With guest David Crook, regional director for East Africa. Hosted by Julie Sanders Keymer. (28:30)
With guest David Crook, regional director for East Africa. Hosted by Julie Sanders Keymer. (28:30)
Eritrea, Africa–Residents of the country of Eritrea, which is situated between Ethiopia and Sudan, have been fleeing to refugee camps by the thousands. Mulugeta and Zaid Weldeab, husband and wife, were among the refugees who escaped. They found themselves in the Hitsats Refugee Camp in northern Ethiopia where they began witnessing for Jesus as they had done in their homeland of Eritrea before it became dangerous.
When mission officials noticed the large number of baptisms resulting from Bible studies Mulugeta had given, they hired him as a Gospel Outreach worker.
The Adventist churches in St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada, adopted him as a worker. He conducted Bible studies and held services in the small house the United Nations provided. When I visited the camp last year, Mulugeta said, “We need a church. Other denominations have a church, and people ask, ‘Where is your church?’”
The small group of believers showed us a parcel of land that the camp authorities had given for the building of a church, which would cost about $5,000 U.S. I wondered how these people could possibly raise such an amount. But they prayed fervently about the matter.
Nahom Yitebarek, president of the Tigrai Mission, went to his computer and sent out a message stating the need for a new church. An Eritrean physician in the United States happened to see the message and quickly raised the needed funds to begin construction. What a day of rejoicing when the lovely new church was opened and dedicated. Many visitors from the camp joined the members for this special occasion. Please pray that many more camp residents will accept Jesus and be part of the Hitsats Refugee Camp congregation.
Akop County is one of seven Gospel Outreach church planting sites in South Sudan. Here GO workers focused their efforts on visiting homes and holding meetings. A young 16-year-old, Majok Adewun Paduot, responded to the message and was baptized even though his family members were all followers of the African traditional religion, which included worshipping idols of all kinds.
When Majok accepted Jesus, he took to heart all the biblical doctrines he was taught: He began to keep the Sabbath, return his tithe, and change to a more healthful lifestyle. His behavior was so changed that people in the community took notice and watched him carefully.
Majok developed a spirit of self-reliance by cultivating his own garden and buying some chickens to raise. His father had chickens as well, and all the chickens were kept in one shelter. The father, who worshipped many gods, used to sacrifice chickens to his gods, especially during the rainy season, at harvest time, or to appease the gods whenever there was sickness in the family. But Majok took his new religion seriously. He no longer believed in his father’s gods, and he didn’t want any of his chickens to be sacrificed to them. He was saving his chickens to help the family with medications, to buy food and to give tithe back to God.
“If God protected my chickens in such a wonderful way, then how much more is He protecting me as His steward? Praise be to Him!”
People were amazed when they heard that Majok was returning one chicken to the church for every 10 chickens he owned. This caused much tension between him and his father, and the community ridiculed him for giving up one chicken in 10. Bad enough that his ideas about Sabbath observance and eating and dressing differently were so strange, but now to jeopardize his family’s unity! This was great cause for concern. It was finally decided that a partition be built in the chicken coop to keep the two groups of chickens separated—one for sacrificing to the gods and one from which Majok could return his tithe. But before that wall could be built, something happened.
One dark night a wildcat got into the chicken coop. Feathers flew as the cat wreaked havoc among the trapped birds. The morning sun brought a scene of devastation as dead chickens were found everywhere. But lo and behold, all of Majok’s chickens came running out from the shelter of the chicken coop. Not a single one was hurt.
This miracle quickly became known throughout Majok’s village and beyond. It was clear to all that the God of the Christians was a true God indeed, and that the traditional gods were no gods at all. Majok’s faithfulness in returning tithe had been rewarded.
The chicken miracle made such an impact on Majok’s eldest brother, Wol, that he agreed to study the Bible and soon was baptized. Together, Majok and Wol joined hands to form an effective team to share the gospel in their area. Their positive influence in the family resulted in the baptism of their mother and three sisters. While Majok’s father with his second wife and another brother were not yet ready to join the church, they no longer opposed the Adventist message.
The little church where Majok and his brother serve has grown to 150 members within a three-year period. In looking back to the chicken miracle, Majok says, “If God protected my chickens in such a wonderful way, then how much more is He protecting me as His steward? Praise be to Him!”
Ethiopia, mentioned many times in the Bible, is one of the oldest countries in the world. It is a multiethnic state with 83 languages and 200 dialects. Gospel Outreach (GO) meets this challenge by choosing indigenous people as workers. They know the culture, religions, customs, languages, and dialects.
Of Ethiopia’s more than 102 million people, 43 percent are Ethiopian Orthodox, 40 percent are Muslim, and less than 0.2 percent (184,722) are Seventh-day Adventists. Ethiopia has a relatively youthful population: ages 0–14 years (41 percent); ages 15–64 (55 percent); ages 65+ (3.5 percent).
The 32 GO workers, supported by GO Canada, often share the love of Jesus amid great opposition and persecution. Usually after three to five years, in some remote village, a church is started and built by a GO worker. The faithfulness of the members that I have observed is to be admired.
Ninety percent of the population earns a living from the land, mainly as subsistence farmers. In one location, many Adventist farmers met the challenge of market day being changed from Sunday to Saturday. None of the Adventists went to market on Sabbath. These Adventists made up most of the market, so there was no market! The officials had to change market day back to Sunday.
At harvest time the church treasurer goes to each farmer to collect one-tenth of the produce, which is taken to the storehouse and later sold. The tithe money goes to the mission office.
Thank you, praying and sacrificing donors, who make the spreading of the gospel possible with GO’s heaven-sent method. Pray that many more workers can be added in this ancient and large country.
Sudan had experienced civil war for about 60 years between the north (Muslim) and the south (Christian). After the turn of the century, the south defeated the north. People who had fled as refugees began returning to their villages. Soon Seventh-day Adventist churches were appearing where there had been no Adventists previously because these people had become baptized members in the refugee camps.
In July of 2011 South Sudan became the newest nation in the world. People were excited about peace in the country and infrastructure improvement. The war had resulted in no telephone service, no postal service, no road building, etc. The church could now function in a more effective manner.
But people in South Sudan were devastated on December 15, 2013, when civil war broke out between the country’s two largest tribes. More than 1 million of the population had to flee to refugee camps in Uganda and some surrounding countries. Among those fleeing were Adventist members and Gospel Outreach workers. Many had to flee with just the clothes they were wearing.
Despite the difficulties, our GO workers have not lost faith or courage. They are continuing with their same zeal, spreading the good news about Jesus. The refugee camp provides great opportunities for witnessing. People have time and are away from their homes in the villages where relatives can oppose them for accepting new teachings. Also, the good news of Jesus gives hope in their rather hopeless situation.
When a worker has enough people to form a congregation, everyone goes to work making mud bricks and gathering local materials to build a church. In one instance the people had just completed a church when an arsonist burned it down. Some people were very discouraged and wanted to give up, but the young people said enthusiastically, “No, we will build again!” They went to work immediately, and in three days they had built another church.
Meet David Pandak, a former teacher, who loved worldly amusements. An Adventist relative visited him one day and began discussing biblical topics. This relative told him about the seventh-day Sabbath and how Jesus was baptized. David had not heard about this before and became very angry. However, the Holy Spirit was speaking to him.
After two weeks David accepted these truths and consented to take Bible studies and was baptized. He was now on fire for the Lord and began witnessing to others about Jesus and other Bible truths. The church chose him for a church elder. He was then called to be a GO worker.
He was sent to Baidit Payam in the Bor area where he was able to start a church. The congregation was growing and things were going well, but then the civil war broke out. David, his family and his congregation had to flee to a refugee camp in Uganda.
Immediately he began witnessing and gathering people for Bible studies. David goes everywhere he can, meeting people at funerals, weddings, markets and any other place where people gather. If he sees someone in need, he immediately offers his help. Refugees have time, so he gathers them in large groups for Bible studies. In the last four years, David has baptized more than 700 people. Many other GO workers have also baptized large numbers.
There are great opportunities in the refugee camps for presenting Jesus. In the first nine months of 2017, GO workers baptized 1,936 people.
Pray for these workers and members, and pray that peace will come to South Sudan.
Discover the ministry of Gospel Outreach and how you can be part of sharing the good news of salvation in the 10/40 Window. (7:11)
With guest Charles Shultz, regional director for Nepal. Hosted by Lynelle Ellis. (28:30)
With guest John Duroe, regional director for Bangladesh. Hosted by Ole Olesen. (28:30)
Imagine you’re a mission strategist in charge of a worldwide evangelism budget. What must you know to make efficient and wise choices?
That’s the challenge posed in the new Gospel Outreach “Adopt a Bible worker” brochure, which has just been released.
The world population recently topped 7.5 billion. More than 4 billion have had at least some exposure to the gospel, leaving an estimated 3.16 billion who haven’t been reached, according to the Joshua Project.
Of the 3.16 billion unreached, 3.06 billion live in an area that many mission strategists call the 10/40 Window. That’s nearly all of the unreached–97 percent!
The 10/40 Window is a rectangular region found between 10 and 40 degrees north latitude. It includes North Africa, the Middle East, India, China, the Philippines and scores of neighboring countries.
It’s home to Islam, Hinduism and Buddhism. There’s a large nonreligious block too.
Compared with other areas in the world, little is being done to reach the 10/40 Window, and yet it holds the key to fulfilling the Great Commission. It’s the last great frontier for evangelism before Jesus returns.
“No one has the right to hear the gospel twice, while there remains someone who has not heard it once.”
As missions advocate Oswald J. Smith has said, “No one has the right to hear the gospel twice, while there remains someone who has not heard it once.”
Since 1993, Gospel Outreach has focused on telling the story of Jesus in the 10/40 Window. One of the most effective ways to do this is by sponsoring indigenous Bible workers who have a desire to share their love for the Lord among their own people. They already understand the culture, language, religion and social environment of the people living around them. And they can be sponsored through the Gospel Outreach Adopt-a-Worker program for $150 per month per worker, on average.
Although poverty is widespread and unemployment remains high, India now ranks as the ninth largest industrial economy in the world. Very diverse in terms of language, religion (Hindu, Buddhist, Muslim), and cultural traditions, the people of India (only 2.3 percent of whom are Christian) comprise one-sixth of the world’s population.
The Gospel Outreach (GO) region we oversee covers a large area of East Central India–all of Odisha State and two Adventist conferences in Andhra Pradesh. More than 90 million people live in these two states with only 197,090 Adventists. GO sponsors 147 Bible workers in this region.
During our recent visit to India, we adopted the motto “Reaching the Unreached for Jesus,” focusing on “Witnessing to the Lost and Training the Saved.” We met with the Adventist leadership first, so they understood and supported the new outreach method we would be sharing.
Our GO workers arrived from distant villages to study how they might become more effective in ministry. We began by covering 10 points of discipleship to affirm each worker had an experience they could develop into a personal testimony. We then focused on three areas: What was your life like before you met Jesus? What brought you to Jesus? and What is life like now that you know Him? Workers reacted with enthusiasm as we presented the power of witnessing through sharing personal testimonies.
After hearing exciting testimonies from our GO workers, we concluded by stressing the importance of follow-up through teaching Bible stories and establishing home churches. Before leaving, we met with each GO worker independently and heard firsthand the blessings and challenges they face in serving God.
We are truly grateful for your prayers and sacrificial support of Gospel Outreach and the Adopt-a-Worker program.