A D V E N T I S T YOUTH AND ADULT
THE BITTER BROTHER
| I’VE HEARD HIS CALL pg 26
O N T E N T S
On the Cover: Nicola English, a student at the Adventist university in Trinidad, held evangelistic meetings in Barbados that added more than 100 new believers to the church.
TRINIDAD 4 The Brotherhood | April 5 6 The Young Evangelist | April 12 8 Mysterious Television Truth | April 19
MEXICO 10 Persecuted and Victorious | April 26 12 The Bitter Brother | May 3 14 No Longer Lonely | May 10 16 Getting Along Fine | May 17 18 Out of the Devil’s Hands | May 24 20 To Honor and Glorify God | May 31
THE CARIBBEAN 22 In the Footsteps of Pioneers | June 7 24 Determined | June 14 26 I’ve Heard His Call | June 21
RESOURCES 28 Thirteenth Sabbath Program | June 28 day
= stories of special interest to teens
32 Map and Projects
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ing, MD 20904 er Spr org o issi n. istM
g h ts r e s e r v e d .
Dear Sabbath School Leader,
Inter-American Division The Inter-American Division is the church’s largest division with about 3 million members. The division stretches south from the southern border of the United States to include the northernmost countries of South America. It includes Central America, the northernmost countries of South America, and the islands of the Caribbean. The church in Inter-America is vibrant and serious about evangelism. The wellestablished tradition of lay leadership allows congregations to grow and thrive without the constant presence of pastors, who may have six or eight churches. Lay members lead the church, give Bible studies, and hold evangelistic services. The success of this method of church growth shows in the Adventist-per-population figures. The world church averages one Adventist for every 444 people (but many areas have a ratio of one Adventist for every 1,000 or even 10,000 people). The InterAmerican Division averages one Adventist for every 95 people. The Caribbean Union averages one Adventist for every 18 people, and the Inter-Oceanic Mexican Union
OPPORTUNITIES This quarter’s Thirteenth Sabbath Offering will help build worship halls at the University of the Southern Caribbean in Trinidad; build churches for existing congregations in central Mexico; upgrade campgrounds for lay evangelism training.
Mission estimates one Adventist for every 205 people. However, believers there do not consider the work done. They focus on those not yet reached. With this attitude of evangelism, this division will continue to grow in size and strength.
Challenges Evangelism is not without its challenges, however. Some regions of Mexico are still resistant to the gospel. Mexico City and its surrounding regions average one Adventist for every 1,000 people. The church tends to grow fastest among the poorer people who have little hope for a better life on this earth. But these people can least afford to build a house of worship. For this reason, part of this quarter’s Thirteenth Sabbath Offering will help construct 28 churches in the InterOceanic Mexican Union Mission. Maintaining a vibrant church means training lay leaders to teach others how to work for God. The Inter-Oceanic Mexican Union Mission has mounted an effort to upgrade its campgrounds to accommodate large lay training seminars. Part of this quarter’s Thirteenth Sabbath Offering will help facilitate this upgrade. Trinidad is home to the University of the Southern Caribbean (formerly Caribbean Union College). Since it became a university in 2006 its enrollment has doubled, putting stress on the school. Without a church on campus, students and staff must worship in the gymnasium. In order to offer a greater variety of worship opportunities for its student body, the university has asked that the Thirteenth Sabbath Offering help build worship halls in two new dormitory facilities under construction. As we listen to testimonies of God’s working in the lives of Adventist believers in Mexico and the Caribbean, let’s pray for the believers and the work in this great division.
Welcome to a new quarter and a new division on which to focus our attention and our prayers.
T R I N I D A D
THE BROTHERHOOD April 5 | Told to Mission by Atiba Henry and members of the Brotherhood
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Ask three young men to present this first-person report.
Atiba: I am Atiba. I live in Trinidad. Growing up I was playful and wild and prone to broken bones. My poor mother worried that I would not survive my childhood. She wished I would settle down and choose safer activities. When I was 17, my cousins invited me to attend the Adventist church with them. I went and there I met some young men who caught my attention. They were different—friendly, helpful, and completely dedicated to God. I admired them. They called themselves the Brotherhood. They were purposeful about where they were going in life. They encouraged younger children to think about what God wanted to do in their lives. Watching these guys, I realized that I needed to be more serious about life. I wanted to be like the members of the Brotherhood. Ian: I am Ian, Atiba’s cousin, and a member of the Brotherhood. We are a group of teens and young adult males who have joined together to help our friends find real meaning in life through Christ.
I first came to church as a younger teen through a sports program. I went to youth camps and eventually started attending church. I saw a lot of myself in Atiba and wanted to help him make the right choices in life. Atiba: I respected these guys and listened to their advice. I wanted to learn from them. When I finished high school, however, I decided to join the military. I didn’t ask anyone for advice, which was a mistake. Because I often had to work on Sabbaths, church attendance was irregular. I started slacking off, and sometimes I didn’t go even when I had the day off. One day Ian told me that the church members missed me. Other Brotherhood members also visited me. I realized that I wasn’t taking my religion seriously. They invited me to take part in other activities—sports, evangelistic meetings, social outings, and ministries—so I wouldn’t lose touch with the church. I missed being a part of the church family. I missed the spiritual food and
Watching these guys, I realized that I needed to be more serious about life. I wanted to be like the members of the Brotherhood. Atiba: Then one Sabbath my cousin asked me to take him home from church. I did, and after I left the house, I was involved in a serious car crash. I woke up in the hospital three days later. I had several broken bones, including a fractured skull. My jaw was wired shut, and I could open only one eye. Doctors had not been sure whether I would survive, but I guess God had other plans. After several surgeries and three weeks in the hospital, I went home. Kirt: When the Brotherhood met that Sabbath afternoon, Ian was missing.
FAST FACTS The island of Trinidad lies within a few miles of the South American coastline. Roughly half of the 1.25 million people in Trinidad are of African descent; the other half is East Indian. Some 52,600 Adventists worship in 116 churches. This figure represents one Adventist for every 24 people. Adventists are the largest Protestant denomination on the island.
Atiba: When I went home, I still could not walk or talk because of my broken bones. I often wondered, Why me? I had plenty of time to think about where I was going in life, what I wanted to do with my life, and what part God would have in my life. I felt sorry for myself because of all the bad things that had happened to me. But members of the Brotherhood visited me often and encouraged me to trust God, read the Bible, and pray. I had plenty of time to do that, and I couldn’t do much else. As I prayed and studied God’s Word, I realized that I needed to put God first in my life, no matter what happened. As soon as I could get around on crutches, I went back to church. I’m reading my Bible and praying wherever I am—in bed, in the car, and on the streets. Life is precious; we never know what lies ahead, and we need to be serious about our relationship with God. I joined Pathfinders and am working to become a Master Guide. I’m part of the Brotherhood now, and I’m mentoring younger boys as I was mentored. I see that what I do influences them, whether it’s for good or bad. I want to be that positive influence the Brotherhood was to me. I tell them how I lived my life on the edge—and fell. They listen and are coming to church, making God the center of their lives. God changed my life, but the Brotherhood played a strong part. They are my mentors, my friends, my brothers in Christ. God is good—all the time. à
Kirt: Whenever we saw Atiba, we encouraged him. We knew his choice to join the military meant he couldn’t attend church regularly, but we wanted to be sure that he didn’t lose touch with God.
Then we learned that Atiba had been in a serious accident. The planning meeting turned into a prayer meeting for Atiba. We prayed that day and every day until he was out of danger.
the outreach. But I had to work many Sabbaths. I began to wish I hadn’t joined the military.
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T HE YOUNG EVANGELIST April 12 | Told to Mission by Nicola English
Ask a young woman or teen girl to present this first-person report.
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grew up in Guyana. When I was 13 my cousins invited me to attend some programs at the Adventist church. I liked it and started going to Sabbath services. My Sabbath School class included me in their activities, even though I wasn’t a church member, and that made me feel good. My mother didn’t care that I went to the Adventist church—until I wanted to join the church. She refused to allow me to join this “odd” church. When I told her that I could choose church or disco clubs, she stopped arguing and allowed me to join the church. When my family moved to the island of Barbados, I stayed in Guyana to finish high school. When I visited my family, I invited them to attend church with me. They began going with me, and two years later eight members of my family joined the church. My dad said he joined because of my influence. I was thrilled to know that my testimony and lifestyle had made a difference in their lives. My parents were proud of me, for I was the first in the family to finish high school. But when I told them that I wanted to study theology at the Adventist university in Trinidad, my mother thought I was crazy. “Why
theology?” she asked. I explained that I loved evangelism and wanted to minister to people, not as a pastor, but as a missionary. This touched my parents, and they allowed me to enroll.
“I’m not going to preach tonight,” she told the pastors. “I’m going to let God preach.” The results surprised even the experts. Teen Evangelist Then in the middle of my second year of study, the church in Barbados asked me to come to Barbados and hold a two-week evangelistic series. I would miss important classes, but I felt impressed to go. I flew to Barbados, and three days later, on Sabbath, I started preaching. I preached every night for eight days. During the day, I prayed with people and reviewed that night’s sermon. It was hectic, but I loved it. I realized that when we preach about how much Jesus loves us and how much He has done for us, people just fall in love with Him. Doctrines come easily when people see God’s love and His incredible sacrifices for us. But I had difficult times, too. One
FAST FACTS University of the Southern Caribbean is an Adventist-owned school formerly known as Caribbean Union College. Once it attained university status in 2006, enrollment doubled. Slightly more than half the students on campus are Adventists. The rest are Protestant, Catholic, Hindu, Muslim, and non-religious. During the 2006 Week of Prayer, some 200 students from non-Adventist backgrounds were baptized. The chapels to be built with the new dormitories on campus will allow for a wider range of religious services, including worship styles and language-specific worship services. The chapels will give ministerial students additional opportunities to improve their pastoral skills.
Down From the Mountaintop I was having a mountaintop experience during the meetings in Barbados. But when I returned to school, the devil was waiting to hit me hard. I had so much schoolwork to make up. One night as I finished a 10-page paper, the computer crashed and I lost my work. It was gone, and I had no choice but to redo the paper, which was due the next day. I was upset that God hadn’t protected this paper. But as I fretted, I heard God’s voice saying, “I’m right here.” I rewrote the paper in a couple hours and received a high grade on it. God really was right there with me. Caribbean Union College became the University of the Southern Caribbean in 2006. Since then the school’s enrollment has doubled, stretching facilities to the maximum. Dormitories are overflowing, and it’s difficult to study in these conditions. But we manage. The university has begun the construction of two new dormitories that we really need, and this quarter’s Thirteenth Sabbath Offering will provide worship halls in the new dormitories. Thank you for caring for us students at the Adventist university in Trinidad. à
preaching it through me! Throughout the series I claimed the promise “ ‘Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,’ says the Lord Almighty” (Zech. 4:6, NIV). It wasn’t about me. I was only God’s representative. And as a result of these meetings I have become more aware of how I dress and what I say. I want to live for God so everyone will see Jesus in me. God showed me that it’s not about me; it’s about Him. It’s humbling to know that God used me to lead people to Jesus. So far more than 100 people have been baptized from the meetings, and others are still coming.
evening before the meeting began, I felt overwhelmed by the responsibility God had placed on me. I sat in the car and cried. I couldn’t do it. Then I heard God say, “This is not about you, Nicola. You just stand on that platform and let Me speak through you.” That knowledge gave me the courage to go inside and face the people. In the pastor’s room I told the ministers, “I’m not going to preach tonight.” Shocked silence filled the room for a moment as the pastors wondered what had happened. Then I said, “I’m not going to preach tonight or any other night. God is going to preach.” We all relaxed. That evening as I stood on the stage and listened to my voice saying the words, I knew that God was speaking, not me. It was one of the best sermons I have ever heard—and God was
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MYSTERIOUS TELEVISION TRUTH April 19 | Mandela Hector lives in Trinidad.
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andela Hector is a young man living in Trinidad. He had no special interest in religion and knew nothing about Adventists. But God used a surprising means to get his attention. Mandela had attended several churches while growing up, but he had never committed his life to God. When his cousin invited him to attend a charismatic church, Mandela agreed. Mandela realized that he wanted God to be part of his life. He bought a Bible and began reading it. Questions arose in his mind as he read, and he asked his cousin’s pastor for answers. But when the pastor’s responses did not satisfy him, he searched elsewhere for answers.
Televised Truth Mandela found a television station that broadcast religious programming and began watching it. One preacher preached about prophecy, and this caught Mandela’s interest. Mandela had read Revelation but didn’t understand it. He listened carefully and was impressed that every word was backed up with Bible texts. Mandela was hooked. This unknown station became his only television station. Several preachers spoke, and they made
the Scriptures so clear. Mandela took notes and copied Bible texts to read when the program ended. Then one evening the television speaker spoke about the Sabbath. He read from the Ten Commandments the verses that apply to the Sabbath and explained that Jesus kept the Sabbath while He lived on the earth. Then he explained how the Sabbath was changed to Sunday several centuries after Jesus suffered and died. Mandela was impressed and told his boss he would not work on Saturdays. He knew of no Sabbathkeeping church, so he rested at home and worshipped in his cousin’s church on Sunday. Mandela told his friends and coworkers about the television channel he was watching, but they had never seen it and could not find it on their televisions. Only later did he learn that he was receiving this station through his neighbor’s satellite dish!
A Name at Last When he learned that the station was affiliated with the Seventh-day Adventist Church, he went in search of a church. He asked the woman who had sold him his Bible. Although she wasn’t an Adventist,
A New Calling Mandela was no longer satisfied being a carpenter. He wanted to share what he had learned with others. But how could he do this? Someone introduced him to the Adventist Book Center, where Mandela was surprised and pleased to find so many books and magazines explaining the Bible. He bought several books and began reading them. Then he met the conference publishing director. As they talked, Mandela saw a banner behind the man’s desk that asked, “Do you want to become a literature evangelist?” Mandela asked what a
literature evangelist was, and the man explained. Mandela realized he had found his calling. He signed up that day to begin training to become a literature evangelist. When Mandela told his boss he was quitting, the man asked, “How will you support yourself?” Mandela told him that he was doing God’s work and would trust God to provide for him. He set out to share his beloved books with others. To his surprise, not everyone wanted the books. But God strengthened his faith. He met people who had dreamed that God would send someone with a book or magazine to answer their questions just before Mandela arrived. These testimonies assured him that he was where God wanted him. “This is truly God’s ordained work,” Mandela says. “God has shown me that some people are eager to have these books, and I want to find them. “When I think of how God led me to His truth, I’m amazed that He could care so much for one person. I want to share that with others.” Our mission offerings bring God’s Word to people in many different forms. Mandela and millions of others say thank you for sharing God’s truths with them. à
FAST FACTS The islands that make up Trinidad and Tobago lie near the South American coastline. Some 52,600 Adventists worship in Trinidad, making the Seventhday Adventist Church the largest Protestant denomination in the country with one Adventist for every 24 people.
she directed him to the church. On Friday Mandela told his boss that he would not work the next day. Then he left to find the Adventist church. He saw a young woman opening the church and asked her when services were held. She told him and invited him to come. The next morning Mandela got up early, excited to celebrate the Sabbath in God’s house with other believers. He felt at home, even though he knew no one in the church. One of the church elders invited Mandela home for lunch and asked him what had brought him to the church. Mandela told him about the television programs he had seen, and the man was amazed. That is when Mandela realized that the television station that had taught him so much was not generally available in Trinidad at that time. God had led him to the one small area of the country where he could watch the Adventist television station and learn the truths of God. Mandela quickly made friends in the church and cemented his relationship with Christ. He knew the fundamental doctrines of faith and was baptized a few months later.
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PURSECUTED AND VICTORIOUS April 26 | Augustin Cruz is a farmer and lay worker in northern Oaxaca State, Mexico.
Ask a man to present this first-person report.
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ang them! Hang the heretics!” the angry mob shouted. I looked at the mob—my neighbors and friends. How could they do this? I wondered as rough hands shoved me toward the makeshift gallows. My neighbor stumbled toward me. Someone slipped nooses over our heads, and another shouted, “Now will you repent and return to the church in the village?” “No!” I said, and the noose was drawn about my neck. I prayed for my wife who was waiting alone at home, for my neighbor who stood next to me, and for the others who had listened to my testimony and wanted to follow Jesus.
Journey of Faith My journey of faith began months earlier on a bus in southern Mexico. The man sitting next to me talked about God and the Bible. He saw my interest and urged me to buy a Bible and read it for myself. So I did. By the time I returned to my village, I was eager to share my growing faith with others. The man on the bus had invited me
to visit his church, which worshipped on Sabado [SAH-bah-doh], not Sunday. So on Sabado, my wife and I walked two hours to the next village to visit this church. We liked it and decided to return the next week. Before we left, the church members gave me eight Bibles to share. That week I gave out the Bibles and told my friends that God was doing amazing things in my life. I invited them to read the Bible with me. The next Sabado two families—14 adults and children—walked to the Adventist
FAST FACTS The church in Oaxaca State, Mexico, is growing rapidly. One out of every 24 people is a Seventh-day Adventist. Persecution is not uncommon in parts of southern Mexico. In the state of Chiapas, to the east of Oaxaca, hundreds of Seventh-day Adventists have had to flee their homes because they refused to give up their faith. Some have even been martyred.
Escape by Night As I hurried home I noticed some villagers followed me with machetes. They planned to kill me. I ducked behind some tall bushes and ran home, where the two lay leaders waited. “Come and live in our town while we work something out with the village leaders,” they urged. We gathered some
I prayed for my family and the new believers as the nooses were tightened.
God’s Hand Rules At last the authorities reached an agreement with our village leaders. We returned home free to worship and share our faith with others. We began visiting our neighbors and families, and soon our group grew far too big to fit into our small house. The village authorities gave us land on which to build a church, and the conference helped us buy cement blocks. We continued sharing our faith, and when the church was completed we had 80 members. We continued sharing our faith, and three years later the church had grown to 200 members. And today, in a region of about 2,000 people, the church has more than 300 members and as many as 900 who attend Sabbath School. Praise God for turning a hanging into a huge praise service for His love and mercy. He is always with us, and we can do anything through Christ, who gives us the strength. Part of our Thirteenth Sabbath Offering this quarter will help build churches in central Mexico. à
Trouble in the Village The village leaders heard about the Bible study group that met at my home, and they did not like it. They accused us of making trouble in the village. We went to the village leaders and explained what we were doing, but the leaders refused to stop the threats. The mayor called a meeting of the entire village the next day. We arrived to find an angry mob. “Arrest them!” they shouted. The lay workers were chased from town, and two of us were told they would hang us unless we renounced our faith. We refused, and they tied nooses around us. I prayed for my family and the new believers as the nooses were tightened. Suddenly the villagers cut the ropes that held us. They let my friend go, but they beat me and ordered me to pray to a saint. I refused, and someone beat me. Then the mob took me to the village authorities, who questioned me again. I refused to deny Christ, and eventually they let me go.
clothes, rounded up our animals, and slipped away to the neighboring village. We were welcomed in that village where almost half the people are Adventists. The villagers gave us a house to share while we waited for church leaders to work out a solution with our village leaders. At night we sneaked back home to harvest our crops so we would have food. We attended church several times a week and learned so much about God and the Bible. Soon my wife and I were baptized.
church in the next village. A church lay leader offered to come to my house and study the Bible with us so we didn’t have to walk so far. We gladly agreed, for it meant more people could hear this wonderful message! I invited everyone to come to my home and worship. Quickly the group grew to 15 people. My house was full!
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THE BITTER BROTHER May 3 | Told to Mission by Pedro, Miguel, and Tomas Jimenez
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edro stomped into his house. His face was filled with anger and hatred. “If I ever see Miguel again, I’ll kill him!” he muttered. He picked up a shotgun and checked to be sure it was loaded. Then he held it to his shoulder and sighted down the barrel. His wife trembled as she watched him. “Pedro, please don’t hurt anyone,” she begged. Pedro ignored her and set the gun carefully into the closet.
Years of Anger, Years of Grief Pedro and Miguel are brothers. They live near one another on a lake in southeastern Mexico where they work as fishers. Pedro and Miguel had once been close. But Miguel had betrayed Pedro, and Pedro swore revenge. Then a week later Pedro heard a voice saying that what he planned to do was not right. Pedro unloaded the shotgun, but he refused to forgive his brother for what he had done. For more than two years Pedro harbored hatred toward Miguel and warned him to stay away from him. Miguel knew that Pedro would kill him if he had a chance. The Mediator Tomas [toh-MAHS] is older than Pedro
and Miguel. Both brothers respected him. Several years earlier Tomas had become a Seventh-day Adventist believer. He prayed every day that God would help him find a way to reconcile his two angry brothers and avoid bloodshed. Two years after the feud began Tomas invited Miguel to attend evangelistic meetings that the church was holding. By this time Miguel had married, and Miguel was searching for peace in his life. He and his wife, Lucila, attended the meetings. The couple was drawn to Jesus, and the pastor visited Miguel and Lucila and encouraged them to give their hearts to God. It was apparent that they wanted to change their lives, but Miguel fidgeted throughout the visit. Finally he said, “I want to be baptized, but I have a problem with my brother.” The pastor saw tears in Miguel’s eyes and asked how he could help. Miguel explained that he had wronged his brother, and that Pedro was still angry and still wanted to kill him. The pastor offered to talk to Pedro. The pastor took Tomas with him to visit Pedro. “If this is about Miguel, forget it,” Pedro said. But because Pedro respected his elder brother, he listened to the pastor. The pastor invited Pedro to attend the evangelistic meetings. Pedro
A Dream and a Desire After Tomas and the pastor left, Pedro’s anger boiled. He wanted to get drunk, but he could not drink. He tried to eat, but he had no appetite. His anger ate at him. Frustrated, he stomped to his bedroom, and there he fell down and prayed, “God, forgive me! This hatred toward Miguel is hurting me and my family. Please change my life and my heart.” That night he tossed and turned for hours before he finally fell asleep. He dreamed that he and Tomas were in their boat fishing when suddenly thunder rumbled and the heavens parted. Lightning struck the earth, and angels flew down through the torn sky. Then he heard a voice saying, “If you had forgiven Miguel, God could have forgiven you.” Pedro felt utterly lost. Then a man in white robes told Pedro, “Jesus is coming soon. Go and ask forgiveness.” Pedro awoke crying. He knew that God wanted him to forgive his brother. But could he do it? The next day Pedro told his wife they would attend the evangelistic meeting that night. When they arrived Pedro saw Miguel and his wife sitting across the room. When the pastor invited those who wanted to give their lives to God to step forward, both couples walked to the front.
For more than two years Pedro harbored hatred toward Miguel and warned him to stay away from him.
After the meeting, the pastor met with the brothers. “Pedro, Miguel longs to ask you for forgiveness. Miguel, here is Pedro. Before God can forgive you, you two must forgive each other.” Miguel asked Pedro for forgiveness for hurting him. Pedro nodded and then he asked Miguel to forgive him for hating him. The brothers fell into each other’s arms, sobbing. The brothers called a fiesta to celebrate their reconciliation. The two brothers and their wives were baptized together. The enemies are once again brothers—brothers in blood and brothers in Christ. The brothers and their wives now share a small-group ministry in their community and are studying the Bible with 12 families. This quarter part of the Thirteenth Sabbath Offering will help build churches for existing congregations in central and southern Mexico. Thank you for holding up the hands of believers in the InterOceanic Mexican Union Mission. à
FAST FACTS The Inter-Oceanic Mexican Union Mission extends from just north of (but not including) Mexico City to the isthmus, the narrowest portion, of Mexico. It also includes a small section of the state of Tabasco in the south. Within this union an average of one person out of every 205 is a Seventh-day Adventist. But within the union the ratio varies extensively. Oaxaca [whah-HAHkah] has one Adventist for every 24 people, while another area has one Adventist for every 994 people.
refused to go or allow his wife, Ernestina, to go. Tomas begged Pedro to forgive his brother. “No, never!” Pedro spat. “May we pray?” the pastor asked. Pedro nodded. But as the pastor asked God to give Pedro a forgiving heart, Pedro vowed that he would not forgive his brother.
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NO LONGER L ONELY May 10 | Carlos Alberto Casillas lives in Veracruz, Mexico.
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lberto’s life has been difficult and lonely. As an only child in a family that didn’t communicate well, he often felt isolated and alone. When he refused the drugs his classmates offered him, he was further isolated. It would have been easy to slip into drug use, but Alberto knew that drugs could not solve his problems. And he realized that if he didn’t respect himself, no one else would respect him either. He was right, but he was lonely. When Alberto was 15 his father left home. Emotionally Alberto was crushed, but his mother could not help him, for she was dealing with her own grief and struggling to provide for Alberto and his grandmother. Mother worked as a nurse for a family with a severely brain-injured son. Often Alberto stopped by the house after school to wait for his mother to finish work so they could walk home together. The family talked to him about God. They told Alberto that God is love, and Alberto listened as eagerly as a thirsty soul listens for the sound of water. Alberto wanted to know more about God, wanted to know whether God really cared for a lost and lonely boy. The family invited Alberto to visit their church, and
he went. But he was uncomfortable there among people who did strange things as part of their worship. Then someone at the church told him that if he didn’t speak in tongues, he didn’t know God and he would go to hell. This frightened Alberto, who decided that his life was too chaotic to deal with a chaotic religion. He would wait until he was older and could understand better. But still, he yearned to know God. He wanted someone he could talk to, someone he could lean on, someone he could trust.
FAST FACTS Of the 107 million people living in Mexico, more than 431,000 are Seventh-day Adventists. This is a ratio of one Adventist for every 250 people. Veracruz, where Alberto lives, lies along the Gulf of Mexico. While the area is a popular tourist destination, many who live there are poor and cannot afford to own a home. Building a church is beyond their reach. Part of this quarter’s Thirteenth Sabbath Offering will help build one church in Veracruz State.
A Family United The family’s home life was not peaceful; Alberto’s mother and grandmother often fought. One day Mother told Alberto that she yearned for peace in her life. He told her that he had found peace worshipping God with fellow believers and suggested that they worship together on Sabbath. She agreed. A few weeks later they attended evangelistic meetings together. During one meeting Mother started crying. She whispered that she felt that no one loved her. Alberto told her that God loved her, and at the end of that meeting his mother asked Jesus into her heart. To Alberto’s surprise, his grandmother began studying the Bible. Within a few days she stopped fighting about religion and began attending the Adventist worship. She asked Jesus into her heart, and Alberto, his mother, and his grandmother were baptized. “I am no longer lonely,” Alberto testifies. “Our family is at peace and united in our faith in God.” Alberto’s church has just 26 members, but it’s growing. They have outgrown the home in which they met, but they have no church. They meet under a tarp in the yard of Alberto’s home. They pray that the Thirteenth Sabbath Offering this quarter will help them buy land on which to build a church where they can continue to grow. “I thank God for giving me a chance to meet Him while I am young,” Alberto says. “I want others to have the peace I have found. Thank you for caring enough to give your mission offerings to help me find Christ.” à
Sabbaths. Alberto attended church only when his mother didn’t cook on Saturdays.
Answer to Prayer Then an Adventist family visited Alberto’s family. They lived nearby and invited Alberto and his mother and grandmother to attend some meetings in their home. Alberto and his mother went to the first meeting, but Mother was still too stressed about losing her husband and supporting the family to continue attending. Alberto continued attending the meetings, but some things confused him. The people studied the book of Revelation, a book he had never read. They talked about the importance of keeping the Ten Commandments, but Alberto remembered that the other church said the Ten Commandments had been done away with. Why are these two churches so different? Alberto wondered. Which one is right? He continued attending the meetings, searching for something—or Someone—he could trust to help him find his way. Then Alberto met Jorge [HOR-heh, or George], a young man Alberto felt he could relate to. Jorge offered to study the Bible with him, and Alberto agreed. Maybe Jorge could help him find out who God is and what He wants. Mother joined Alberto and Jorge for Bible studies, but Grandmother refused to join them and sat in her room when Jorge visited. Alberto accepted each new truth. But his mother worked on Sabbath and found it difficult to believe that God would want her to quit the job that fed the family. Alberto began attending the worship services in the neighbor’s house. He found peace and calm assurance that fed his soul. But his mother cooked and sold food on Saturdays, and she needed Alberto to deliver the food. Reluctantly Alberto obeyed his mother and delivered food on
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G ETTING A LONG FINE May 17 | Francisco Gamboa, 19, is from Veracruz State, Mexico.
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rancisco was worried. His mother had enrolled him in a new school, and he couldn’t help but wonder whether the children there would accept him. He had good reason to wonder, for in his previous school the children had teased him and laughed at him because he walked with crutches.
New Challenge, Big Surprise Francisco was born prematurely and cannot walk without crutches. But he is bright and was eager to start school. His mother, however, feared that school would put too much pressure on him, that the children would not accept him. So she held him back until he was 8 years old. Her worries proved well founded. “The children in my class teased me and laughed at me because I could not run and play with them,” Francisco says. “I tried to make friends, but it was hard. So when I was ready to enter the seventh grade, my mother decided to enroll me in a private school.” But Francisco’s mother wasn’t sure how to find a school that would accept her son and nurture his bright mind. A neighbor suggested that she check out the Adventist school in town. She did, and she was pleased to find the teachers cared
about her son’s special needs and were eager to challenge him in his studies. She enrolled him. But she wondered whether he really would be accepted. “I was nervous about starting this new school,” Francisco admits. “Would my classmates accept me? Would they tease me as the other children had? I was hardly prepared for that first day in class. My new classmates at the Adventist school made me feel that they were glad I was there. Wow, what a difference!”
Discovering a God Who Cares Francisco knew nothing about what Adventists believe when he enrolled in the school. But he liked the values that the school taught. He enjoyed Bible class, especially learning Bible texts and reading Bible stories. So when his teacher invited Francisco to visit the Adventist church, he was eager to go. When he entered the church, people greeted him warmly. He sat down near the back of the sanctuary, but when some young people from school saw him, they invited him to join them for the youth class. He liked Sabbath School and church, and was accepted with the same warmth he had found at school. He began
Francisco feels loved at school and at church. But even more important, he fell in love with Jesus. He asked his parents for permission to be baptized, but they hesitated. They worried that he wasn’t ready to make such an important decision. However, after some members of the church visited his home and talked with his family, they gave their permission. Now they know that when Francisco isn’t at home or at school, he is at church. He has found his spiritual home. Francisco is a good student at school
FAST FACTS Mexico is the fifth largest country in the Western Hemisphere and the largest country in Central America. Lay evangelism is the lifeblood of the church’s growth in Mexico and throughout the Inter-American Division. Part of this quarter’s Thirteenth Sabbath Offering will help build up youth camps in the Inter-Oceanic Mexican Union Mission that can be used for lay evangelistic training.
A Positive Perspective Francisco sees life from a different point of view than many. “We don’t have any assurances in this life,” he says. “Today we may be fine, and tomorrow we may be injured and unable to do what we’ve always done. Respect those with different abilities; appreciate who they are and what they can do. Don’t focus on their disabilities. We all have limitations, but we all are God’s children. We all are precious in God’s eyes. “I am glad that my classmates accepted me, for this made me realize that God accepts me as well.” Francisco shares his love for God with his family and friends. They don’t attend church yet, but he is not discouraged. He’ll continue sharing with them, knowing that one day they will decide for Christ. Any problem I have makes me stronger as a person as I look to Jesus, and He helps me. “I’m grateful for the Adventist school— for the kind and encouraging teachers, and the students who include me in their activities. And I’m grateful for the church that included me and asked me to work with the children. The members support me, stretch my abilities, and show me that I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength. Sometimes people with handicaps think that they are not important. But God and my church family have shown me that to God and to them I am important.” Your mission offerings help support caring schools and caring churches such as those Francisco now calls home. à
“Would my classmates accept me? Would they tease me as the other children had?”
and a willing leader in church. Besides working with Adventurers, he serves as a deacon, opening the church, cleaning it, and taking up the offering on Sabbaths.
attending church every week. When he was invited to be a counselor in the Adventurers Club, he gladly agreed. His gentleness makes him popular among his group of children, and they quickly follow his direction as he teaches them crafts and skills. And when the Adventurers went camping, his team members stayed close by to help him.
M E X I C O
O UT OF THE DEVIL ’S HANDS May 24 | Emilio Martinez
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milio [eh-MEE-lee-oh] was 15 years old when his mother died. His father had left the family when Emilio was a baby, and his brothers and sisters were married. He was an orphan, alone in his home and alone in the world. He missed his mother, and often wished he could talk to her, feel her comforting arms, hear her assuring voice just once more. But she was gone. A few weeks after his mother’s death, Emilio’s aunt visited him. “Your mother has a message for you,” she told him. “What did she say?” Emilio asked eagerly. He knew that his aunt dealt in spirit worship, and he did not like the spirit worships that his mother had taken him to. But he was eager to talk to his mother. “I think the family has been cursed,” his aunt said. “I can lift the curse, but I need your help. Bring your brothers and sisters to my house for a séance.” Emilio did not want to attend a séance, but he felt he had to obey.
Unseen Evil At the séance furniture floated above the floor, lights blinked off and on, and terrible screams came from unseen
visitors. He wanted to run, but he couldn’t move. From that day on Emilio often felt a strange, heavy presence dragging him down. Demons in the form of animals appeared in his house and ordered him around. A voice often talked to him. The voices and the visions terrified Emilio, who just wished that they would go away. Over the next year Emilio discovered that if he drank enough alcohol, he would pass out and the demons could not trouble him at night. During the day he smoked marijuana to escape the demons. His life was in constant turmoil, and often he wished he could die rather than live in this private hell.
Jesus to the Rescue One day while watching television, he saw a program about Jesus. Emilio wondered whether Jesus was the answer to his miserable life. He found a bookstore and bought several books about Jesus. He read them eagerly and discovered a deep hunger to know God. He visited the church that his mother had once attended and stayed through several services to hear the sermons. He felt a little better there than he did at
At age 17 he was afraid to live alone any longer. He told his brother what he was experiencing, and his brother invited Emilio to live with them. A woman suggested that Emilio buy a Bible and memorize several psalms that he could repeat when the demons tormented him. It helped, at least for awhile. Then he had a dream in which a man in shining clothes urged him to read the Bible and there find the peace he was searching for. Emilio began reading the Bible every day. As his faith grew
FAST FACTS One-fifth of the population of Mexico, more than 22 million people, lives in and around Mexico City. About 22,000 Adventists live in this region—a ratio of one Adventist believer for every 1,000 people. Pray that God will use the believers to reach out to their neighbors, coworkers, and family members for Christ.
Deliverance and a New Calling Then one night as he cried out to God for deliverance, God answered in a powerful way. God called him to share his experience with others. Emilio started with his family, the same ones who had joined him at the séance four years earlier. In time they all gave their lives to God, and today they are united as a family in Christ. They lead several small groups in their homes where they study the Bible with anyone who will come. Emilio works with a new church plant in the heart of Mexico City, an area plagued by drugs and demon possession. He has found a ministry to those who still suffer from demon possession. “I thank God for never letting me go, even when I didn’t know Him,” Emilio says. “He rescued me from the powers of evil and gave me a ministry to help those who struggle with demons.” Your mission offerings help plant churches in the heart of the devil’s territory, lighthouses in the darkness of Mexico City and throughout the world. à
Over the next year Emilio discovered that if he drank enough alcohol, he would pass out and the demons could not trouble him at night. During the day he smoked marijuana to escape the demons.
he asked God to deliver him from the demons. God answered his prayer through a new friend, Julian. Julian became like a father to Emilio. The two talked for hours, and Julian explained the danger Emilio was in. The two studied the Bible together. Emilio accepted Jesus as his Savior, but still the demons tormented him. Even on his baptismal day the demons urged him to run away. Emilio asked Jesus to rebuke the forces of evil, and he found peace. But he did not experience instant deliverance from the evil ones. He prayed often and long, and God impressed him that he must renounce everything that put him on the devil’s ground and embrace the promises of God and the power of Jesus.
home. An idea formed in his mind, and as he left the church he bought statues of several saints, hoping that these would drive the demons away. But it didn’t work. Emilio visited other churches, hoping to find deliverance from the demons, but he found no peace from the voices and the visions. He sank into a deeper depression.
M E X I C O
TO HONOR AND GLORIFY GOD May 31 | Oscar Alvarado, 17, lives in Cárdenas, Mexico.
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scar is still a teenager, but he knows what he wants in life. That’s because he’s discovered that Jesus is a great guide. Oscar met Jesus when he was 8 years old. His mother was rushed to the hospital with a life-threatening illness, and doctors told the family she might not survive. She lay in the hospital bed for almost three months.
Mom’s Miraculous Healing One of their neighbors, Maria, is an Adventist Christian. She visited the hospital and prayed with Oscar and his grandmother. As Oscar listened to her prayer, he was amazed. She talked to Jesus as if He was sitting in the room with them. “Can you teach me to pray like that too?” Oscar asked. Maria assured him that Jesus would love to hear his heart’s prayer. Oscar and his grandmother prayed for his mother, and in seven days she was well enough to go home. The doctors were amazed and baffled by her rapid improvement. But Oscar knew that his new friend Jesus was a miracle worker. “It was an answer to my prayer,” Oscar said. “Mom had been in the hospital three months, but when we prayed for her she
was healed. My mom is a living testimony to God’s glory.” Maria had often invited Oscar’s family to study the Bible with her or to visit her church, but Mother had thanked her and said that the family had its own church. However, after Mother’s miraculous healing, she readily accepted Maria’s invitation to learn more about God. Oscar loved learning about God and asked lots of questions. On his own he decided that Jesus would not watch some television programs that he enjoyed, so he stopped watching them. “As I fell in love with Jesus, I wanted to be like Him,” Oscar explained. Oscar loved going to church. He loved the music and the Bible stories and the preaching. “I especially liked to listen to the pastor and the elders preach,” Oscar said. “I wanted to be like them and preach too.”
A Chance to Preach The church in Mexico encourages children to preach. They often hold preaching contests for the children. When the pastor announced a preaching contest, Oscar signed up. He was the youngest person in the contest, and when
FAST FACTS Active, trained lay evangelists in Mexico and throughout the InterAmerican Division are the secret to the church’s sustained growth in this region, which has 3 million believers. Part of this quarter’s Thirteenth Sabbath Offering will help provide housing at campgrounds used for lay training centers in the Inter-Oceanic Mexican Union Mission, which has almost 162,000 members.
came, he stood and preached his heart out. Then the judges met to choose the winners. Again Oscar’s mother wanted to prepare him for a possible disappointment. But Oscar whispered, “It doesn’t matter. I had a chance to preach about God’s love.”
But Oscar did win. His family was the newest in the church, and Oscar was the youngest preacher, but he won. “After that, nothing could stop me,” Oscar said, smiling. “I wanted to preach again and again.”
The Young Evangelist When he was 9 he preached for a week of evangelistic meetings in another church. Again his grandmother helped him write the sermons, and she listened as he practiced each one. “We prayed together that God would put His words in my heart—for His honor and glory. And at the end of the meetings 50 people were baptized. It was the Spirit of God, not my sermons, who touched people’s hearts. I asked God to speak through me, and He did.” It’s no surprise that Oscar dreams of becoming a pastor. “I want to bring people to Jesus,” he says. Oscar goes with a church elder to give Bible studies and learns how to lead people to Jesus. “I love watching God work in other people’s lives,” Oscar said. “And I never forget how He is working in my life. Being a worker for God is nothing if Jesus is not with me.” Our mission offerings help reach people with God’s message. Thank you for giving so others may hear. à
The doctors were amazed and baffled by her rapid improvement. But Oscar knew that his new friend Jesus was a miracle worker.
he told his mother that he had signed up, she silently worried about him. Oscar had always been quite shy. The church elder gave the children short sermons to memorize, but somehow he forgot to give Oscar his sermon. When Oscar realized that the other children had their sermons and he didn’t, he asked the pastor for his sermon. The pastor felt terrible, for the elder had gone out of town, and the pastor had no sermon to give him. Oscar felt bad too. Maybe he wouldn’t be able to take part in the contest. When his grandmother saw his sad face, she suggested that they write their own sermon. “It’s simple,” Grandmother said. “You just need to talk about what Jesus has done for you.” She opened Steps to Christ and The Desire of Ages and read about the childhood of Jesus. Oscar listened and told his grandmother what to write, and she wrote it. In two hours they had a sermon! Three days later Oscar had memorized his sermon and preached it to Grandmother, Mother, and even his little brother! On the day of the contest, Oscar beamed with excitement. He was the last of 14 children to preach. When his turn
G U Y A N A
IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF PIONEERS June 7 | Told to Mission by Casey Hastings
ADVENTIST MISSION Inter-American Division
he pastor stepped out of the canoe onto the muddy bank of a river. Ahead lay miles of tangled undergrowth in the vast forests that cover the interior of Guyana. Pastor Hastings followed his guide, a lay missionary, through the forest to a village he had never visited. As he walked, he recalled the events that had led up to this journey.
The Visitor Nearly a year earlier a man walked into the village in which Pastor Hastings was scheduled to preach. He carried a batteryoperated tape recorder as he stepped into the simple church building. He recorded the Sabbath School program and the worship service. Then he left the church. The man returned to his own village and listened to the recording over and over with his family. The sermon, on the hope of the Second Coming, stirred him deeply. The family was so touched by the simple message and the prayers and songs that they walked to the nearest Adventist village, a day’s journey away, and asked for someone to come and teach them more. One couple agreed to go. They went to the man’s village and stayed for six months, teaching them Bible truths and
returning to their home village just long enough to tend their gardens. When the man’s family had completed their Bible studies, the couple traveled for four days to tell Pastor Hastings about the family who was ready to be baptized. Pastor Hastings and his guide kept walking through the jungle-like growth until they arrived in Wock’s Creek, the village where the new believers waited. When the two men arrived in Wock’s Creek, they found that three other members of the extended family also wanted to be baptized. Pastor Hastings stayed in the village for a week and reviewed doctrines, taught the new believers hymns—his preferred way to teach doctrines to people who cannot read—and evaluated their faith. Before he left he baptized 11 people. As he made the long journey back home, he rejoiced at how God had used a single cassette recording to lead these 11 precious souls to Himself. The new believers meet in an abandoned building. Their new Adventist brothers in the nearest village helped provide them with a roof. The believers asked their tribal council, located in a village six hours away, for permission to build a church, but the council refused.
Guyana is located along the northern coast of South America. About half the population is of East Indian descent and about 40 percent are of African descent. The original inhabitants, called Amerindians [am-er-Indians], now constitute fewer than 5 percent of the total population. The church is active and vibrant in Guyana, where one person out of every 15 is a Seventh-day Adventist. For more information on O. E. Davis and the work among the Amerindians of the interior, see Destination-Green Hell (1972) and Jewels From Green Hell (1969) by Betty Buhler Cott. See also Mission Miracles, the story of David and Becky Gates, modern missionaries to Guyana, published in 2007.
In the Footsteps of O. E. Davis Pastor Hastings is the only Amerindian ordained pastor in Guyana. He is a member of the Davis Indians, named after the Adventist missionary O. E. Davis, who served as a missionary to Guyana in the early 1900s. Davis traveled into the rugged interior of
Guyana in response to a request from a tribal chief who had dreamed of a White man carrying a black book. The chief sent two of his tribesmen to find this man, and they found O. E. Davis. Davis was eager to reach these people to whom God had spoken in a dream or vision. But the journey was dangerous and difficult. He arrived in the area near Mt. Roraima [roh-RAI-mah], sick with malaria. In spite of his illness, he began teaching them hymns and showing them how to pray. Davis died of complications of malaria before he could establish a mission outpost, but the Amerindians were convinced that O. E. Davis was God’s man. They buried him on Mt. Roraima and continued meeting on the Sabbath day to sing the songs he had taught them and to pray as they had seen him pray. Years later other missionaries arrived to carry on the work Davis had started, and the Amerindians who cherished their chief’s dream accepted the Adventist message. Today many villages in this region are predominantly Seventh-day Adventist. On Sabbath their voices echo through the forests and across the savannah, singing of the hope that Jesus is coming again. Pastor Hastings leads the work among the Amerindians in one part of the interior of Guyana. Faithful lay workers lead the local congregations, and some go as short-term missionaries into areas where the gospel message has not yet spread. The travel is difficult and pay is uncertain, but they continue to go, walking in the footsteps of the pioneers. Our mission offerings help support the work among the Amerindians of Guyana as well as in the crowded cities along the coast. Thank you for sharing so that others can hear the message of hope. à
They did not want Adventists in their area. However, the council agreed that the believers could build a multipurpose building and meet in it, as long as the building is used for other community functions. The new believers and nearby Adventists have joined together to build the multipurpose building that will be used for medical clinics, worship services, and as a general meeting place for the village.
G R E N A D A
DETERMINED June 14 | Told to Mission by Wilma Alexander
ADVENTIST MISSION Inter-American Division
s a young woman I hated Adventists. I believed they were a cult, worshipping on Saturday and revering someone called Sister White. I belonged to another church and felt proud that I had not been misled! I worked at an agricultural school. Adventists often came there to get water to use in their church. They invited me to their church, but I told them, “I hate Adventists, and I want nothing to do with them.” I cursed them and said hurtful things about their church. When they came for water, I put mud in it or spit in it. They never said anything about the water; they just thanked me and left. My brother was an Adventist, and when I cooked food for the family, I added pork. I removed it before he saw it, so he didn’t know. It was my job to wash the family’s clothes. My brother had only one set of clothes for school and church. I washed them late on Friday so they were still damp when he dressed on Saturday. If he said something, I would tell him, “Let your Mrs. White dry your clothes!” He never complained.
A Dream and a Decision One night I had a dream that made me wonder whether I’d been wrong about
Adventists. On Sunday I asked my pastor which day was the Sabbath. He told me that Saturday is the Sabbath day. “But if Saturday is the Sabbath, why do we keep Sunday?” I asked. He told me that the Sabbath was nailed to the cross. I am a stubborn woman. I decided that if Saturday is the Sabbath day, then I must keep it. I left that church and did not return. But I did not go to the Adventist church on Saturday. Instead I went to the river to wash clothes so the members of my former church would not visit me.
FAST FACTS Grenada is a small island with fewer than 100,000 residents. It is known as the Spice Island because it produces many high-quality spices for export. The Adventist Church has more than 11,700 members. One in every eight residents of the island is an Adventist. But the church members are not satisfied. They actively engage in outreach and evangelism.
Martha—As Stubborn as I Last year I met Martha and saw a soul for Jesus. We became friends, and I invited her to church. She was a member of another church, but she came. I invited her to evangelistic meetings, and she
came. But she resisted the new truths she learned there. We studied and prayed together, and eventually she accepted the truths. But she resisted baptism. I urged her to give her life to God before it was too late, but she held back.
I invited her to another evangelistic series, and she came, this time with her children. I knew she believed, but she had excuses, saying her church was urging her to return. I begged her to let Jesus rule her life, but still she hesitated. God showed me Acts 22:16: “ ‘What are you waiting for? Get up, be baptized and wash your sins away’ ” (NIV). I shared this verse with Martha and prayed with her. Then I told her I was leaving the matter in God’s hands. On Sabbath morning Martha and her four daughters came to church with a change of clothes—they wanted to be baptized! They remain faithful members to this day. I’m a determined woman, and I was not willing to let Martha slip away from God. Because of this, she and many in her family will be in God’s kingdom. Don’t ever give up on your family or friends. What is impossible for humans is possible for God. Thank you for giving your mission offerings; they are the lifeblood of the church’s work at home and around the world. à
One night I had a dream that made me wonder whether I’d been wrong about Adventists. On Sunday I asked my pastor which day was the Sabbath. He told me that Saturday is the Sabbath day.
Surrender Then one Friday I finished my work before sundown. The next morning I dressed and went to the Adventist church. The theme that day was “Search Your Life.” The superintendent told how we can change our lives. The message struck me, and that morning I surrendered my life to God. When I asked to be baptized, my brother was so happy! The elder knew how much I had hated Adventists, and he suggested that I attend church for a while, study the Bible with him, and settle into the faith before being baptized. But I wasn’t willing to wait. After talking with the pastor, he agreed to baptize me. I didn’t invite my family to my baptism, but they came. My mother had not been inside a church for years, and I thought she had come to stop me or to humiliate me. But she came with a bag of clothes. She wanted to be baptized, too. In fact, my mother, my sister, and my niece all asked to be baptized with me! For so many years I had disrespected people and had hated and fought against Adventists. I asked their forgiveness, and they embraced me. Now I wanted to help others find Jesus as their Savior. I shared my faith and gave Bible studies to those who wanted them. Many people in my community have come to the Adventist church because they saw the change that Jesus made in my life. I praise God for that.
G R E N A D A
I’’VE H EARD HIS CALL June 21 | Told to Mission by Samuel Sayers
Ask a young man to present this first-person report.
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grew up attending church on Sunday and studying in a religious school. I learned the teachings of the church. But when I was 12, my mother died. Her death tore me apart, and I stopped going to church. A year later a new church was built near our home. When it opened, the members held evangelistic meetings and invited everyone in the neighborhood. My father was curious about this church and wanted to go, so I went. But when I realized that the church was Adventist, I didn’t want to attend anymore. I had been taught that the Adventist Church is a cult. But my father wanted me to go to the meetings, so I went. One evening as I started home from the meetings, a church member met me and said that God was calling me to the truth and I should give my life to Jesus. I still believed these people were part of a cult, and I refused. Suddenly I felt something beat me all over my body. I could not see anything, but the whipping stung, and I cried. The church member saw that something was wrong and urged me to call out to God to deliver me from Satan’s attack. I called
out, “Lord Jesus, help me! I accept You!” The beating stopped immediately. The church member prayed with me right there on the road. I hurried home and told my father what had happened—about the beating and how I cried out to God and He saved me. But when I told my father that I was going to join the Adventist Church, he was angry and opposed my decision right up to when I was baptized. Though he had made me attend the meetings, he was not willing for me to follow God. My father and sister did everything they could to get me away from the church. My father ordered me to buy him rum on Friday nights, even though it was the Sabbath and I objected to alcohol. When I refused, he tried to hit me with his cutlass—a long sharp knife. I ducked and ran out of the house. Every Sabbath when I returned home from church, my father or my sister would beat me. My sister burned my Bible and often put unclean food into the rice, so I would go hungry. Church members often fed me, and their acts of kindness blessed me. The cruelties my family heaped on me only drove me closer to God. Jesus had
Students from throughout the islands of the Caribbean and from more than 40 countries study at the University of the Southern Caribbean, the Adventist university in Trinidad. The university does not have a campus church. Worship services are held in a large gymnasiummultipurpose room. There is little room available to have a diversity of worship services or language groups. Part of this quarter’s Thirteenth Sabbath Offering will help build two worship halls in two new dormitories being constructed. These worship halls will expand evangelistic possibilities on the campus and give students a broader opportunity to serve.
I finished high school and applied to study theology at the Adventist university in Trinidad, but I didn’t have money for tuition. I have sold books to help pay my tuition, and the church members help me when they can. And I, the same boy whose father said I would never amount to anything, made the dean’s list at the university. I love serving people, and I feel it’s an honor to serve God’s church and lead people to Him. When my family told me I would never amount to anything, Jesus made the difference. He told me that God doesn’t make losers, that if I stay close to Him, I will succeed. I’m living proof that God keeps His promises. He took me from a dark background and made me something good for Him. I’m so grateful. I love soul winning, just love it! I love preaching and leading people to Jesus. It has become my only desire in life. I’ve led seven of my friends to Jesus. Praise God for that! It’s such a thrill to see my friends come to Jesus. Your mission offerings help people come to Jesus every day of the week. And your Thirteenth Sabbath Offering will help provide the Adventist university in Trinidad—the University of the Southern Caribbean—with two worship halls to lead more students to God. Thank you for your support for world missions during the quarter and your Thirteenth Sabbath Offering for our university in Trinidad. à
Every Sabbath when I returned home from church, my father or my sister would beat me.
Calling to Minister Since I first felt God calling me to be an Adventist and I joined the church, I have felt called to serve Him. A woman in the church often encouraged me to preach for the children’s worship and lead out in other activities. Soon I realized that God was calling me to the pastoral ministry. However, that calling did not make the road easy. School was difficult for me. My family often said that I would amount to nothing. I didn’t know how to study and had a hard time remembering things. But I prayed that God would help me learn, and He answered my prayers. I passed my classes and was ready to start high school. But before I could start school, my father died. I was an orphan at 15.
Education is generally free in Grenada, but transportation, school enrollment, uniforms, and books are expensive. My sister couldn’t help me, but God impressed church members to help meet my school needs.
suffered beatings and deprivation for me; I could suffer for Him.
THIRTEENTH SABBATH PROGRAM Sharing Christ in Inter-America
P E N I N G
“Lift High the Cross” The Seventh-day Adventist Hymnal, No. 362
WELCOME PRAYER PROGRAM OFFERING CL C
O S I N G
L O S I N G
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Superintendent or Sabbath School teacher “Growing Larger, Growing Stronger” While the offering is being taken, ask the children to sing a song in Spanish that they have learned this quarter. “Mas Allá del Sol” (See Children’s Mission, page 30.)
AY E R
Participants: Four speakers—a narrator and three reporters. [Note: participants do not need to memorize their parts, but they should be familiar enough with the material so that they do not have to read everything from the script. Practice so that participants can feel comfortable adding inflection where appropriate.]
ADVENTIST MISSION Inter-American Division
Props: A large map of the Inter-American Division (Scan the map on the quarterly and project it onto a screen, or draw a map on a large piece of paper.)
Narrator: Good morning, believers. Today is a special day—it’s Thirteenth Sabbath. Today is the day to do something special to support our brothers and sisters in Inter-America. All quarter we’ve heard stories of men and women, youth and children who share their testimony with others. Today we have the opportunity to review the special projects that our Thirteenth Sabbath Offering will help make a reality. First, let’s visit Mexico. With more than 431,000 members, the Adventist Church is the second-largest
Protestant denomination in Mexico. One reason our work in Mexico has been so successful is that members take the gospel commission seriously. They don’t wait for the pastors to bring in new believers, but they invite their family, their friends, and their neighbors to come and see what God can do for them. They give Bible studies, hold evangelistic meetings, and lead out in the churches. But with one Adventist for every 250 people in Mexico, there’s still a lot of work to do before Jesus comes. In order
Reporter 1: When Felix was baptized several years ago, God impressed him to share his faith with others. He was trained as a lay worker in his church and began visiting homes with a friend from church. When he had no one to go with him, he went alone. “I made God my partner,” he said. “I asked Jesus to help me share His salvation with others.” Every day he put his life in God’s hands to be used as God saw fit. He asked God to show him how he could share his faith with others. Sometimes it was slow going. “I worked with one family of 13 persons for eight years,” he said. “One by one they came to Jesus. Now eight of the 13 have been baptized, and four more are coming to church. These people did not want a pastor to visit, but they allowed me to come. It took a lot of time, a lot of commitment, but God blessed us all, and now they are in God’s family, sharing their faith with others.” Mexico has thousands of men and women and young people such as Felix who want to share their faith with others. The church in Mexico trains lay workers to do the work of pastors, elders, and Bible workers. But often there is no place large enough to train those who want to learn. This quarter, part of our Thirteenth Sabbath Offering will help equip campgrounds in central Mexico to accommodate larger gatherings, so more lay workers such as Felix can learn to share God’s message of love with a tired world. Narrator: That project surely is the heart of what mission is about. When laypeople
bring their friends and neighbors to church, the church grows. Let’s listen to _______ [name of reporter 2] tell us about the struggles of growing a church. Reporter 2: Faustino [fah-oo-STEE-noh] lives in Veracruz, Mexico. He sold bread on the streets. One day a blind man stopped him to buy bread and chatted with him for a while. The blind man treated Faustino like an old friend and even invited him to his home. The old man loved to talk about God and the Bible. Faustino had always wanted to know God better, so he accepted the man’s offer to take Bible studies. Faustino’s wife was surprised because they were members of another church. He explained that he needed to learn more about God. The couple studied the Bible for several months and even invited a sister to join them. They put off making a decision about what they were learning. Then the sister was killed in an accident. Realizing they had no assurance about tomorrow, Faustino and his family took their stand for Christ. Faustino had problems with Sabbath work and prayed for a job that would not compromise his new faith. The believers helped him buy a bicycle so he could sell produce that didn’t require Sabbath work. “I’m convinced that God has me where I should be,” Faustino said. “We have a small group meeting in our house now. We now have 12 members plus children and visitors. We have bought land on which to build a church, but we don’t have the money to start building. And I’ve seen that without a church building, some people won’t come to worship with us. We pray that God will provide us a way to build a church that honors Him, a church where we can invite our friends
for lay workers to do a good job leading others to Christ, they must be trained. ________ [name of reporter 1] will share a story that illustrates the importance of that training.
and family and they will come.” Part of today’s Thirteenth Sabbath Offering will help build 28 churches in central Mexico. Narrator: Mexico’s projects revolve around evangelism. They need lay training centers and churches. Now let’s turn our attention to Trinidad, where the special project is quite different, but equally evangelistic. _______ [Name of reporter 3] will explain that project to us.
ADVENTIST MISSION Inter-American Division
Reporter 3: The University of the Southern Caribbean may not be a familiar name to you. But perhaps Caribbean Union College is. In 2006 the college became a full university, and with that change came many challenges. The student body almost doubled the next year and will continue to grow in the coming years. The school had enough classrooms, but many more students wanted to live on campus than the school had room for. They are pooling all their resources to build two new dormitories to accommodate the students who want to study there. The school requires that all students living on campus attend worship on campus or off over the weekend. But there is no church on the campus. Staff
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GERMAN MEDIA C ENTER D EDICATED Damstadt, Germany. The Adventist Media Center (above), built with funds from the Thirteenth Sabbath Offering, was dedicated in March 2007. The center houses Stimme der Huffnung (The Voice of Hope) Bible school and recording studios that produce religious programming for Germany and other parts of Europe. The new Media Centre is one of three projects featured during first quarter 2007, but the building was so urgently needed that it was started long before the offering was taken.
and students worship in the school’s gymnasium-multipurpose hall. This is not an ideal spiritual environment in which to introduce students to Christ. And with almost half the students at the university coming from non-Adventist homes, the school faces the challenge of creating a spiritual environment that will wrap the students in God’s presence. The school will build a large worship hall in each of the two new dormitories being constructed on campus. This will provide far more than a place to hold morning and evening worship. It will provide for alternate worships on Friday evening and Sabbath, give an opportunity to various national groups to worship in their own culture or language, and give theology students an opportunity to practice pastoral skills while still on campus. Part of your Thirteenth Sabbath Offering today will help make these worship rooms a reality. Narrator: There you have it. Three critical projects to advance God’s work in Mexico and in the southern Caribbean. How will you respond to the challenge and the opportunity? [Offering]
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For more information on the cultures and history of Mexico and the Caribbean, check the travel section of a local library. Visit a travel agency for brochures featuring photos from Mexico and the Caribbean. Online Information. The Adventist Mission Web site contains additional material that can add flavor to your mission presentation, including words and songs in Spanish, puzzles, and recipes. Go to www.AdventistMission.org/ Resources4Teachers/. Check out a Web site for additional information on the countries being featured this quarter. Mexico: The Embassy of Mexico, 1911 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20006. Telephone: (202) 7281600; e-mail: email@example.com; URL: www. embassyofmexico.org. Trinidad: The Embassy of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, 1708 Massachusetts Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20036. Telephone: (202) 467-6490; e-mail: embttgo@erols. com; URL: http://ttembassy.cjb.net/. Visit our Web site: For additional photos, recipes, language pages, puzzles, and other activities to make mission more meaningful, go to www.AdventistMission.org/ Resources4Teachers. An offering goal device will help focus attention on world missions and increase weekly mission giving. Ask your Sabbath School council to set a quarterly mission offering goal; then chart the weekly progress toward the quarter’s goal on the goal device. Draw an outline of a church (or a small dormitory such as might be located on a campground) on a large poster board. Cut strips of paper to resemble planks of wood, or glue white paper over a dark outline of the building to show the progress the Sabbath School is making each week. (Set a goal a little higher than last quarter and divide it by 14, one part for each Sabbath and two parts for Thirteenth Sabbath.) Display the goal device prominently, and call attention to members’ progress in mission giving week by week. As each week’s mission offering comes in, add the appropriate number of planks to the church. Urge members to complete the church by Thirteenth Sabbath. Remind members that the ongoing work of the world church depends on Sabbath School mission giving. On the twelfth Sabbath, report on mission giving during the quarter. Then on Thirteenth Sabbath, count the offering and record the amount at the end of Sabbath School. This immediate feedback will encourage members to continue their mission giving. FUTURE THIRTEENTH SABBATH PROJECTS Next quarter the North American Division will be featured. Special projects will focus on using radio to reach hearts throughout the division. Fourth quarter 2008 will feature the Northern AsiaPacific Division.
SECOND QUARTER 2008 INTER-AMERICAN DIVISION EDITORIAL Charlotte Ishkanian Editor Hans Olson Managing Editor Emily Harding Graphic Designer
Gary Krause Director Ganoune Diop Study Centers Director Rick Kajiura Communication Director Laurie Falvo Project Manager Charlotte Ishkanian Mission Editor Andrew King Motion Graphics Editor Hans Olson Projects Manager Daniel Weber Video Producer Nancy Kyte Marketing Director Marti Schneider Programs Director Homer Trecartin Planning Director
Mission (ISSN 0190-4108)is produced and copyrighted © 2007 by the Office of Adventist Mission, General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists,12501 Old Columbia Pike, Silver Spring, MD 20904, U.S.A. Printed in U.S.A. Second Quarter 2008 Volume 97, Number 2 ADVENTIST® and SEVENTH-DAY ADVENTIST® are the registered trademarks of the General Conference of Seventhday Adventists®. Web site: www.AdventistMission.org Texts credited to NIV are from the Holy Bible, New International Version. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers. Permission is granted to reproduce material from this quarterly for use in local Sabbath Schools and children’s ministries programs. Permission to reproduce any portion of this material for sale, publication in another periodical, or other commercial use must be authorized in writing by the editor at the above address. For subscription inquiries, e-mail Julie Haines at jhaines@ rhpa.org or call 800-456-3991 or 1-301-393-3280. Annual subscription rates per edition: domestic, US$7.50; international, US$14.50.
â€” 3,575,000 46,772,000 11,269,000 9,017,000 1,058,000 8,522,000 33,172,000 14,361,000 13,320,000 5,483,000 3,929,000 13,156,000 10,000,000 27,283,000 3,036,000
Dormitory worship halls at the University of the Southern Caribbean in Trinidad 2 Churches for existing congregations and lay training centers in the Inter-Oceanic Mexican Union Mission. For more information, visit www.AdventistMission.org.
1 560 1,032 272 609 125 413 918 910 706 560 289 566 881 707 669
Division Caribbean Colombian Cuban Dominican French Antilles-Guiana Haitian Inter-Oceanic Mexican Mid-Central American North Central American North Mexican Puerto Rican South Central American South Mexican Venezuela-Antilles West Indies
106 200,354 241,029 26,550 231,736 28,623 303,944 161,315 322,646 216,140 158,726 35,530 215,534 255,206 166,996 242,741