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The International Paper for Seventh-day Adventists

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Reach the WORLD The church’s bold initiative for the next 5 years


North American Division | n a d

O c tob e r 2015 The International Paper for Seventh-day Adventists

O c tob e r 2015

C O V E R

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Reach the World

By Andrew McChesney

A bold initiative hopes to take the gospel further than it’s ever gone before.

REACH the WORLD The church’s bold initiative for the next 5 years

8 Dispel the Darkness W O R L D

V I S T A

By Ted N. C. Wilson

It doesn’t take much light to shatter the darkness.

20 When Hope Wins Over Loss D E V O T I O N A L

By Wilona Karimabadi

Until Jesus comes, we’ll experience both.

22 Sitting by the Stuff A D V E N T I S T

30 Being Grown-up Christians F U N D A M E N T A L

S T O R Y

L I F E

B E L I E F S

By Elizabeth Camps

Honoring Christ by treating ourselves well

32 “My Name Is Joe”

N A D

F E AT U R E

By Dan Weber

Typhoon relief is personal.

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Pioneers Everywhere

By DeWitt S. Williams

A D V E N T I S T

H E R I T A G E

Thomas and Henrietta Branch’s place in Africa, and in history

4 God’s 0  Messenger: Australian 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

Writings Motivate Worldwide

By Shandra Kilby

We can’t always do things that matter. Or can we?

Ellen White’s stay in Australia was a rich time for her theological writing.

By John Skrzypaszek

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

R L D

R E P O R T

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

19 W O R L D H E A L T H Relief From Osteoarthritis Pain

43 B I B L E S T U D Y Elijah: Mighty Man of Faith

42 B

44

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

Sex, Seriously

www.adventistworld.org Available in 10 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 © 2015. Send address changes to your local conference membership clerk. Contact information should be available through your local church. For information about advertising, contact Glen Gohlke, 240-329-7250 (glengohlke@msn.com). PRINTED IN THE U.S.A. Vol. 11, No. 10, October 2015.

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Adventist World - nad | October 2015

C O V E R P H O T O S : G L O B E : K a s i a B i el / i stock / th i n kstock P ortr a i ts : D a v i d B . S her w i n


O

WORLD REPORT

WHO

By Joanne Ratsara

Teams Up With

Adventists in Global First Two sides hope to curb deaths of mothers and babies. R a ts a r a

B l a n ch a rd

J oa n n e

J a so n

n a quiet street just west of Chicago, Illinois, I learned an important lesson about witnessing. As a young pastor, I had been assigned to an evangelism field school in connection with a public campaign to share the gospel in a neighborhood that had little Adventist presence. Each day, I visited homes of those attending the meetings to review the Bible truths learned the night before. On the day after evangelist Mark Finley had presented the Bible’s teaching about what happens to people when they die, I moved with dread toward the doorstep of one attendee. She was a widow at least 70 years of age, living alone in a small brick home, with no obvious network of support and friends. As I reviewed the Bible texts that Pastor Finley had presented, I prepared myself for the inevitable response. She was a member of another faith that teaches that those who die go immediately to the presence of Jesus, and I expected her to politely but firmly reject the viewpoint I was sharing. Imagine my astonishment as I neared the end of the Bible study when she exclaimed, “That’s wonderful news!” “It is?” I asked cautiously. “Tell me how.” “Well,” she said, “my husband died 10 years ago, and since then our children have fallen into huge disputes with each other about dividing up the estate. They will hardly talk with each other now. I had assumed that my husband was up in heaven, looking down on all this bitterness. Now I know that he knows nothing about it!” A wave of relief and gratitude swept over me. For all my fear and worry, I had learned the most powerful lesson about witnessing: The Holy Spirit has already visited those with whom He invites us to share our faith. Jesus had knocked on that door before I did. As you read this month’s cover feature, “Reach the World,” let the Lord remind you that all sharing of our faith is but following to places the Spirit has already visited to open hearts, prepare minds, and call to new life in Jesus.

Left: A baby born at Malamulo Hospital in Malawi. Right: Annette Mwansa Nkowane, left, stands with Paul Ratsara and Patricia Jones.

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he World Health Organization (WHO) and the Seventh-day Adventist Church have kicked off an unprecedented global partnership aimed at reducing infant and maternal mortality rates. Fifty international nursing leaders and educators met in Bloemfontein, South Africa, to start implementing the five-year project to educate midwives in four African countries. The $1 million project is funded by the OPEC Foundation for International Development through the WHO and was designed by WHO officials, the General Conference of Seventhday Adventists, and the Loma Linda University School of Nursing. “We are grateful to begin this partnership. We will produce something the world will benefit from,” said Annette Mwansa Nkowane, WHO’s lead nurse and a main proponent of the project. “I believed and was convinced this would be successful. I believe that with God all things are possible.” This is the first time that the WHO, the public health agency of the United Nations, has partnered with a faith-based organization on a global scale, said Nkowane, a nurse and midwife educated in Zambia whose full title is “worldwide technical officer for nursing and midwifery.” The WHO expects the project to contribute toward the achievement of United Nations Millennium Development Goals to reduce maternal and child mortality. Seeds for the collaboration were sown in 2009 in Geneva during a first global health conference hosted by the Health Ministries Continued on next page

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Department of the General Conference, the administrative body of the Adventist world church. Health Ministries director Allan Handysides and his successor, Peter Landless, established a close association with the WHO during the conference, and the WHO began to press the church to collaborate on the midwives project. Adventist leaders voted to accept the WHO’s proposal during a 2010 Spring Meeting at world church headquarters. But the project didn’t get off the ground until now because WHO officials faced challenges securing funding. Patricia Jones, associate director for nursing with the Health Ministries Department of the Adventist world church, expressed gratitude to the WHO for its persistence. “Thank you for not giving up and for having faith in us in a faith-based group to be trusted to take on such a project,” she said. The Geneva-based WHO has identified a global lack of qualified midwives as a contributing factor in the deaths of mothers and babies, and looked to the church’s global network of educators and hospitals as a way to address the shortfall. The new project focuses on four institutions in Africa: Malamulo College of Health Sciences at Malamulo Hospital in Malawi, Maluti College of Nursing at Maluti Hospital in Lesotho, Kanye Adventist College of Nursing at Kanye Hospital in Botswana, and the hospital at the Adventist University Cosendai in Cameroon. Paul Ratsara, president of the Adventist Church’s Southern AfricaIndian Ocean Division, where three of the sites are located, said the project was a sacred trust from God. “Mothers’ lives will be saved. Babies will be saved,” he said. n

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E U D

WORLD REPORT

Pathfinders are baptized during a camporee at Switzerland’s Lake Neuchâtel.

Pathfinders Baptized in Swiss Camporee 2,300 people gather for Inter-European Division event. By Andrew McChesney, with reporting from EUD staff

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even Pathfinders were baptized in Switzerland’s Lake Neuchâtel at a weeklong camporee staged in a cornfield and attended by 2,300 children and their adult leaders. The Adventist Youth Camporee, organized every four years by the Seventh-day Adventist Church’s InterEuropean Division, offered Pathfinders aged 12 to 16 a chance to study God’s grace from the biblical story of Jonah, learn new scouting skills, and mingle with peers from 20 countries. As the sun began to set on Friday evening, scores of campers gathered on the eastern shore of Lake Neuchâtel to celebrate the baptism. Each of the uniformed baptismal candidates entered the water accompanied by a Pathfinder leader holding a white, helium-filled balloon. The leaders released the balloons into the evening sky as they raised Pathfinders from under the water during the baptism. “The highlight of this day is the baptism ceremony,” organizers said in

Adventist World - nad | October 2015

a statement on the camporee’s Web site, AYcamporee.org. “Seven Pathfinders get engaged to follow and live with Jesus! Happy Sabbath!” The camporee, themed “The Whale Way, Surprised by Grace,” took place on the privately owned La Corbière Farm in Estavayer-le-Lac, a tourist town of 6,000 people. The daily program offered 90 workshops and other activities that Pathfinders could chose from, with topics ranging from scouting techniques to environmental concerns. The main events, held in a giant tent borrowed from a circus, were presented on stage in French or German and translated into the other language. Then, if needed, there was translation in the different sections of the tent into the language spoken by various countries’ delegations. Among themselves, the Pathfinders tended to speak in English. Most of the Pathfinders came from 13 countries in the Inter-European Division: Belgium, Bulgaria,


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Camporee Facts

1. Food: Campers consumed 6,615 pounds (3,000 kilograms) of bread; 17,635 pounds (8,000 kilograms) of legumes and vegetables; 16,100 pounds (7,300 kilograms) of fruit; and 2,200 pounds (1,000 kilograms) of potatoes. Meals were prepared by 80 cooks.

2. Garbage: Volunteers gathered litter daily to be incinerated into a total of 565 compressed cubic feet (16 cubic meters) of garbage. 3. Utilities: The camp’s 80 showers and 89 toilets used 12,950 gallons (49,000 liters) of water daily. Another 5,550 gallons (21,000 liters) went for cooking daily. A total of 1,900 rolls of toilet paper were used.

4. Budget: The camporee cost 450,000 Swiss francs (US$476,000).

5. Sleeping and meeting: The 2,300 attendees slept in 650 tents and attended meetings in a circus tent that accommodated 3,000 people. The campsite covered 861,100 square feet (80,000 square meters), the size of 11 professional soccer fields.

Adventist School

Changes a Community in Panama

Young volunteers find thriving Adventist community where Maranatha built a school. By Julie Z. Lee, Maranatha Volunteers International

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all it the power of a Seventhday Adventist school. Eighteen years ago Adventist volunteers built a school in Changuinola, a humid coastal town of about 30,000 people in the northeastern corner of Panama. A few weeks ago a group of 150 young volunteers traveled to the bustling Changuinola Seventh-day Adventist School to construct two new classrooms, and to work on two churches that have sprung up as a result of the school. A local church leader, Melania Peña de Barria, was speechless after volunteers constructed a new church building for her congregation during their two-week mission trip, organized by Adventist-affiliated Maranatha Volunteers International. “I feel very happy, excited, thankful. I don’t know if I should laugh or cry,” said Peña de Barria, a founding member of the Finca 6 church. Her congregation had been meeting without a church home for eight years, gathering in homes, a community center, and, most recently, in a vacant grocery store. On the final Sabbath of the mission trip, a joyful congregation worshipped in their new building with the young volunteers.

M a r a n a th a

Germany, France, Italy, Luxembourg, Austria, Portugal, Romania, Switzerland, Slovakia, Spain, and the Czech Republic. Those countries have 1,346 Pathfinder clubs with more than 19,000 members aged 6 to 16, according to division statistics. Visiting camporee delegations represented Brazil, Britain, and Thailand. The previous camporee was held in Rome, Italy, in 2011, and the next is scheduled for the Czech Republic in 2019. n

Ella Bates (left), of Aitkin, Minnesota, and David Shafer of Cox’s Creek, Kentucky, build classrooms at the Adventist school in Changuinola, Panama.

The teens volunteered as part of “Ultimate Workout,” Maranatha’s annual mission trip for young people that is celebrating its twenty-fifth anniversary this year. The Changuinola school project started 18 years ago when Maranatha volunteers built the main part of the campus at the request of the Adventist Church in Panama. Its enrollment has swelled past 450 students, and Ultimate Workout volunteers added two Continued on next page

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M el i ss a

Extreme Makeover:

Pathway to Health Edition

Four touching stories from a free megaclinic in the United States By Tom Ish

A M a r a n a th a

more classrooms this summer. The school is credited with sparking a growth in Adventism in the surrounding community and has been linked to two new congregations, Finca 6 and Las Tablas. One Ultimate Workout team focused on Finca 6, while another worked on the Las Tablas church. Earlier this year, Maranatha volunteers constructed a sanctuary for Las Tablas, and the Ultimate Workout team finished the project with a coat of paint. The young people also assisted the community in other ways, including treating more than 300 dogs, cats, chickens, cows, and pigs at a free, two-week veterinary clinic led by Becky Childers, a veterinarian from California. Veterinarian outreach may seem like an unusual ministry, but Childers said it offered teens a new way to look at service. “I think it really showed that you can love and care for a person by caring for things that are important to them,” she said. n

Ish

WORLD REPORT

Becky Childers, a veterinarian from California, cares for a dog during a two-week free veterinary clinic.

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nthony Fry, a 48-year-old homeless man, appreciated the blood tests and health assessments he received at a Seventhday Adventist-sponsored megaclinic that offered US$8 million in free services in the state of Washington. But the most outwardly noticeable benefit was a haircut and new suit. The dramatic transition unfolded snip by snip under the eyes of captivated onlookers at a Your Best Pathway to Health event in the city of Spokane, where 1,600 volunteers provided free health care, haircuts, and clothing to 3,111 people during two days. Fry, scruffy-bearded and goodnatured, didn’t want to cut off much hair at first. But he then decided that something drastic needed to happen to his chest-length, salt-and-pepper locks, held down by a well-worn leather hat, if he was going to get a job. The haircutting process was like giving three full haircuts, said Page Colson, a 17-year veteran hairdresser from Tennessee who headed the clinic’s hairstyling department. Fry was pleased with the result. “It’s a beautiful service being provided

Adventist World - nad | October 2015

here,” the close-clipped Fry said from the barber’s chair. Fry, a former volunteer firefighter and camp host from Wenatchee, a town about 170 miles (275 kilometers) west of Spokane, said he was left homeless 10 weeks earlier after a series of unfortunate circumstances. He learned about the clinic through one of the tens of thousands of pamphlets about the event distributed by volunteers and the city of Spokane. After the haircut, lifestyle counseling volunteer Dorothy Nelson of Loma Linda, California, and her daughter, Janet Penner of Auburn, Washington, ushered Fry through various Pathway stations, including a clothing trailer where he obtained a new suit and a prayer from its director, Sam Knnabliam. The stunning outward transformation was a precursor to another transformation in progress: Fry has decided to study the Bible and wants to be baptized. Nelson said the reassuring truth was that “man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart” (1 Sam. 16:7). Fry wants to follow Jesus.


Left: Anthony Fry is pictured before and after his makeover at the free megaclinic in Spokane, Washington. Right: Hairstylist Jody Meyer untangles Nicole’s hair.

the surgery. “It was awesome. If I had not been lying down, my jaw would have hit the floor,” she said. Nicole also received blood tests, a massage, and care for skin issues. When asked if anyone had prayed with her, she said at least eight people had.

Below: Volunteer Paul Pitts (right) speaks with college student Kerwin Foster at the mega-clinic.

M el i ss a

Ish

Eight Hours to Comb Hair

M el i ss a

Ish

Wedding Dreams

“I would never marry you!” Those piercing words not only halted Christopher Amonson’s marriage plans but also led him away from his home in Spokane to live in the Nevada desert for two years. The young man, however, could not get his girlfriend, Crystal Parmer, out of his mind, so he returned to be with her. When Parmer realized that the man she had dated for nearly five years couldn’t live without her, she asked him to marry her. But the couple faced a challenge: Both were between jobs and couldn’t afford a wedding. Seeking assistance for some health needs, the duo went to the megaclinic. Amonson, 33, gained a new pair of eyeglasses while Parmer, 31, enjoyed a massage. A volunteer learned that the couple was planning to get married, and directed them to Knnabliam’s clothing trailer, where Parmer got a wedding dress, and Amonson a tuxedo. “I started crying,” Parmer said about the moment she received the wedding dress. “This is a blessing, a gift from God.”

Nicole, a 31-year-old sewing instructor and costume seamstress from Spokane, showed up at the megaclinic with an unusual plea: She needed someone to untangle her hair. Nicole, who asked that her last name not be published, found herself bedridden, unable to care for her lengthy, reddish-brown locks after surgery late last year. State health-care assistance did not cover personal needs like hair, and after eight months she had a mass of matted tangles. Nicole learned about the megaclinic via a letter she received from a home health worker. Volunteer hairstylist Jody Meyer, of Spokane, spent about eight hours working to untangle and comb the hair, a few strands at a time. She said Nicole was brave to endure the pain from all of the tugging. “It’s like having your hair caught in a car door and being dragged down the road,” Nicole said, wincing in the hairdresser’s chair. Although the sensitive nerve endings on her head became tender and enflamed during the delicate process, Nicole found relief in a physical therapy treatment. Since the surgery, she had found it difficult to keep food down and was not entitled to any further state physical therapy assistance. Nicole said the treatment made the pain go away for the first time since

Patient From Farthest Away

As the crowd waned on the afternoon of the first day of the megaclinic, volunteer chaplain Paul Pitts and his wife, Karyl, from Arizona headed to the bus station downtown to hand out Pathway to Health brochures. The couple happened upon a college student, Kerwin Foster, who expressed interest in the event but had to catch a bus at 5:00 p.m. When Foster asked for a lift to the clinic, the couple whisked him away in their car. “I thought I should take the opportunity to receive a blessing,” Foster said. “This is all very gracious.” Foster, who doesn’t have insurance, needed some dental care. But since that department was filled with patients, Pitss ushered him to a variety of other stations: a health assessment, a blood draw, a physical exam, massage therapy, lifestyle counseling, and chaplaincy services. Arrangements were made for Foster’s blood test results to be shipped to Florida. “This is not a one-day thing,” Paul Pitts told Foster as he waited for care between stations. “We’re going to be staying in touch.” After the couple took Foster out to lunch on their way back to the bus station, the young man thanked them profusely. “Words cannot express my appreciation,” said Foster, who was raised a Methodist. “I must now pay it forward and do something to help someone else.” n

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W O R L D

I

V I S T A

t is no accident that at the beginning, and near the end of Christ’s earthly ministry, weddings were the focal point of lessons Christ wanted to teach His followers. The first, at the wedding of Cana, was a lesson in faith, trust, and obedience—faith that God can supply needs, trust that He will do what is best, and obedience in following God’s instructions—even when those instructions might seem not to make sense, such as asking the servants to fill the vessels with water (see John 2:1-11), when they needed unfermented wine.1 The second lesson was brought home one evening as Jesus and His disciples sat on the Mount of Olives, where they had a clear view of the hills and valleys surrounding Jerusalem. The sun had just set, and the sky was painted with the colors of dusk. Taking in the beautiful scene, the group noticed a home, brilliantly lit. They heard sounds of laughter and noticed 10 young women, dressed in white, and holding brightly burning lamps while standing outside. Clearly it was a wedding party, waiting for the bridegroom’s arrival.

Jesus takes in the familiar, festive scene and uses the occasion to teach His disciples throughout the ages some important lessons. We know the story, recorded in Matthew 25:1-13, well. Often referred to as the parable of the 10 virgins, it tells the story of five wise and five foolish young women who were waiting for the bridegroom to appear. While all had lamps that were burning, only the wise ones brought enough oil to last through the night. The Wise Ones

While this parable is full of meaning, let’s consider for a few moments the important work of the wise women. First, their lamps were lit, and they had enough oil to keep their lights shining, even through the darkest of nights. In the Bible, oil often represents the Holy Spirit (see Zech. 4:1-6). Before we can let our lights shine, we need to be filled with this special oil. In the book Christ’s Object Lessons Ellen White beautifully explains how the Holy Spirit prepares us to shine: “So the followers of Christ are to shed light into the darkness of the

Dispel

world. Through the Holy Spirit, God’s Word is a light as it becomes a transforming power in the life of the receiver. By implanting in their hearts the principles of His Word, the Holy Spirit develops in men the attributes of God. The light of His glory—His character—is to shine forth in His followers. Thus they are to glorify God, to lighten the path to the Bridegroom’s home, to the city of God, to the marriage supper of the Lamb.”2 Today a misunderstanding about God and His character enshrouds the world in darkness. God is calling each one of us to let our lights shine brightly for Him, not only for the sake of brightness, but—just as the wise women in the parable did—to light the way for others to find their way to the Bridegroom, Jesus, and to the Bridegroom’s home, heaven. How to Let Our Lights Shine

But how do we let our lights shine? We are told, “Practical work will have far more effect than mere sermonizing. We are to give food to the hungry, clothing to the naked, and shelter to the homeless. And we are called to do more than this. The wants of the soul,

the

Darkness Let your light shine. By Ted N. C. Wilson

P H O T O :

emre

n a c i g i l


“The harvest truly is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest” (Matt. 9:37, 38). And in James 1:25 we are admonished to be “a doer of the work.”

Don’t let anyone tell you that you aren’t needed.

The Edge of Eternity

only the love of Christ can satisfy. . . . There are many from whom hope has departed. Bring back the sunshine to them. Many have lost their courage. Speak to them words of cheer. Pray for them. There are those who need the bread of life. Read to them from the Word of God. Upon many is a soul sickness which no earthly balm can reach nor physician heal. Pray for these souls, bring them to Jesus.”3 Take the Call

Let’s take this call from God personally and seriously. We can do nothing of ourselves. Only as we lean completely on the Lord for His direction and leading can we follow His call. Christ and His righteousness must permeate our lives. The world is awash in existential behavior, with many people thinking that everything is relative, but it is not! There are absolutes, and they are found in the Word of God. Jesus tells us, “Behold, I am coming quickly! Hold fast what you have, that no one may take your crown” (Rev. 3:11). We Seventh-day Adventists are called to be faithful to God. Working Hand in Hand

I challenge you to become involved in the daily mission of the church far more than you ever have before. We are counting on you! God is counting on you! Evangelism is the lifeblood of the church. All of us are to be in involved, through personal witnessing, small group evangelism, or public evangelism in its various forms. I invite you to become involved, even if

you think it won’t work in your area. Adapt your methods, but reach out. Every effort, under God’s guidance, that you make in reaching the hearts of people will bear fruit. Church leaders and church members are to work hand in hand for mission outreach. Ellen White wrote: “The work of God in this earth can never be finished until the men and women comprising our church membership rally to the work and unite their efforts with those of ministers and church officers.”4 Revolutionize Your Thinking

Let the Holy Spirit revolutionize your thinking. Take the church’s mission of outreach into your hands on a daily basis, working closely with church leaders and pastors. Let it be total participation, no one left out, everyone a missionary, total member involvement. Do something for Jesus and for others. Don’t let anyone tell you that you aren’t needed; the Holy Spirit will empower you as heaven’s messenger to light your neighborhood. Revival and reformation will become personal and real. “It is the privilege of every soul to be a living channel through which God can communicate to the world the treasures of His grace,” wrote Ellen White. “There is nothing that Christ desires so much as agents who will represent to the world His Spirit and character. . . . All heaven is waiting for channels through which can be poured the holy oil to be a joy and blessing to human hearts.”5 Jesus challenges us with this truth:

We are at the edge of eternity. Truly, Jesus is coming soon! God wants to work in and through us. If ever there were a time to let our lights shine for Jesus, it is now (see 1 Peter 2:9)! We are told that “it is not learned, eloquent speakers that are needed now, but humble, Christlike men and women, who have learned from Jesus of Nazareth to be meek and lowly, and who, trusting in His strength, will go forth . . . to give the invitation: ‘Come; for all things are now ready’ (Luke 14:17).”6 Jesus is coming soon! Lift your light high and share it in practical ways, pointing those around you to the One who has given us salvation and has promised to take us home soon! This is your church and your work as you lean completely on Christ, total member involvement. This is our work, entrusted to us from heaven itself. May God guide each of us in the days ahead as we “reach the world” for Christ. Arise! Shine! Jesus Is Coming! n 1 See

Ellen G. White, The Desire of Ages (Mountain View, Calif.: Pacific Press Pub. Assn., 1898), p. 149. 2 Ellen G. White, Christ’s Object Lessons (Washington, D.C.: Review and Herald Pub. Assn., 1900), p. 414. 3 Ibid., pp. 417, 418. (Italics supplied.) 4 Ellen G. White, Testimonies for the Church (Mountain View, Calif.: Pacific Press Pub. Assn., 1948), vol. 9, p. 117. 5 E. G. White, Christ’s Object Lessons, p. 419. 6 E. G. White, Testimonies, vol. 9, p. 36.

Ted N. C. Wilson is

president of the Seventhday Adventist Church.

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L om a

L i n d a

U n i vers i t y

S chool

o f

M ed i c i n e

NAD NEWS

Chip Cochran (left), a graduate student in the department of earth and biological sciences at Loma Linda University School of Medicine, holds a Southern Pacific Rattlesnake. John Zhang is testing rattlesnake venom as an immunization against bleeding and swelling in patients who require brain surgery under the auspices of a $1.7 million NIH grant.

Rattlesnake Venom and

Brain Surgery J

ohn Zhang, M.D., director of the NIH Center for Brain Hemorrhage Research at Loma Linda University School of Medicine, recently received a $1.7 million grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to study whether rattlesnake venom can be used as an immunizing agent to reduce bleeding and swelling in brain tissues

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during and after cranial surgery. “The process of applying for a grant and having it reviewed by the NIH takes five to eight months,” he reports. “Once a study is approved, it’s usually another six months before the money is released. But we got our funding for this one in just one month. . . . I read the letter two times;

Adventist World - nad | October 2015

I could not believe my eyes!” Zhang received the acceptance letter in July 2014. The five-year study is slated for completion in 2019. “Brain tissue is like Chinese tofu,” he says, employing an analogy from the culinary traditions of his homeland. “It’s very soft. The brain is the headquarters for the body, but when you cut the brain, it’s very delicate. The tissue itself heals, but the connections between the brain and other parts of the body can’t heal.” Zhang believes that snake venom could potentially alleviate damage in the estimated 800,000 brain, neurologic, or spine surgeries performed in the United States every year. He estimates that 2,000 of those procedures


expand,” he points out. “But lots of patients die from swelling in the brain because the skull prevents its ability to enlarge. Immunization prevents it. If we immunize patients before the surgery, we can help to prevent postoperative edema.” Zhang coined the term “surgical brain injury” and introduced it in articles he published in scientific journals in 2004 and 2006. Although only in its first year, the study has already spawned another field of inquiry. “We think venom might also be used to reduce brain hemorrhage after stroke,” he reports. “The animal model looks very good.” Zhang and his associates are also evaluating whether other types of reptile- and insect-derived venoms may work as well. One of his colleagues, Cesar Reis, Jr., M.D., research assistant in anesthesiology, recently identified a snake whose venom might be applicable for the study, and Zhang authorized him to acquire it. The team is also evaluating spider and scorpion venom. Nevertheless, Zhang says not to expect to see him scouring the hills for

rattlesnakes any time soon. He prefers to stay as far away as possible, and buys the venom for the study from a certified scientific supplier. —James Ponder, Loma Linda University

Redwood Campers Build Relationships During Community Service Day ■■ About 250 campers at Redwood camp meeting volunteered for the first Redwood Community Service Day on Friday, July 31. During the past six decades, the annual 10-day camp meeting, held in the Northern California Conference (NCC), has provided spiritual renewal for thousands of people. The theme for 2015 was “Christ’s Method Alone: Building Relationships.” “We wanted to give people the opportunity to be a blessing to the local community, to put this year’s theme into action,” said NCC executive secretary Marc Woodson, who organized the event with his wife, Marlene. Each volunteer wore a Continued on next page

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are performed at Loma Linda University Medical Center. Early results indicate that patients who are immunized would not be in danger of losing other important functions from complications of brain surgery. “We’re studying surgical brain injury, and right now, when a surgeon removes a brain tumor, the liver, or some other organ, is often damaged in the process,” Zhang reports. “By immunizing with snake venom ahead of time, we can reduce the associated trauma when the patient is under the knife.” Preliminary results of tests Zhang and his colleagues conducted on animal models have been encouraging. They found that presurgical immunization—delivered as three immunizations in three days prior to surgery— reduces bleeding during surgery by as much as 30 percent. They also found it reduces postoperative brain swelling by up to 50 percent. That last finding is particularly inspiring. “If you get a cut or scratch on your arm and it becomes infected, the swelling is no problem, because there is plenty of room for the tissue to

Volunteers meet together at the campground before beginning their work on the first Redwood Community Service Day.

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Flor i d a

bright-yellow shirt with Matthew 20:28 written on the back: “Jesus came not to be served, but to serve others.” Volunteers tackled a wide range of projects in the nearby communities of Fortuna and Eureka. Many campers worked together to pick up 1,540 pounds of trash along the Eel River (a local television newscast reported on their work). “My favorite part of the day was walking the riverbed with my dad, and finding a muffler that we joked was a piece of NASA equipment that fell from the sky,” said 13-year-old Tim Mason, from the Lodi English Oaks church. “It made me feel good that I knew I was helping clean the world.” A number of volunteers worked at Miranda’s Rescue for Large and Small Animals, where they walked dogs, built goat pens, painted, weeded, and performed other tasks. “The owner was so overwhelmed by the number of volunteers that he had to stop several times—as he was giving us assignments—to tell us how blessed he felt to have so many there,” said Carol Anne Cruise, a member of the Redwood Valley company. The organization’s owners, Shannon Miranda and Dean Paris, later wrote a thank-you message: “You were the best large volunteer group we have had in the past 10 years! . . . Your kindness will never be forgotten!” A number of other volunteers worked at Fortuna’s Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, making quilts for a women’s shelter and sewing pillowcases for a children’s hospital, among other tasks. The congregation’s public affairs specialist, Sylvia Jutila, helped connect Adventists with volunteer opportunities around Fortuna. “What a fantastic gift to our city,” said Jutila. “All of the places where they served could not get over the wonder-

C o n f ere n ce

NAD NEWS

Jim King (center), pastor of Florida Living Church, Apopka, receives a plaque of appreciation on behalf of the congregation from Frank Barton, Florida Conference Prison Ministries director, and his wife, Maxine, for more than 20 years of correcting Prison Ministry Bible lessons.

ful aid and assistance they provided.” Campers also worked at several food banks, a library, a thrift store, a community center, and another church. “We received so much positive feedback—both from the volunteers and the people they helped—that we plan to make this an annual event,” said Woodson. —Julie Lorenz, Northern California Conference

Church Recognized for More Than 20 Years of Prison Ministries ■■ Correcting Bible studies for prison inmates throughout the state is a more-than-20-year-old ministry of Florida Living church, Apopka. In gratitude for these years of quiet, behind-the-scenes service, Frank Barton, director of prison ministries for the Florida Conference, presented a plaque of appreciation to the church during Sabbath worship on August 1. Barton, whose wife, Maxine, works alongside him, explains the reason volunteers are needed to cor-

Adventist World - nad | October 2015

rect Bible studies: “We receive so many studies to correct that we can’t keep up and do everything else the work requires.” For instance, the Bartons were on the road for Florida prison ministry two weeks out of every month since January 2014. “No one in this organized ministry is paid,” says Barton whose prison ministries work spans 26 years. “Our pay is the blessing from the Lord.” “Bible studies can be corrected by a group or an individual,” says Barton. “Encouraging notes to the inmates written by the volunteers on the returned lesson sheets can make a big difference. We never tell the student that something is wrong with their answers; instead, we write, ‘Have you considered this?’ ” Lesson-correctors don’t have to be theologians, just willing servants. The churches involved with the prison ministry Bible studies are responsible for returning the lessons to inmates. Provided answer sheets aid in the correction of the lessons. Thus, it’s an easy ministry with which to connect. —Betty Kossick, Florida Conference


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N A D U P D AT E

Adventists minister to a homeless man in Hamilton, Bermuda.

Adventist young adults minister to those grieving in Boston following the Boston Marathon bombing.

Let’s Start a

Conspiracy

It’s time for the church to be energized. By Jose Cortes, Jr., associate director, NAD Ministerial Association

W

hat if Adventist churches across North America started a conspiracy? What if Adventist churches across Bermuda, Canada, United States, and the islands of Guam and Micronesia decided that we are going to love our cities as Jesus did? What would happen if we ventured outside the walls of our churches, asked people about their needs, and did something transformational for individuals and communities? What if our local churches conspired to do the following:

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1. Respond to disasters in the community (fires, earthquakes, storms, tornados). 2. Feed the hungry. 3. Clothe those who need it. 4. Mentor children after school. 5. Minister to prisoners and their families. 6. Visit and pray for the sick in the community. 7. Offer free marital counseling (married couples) and pre-marital counseling (engaged couples).

Adventist World - nad | October 2015

8. Offer free parenting classes. 9. Donate space free of charge for community events and celebrations that are consistent with Adventist faith and practice. 10. Advertise the services of local Adventist pastors to conduct weddings, baby dedications, and funerals free of charge for the church’s community where doing so is in harmony with the church’s policies for pastoral care. 11. Provide manicures and pedicures for battered women. 12. Celebrate Communion with those who are homeless and provide shelter. 13. Lead toy drives at Christmas. 14. Stand against modern slavery and the abuse of women, children, and seniors. 15. Teach free financial management classes (how to budget, buy a house, become debt-free, experience financial freedom, file income taxes). 16. Hold free fitness classes.

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M i n i ster i a l

D ep a rtme n t


17. Connect with government leaders and work with them to support good causes regardless of party affiliation. 18. Hold a reception for community business owners and pray for their success. 19. Promote and facilitate the adoption of children. 20. Cosponsor and organize concerts with well-known musicians in some of our beautiful, historic, landmark buildings, rather than having these buildings closed to the public most of the time. 21. Organize and sponsor celebrations during such special days and holidays as New Year’s, Super Bowl Sunday, Valentine’s, Easter, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Independence Day, Memorial Day, Labor Day, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and others.

22. Volunteer with cities and other organizations in such events as marathons, fairs, and festivals. What would happen if we ventured to open our doors more often than for a few hours on Saturdays and for an hour on Wednesdays? Some churches that don’t have our beautiful, powerful message keep their doors open all the time. What if we dared to distribute flyers in our communities, not just those with beasts on the cover, but flyers that offer the services mentioned above and many others? What if we did this not for just a day, or for a season right before evangelistic meetings, but on a regular basis? What do you think would happen?

1. Relevant churches are never empty. Jesus was constantly surrounded by people. There’s a reason He always had a crowd. 2. Relevant churches reach and reclaim their communities. Jesus did that on a regular basis. He went to the synagogue, sat and read, then went out to reach and reclaim His community. 3. Relevant churches retain their members. When a community of people is active, doing something they enjoy, they don’t leave; the opposite happens. More people come: youth, young adults, adults, and children. It becomes viral. Jesus went viral. Our church is here today because He did. It’s time for a conspiracy of compassion in our Adventist churches in North America. n

October 2015 | Adventist World - nad

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

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Adventist World - nad | October 2015


NAD PERSPECTIVE

By Dan Weber

A

Time of

Trouble

“He shall judge the world in righteousness, and He shall administer judgment for the peoples in uprightness. The Lord also will be a refuge for the oppressed, a refuge in times of trouble. And those who know Your name will put their trust in You; for You, Lord, have not forsaken those who seek You” (Ps. 9:8-10).

R

ecent images on television and computer screens have shown us the terrible impact war is having upon people in Syria and the Middle East. Thousands have fled their homes seeking safety in foreign lands, often braving unsafe traveling conditions just for the hope of a new beginning. Many of them are fellow Christians, a minority in their home countries, seeking, among other things, religious freedom and the right to worship as they see fit. Others are Muslim, whose lives have been destroyed by civil war and the unmentionable horrors that go with it. It doesn’t matter what religion they follow or which deity they pray to, for in the end they are all God’s children and should be afforded the same rights we all take for granted. This particular conflict in the Middle East is not new; it’s been happening for several years. But not until a single image of a boy lying lifeless on a beach went viral did the world start to notice. Suddenly an uproar went up to help those who were dying in their

attempts to be free. As a father, I centered my prayers on families fleeing the violence, looking for a new life. I also took time to reflect on my own family’s history. Both my father and my father-inlaw survived World War II in Eastern Europe and eventually made it to the United States, where they started new lives. They had to flee the countries of their birth to escape the violence and hatred inflicted on them because of their heritage. I’m proud of what they went through, and how they had to sacrifice for the opportunity to work hard in a new country in which they could be free, something that we often take for granted. Further reflection brought me to a new point of view, one of a cosmic perspective. What about all of us who are refugees on this planet, who are forced to live under the oppression of one who would destroy our freedom? How often do we take for granted the gift that truly makes us free and affords us the opportunity to eventually return to our true home? Have we become comfortable

with the conditions in which we daily exist, forgetting that we are all caught in a struggle that is much bigger than anything we can imagine? Do we tend to focus on our own motives and agendas, forgetting to examine the bigger picture within which we exist? Do we forget that we are but a speck of paint on a painter’s canvas that envelops the whole universe? Just as we tend to focus on our daily lives until a single image enflames our emotions and we become enraged at the wrong being done to others (and rightfully so!), we also have to remember where we all came from, where we are headed, and who is waiting, eager to show us our new home and the new beginning He died for. Let’s become involved in relieving the pain and suffering around us, as well as in countries far away. Let’s pray that God will show us how to become involved in bettering someone else’s life. Let’s use Christ’s example of providing new life as a way of showing His other children a better future. We are all refugees on this planet, searching for a home that has been promised to us. Let’s remember our heritage, and how we can share it with others, sharing with them the hope that many of us take for granted. Let’s remember where we came from and where we’re going. But let’s also remember that we Christians are called to help show others the way home, on this earth and beyond. n

Dan Weber is the

communication director for the North American Division.

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17


NAD Letters

Thank God for the pioneers. Don’t stop telling their stories. —Val Lawrence, Houston, Texas

Adventist Church of the Future

I enjoyed Andrew McChesney’s article “Adventist Church of the Future Rises in Virginia” (August 2015). Mark and Teenie Finley are to be commended for their proactive approach to the gospel. I also recommend that an article be written about what is taking place at the new Adventist church in Aldergrove, British Columbia (opened September 12, 2015). As well as traditional community events (cooking schools, etc.), they will also have such things as an “auto repair shop,” “home renovation shop,” and many other creative ministries. I am not a member there, but I have been impressed with their creative, proactive, and effective outreach in Canada, which is a post-Christian country where those interested in traditional outreach are indeed a “dying breed.” Dave Laughton Canada

natural disaster to strike the U.S. The worst (in terms of loss of life) was the storm that struck Galveston, Texas, on September 8, 1900, and completely destroyed the city. The Galveston hurricane of 1900 is the deadliest natural disaster ever to strike the United States. Although there was no accurate count made of the number of deaths, historians estimate that between 6,000 and 12,000 people died in Texas. The storm was so powerful that it stayed intact as it traveled north and east across the U.S. and still had 65 mph (105 kph) winds when it reached New York, where one death occurred. The storm was the second-costliest hurricane in U.S. history based on the dollar’s 2005 value (to compare costs with those of Hurricane Katrina and others). Its wind speed is estimated to have been 145 mph, but no accurate measurement was made because wind gauges kept being blown away. Growing up along the Texas coast in the 1950s and 1960s, I heard many firsthand stories from survivors of the 1900 storm. Bryant Waddell Willis, Texas

Katrina

I am writing regarding Efraín Velázquez II’s devotional “Katrina” (July 2015). Referring to Hurricane Katrina, the author states that Katrina was “the worst natural disaster experienced in the history of the United States.” Katrina was not the worst

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Adventist World - nad | October 2015

The Spirit of ’63

Thank you for David Trim’s article “The Spirit of ’63: The First General Conference Session” (June 2015). Every month I look forward to reading articles like this. They remind me of the constant growth of this great movement of God’s great remnant church. Thank God for the pioneers. Don’t stop telling their stories. Val Lawrence Houston, Texas I was so glad to see an article about the first GC session in the June 2015 Adventist World. David Trim gave a real look at the founders and how they worked to begin the church organization. . . . Trim’s portrayal of the events was accurate and believable. I hope to see more articles like this from Trim. George Gomoll Illinois


By Peter N. Landless and Allan R. Handysides W O R L D

H E A L T H

Relief From

Osteoarthritis Pain Like my father, I have osteoarthritis. I wonder whether I inherited this, and what I can do about it. The biggest problem is knee pain that seems to be present much of the time. I am 67 years old, and I have to admit that I am somewhat overweight.

Y

ou did not mention whether you are male or female. That might be of interest, because women have more osteoarthritis of the knee than do men. About 25 percent of people over age 55 have arthritis in their knees, and the prevalence increases as we age. Osteoarthritis of the hands can be inherited, along with other forms of arthritis. Previous injury, work-related stress to the knee, and, of course, obesity all may play contributory roles in osteoarthritis. Arthritis is inflammation of a joint, and as a consequence of pain, muscle weakness can follow. The cartilage lining the bones of the joints becomes damaged, and irregular surfaces are then even more prone to damage—a typical vicious cycle. Misalignment of a joint leads to uneven wear and tear. In the knee, most pain is experienced between the kneecap and the femur (long thighbone). Knee arthritis typically is more painful when climbing stairs, getting out of a chair, or walking long distances. Sometimes a person complains that their knee “gave way”; this can mean a ligament or cartilage is damaged, but more often it means the muscles supporting the joint are weak. Tendons might be inflamed and cause pain that is mistaken for arthritis. X-rays usually show evidence of arthritis, but at times pain caused by arthritis occurs in the absence of

P H O T O : T h i n kstock P hotos / i stock

X-ray changes being visible. Blood tests are not indicated, nor are they helpful in osteoarthritis. Relief of pain is often the most pressing problem to the patient. Studies have shown that nonsteroidal antiinflammatory agents are superior in pain relief to acetaminophen or paracetamol. The side effects of acetaminophen, however, are fewer than the nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory agents, so it’s preferred as a first-line treatment. Injections of hyaluronic acid into the joint do not seem beneficial. Injections of corticosteroids, while relieving pain, tend to degrade the bones of the joint and so are limited in their scope. Glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate are commonly used for pain relief. And while studies have found little toxicity, the evidence on these substances suggests no efficacy over and above a placebo (the “feel good” effect that occurs through the perception that the treatment may or will help). In our opinion, exercise to strengthen the muscles around the knee will improve pain in many circumstances and will promote stability of the joint. Exercises should be aimed at improving the functions a person performs on a daily basis, such as bending, climbing stairs, flexing the knees while lifting weights, and improving balance. Weight loss, combined with strengthening exercises, has been found to be superior to exercise. If the joint is found to be poorly aligned (deformed), sometimes a brace can be helpful. Southeast Asians seem to have reduced inflammatory flare-ups of osteoarthritis; whether this is genetic or related to dietary composition has not been answered. Some claim tur-

meric has anti-inflammatory properties, and there is some limited data supporting this. A major study would be required to permit the recommendation of turmeric for arthritis as a fully tested therapy. We suggest that you lose some weight, strengthen your muscles, and perhaps have a physical therapist oversee your exercise program. Simple lifestyle interventions are often the most effective! Surgical approaches have not been covered. These should be discussed with a joint specialist. Our prayer is that the Lord will strengthen you and, as you seek help and apply the advice given, that you will experience wholeness in Christ and relief from discomfort. n

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.

October 2015 | Adventist World - nad

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D E V O T I O N A L

When

W

hen I was in elementary school, I was pretty attached to my grandparents, who, unfortunately, lived far from us. But a few times a year they would come to visit for weeks at a time. It was always a welcome treat for me, for it involved some bending of the weekday rules: delicious treats always ready after school, late-night story time, and many other elements typical of grandparents who know how to spoil their grandkids. To me, their visit made the day-to-day routine of school, homework, and strict bedtime seem much more lighthearted and vacation-like. Those fun days would roll by quickly, however. And before I knew it, we’d be at the airport saying goodbye. Then it would be back to the normal routine, which felt devastating, because, let’s be honest, in most cases grandparents trump parents. They would promise a phone call on arrival, saying that it wouldn’t be long before we’d be together again, but I don’t remember that making me feel a lot better. Perhaps I was an overly sensitive child, but after their plane disappeared from view (this was before September 11), I’d literally sink into depression. I’m not kidding—I would cry every day, roam listlessly around the house, and generally not be able to smile. Thankfully, this malaise would last only about a week. But I behaved as if I were in mourning. So much so that my parents quickly grew frustrated with my tears and sullen face, reminding me that my grandparents were very much alive and only a phone call away. But it wasn’t the same.

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Adventist World

Hope

Wins Over Loss

By Wilona Karimabadi


In that moment the disciples’ heavy hearts were lightened with that element that still eases our burdens today: hope. Sure, I knew I could hear their voices whenever I wanted to, but that amounted to nothing in comparison to their physical presence—to seeing them and being around them on a daily basis. To this day, I still remember how lost I felt when they’d leave, with a void in my stomach where nothing seemed fun anymore and I just felt so utterly sad. Those Poor Disciples

I’ve been working through a oneyear nonconsecutive Bible reading plan, which, at the time of this writing, has me in week 40 of 52. It’s been a fulfilling experience, as I’ve been reminded of scriptures I’ve known and loved, and delved into many new ones, some leaving me awed and others causing me to scratch my head. But as I’ve read through the Gospels and recounted the disciples’ experiences with Jesus, I have really felt for them, for during Christ’s crucifixion and eventual ascension, their sense of loss had to have been horrible. After years of walking and talking with their Savior, the One for whom they had left everything and everyone to follow, He was gone. I can just imagine how they felt in those dark hours after He died on the cross. Of course they knew what He had taught them. And I imagine they believed in His promises never to leave them, even if they could no longer be in His physical presence. But it had to have felt so bittersweet when He returned to heaven. We do know that after His resurrection, He didn’t leave them just yet. “After his suffering, he presented himself to them and gave them many convincing proofs that he was alive. He appeared to them over a period of P H O T O :

mo n ke y

bus i n ess

forty days and spoke about the kingdom of God” (Acts 1:3).* The disciples asked the Lord about His plans to restore the kingdom of Israel. Perhaps in their human hearts and minds they wished for Christ to come through in the way they always thought He would, accomplishing the redemption of His people once and for all, right then and there. I’m sure they hoped against hope that at the end of it all their beloved Savior wouldn’t have to actually leave them again. But Christ reminded them that only the Father had the time frame absolutely right. In the meantime, however, He really was planning on making good on His promise to be with them always and, most important, to empower them. “But you will will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth” (verse 8). A Promise Made Good

As my grandparents would encourage me over the phone once they made it to their own home safely, I believed that it really wouldn’t be long until we saw each other again. And after my weeklong depression finally abated, it got easier to look forward to that. Being busy with tasks at hand—school, friends, childhood life—certainly helped. The disciples had big tasks of their own to accomplish now—to go and tell. Christ had challenged them to preach and teach in His name, establishing His kingdom on earth, preparing His people for His eventual return, a work that continues with us. I’m sure it had to have felt over-

i m a ges / i stock / th i n kstock

whelming to even think of what lay ahead as they watched Him taken up into the sky until that cloud hid Him from their sight (verse 9). But Christ wasn’t about to leave them without more encouragement—awe-inspiring encouragement. “They were looking intently up into the sky as he was going, when suddenly two men dressed in white stood beside them. ‘Men of Galilee,’ they said, ‘why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven’ ” (verses 10, 11). I believe that in that moment their heavy hearts were lightened with that one element that still eases our burdens today: hope. My childhood sadness was finally quelled with the promise of seeing my beloved grandparents again, and soon. And when they passed away years later, my adult sadness and the longing I still feel for them from time to time is again quelled with that same hope. I will see them again, and soon. This hope carried the disciples forward. And it is that same hope that carries us forward today, until we reach that moment when goodbyes will truly be a thing of the past. What a lot we have to look forward to! n *Texts credited to NIV are from the Holy Bible, New International Version. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Wilona Karimabadi is an assistant editor for Adventist World.

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A D V E N T I S T

L I F E

By Shandra Kilby

by the Finding Spiritual Fulfillment in Mundane Tasks

T

he wind is blowing hard, so I get up to close my office window. As usual, I pause for a moment, letting my gaze linger upon the gut-pinching view. Every time I look out my window a desperate emotion boils up, threatening to leap from my throat, but somehow I am addicted to the sight. Haggard towers, pockmarked from bullet holes; rushing lines of traffic; countless rows of laundry flapping from countless apartment balconies in the dirty air of Beirut—the view represents millions of unreached people. As my fingers close around the window frame, a nearby mosque begins its mournful call to prayer. For a moment I consider the sheer number of people who have never heard the gospel message—people right outside my window—and my heart can barely keep itself from bursting. But obediently I shut the window and sit back down at my desk.

22

After all, it’s not my job to reach those people. I work as a personal assistant for an Adventist office in the Middle East. Like countless other denominational employees throughout the world church, I complete reports, fill out statistical data forms, and collect information from our various fields. On slower days I water the potted plants and clean the windows. It’s a job that goes by many names—personal assistant, secretary, or administrative assistant—but whatever it may be called, I’m quite sure that I’m not the only one in our denomination who can sometimes feel that the stack of reports cuts a cruel dividing line between me, the office worker, and “them,” the mission of the church: those nameless, faceless people waiting to be touched by heart-to-heart ministry. We want to be out there, leading souls into a relationship with Christ—but for whatever reason, God

Adventist World - nad | October 2015

P H O T O :

S teve

has called some of us to jobs that have less action. Are office workers missionaries? Are those engaged in denominational support roles really partaking in ministry? Recently I began searching God’s Word to see if it offers any advice for office workers. Tarrying by the Stuff

First Samuel 30 tells the harrowing story of when David and his 600 men returned to the city of Ziklag to find it plundered, burned, and looted. Their wives, children, and livestock had been captured, and, as can be expected, David and his men fell into momentary despair. Hastily pulling themselves together, they determined to pursue the retreating Amalekite army—not an easy feat! Burdened down with weapons, food, and presumably a fair amount of other military supplies, they promptly departed. The Bible doesn’t specify whether H i x / S omos

Im a ges / Fuse / th i n kstock


We can be left they were speed-walking, jogging, or running, but it does say that by the time David and his 600 men reached the brook Besor, one third of his men were too exhausted to continue. Rather than taking a break for his men to rest, David decided to leave the 200 weary soldiers at the brook. To lighten the load of the still-pursuing 400, he had them leave their baggage with the exhausted men. The Bible records that these 200 men tarried by the stuff (1 Sam. 30:24). Many office workers feel like those 200 men who had to sit by the “stuff ” while others go forward to fight the battles of the Lord. Our role can feel unimportant, unrecognized, and insignificant. But, like the exhaustion of the men, we each have our own things that keep us back from crossing the creek. Health issues, family obligations, age, experience, education, or other circumstances can keep devoted Christians from doing frontline, soulwinning ministry. We can be left pondering whether we are really contributing to the mission of the church. If you’ve wondered about that, you wouldn’t be the first one. In fact, some of David’s own men accused the 200 of being unworthy to share the reward at the end. Verse 22 records that after David’s army rescued their families and possessions from the Amalekites, some of his soldiers felt that the 200 who had “tarried by the stuff ” should not share in the spoils. “Because they did not go with us, we will not give them any of the spoil that we have recovered, except for every man’s wife and children, that they may lead them away and depart.” It was as if the support staff that remained behind was substandard, lazy, and unworthy of a reward. The ones from the battlefront urged them just to take their wives and be gone. Not so with David. David must have recognized that

pondering

new members or preaching evangelistic series, God views our humble, devoted efforts as worthy of the same recompense!

whether we are really contributing to the mission of the church. these 200 men, although not engaged in hand-to-hand combat on the battlefield, were nonetheless a valuable asset to his army. After all, if they hadn’t stayed by the luggage—thus lightening the load of the pursuers— perhaps they wouldn’t have been able to travel fast enough to catch up with the enemy. David’s answer to the disgruntled fighters is inspiring: “My brethren, you shall not do so with what the Lord has given us, who has preserved us and delivered into our hand the troop that came against us. . . . As his part is who goes down to the battle, so shall his part be who stays by the supplies; they shall share alike” (verses 23, 24). The book Christ’s Object Lessons shares an interesting tidbit from God’s perspective for those who stay by the “stuff ”—or, in our day, stay in the office: “Not the amount of labor performed or its visible results but the spirit in which the work is done makes it of value with God.”1 Not everybody can fight on the front lines, but we can faithfully stay by the duties given to us. We can care devotedly for the supplies and pray for those who are in battle. At the end of the day, whether we have been wielding a sword or tending supplies, God will give us an equal reward. Although we office workers might not be baptizing

Finding Meaning in the Mundane

When I look out my office window, the sight of a massive city full of lost individuals drives a restless wedge of pain into my ribcage. When I see the girl 6 or 7 years old begging at the traffic intersection; when I meet the hauntingly beautiful Muslim woman with a purple bruise under her eye; when I observe the Syrian refugees, the young men already showing dramatic streaks of gray hair—I can only pray for more workers on our front line. As for me, I would like to know that my life makes a difference here— for someone, anyone. I am energized to know that what I do in the office, no matter how mundane it may be, plays a small part in supporting the other “400” who are called to be on the front line. Thus it is recorded that “the work of many may appear to be restricted by circumstances; but, wherever it is, if performed with faith and diligence it will be felt to the uttermost parts of the earth. Christ’s work when upon earth appeared to be confined to a narrow field, but multitudes from all lands heard His message. God often uses the simplest means to accomplish the greatest results.”2 Whether we are waiting by the brook Besor or are in the heat of the battle, let us take courage that God counts our labor as valuable, and if we are faithful, our work will be felt to the uttermost parts of the earth. n 1 Ellen G. White, Christ’s Object Lessons (Washington, D.C.: Review

and Herald Pub. Assn., 1900), p. 398. G. White, The Desire of Ages (Mountain View, Calif.: Pacific Press Pub. Assn., 1898), p. 822. 2 Ellen

Shandra Kilby is a pseudonym.

October 2015 | Adventist World - nad

23


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Reach the World It’s Personal

The church’s new strategic plan calls on every member to share Jesus.

A

small prayer group that a Seventh-day Adventist couple began in western Kenya in 2011 has grown to 400 people and witnessed the baptism of 16 pastors from other denominations during the world church’s recent 100 Days of Prayer initiative. The couple, entrepreneurs Philip Rono and his wife, Calvin Chepchumba Rono, are convinced that the baptisms on June 18, 2015, were a direct result of an outpouring of the Holy Spirit during the 100 Days of Prayer, a daily prayer program that ran

G LO B E :

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from March 25 to July 3, 2015, the start of the General Conference session in San Antonio, Texas, United States. “The 100 Days of Prayer became a big miracle that took everyone by surprise,” Philip Rono said by phone. “It has always been our tradition to invite those of other faiths, but this time the number was big, and we were surprised with how the Lord moved them.” The Ronos’ passion for sharing Jesus is just what Adventist Church leaders hope to see repeated among every one of the church’s 18.5 million members over the next five years. A P ortr a i ts :

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main focus of the church’s new Reach the World strategic plan, which will be implemented from 2015 to 2020, is to find a way for every Adventist to get involved in evangelism. The strategic plan, based on the results of a two-year survey of more than 41,000 current and former church members, aims to provide vision and direction in carrying out the church’s mission of preparing people for the return of Jesus. It urges General Conference department directors and world division leaders to create programs that nurture church

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members’ relationship with God and provide them with ways to evangelize. Current programs include 777, during which church members pray at 7:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m., seven days a week; 10 Days of Prayer every January; 100 Days of Prayer; and Believe His Prophets, a daily online Bible reading with twice-a-week passages from the writings of church cofounder Ellen G. White. Those are all overseen by the General Conference’s Ministerial Association. Other church initiatives include Mission to the Cities, comprehensive health ministry, and Revival and Reformation. Adventist Church president Ted N. C. Wilson said those programs will be used to encourage every member to get involved in evangelism. “It is essential for our full proclamation of the three angels’ messages and the falling of the latter rain of the Holy Spirit,” Wilson said. “Everyone must be involved in sharing Christ and this precious Advent message within the context that they feel comfortable as the Holy Spirit leads them.” He said church leaders and church members should work hand in hand for mission outreach, noting that Ellen White wrote, “The work of God in this earth can never be finished until the men and women comprising our church membership rally to the work and unite their efforts with those of ministers and church officers”* The drive to get every member involved—“total member involvement,” as Wilson calls it—is to become a major focal point for the entire church over the next five years. Wilson is placing the General Conference’s Sabbath School/Personal Ministries Department, led by newly elected director Duane McKey, directly under his office to serve as adviser, and all departments will be involved in this integrated evangelism outreach.

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Prayer groups in Eldoret, Kenya, have swelled from a few dozen to a few hundred as people focused on prayer and revival.

How 16 Pastors Got Baptized

Philip and Chepchumba Rono’s prayer group in Eldoret, Kenya, offers a glimpse of the total member involvement envisaged by church leaders thousands of miles away at world church headquarters in Maryland, United States. The Kenyan couple started a small prayer group of five people under the world church’s Revival and Reformation program in 2011. Members of the group prayed for two to four hours every Monday and, as the church unveiled 777 and 10 Days of Prayer, encouraged one another to observe those daily initiatives on their own. Attendance soared after the couple placed an even greater emphasis on prayer and organized a second group in a larger, Adventist-owned building in Eldoret in February 2014. The second prayer group grew in 2014 from 50 to 150, then to a crowd of 200 people who attended 10 Days of Prayer in early January 2015. It swelled to 300 people when 100 Days of Prayer started in late March, and to more than 400 people in May. The new group initially agreed to

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For four years Chepchumba Rono, and her husband, Philip, used initiatives that were part of the church’s Revival and Reformation initiative to conduct community Bible meetings.

meet two days a month for Revival and Reformation meetings. “Then we saw that this was not adequate, and we began to meet three days a month, usually on Thursdays, Fridays, and Sabbaths,” Philip Rono said. “On Sabbaths people prayed in the afternoon, went home for a couple hours, and then returned at 7:00 p.m. for all-night prayers.” Attendees followed the daily 10


The plan urges General Conference

tion, another group of pastors from a nearby region have asked for private seminars to learn about Adventism. Rono said the revival in western Kenya was the result of prayer. “We need to take prayer very, very seriously, especially during this period of revival and reformation,” he said. “Meeting every week makes a big difference. We have witnessed many miracles.” Rono and his wife are now setting up a “center of influence”—a wellness center with treatment rooms, a library, a chapel for daily prayers at 1:00 p.m., and a restaurant in downtown Eldoret—as they latch onto another world church program, Mission to the Cities. The couple toured several wellness centers in the United States this summer looking for ideas and advice.

department directors and world division leaders to create programs that nurture church members’ relationship with God and provide them with ways to evangelize.

What Divisions Are Doing

All-night prayer meetings conducted by Philip Rono and others resulted in 16 pastors requesting to be baptized into the Seventh-day Adventist Church. Days of Prayer and 100 Days of Prayer programs in their homes. In May, during the 100 Days initiative, two members of the group invited 12 pastors from other denominations to attend the all-night prayer sessions. “They were so impressed by the reception and the lessons presented, and they felt that they needed to know more about Seventh-day Adventists,” Rono said. A three-day seminar was organized immediately, and 50 pastors were invited to attend it in Eldoret. At the end of the seminar a group of pastors P H O T O s :

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asked if another three-day meeting could be held in their hometown so that their church members could attend. After that meeting, 16 pastors requested baptism. In August members of two of the churches whose pastors became Adventist decided to rename their church as Adventist. A member of the prayer group donated US$12,400 toward the purchase of the properties, and the local Adventist conference pledged to pay the difference. A series of fall meetings have been scheduled to reach the baptized pastors’ former congregations. In addi-

Blasious Ruguri, president of the Adventist Church’s East-Central Africa Division, which includes Kenya, said prayer was vital for the fulfillment of the church’s Reach the World goals. In his division, he said, “prayer life by all members in every church will be maintained to keep the fire burning in every heart.” Ruguri also said his division has found that child evangelism is extremely effective in reaching people, and that people respond more readily when women are involved in mission initiatives. World church leaders are encouraging each region of the world church—indeed, every member—to find methods that work best for them. The South American Division has found that Revived by His Word and its successor, Believe His Prophets, have gained considerable traction among its members. “We are motivating our people to dedicate the first hour every day to be in the presence of the Lord, participating in #RBHW, #BHP, studying the

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Indonesia care groups use contextualized resources during their weekly IEL meetings. Abe

Abe

Sabbath school lesson, and praying,” said division president Erton Köhler. #RBHW and #BHP are the social media hashtags for the daily Bible study plans, and Adventist Twitter users in the South American Division are among the most active worldwide in using them. “The only way to be renewed is personal time with God at the best time of the day, when the mind is open to read, understand, and be close to God,” Köhler said. Paul Ratsara, president of the Southern Africa-Indian Ocean Division, said his region’s biggest challenge related to the availability of resources. “It is my dream that sufficient Bibles and Spirit of Prophecy books will be available for all of our members,” Ratsara said. “We need to make sure that every member intensifies their reading plans.” He said he greatly appreciated Revived by His Word, and now Believe His Prophets, and he intended to promote the reading plan vigorously. “As

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the availability of smartphones and Internet penetration increases, more and more of our members will have access to the huge blessing of these daily readings,” he said. Access to the Bible and Spirit of Prophecy is also a challenge in the South Pacific Division, whose president intends to put a strong emphasis on discipleship. “The written Bible is very accessible to most of the people in the South Pacific in English and French, two of the main languages, and in all the languages of the Pacific Islands,” president Glenn Townend said. “But not everybody, let alone Seventh-day Adventists, can read.” He said three entities—It is Written Oceania, the Papua New Guinea Union, and the Solomon Islands Mission—have worked on putting the Bible and some of Ellen White’s books into audio forms on solarpowered “Godpods.” “Also, leaders will teach and model creative biblical ways to pray, and

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Hope Channel will have programs on spiritual habits that connect people with their God,” Townend said. “The Bible reading plan will certainly be encouraged. Discipleship does not happen without a close connection to Jesus through spiritual habits.” In the Southern Asia-Pacific Division, president Leonardo R. Asoy faces a formidable challenge with a number of unreached groups as well as millions of people from three of the world’s major religions, Buddhism, Hinduism, and Islam. He said the division would continue to use initiatives such as Mission to the Cities and One Year in Mission to reach those communities, but it would put a stronger focus on nurturing and retention. “New members, particularly those coming from non-Christian religions, need mentoring, a sense of belonging, training in personal evangelism, and discipleship, so they can become joyful, active Christians who share Jesus through their life examples,” he said. Asoy expressed particular enthusiasm for a new local program called Integrated Evangelism Lifestyle, which was championed by his predecessor, Alberto Gulfan, Jr., and he said would advance Reach the World’s objectives. “It uses Christ’s method of evangelism and encourages members in personal revival and reformation,” he said. Under the program, members commit to two months of prayer, focused Bible study, and preparation. After this time, members invite their family, friends, and neighbors to join them in weekly care groups in their homes or other informal settings. The focus is on building relationships. During these weekly gatherings, they


discuss topics of general interest, such as health, family, happiness, and community involvement, and offer faithbased perspectives. They also choose projects to do as a group to improve their communities. While the family unit is the basic starting point, with one family inviting another family to join the group, care groups also consist of individuals with common backgrounds, such as young professionals, single parents, and seniors. “The focus is not on evangelism as an event. Instead, the Integrated Evangelism Lifestyle program offers evangelism as a process through long-term personal contact and the nurturing of individuals,” Asoy said. “It will take time, but we look forward to seeing how the Lord will lead.” n * Ellen G. White, Testimonies for the Church (Mountain View, Calif.: Pacific Press Pub. Assn., 1948), vol. 9, p. 117.

ReaD MORE: Read the Reach the World strategic plan at www.adventistarchives.org/ reach-the-world.pdf. The 2011-2013 survey behind the strategic plan can be accessed at documents.adventistarchives.org/ Statistics/Other/ACRep2013.pdf. Read Adventist Review’s synopsis of the strategy at www.adventistreview. org/church-news/story2921-whatyou-need-to-know-about-theadventist-churchs-new-strategy.

Andrew McChesney is

news editor for Adventist World.

Reach the World OBJECTIVES

Twenty-one goals divided into three categories. Reach Up to God 1. To involve Adventist members in daily Bible study 2. To engage all members in doctrinal study, essential for spiritual maturity 3. To make all members better acquainted with Ellen White’s counsel and prophetic ministry 4. To increase the engagement of church members in biblically authentic spiritual practices 5. To foster, among pastors, teachers, members, and students in denominational institutions, greater appreciation for and insight from a study of Scripture that uses the historical-grammatical method and historicist approach to interpretation, including the understanding of prophecy 6. To encourage church members to adopt regular patterns of worship

Reach In With God 7. To enhance unity and community among church members 8. To nurture believers in lives of discipleship and to involve them in service 9. To increase the engagement of young people in the life of the church 10. To affirm the administrative role of pastors in organizational leadership 11. To improve leadership practices in order to enhance the credibility of, and trust in, the church organization, its operations, and mission initiatives

Reach Out With God 12. To enhance Adventist outreach and presence across the 10/40 window 13. To enhance Adventist outreach and presence in large urban areas worldwide 14. To make planting new groups of believers a priority in all parts of the world 15. To substantially reorient our understanding and methods of mission 16. To engage all church members, pastors, and leaders in full partnership 17. To increase the involvement of young people in the mission of the church 18. To encourage local churches to take the initiative in communicating the three angels’ messages and carrying out the mission of the Seventh-day Adventist Church 19. To raise the profile of mission to non-Christian religions and belief systems 20. To strengthen the world church’s global resources for mission 21. To optimize communication plans and methodologies so as to empower the work and witness of the church

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F U N D A M E N T A L

B E L I E F S

By Elizabeth Camps

Being

NUMBER 22

GrownA Christlike character begins

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ome time ago a friend and I were reminiscing about our first year in college, when everything seemed so fresh, new, and exciting. There we were, on a huge campus, with hundreds of new people we could meet every day. The possibilities had seemed endless, and we were excited, to say the least. My friend and I also talked about all the things we experienced for the first time when we came to college. From living in a dorm room with a roommate to cooking our own meals and remembering to do a load of laundry every now and then so we had clean clothes. Something else was significant. For the first time, we were responsible for ourselves in every way. We were truly on our own; we no longer had Mom and Dad waking us up every morning, making sure we ate regular and healthy meals, and pushing us to go to bed early every night. Now in college, for the first time, we decided when to wake up, when to eat, and when to go to bed. Although we may not have realized it at the time, being completely accountable for oneself is a big responsibility! In the same way that we had full responsibility over ourselves as young adults, God has entrusted us with the full responsibility of taking care of our bodies. Being Adult Christians

The phrase “Christian behavior” evokes a number of ideas and concepts. We may think about how we should treat and interact with others. We may also think about how we are a reflection of God and the church whenever we interact with those who have never heard the three angels’ messages. Because of this, we often pay careful attention to how we act, and keep in mind to always be a positive influence. But if we take a closer look, we can find that the concept of Christian behavior does not refer only to our relationship with others but also to the way we treat ourselves.

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A quick review of the actual wording of fundamental belief 22 is instructive. “We are called to be a godly people who think, feel, and act in harmony with biblical principles in all aspects.” In other words, we practice being followers of Jesus in every part of our lives. This involves not just our interaction with others but also the way we dress. We recognize that clothes can transform appearance, but can never change our character. This Christlike character does not only represent inner beauty; it also involves our own bodies. It seems that God wants us to not only treat others in a Christlike way but also treat ourselves in a Christlike way. In 1 Corinthians 6:19, 20, we read that our bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, meaning that Jesus lives in us and is represented to the world through us. We are called to honor God with our bodies. How better to honor God than by taking care of this temple He has entrusted to us? This means taking care of our basic health needs, such as making sure we get enough sleep every night, eating well, and drinking enough liquids throughout the day. Paul emphasizes the necessity of taking care of our physical needs in 1 Corinthians 10:31, saying, “If you eat or drink, or if you do anything, do it all for the glory of God.”* Eating and drinking has something to do with our walk with Jesus. Being an Adult Is Hard

When I entered college as a young adult, the last things on my mind were my sleeping and eating habits. In the hustle and bustle of brand-new classes, work, and many new responsibilities, I often forgot about getting to sleep at a reasonable hour. Sometimes I wouldn’t go to bed until 2:00 or 3:00 in the morning. It was a similar story when it came to my eating habits. I got so caught up with all the busyness of life that I forgot about food and neglected to


-up

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with taking care of ourselves consciously plan my eating. I just bought or made something that kept me going—quickly. Even after college, taking care of ourselves is often not our first priority, and it proves to be just as difficult. Our lives become even busier with work projects, families, and church events that keep us occupied. It seems that no matter what stage of life we are in, we have to fight to care for our bodies. Yet in the midst of all the responsibilities of life, I am drawn to John 14:15: “If you love me,” Jesus tells me, “you will obey my commands.” My motivation for living a Christlike life involving my character, my body, and my mind must be love-driven. If we love God, we will want to honor Him; and God has asked us to honor Him by caring for our bodies. By focusing on God and loving Him, we will have the desire and willingness to care for ourselves.

It’s good to know that God cares about every part of us: the spiritual, the emotional, and the physical. He thinks of even the smallest details for us, and reminds us of it again and again in the Bible, His love letter to us. So when He calls us to live a Christlike life, we must remember that it not only touches those around us—it affects us as well. n * All scriptures in this article are from The Holy Bible, New Century Version, copyright © 2005 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission.

Elizabeth Camps works as a writer and public relations specialist for Adventist Risk Management in Silver Spring, Maryland, United States. She has a passion for her craft.

Christian BEHAVIOR We are called to be a godly people who think, feel, and act in harmony with biblical principles in all aspects of personal and social life. For the Spirit to recreate in us the character of our Lord we involve ourselves only in those things that will produce Christlike purity, health, and joy in our lives. This means that our amusement and entertainment should meet the highest standards of Christian taste and beauty. While recognizing cultural differences, our

dress is to be simple, modest, and neat, befitting those whose true beauty does not consist of outward adornment but in the imperishable ornament of a gentle and quiet spirit. It also means that because our bodies are the temples of the Holy Spirit, we are to care for them intelligently. Along with adequate exercise and rest, we are to adopt the most healthful diet possible and abstain from the unclean foods identified in the Scriptures. Since alcoholic beverages,

tobacco, and the irresponsible use of drugs and narcotics are harmful to our bodies, we are to abstain from them as well. Instead, we are to engage in whatever brings our thoughts and bodies into the discipline of Christ, who desires our wholesomeness, joy, and goodness. (Gen. 7:2; Ex. 20:15; Lev. 11:1-47; Ps. 106:3; Rom. 12:1, 2; 1 Cor. 6:19, 20; 10:31; 2 Cor. 6:14-7:1; 10:5; Eph. 5:1-21; Phil. 2:4; 4:8; 1 Tim. 2:9, 10; Titus 2:11, 12; 1 Peter 3:1-4; 1 John 2:6; 3 John 2.)

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Left: STORM’S AFTERMATH: The simple materials used in this building were no match for the force of Typhoon Soudelor. Right: A SURVIVOR’S STORY: Joe describes the ordeal of being a typhoon survivor. Behind him is Sean Robinson, Disaster Response director for NAD’s Adventist Community Services.

By Dan Weber

oe J

My Name is

Disaster relief on a personal level 32

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s we drove into the Kagman area of Saipan, we immediately saw the devastation caused by Typhoon Soudelor. Most homes were either destroyed or severely damaged. Driving along the dirt roads that made up the community reminded me of visiting war zones in Croatia during the Balkan conflict in 1993. The only difference was that even though the homes were destroyed, none of the properties were abandoned. Most of the homeowners in this neighborhood were “homesteaders”; they had been given property by the government, unlike the majority of people on Saipan, who can only rent their land. We stopped to take pictures of several of the damaged houses to document the impact of the storm. What caught my eye was the contrast between a concrete house that sustained no damage whatsoever, and the metal structure next to it that was flattened. Though they were only about 50 feet apart, they may as well have been on different islands in the Pacific Ocean.

Who Are You?

We rounded a corner and were hailed by a voice asking us what we were doing and who we were. Sean Robinson, the North American Division Adventist Community Services (ACS) Disaster Response director, quickly answered that we were examining the damage to see how we could possibly help. This response was met with a smile and an invitation to further examine the property owner’s house. What met us was a cinder-block structure with no roof and sheets of metal all around it. The owner introduced himself as Joe, who lived there with his wife and their 25-year-old special-needs son, Taylor. Joe described how the storm hit and ripped off the house’s roof. He tried to make his way over to his neighbor’s house, but as they approached, the roof of his neighbor’s house blew off as well. Joe decided to make a run for his brother’s place, arriving just in time to watch the roof on his brother’s home be pulled apart and the rafters float away in the violent winds.


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Joe finally found shelter in another house down the road, where they waited out the storm. As we walked around Joe’s property, we noticed all of his belongings neatly organized within the walls of his roofless home. He even had a washing machine fully exposed to the elements. We could tell that Joe took pride in his home, even though it was severely damaged. He had built the structure by himself over a period of several years and was determined to rebuild, no matter what. Under a small tree, Joe had collected several sheets of metal, and had tried to build a crude shelter to escape the elements. He explained how he, his wife, and their son had to sleep in their car at night to escape the hordes of mosquitoes that appeared after the storm. This proved futile as the steamy nights made keeping the car windows closed unbearable. This made for long, sleepless nights, and its toll was having an impact upon Joe. Through it all he smiled and happily shared his story with three strangers who had

shown up in his neighborhood. I asked Joe why he didn’t leave and go to a shelter. His hurried response was that if he did, all of his belongings would be stolen. He didn’t want to abandon what little bit of personal property he had left. What Can We Do?

As we left to travel back to the Saipan Seventh-day Adventist Dental Clinic, the discussion in our car soon turned to how Joe had been too proud to ask for a handout; and even if we had offered him money, he wouldn’t have taken it. We were all touched by this simple workingman’s honesty, his commitment to his family, and his pride in providing for their well-being. The next morning at staff worship we shared Joe’s story with the other members of our team. Cathy Kissner, the Adventist Community Services director for the Rocky Mountain Conference, quickly piped in with “I have a mosquito net I don’t need! Can you take us to see Joe this after-

Saipan is in the

NAD? SUCCESS STORY: Two years ago Adventists bought an existing school building that now has more than 170 students and is known throughout the island for its quality education.

“Why are you going to Saipan? What does that have to do with the North American Division?” I was asked questions such as those as I spent a hurried 36 hours scrambling to get ready for a one-week trip to a small island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. Adventist Community Services (ACS) was sending a Disaster Response team to evaluate and respond to the needs of the people after Typhoon Soudelor hit the island on August 2, 2015. I was trying to catch up with them to provide communication coverage of the cleanup, and to observe firsthand how ACS works on the ground after a disaster. Saipan is part of the Guam-Micronesia Mission (GMM), which became part of the North American Division in 2012. The GMM is made up of the islands of Guam, Wake Island, the Northern Mariana Islands, Palau, the Marshall Islands, and the Federation of Micronesia. In total, 5,000


LEFT BEHIND: Most of Joe’s belongings were lost to the storm. What remains is exposed to the elements because of the lack of a roof.

noon, so I can give it to him?” I agreed, and we set a time to drive back out to Kagman. Later that afternoon as we approached Joe’s neighborhood, I felt a sense of apprehension about what we would find with Joe and his family. We walked up to Joe’s house and noticed that a dome made out of plastic sheets had been set up next to his house. The material had been provided to homeowners who needed shelter from the weather by the Red Cross and the Federal Emergency Management Agency. It didn’t provide any relief from the mosquitoes, but it kept the rain off people at night. We found Joe inside the makeshift tent, trying to build a raised platform for his wife and son to sleep on at night so they wouldn’t get wet when it rained. He shared a handshake and smile as I introduced him to Cathy Kissner and Charlene Sargent, ACS director from the Pacific Union Conference. Cathy explained they were there to give a few small things to Joe and his family, handing over the bag

Adventists live among a population of 400,000 people. Most North American Adventists will recognize the names of Guam, Palau, and Yap, as they are common places for student missionaries to go and teach for a year while attending college or university. Little known is the small but just as important island of Saipan, where the Adventist Church runs a thriving dental clinic, an elementary school, a church, and two companies. Adventist membership is small, but everyone on the island of 48,000 people knows about Adventists because of the dental clinic. Dr. Warren Creed is acting medical director at the clinic, and has served on the island for two of his 29 years of medical mission service to the church. Until recently the church struggled to operate a small mission school out of a house, but in 2013 they were able to purchase an existing school building that allowed them to quickly grow

their outreach. Now the school has more than 170 students, most of whom come from families that are not Adventist. This mission opportunity was made possible only because of the success of the dental clinic working with the GMM and the North American Division to purchase the property. As the Adventist Church, through Adventist Community Services, the Saipan Dental Clinic, and the Adventist school, meets the needs of the Saipan community in rebuilding from Typhoon Soudelor, they show the people of this small island the love and compassion that Jesus asks us to share with those in need. Please keep the people of Saipan in your thoughts and prayers, even though thousands of miles separate them from the rest of the North American Division. Just as we all are a part of God’s family, they are a part of our North American family. —Dan Weber

A CAREER OF CARING: After nearly 30 years of medical mission service, Dr. Warren Creed is a dentist and medical director of the Seventh-day Adventist Dental Clinic.

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Jared Thurmon is the new Strategic Partnerships Liaison for Adventist Review Ministries.

www.adventistreview.org


N A D F E AT U R E

SIMPLE CONVENIENCE: Cathy Kissner (center) and Charlene Sargent share a mosquito net with Joe, enabling him and his family to stay close to his home and its belongings.

We were all touched by this simple workingman’s honesty, his commitment to his family, and his pride in providing for their well-being. containing the mosquito net. Joe smiled and said thank you, without realizing what was in the bag. Once Cathy described the purpose of the netting, Joe’s face was overcome with emotion as he explained that he had been hoping for something just like this so that his wife could sleep at night. He couldn’t contain his emotions as he cried tears of joy, exclaiming again and again, “I can’t believe you would do this for us! This is a gift from God!” Hugs were shared, and Joe called his son over to meet their guests. Joe explained that he and his family are members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, but that he would never forget the Adventists and what they had done for his family. I took a few pictures of Joe and his son by their dome shelter, and quickly said our goodbyes as Joe worked to set up the mosquito netting. Cathy and Charlene returned a few days later, bringing a few extra supplies that they had collected from the ACS warehouse.

A Gift From God

What struck me about the whole experience was a phrase that I’ve heard recently at other events at which Adventists have reached out to their local communities in times of need: “This is from God. He gave this to us through your actions.” This simple statement explains the role that ACS and other Adventist organizations play in helping to share light to a world in need. When we give of ourselves, with no expectation of anything in return, God’s light is shown through our actions; actions that speak louder than words. n

Dan Weber is communication director for

the North American Division of Seventh-day Adventists.

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C O NF E R E N C E

I

ndependent-minded Englishman Joseph Booth had a missionary idea for W. A. Spicer, secretary of Adventism’s Foreign Mission Board. As he listened, Spicer became convinced that it would be a great blessing to the work in central Africa. The region, Booth insisted, would benefit dramatically from “colored” workers. As Spicer wrote, they would be able to “render special service, where the white face could not get access.”1 Besides, Booth had at his disposal an estate of 2,000 acres, with buildings, that could serve as the mission compound, and much more. Seventh Day Baptists, owners of the US$25,000 property, had agreed to transfer it to the Adventists for just $4,000. But somebody had to run the mission outpost, manage the compound, and develop its potential.

a rch i ves

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A D V E N T I S T

PIONEER FAMILY: Henrietta and Thomas Branch (seated); behind them: Mabel (center), Robert (extreme left), and Paul (extreme right).

By De Witt S. Williams

Thomas and Henrietta Branch

The Colorado Conference recommended a “colored” family. If the General Conference would pay their transportation, the Colorado Conference would sponsor them by paying their salary while in Africa. Thomas H. Branch was born in Jefferson County, Missouri, December 24, 1856. Henrietta Paterson was born March 12, 1858, at Roanoke, Missouri, the youngest in a large family. They met and married on December 7, 1876, in Kansas City, Kansas. Their first child, Mabel, was born in 1878. They joined the Adventist church in 1892. By that time Mabel had been joined by Thomas (June 1887) and Paul (March 1891). Robert would come later (January 1896). Colorado Pioneers

When the Colorado Conference chose them, the Branch family were already pioneers. Henrietta had received some training as a nurse and

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Adventism’s first African American missionary family in Africa would gain extra training to be able to serve as a missionary doctor. Thomas was an able speaker, a diligent Bible student, and enthusiastic lay worker in Pueblo, Colorado. Today the seeds he planted a century ago have borne ample fruit in four large African American churches in Pueblo and Denver. The Branches were older than most missionaries sent out by the church: Thomas was 46; Henrietta, 44. Their unmarried daughter, Mabel, had just turned 24. The three boys were 15, 11, and 6, and eager for the new experience. We find no evidence that the oldest son, Thomas, accompanied his

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parents and the rest of the family on their adventurous expedition. Since no other Black person from the Adventist Church had been sent to Africa, the Branches were again going to be pioneers. They had no role models to copy. It took courage, bravery, and great faith in the providence of God to accept this Macedonian call. But they were glad to go. The Colorado Conference ordained Thomas Branch on May 22 and the account of their departure is recorded. “Immediately taking leave of brethren and fellow laborers, and of those for whom we labored, we went to Denver, our former home, to make


ready for the journey. . . . We packed a few necessary articles, and bidding our friends goodbye, we left for Chicago. Elder Spicer met us there, and gave us all needed instructions for our journey.”2 Off to Africa

The Branches sailed for London, England, Wednesday morning, June 4, 1902, arriving June 12. Their first Sabbath in England they were guests of the Duncombe Hall church, where they were “given a hearty welcome by all the brethren.”3 A fortnight after arriving in London they sailed again, in the company of the single-minded Joseph Booth, whose initiative and ideas had started them on this journey. Before them was a seven-week voyage from Southampton to East Africa and service for the Lord in a new field of labor. They had

left the world behind, but could say with assurance, “We know there is a great harvest field to which the dear Lord is taking us and we are glad for a place in His vineyard.”4 Booth the Maverick

At the mouth of the Zambezi River the British Consul detained them for nine days, which apparently allowed the Branches to find out who Joseph Booth really was and what he had got them into. Booth, it turns out, was an enthusiastic advocate for highly proAfrican political and social ideas. Officials already worried that the teachings of some Black Americans induced a spirit of independence, even insubordination among Africans: Ethiopianism, a movement of African nationalism, began in South Africa around 1890 when independent African churches

started forming, based on their reading of the biblical promise that Ethiopia would one day “stretch out her hands unto God” (Ps. 68:31, KJV). Colonialists equated Ethiopianism with educated American Negros, though it was Joseph Booth the Englishman, not Thomas Branch the African American, whose ideas and action were to be associated with this thinking. Booth had written Africa for the African, in which he outlined a program for abolishing British colonialism. Booth believed in complete racial equality, and felt called by God to speak against inequalities. His industrial mission was a way to develop financial and educational independence for Africans. Spicer and the Adventists knew nothing of this when Booth first charmed them with his estate initiative. Booth had mentioned nothing of it. It took some effort to convince the authorities that the Branches were not involved in Ethiopianism. Plainfield Mission, the estate outpost, involved great problems between Branch and Booth. The Branches were not interested in Booth’s proposals, but in teaching and preaching the gospel. Booth was always involved in some project and never had enough money to pay the mission bills or the Branches’ salary. After just six months the Foreign Mission Board recalled Booth and asked him to become a colporteur in England.

Branch continued to direct the mission until another missionary, Joel C. Rogers, renamed the mission Malamulo (meaning “commandments”), and the Branches went to South Africa in 1907 seeking a better climate and to put their boys in school. To their great disappointment, their boys could not attend White Adventist schools. This, along with challenges to Henrietta’s health, led them to return to the United States the next year. Thomas was placed once again in charge of the colored work in Denver. Branch left at least one more pioneering mark on the work when he was called to the East Pennsylvania Conference in 1911. There he organized and pastored the First African Seventh-day Adventist church of Philadelphia. Later the church was renamed Ebenezer, and it became the mother of nearly a dozen African American churches that exist in the Philadelphia area today. Henrietta Branch died in Philadelphia on April 4, 1913. The Branches were pioneers, in Colorado, Malawi, and Philadelphia. Rather than focus on politics and prejudice, they proclaimed the gospel and brought true liberation to many. Their amazing legacy to the Adventist Church stands as an inspiration and path-breaking model of the church’s international mission by everyone, from everywhere, to everywhere, until the whole world knows. n

Leading at Plainfield

1 W. A. Spicer, “The

With Booth gone, Branch labored alone as the director of Plainfield Mission until the Mission Board sent Joseph H. Watson with his wife and son to join Branch. But in less than a year the climate had ravaged Watson. He passed away at age 33, was buried on the grounds of the mission station, and his wife and son returned home. Branch continued as director, and on July 14, 1906, organized the first Adventist church in Malawi.

New Missionary Enterprise: Nyassaland,” Advent Review and Sabbath Herald, May 27, 1902, p. 17. 2 Mr. and Mrs. T. H. Branch, “Called to Africa,” Advent Review and Sabbath Herald, July 15, 1902, p. 20. 3 Ibid. 4 Thomas Branch and Family, “On the Ocean,” Echoes From the Field, Sept. 3, 1902, p. 2.

DeWitt S. Williams

directed health ministries for the North American Division from 1990 until he retired in 2010 after 46 years of service. He served as a pastor and missionary in Africa.

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LEGACY of LIGHT

PART 5: 1891–1900

The Australian Years

God’s Mes senger

E

llen White’s arrival in Australia in December 1891, and her nine-year ministry in the land down under (1891-1900), coincide with a significant period of her literary contribution to the global church. The reality of the great controversy theme, and its impact on the spiritual life of the church, was clearly settled in her thoughts. She referred to the effect of the struggles not only “upon human hearts in America” but also “upon the human minds in that far-off country.”1 Further, prior to her arrival in Australia, Ellen White struggled with the challenge of facing the unknown, namely a clear lack of direction from God regarding her forthcoming journey. “This morning my mind is anxious and troubled in regard to my duty. Can it be the will of God that I go to Australia? . . . I have no special light to leave America for this far-off country. Nevertheless, if I knew it was the voice of God, I would go.”2 Ellen White was close to the age of retirement, in poor health, and her major goal was to complete her book on the life of Christ. “I long for rest, for quietude, and to get out the ‘Life of Christ,’ ”3 However, her continual search to understand God’s involvement in human life heightened her confidence in His presence and guidance. She wrote, “I am presenting the case before the Lord and I believe He will guide me.”4 With such entrenched confidence in God, she arrived in Sydney aboard the S.S. Alameda on December 8, 1891. This time away from home opened new opportunities to reflect on what matters to God. Ellen White’s contribution to the church during her years in Australia may be divided into three significant segments. First, she nurtured the spiritual life of the relatively infant church.

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Australian Writings Motivate Worldwide

A look at Ellen White’s life and legacy By John Skrzypaszek Second, she provided a visionary motivation for institutional progress combined with an urgency for mission. Third, in the period of her most productive literary years (1888-1911), the nine years in Australia were significant. She placed a noteworthy emphasis on the spiritual life for the worldwide church. In the context of the great controversy, her publications explored the inspirational depth of God’s love that uplifts human value, dignity, and uniqueness.5 The focal point of her admiration was Jesus. Nurturing

Ellen White’s spiritual nurture of the young church commenced the moment she arrived in Sydney. On her first Sabbath in Sydney she spoke from John 17. In a letter to O. A. Olsen she explained, “They had never before heard words that gave them such hope and courage in regard to justification by faith and the righteousness of Christ.”6 The same letter suggests that there was a general lack of understanding of this vitally important topic. Referring to A. G. Daniells, she wrote, “He has only a little glimmering of light upon the subject of justification by faith and the righteousness of Christ as a free gift.”7 The following Wednesday Ellen White arrived in Melbourne, where conditions among the workers at the Echo Publishing Company were poor. Based on a vision given to her in 1875,

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she spoke about the lack of unity and harmony among the workers.8 She warned of the dangers of the prevailing attitudes. In response, hearts were broken. “The brethren confessed to one another and fell on one another’s necks, weeping and asking forgiveness.”9 Space does not permit exploration of the plethora of spiritual nurturing provided by Ellen White during this period, nurture that stemmed from the depth of her personal search to understand God’s love. In a diary note dated December 27, 1891, she wrote, “I had great freedom in presenting the plan of salvation and the wondrous love of God for fallen man.” The theme of God’s love and the authenticity of her spiritual nurture created a strong intimacy between Ellen White and the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Australia. This relational bond has been compared to the impact that a mother exerts on a young child.10 Visionary Motivation

Ellen White shaped the church’s vision for institutional progress and the urgency of the mission. In a vision dated April 1, 1874, she was instructed: “You are entertaining too limited ideas of the work for this time. . . . You must take broader views.”11 The challenge was astounding, for it had a global application. “The message will go in power to all parts of the world, to Oregon, to Europe, to Aus-


PART 6: 1900–1915

Ellen White’s Vision for the Global Church

Ellen White greatly elaborated on the core biblical idea of the great controversy during her Australia years. The previously penned historical overview of the conflict between good and evil highlighted the reality of the interplay between the two opposing forces, God and Satan. The publications written between 1888 and 1911 directed the reader’s attention to the heart of the matter, namely the significance of one’s spiritual journey with God in a life opposed by the powers of darkness. In her classic book The Desire of Ages (1898), completed in Australia, she penned the following gem. “Everyone needs to have a personal experience in obtaining a knowledge of the will of God. We must individually hear Him speaking to the heart. When every other voice is hushed, and in quietness we wait before Him, the silence of the soul makes more distinct the voice of God.”14

Wh i te

In 1897 she began to focus on another theme, the value of Christian education. Commenting on the content for Ellen White’s coming book Education (1903), Willie White wrote that “more of the plan of redemption has been worked in by drawing from Mother’s published works, such as Patriarchs and Prophets, The Great Controversy, Desire of Ages, Mount of Blessing, and Christ’s Object Lessons.”15 It is evident that Ellen White encapsulated the heart of Christian education and its role in restoring human value, potential, and uniqueness in the vortex of the struggle between the opposing forces. While the forces of evil diminish human life, God’s presence inspires and restores its potential for service and the betterment of society. While “down under,” Ellen White drew the attention of the worldwide church to the importance of shaping a point of reference not in time speculations but in a personal, implicit trust and confidence in Jesus. To her, such faith stems from the trustworthiness of God’s promises in the Bible. Her writings urged the worldwide church to become the extended hands of Jesus. In fact, while in Australia she stimulated the work in the United States through her letters and counsels.

G .

HOME “DOWN UNDER”: Ellen White spent most of her time in Australia living at “Sunnyside,” her home in Cooranbong, not far from Sydney.

E lle n

tralia, to the islands of the sea.”12 A few months after settling in Australia, she was able to say, “I now look back at this matter as part of the Lord’s great plan, for the good of His people here in this country, and for those in America, and for my good.”13 With this view Ellen White was instrumental in setting up a Bible school for missionary work (August 24, 1892), followed by the establishment of the educational institution known today as Avondale College of Higher Education (1897). She inspired an interest in health care and healthful living, encouraging the church to expand the realm of God’s mission. Her visionary impetus gave birth to the Sydney Adventist Hospital and Sanitarium Health Food Company. In her mind all institutions had a part to play in God’s great plan. They were to engage in the harmonious task of expanding His mission to the world and were to be seen as the means to an end.

E st a te

The Elmshaven Years

loss was summed up well by Thomas Russell, a businessman in the village of Cooranbong: “Mrs. E. G. White’s presence in our little village will be sadly missed. The widow and the orphan found in her a helper. She sheltered, clothed, and fed those in need, and where gloom was cast, her presence brought sunshine.”16 n 1 Ellen

G. White manuscript 29, 1891, in Sermons and Talks (Silver Spring, Md.: Ellen G. White Estate, 1990), vol. 1, pp. 155, 156. 2 Ellen G. White manuscript 44, 1891, in Manuscript Releases (Silver Spring, Md.: Ellen G. White Estate, 1990), vol. 18, p. 155. 3 Ellen G. White manuscript 29, 1891, in Sermons and Talks, vol. 1, p. 156. 4 Ellen G. White letter 57, 1891, in Arthur L. White, Ellen G. White: The Australian Years (Washington, D.C.: Review and Herald Pub. Assn., 1983), vol. 4, p. 18. 5 Books written between 1888 and 1911: The Great Controversy (1888); Patriarchs and Prophets (1890); Steps to Christ (1892); Thoughts From the Mount of Blessing (1896); The Desire of Ages (1898); Christ’s Object Lessons (1900); Education (1903); The Ministry of Healing (1905); The Acts of the Apostles (1911); and several Testimonies for the Church volumes. 6 Ellen White letter 21, 1891. (See also A. L. White, Ellen G. White: the Australian Years, vol. 4, p. 22.) 7 Ibid. 8 Ellen G. White Estate Document File 105j: William C. White, “A Comprehensive Vision.” 9 Ellen White manuscript 45, 1891, in A. L. White, Ellen G. White: The Austrailian Years, vol. 4, p. 26. 10 Arthur Patrick, “Ellen White: Mother of the Church in the South Pacific,” Adventist Heritage, Spring, 1993, p. 30. 11 Ellen G. White, Life Sketches of Ellen G. White (Mountain View, Calif.: Pacific Press Pub. Assn., 1915), pp. 208, 209. 12 Ibid. 13 Ellen G. White letter 18a, 1892, in Selected Messages (Washington, D.C.: Review and Herald Pub. Assn., 1958), book 2, p. 234. 14  Ellen G. White, The Desire of Ages (Mountain View, Calif.: Pacific Press Pub. Assn., 1898), p. 363. 15 Arthur L. White, Ellen G. White: The Early Elmshaven Years (Washington, D.C.: Review and Herald Pub. Assn., 1981), p. 181. 16 Thomas Russell, Cooranbong, May 3, 1900. This note was written in an album given to Ellen White on her departure to America in August 1900.

Greatly Missed

Ellen White’s departure in August 1900 left the Australian church in a state of loss. During the nine years of her ministry people felt the kindness of her loving care. The spirit of the

John Skrzypaszek is director of the Ellen G. White Research Center at Avondale College of Higher Education in Australia.

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B I B L E

Q U E S T I O N S

A N S W E R E D

Sex, Seriously Why were sexual offenses punishable by death in the Old Testament?

The question of capital punishment is particularly sensitive in Western cultures, and I understand the apprehension. But your question is about specific cases legislated in the Old Testament. I suggest that we understand the legislation itself, then try to clarify its foundation. 1. Legal Materials: I will deal only with three specific legal cases. The first is adultery (Deut. 22:22), considered throughout the ancient Near East to be a great sin requiring the death penalty for the man and the women. In the Bible it is also considered a serious sin against God, against the spouse, and against society. Through capital punishment people were to “put away [ba’ar, “exterminate, remove”] the evil from Israel” (verse 22). Adultery was not simply a private affair, but one that could potentially damage God’s people, making it necessary to remove it from among them. Could the death penalty be commuted to a lesser penalty or forgiven by the spouse? This was the case in the ancient Near East, and some things indicate that this may have also been the case in Israel. Proverbs implies that the husband could accept financial compensation from the adulterer and save the marriage, or at least the life of both individuals (Prov. 6:32-35; cf. Hosea 3:1-3). Divine forgiveness was also available to sinners (Ps. 51). The second case is the loss of virginity detected after marriage (Deut. 22:20, 21). The husband realizes that the wife, who was expected to be a virgin, was not and feels not only betrayed but deceived by her. She is to be executed because “she has done a disgraceful thing [nebalah, an act that upsets the moral and social orders] in Israel” by being promiscuous (zanah, prostituting herself; lack of moral integrity) (verse 21). This is treated as a case of adultery. The third case is that of a man who had consensual intercourse with a betrothed virgin (verses 23, 24). This is also considered a case of adultery, and capital punishment is the penalty for both. Whether or not in these two cases the sentence could be commuted by the husband is not indicated, although it is possible. 2. Possible Rationale: We have to say several things about this topic. First, these laws were not simply civil mat-

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ters; they revealed the nature and morality of God. Capital punishment indicates the seriousness of sexual morality in the eyes of the Lord. Second, the possibility of commuting the penalty to a lesser one, and divine forgiveness, was always available to repentant sinners. Third, the violation of the sexual laws could adversely impact the social world by ignoring the seriousness of the offense, thus relaxing moral integrity. Such violations were considered mortal wounds to the family and to the social order because they threatened God’s intention for humanity. Fourth, sexual promiscuity damaged the two persons by transforming them into instruments of personal pleasure in the absence of the mutual respect, responsibility, and accountability provided by marriage. Sexual intercourse within marriage unifies a man and a woman in the bonds of divine love; otherwise it shows no respect for others and damages the couple’s self-image. Fifth, sexuality is not our exclusive property. In a sense, it belongs to the human race, and its misuse damages all of us in one way or another. Sixth, virginity is a divine gift to be protected until it finds its goal within the loving parameters of the divine institution of marriage. This goal is not always achieved, but the gift must be preserved in submission to the Lord. These ideas are foreign to our contemporary world. When dealing with questions of sexual morality, we have to ask: Who determines what is morally right and good? Is it the legal system of a secular society, or the permissiveness that characterizes it (“Everyone is doing it!”)? For Christians the answer is clear: God has revealed His will in the Scriptures. When legal systems betray Christian morality, we must obey God. To those who may have wandered away from the divine intention for human sexuality, I will only quote the Scripture: “Go now [forgiven] and leave your life of sin” (John 8:11, NIV). n

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


B I B L E

S T U D Y

Elijah

Mighty Man of Faith By Mark A. Finley D a n i ele

T

his month we begin a new series of Bible studies. We will study the great heroes of faith throughout Scripture. The purpose of these studies is much more than to learn facts about these faithful men and women of God; it is to examine the challenges they faced, explore their reactions to those experiences, and discover the secret of their stalwart faith. We will learn from their successes and failures, their victories and defeats, their mountain peaks and valleys. We begin with Elijah. We are particularly interested in Elijah, because although he lived in a time of apostasy, he remained faithful to God and was translated without seeing death. Those of us preparing for translation at the second coming of Christ can learn vital lessons of faith from this mighty man of God.

1 Read 1 Kings 16:29-33. What was the spiritual condition of Israel during the days of King Ahab and the prophet Elijah? King Ahab reigned for 22 years in Israel. He married Jezebel, a heathen queen. Together they led the people of God into Baal worship and deep apostasy. The biblical record declares that Ahab “did evil in the sight of the Lord, more than all who were before him” (verse 30). What a horrible legacy!

2

What message did God send to Ahab through the prophet Elijah? Read 1 Kings 17:1. What qualities must Elijah have had to deliver such a startling message?

3 How did God provide for Elijah in this time of national famine? Read 1 Kings 17:1-5; 8-14. What does that teach us about God? An old Christian hymn has these words in its refrain: “Trust and obey, for there’s no other way to be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey.” When we trust God implicitly,

d a

V olterr a

and lovingly obey His commands, He takes the responsibility to meet our needs (Phil. 4:19); He keeps His promises. When we place a priority on the things of the kingdom, He promises to provide life’s necessities (Matt. 6:28-33).

4 After three and a half years, what command did God give Elijah? How did Elijah respond to it? Read 1 Kings 18:1-3. 5

What challenge did Elijah give to the prophets of Baal on Mount Carmel? Why do you think he asked them to pray first? Read 1 Kings 18:21-24. Baal worship included idolatry, sun worship, and sexual immorality. It exalted nature above nature’s God. It placed priority on creatures rather than on the Creator. On Mount Carmel, Elijah demonstrated the absolute foolishness of exalting human theories above divine revelation. Humanistic forms of religion have absolutely no power to change lives.

6 Read 1 Kings 18:38, 39, 44, 45. How did God respond to Elijah’s faithfulness? Faithfulness to God, and trust in His promises, prepare us to receive His blessings in abundance.

7 Read James 5:17. How is Elijah described in the New Testament book of James? How is he an example for us? Elijah was “a man with a nature like ours.” He had challenges and character deficiencies like any other human being. But through faith in the promises of God, and trust in His power, Elijah became a mighty man of faith. In the life of Elijah we learn lessons of trust, obedience, and total commitment. Next month we will study more about Elijah, who was ultimately translated without seeing death. n October 2015 | Adventist World - nad

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IDEA EXCHANGE Prayers are answered, sometimes with surprising speed. —Ernie Schultz, Edmond, Oklahoma, United States spreading of the three angels’ messages if we all get involved. Please, let’s pray for the full outpouring of the Holy Spirit. Once received, we can love and be loved. (Isaac) B. K. Aidoo Accra, Ghana

Letters “It’s a Very Humbling Experience”

Thank you for publishing Bill Knott’s interview with the newly reelected General Conference president (see “It’s a Very Humbling Experience,” September 2015). And thank you, Pastor Wilson, for reminding us of this statement found in Ellen G. White’s Testimonies for the Church: “The work of God in this earth can never be finished until the men and women comprising our church membership rally to the work and unite their efforts with those of ministers and church officers” (vol. 9, p. 117). Alexander Becker France I appreciate the thoughts of our world church president concerning the true humiliation to our Maker and the

Prayerw

Amazing Growth

On July 20, 2015, I mailed a letter to Adventist World, commenting on the huge difference between per capita Adventist membership in Africa and the United States, and suggesting a story about it. Fifteen days later I found just such a story, Pardon K. Mwansa’s “Amazing Growth,” in the August edition! Obviously the article was being prepared long before my letter arrived, but it does prove that prayers are answered, sometimes with surprising speed. Ernie Schultz E dmond, Oklahoma, United States

His All—for Jesus

I am writing in regard to Dyhann BuddooFletcher’s article “Jamaican Gives Up His Dreadlocks—His All—for Jesus” (August. 2015). The key to the story is that this Jamaican man believes so strongly in the message he learned from the Bible that he was willing to give up his ties to his old life. It seems to me that he wanted there to be no doubt about his desire to follow Jesus in baptism, and no question about his loyalties. So he made a visible, public change. Faith and courage like that encourages me! Anne Oyerly B errien Springs, Michigan, United States

Angels at Work in South Africa

Thank you for the fine job of condensing my article, “Angels at Work in South

PRAISE

Please pray for my family to have a financial breakthrough, forget the past, and prepare for tomorrow. We also need heavenly protection. Kipkosgei, Kenya

Please pray for our small group who, despite the difficult terrain, work to communicate the Adventist message in our community. Also, I would like to get married. Perfect, Ivory Coast

I am deeply disappointed; I have made some requests to God but have not yet received an answer. Please pray that God answers soon. E.S.A., Brazil Please pray for my mother to keep her job. Carolina, Colombia

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Africa” (April 2015). I was a bit disappointed that space did not permit printing the picture of my nephew, David Otis and his family on a mission trip to South Africa in 2012, thus culminating the circle of angelic influence begun in the 1800s. A small correction, also: My genealogical records show that my grandfather, David Fletcher Tarr, was the eleventh of 15 children born to James and Hannah (Brent) Tarr, as mentioned in my submitted article, not the 12th of 16 children as printed. Elaine Tarr Dodd Collegedale, Tennessee, United States Thank You

I am a Seventh-day Adventist Christian living in a remote village in the Rift Valley, Kenya. I was so inspired and touched when reading Adventist World to the extent that I would like to receive it by mail, to unite with my fellow Adventists in belief, mission, life, and hope. Thank you and may God bless you. Lel Richard Kenya Adventist World is produced by the Seventh-day Adventist Church and distributed to members free of charge. Contact your local church conference or division about receiving Adventist World in your church. We are also on the Internet at www.adventistworld.org, in several languages, including English. —Editors. 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.

Please pray for my health, and that I find a job and a suitable marriage partner. Karen, United Kingdom Please pray for Rachel, who is struggling with where to go to school and is living in her car. Judy, United States

FoodVersus Supplements People who market nutritional supplements are often selling shortcuts. They want us to believe that supplements are easier and more convenient than just eating nutritionally. Here are some simple foods that make expensive nutritional supplements unnecessary. Besides, vegetables are tastier and more satisfying than pills. The isothiocyanates and sulforaphane in broccoli serve as antioxidants and help fight cancer. The nitrate in beets helps improve blood flow and circulation. Oligosaccharides in beans improve digestive health with lots of fiber. P H O T O s : J e a n S che i je n / s a n j a gje n ero

A 30-Second Jesus, beloved Shepherd, consider us. Grant that we my be one body in You.

Prayer

May strife and malice be far from us, and may nothing hinder our fellowship. We are rescued by one, and only one, Savior. Unite us in holy, strong love, and let us look on one another’s faults with sympathy. —Maria Aparecida Araujo, São Paulo, Brazil

I am requesting prayer for my family: my wife and I lost our jobs, my daughter needs funds to start high school, and we have a 7-month-old son. Please pray that God will open doors for us to get jobs so we can provide for our little family. Fredrick, Kenya

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.

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IDEA EXCHANGE “Behold, I come quickly…”

89Years Ago On October 2, 1926, the first authorized Sabbath school in Madagascar was held in the home of Marius Raspal. Interest in the Seventh-day Adventist faith sprang up in Madagascar in 1917, when André Rasamoelina, an inspector of Protestant schools, met a young man named Tuyau, who had attended several Adventist meetings in Mauritius. His interest aroused, Rasamoelina wrote to Paul Badaut, pioneer Adventist missionary on Mauritius, whose address Tuyau had given him. Badaut sent Rasamoelina’s name and address on to the General Conference. In December 1918 J. L. Shaw sent Rasamoelina some literature. In 1919, after a further exchange of letters, the Home Missionary Department sent Rasamoelina some literature that included a copy of Ellen White’s book Steps to Christ. Rasamoelina translated the book into Malagasy in his spare time. During July 1922 Raspal, an Adventist missionary on Mauritius, spent 10 days with Rasamoelina, giving him Bible studies. The General Conference provided US$800 toward the publication of Rasamoelina’s translation of Steps to Christ.

Rx Health

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

Publisher The Adventist World, an international periodical of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. The General Conference, Northern Asia-Pacific Division of Seventh-day Adventists®, is the publisher. Executive Publisher and Editor in Chief Bill Knott Associate Publisher Claude Richli International Publishing Manager Chun, Pyung Duk Adventist Review Ministries Board Ted N. C. Wilson, chair; Guillermo Biaggi, vice chair; Bill Knott, secretary; Lisa Beardsley-Hardy; Williams Costa; Dan 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 Adventist World Coordinating Committee Jairyong Lee, chair; Yutaka Inada, German Lust, Pyung Duk Chun, Suk Hee Han, Gui Mo Sung Editors based in Silver Spring, Maryland Lael Caesar, Gerald A. Klingbeil (associate editors), Sandra Blackmer, Stephen Chavez, Wilona Karimabadi, Kimberly Luste Maran, Andrew McChesney Editors based in Seoul, Korea Pyung Duk Chun, Jae Man Park, Hyo Jun Kim Online Editor Carlos Medley Operations Manager Merle Poirier Editors-at-large Mark A. Finley, John M. Fowler Senior Advisor E. Edward Zinke Financial Manager Kimberly Brown Editorial Assistant Marvene Thorpe-Baptiste Management Board Jairyong Lee, chair; Bill Knott, secretary; P. D. Chun, Karnik Doukmetzian, Suk Hee Han, Kenneth Osborn, Juan Prestol, Claude Richli, Akeri Suzuki, Ex-officio: Robert Lemon, G. T. Ng, Ted N. C. Wilson Art Direction and Design Jeff Dever, Brett Meliti Consultants Ted N. C. Wilson, Juan Prestol-Puesán, G. T. Ng, Leonardo R. Asoy, 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, Geoffrey G. Mbwana, Paul S. Ratsara, Blasious M. Ruguri, 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. Adventist World is published monthly and printed simultaneously in Korea, Brazil, Indonesia, Australia, Germany, Austria, Argentina, Mexico, and the United States. Vol. 11, No. 10


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