ng, Daisy Orion, Juan Prestol-Puesán, Ella Simmons, Artur Stele, Ray Wahlen, Karnik Doukmetzian, legal advisor Executive Editor/Director of Adventist Review Ministries Bill Knott Associate Director of Adventist Review Ministries

On November 12, 1904, seven people were baptized in Lima, Peru, by H. F. Ketring. The baptism was conducted in secret, and the meetings were held behind closed doors. Enrique Balada (shown above), a Chilean colporteur and pioneer worker, began working among interested persons in Lima in 1902. Those who accepted his message immediately began to experience hostility from family, friends, and members of the established church. Because of that persecution, Balada did not stay long in Lima. When he left, lay workers and new converts asked that a missionary be sent to baptize them and organize a Seventh-day Adventist church. In response to their request, H. F. Ketring traveled from Chile to visit interested believers in Lima. He arrived in October 1904 and found a group of about 20 adherents in Lima. Today the South Peru Union Mission and Central Peru Conference have their headquarters in Lima.

Where in the

M C C H E S N E Y

Is This? orld W A N D R E W

G C

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

112Years Ago

International Publishing Manager Chun, Pyung Duk Adventist World Coordinating Committee Jairyong Lee, chair; Yukata Inada; German Lust; Chun, Pyung Duk; Han, Suk Hee; Lyu, Dong Jin Editors based in Silver Spring, Maryland, USA André Brink, Lael Caesar, Gerald A. Klingbeil (associate editors), Sandra Blackmer, Stephen Chavez, Wilona Karimabadi, Andrew McChesney Editors based in Seoul, Korea Chun, Pyung Duk; Park, Jae Man; Kim, Hyo-Jun Operations Manager Merle Poirier Editors-at-large Mark A. Finley, John M. Fowler Senior Advisor E. Edward Zinke Financial Manager Kimberly Brown Editorial Assistant Marvene Thorpe-Baptiste Management Board Jairyong Lee, chair; Bill Knott, secretary; Chun, Pyung Duk; Karnik Doukmetzian; Han, Suk Hee; Yutaka Inada; German Lust; Ray Wahlen; Ex-officio: Juan Prestol-Puesán; G. T. Ng; Ted N. C. Wilson Art Direction and Design Jeff Dever, Brett Meliti Consultants Ted N. C. Wilson, Juan Prestol-Puesán, G. T. Ng, Guillermo E. Biaggi, Mario Brito, Abner De Los Santos, Dan Jackson, Raafat A. Kamal, Michael F. Kaminskiy, Erton C. Köhler, Ezras Lakra, Jairyong Lee, Israel Leito, Thomas L. Lemon, Solomon Maphosa, Geoffrey G. Mbwana, Blasious M. Ruguri, Saw Samuel, Ella Simmons, Artur A. Stele, Glenn Townend, Elie Weick-Dido 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.

ANSWER: The Seventh-day Adventist Church in Hico, a town of 1,400 people in the state of Texas, United States, has 15 members. It is located in a wooden building that was built as a chapel, turned into a machine shop, then reconverted into a chapel when it became an Adventist church in the late 1980s.

A R C H I V E S

“Behold, I come quickly…”

Adventist World is published monthly and printed simultaneously in Korea, Brazil, Indonesia, Australia, Germany, Austria, Argentina, Mexico, and the United States.

Vol. 12, No. 11

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From the Creators of

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Planning to celebrate the Martin Luther 500th anniversary next year? Want the community to show up? Be sure to set aside the last weekend of October 2017. To learn more, have your church visit voplocal.com

AW NAD English - November 2016  

Growing Faith

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