Children’s Story — On Freedom’s Soil

I wish I might have known my grandfather, Valentine Leer, but he died before I was born. I can see him, though—a short, stout German farm boy, plowing the gently rolling fields of his father’s land in Russia’s southern Ukraine.

It was good land, rich black soil. Valentine Leer stopped the horses and squatted on his heels to rub the dirt between his fingers. It was still moist from the winter rains. The best growing land in Russia, he smiled proudly to himself. And his father’s farm the best kept, the most productive.

Straightening up, he looked out across the upturned furrows behind him to his little village nestled in the poplars among the low hills. Kassel, just fifty miles north of Odessa on the Black Sea, had been home to his people ever since they left Germany maybe fifty years ago in the early eighteen hundreds. They had come in response to the Czar’s call for more thrifty, hard-working German farmers, with the modern methods of Western Europe, to settle these thousands of fertile acres.

Valentine loved the little village which his people had named after their hometown in Germany. He could see the Lutheran church where he helped with the younger boys, the school, and his white-washed mud cottage in the cherry orchard under the great endless blue of the sky. Someday he would have his own cottage, and he knew who would share it with him—at least, he hoped he knew!

Putting up the horses for the night, Valentine strode toward the welcoming lamp light, hungry for a bowl of his mother’s Borsch. Or maybe there would be Kase Knepf or Strudel tonight. Whatever it was, he knew there would be plenty.

But when he came in, the kitchen was empty. From the next room, he heard his father’s angry voice.

“But, officer, I have already paid my taxes down at Odessa.”

“I did not make the law. I just follow my orders. Fifty more rubles to the Czar this year. After all, there is a war going on.”

There had been a war going on as long as Valentine could remember.

“I cannot pay it now,” his father said.

“I do not have the money.”

“If you do not have it in by Monday night, you either go to jail, or we take five desiatine of your land.”

There was a scraping of chairs and boots and the front door closed.

Valentine saw his father sink heavily into a chair. His mother sat in the corner wiping her eyes. He waited for his father to speak.

“Ach, so. Another freedom gone.”

“But I do not understand, Father.”

“You are young, my son. Tonight you have seen two of the promises in Catherine the Great’s manifesto broken.

First, the taxes. She promised us freedom from taxation. But year by year they have become heavier until I can hardly pay them. And then this Russian officer! We Germans were to have our own government, with an administrative board appointed by the Czar. One of our own officers should be collecting the taxes. But now the only question is: Where do I get the money? If I do not get it, I will lose the land.”

For the first time, Valentine realized the heavy burden his father carried. He ate his supper silently, wishing there was some way he could help. Scarcely had they finished their meal when Conrad Schmidt, their neighbor to the east, came in. He looked so old and beaten that Valentine’s father exclaimed, “Conrad, what is wrong?”

“They have taken my land,” he almost whispered. “You know I did not have much. My wife has been sick and I had a poor harvest last year. There were other expenses and I could not pay the taxes. So they have taken the last.”

“If I were younger,” Conrad continued slowly, “Yes, if I were younger and my wife strong, you know what I would do? I would go to America!”

Valentine slipped out the back door. He had to think. What was happening to the German colony? How could the Russians take their land away from them? It was not right.

He looked up to see Herr Wall, their Lutheran school teacher, swinging briskly down the road, bulging satchel in hand. Herr Wall was always hurrying. “Where are you going?” Valentine called.

“To America,” he answered. Then he stopped and laughed. “Ach, lieber, Valentine, you look surprised! Yes, but it is true. The Russian officers brought me orders from the Czar to turn over our Lutheran school to the Ministry of Education. We were to be free to control our own school, but now it is to be taught and controlled by the Russians!”

“But, America, Herr Wall,” Valentine protested. “What do you know about America? It is so far away.”

“But it is free, my lad. No one will take my school away from me in America. Yes, I am going. I will write and tell you all about it.”

During the following years Valentine thought often about Herr Wall and America. As he became responsible for more of the duties and problems of the farm, and built the little cottage to which he brought his bride, Fredricka Hieb, he treasured the occasional letter which came from his teacher.

But there was much to keep him busy at home and in the community. As Valentine and his bride walked slowly home over the muddy road one spring evening, avoiding the deep ruts left by the farm wagons, they talked about the Baptist preacher who had recently come to their village.

“You know, Fredricka, I feel that this teaching is more like what I have studied in the Bible myself. I believe I must accept it and be baptized.” He saw her face whiten in the dusk. “But Valentine, you know it is forbidden to change your religion. You know how the Orthodox Church and the government are working together to clamp down on Protestants. I just know you will be put in jail!”

“When something is right to do,” he answered, “then the only thing is to go ahead and do it.”

In spite of Fredricka’s fears, he was baptized. That was when his life of active service really began: A word of comfort to a downhearted Russian peasant here, a pamphlet on the love of God to an educated Russian officer there, and guidance and help to the new little Baptist Church in the German community.

But Fredricka had been right. It was not long before these activities brought him persecution. During the next few years he began to feel that he knew the interior of the Velva jail, five miles away, almost as well as his own home. When he returned from jail, discouraged, he could always find comfort in his children, Karl and Carolina.

“Father!” called little Karl, running out through the lean-to one night, “there is a big, big man in the house!”

Valentine dropped the plow and hurried in. What could it be this time? Surely not more taxes.

Fredricka stood at the kitchen door, tears in her eyes. “It was an officer, Valentine,” she choked. “He is taking a census for . . . for military service. Sometime this year you will have to go!”

Valentine picked up baby Carolina and put his arm around his wife. “Come, Karl,” he said, “it is time to go in to worship.” He took the big German family Bible from the shelf and sat down.

“That breaks the last promise, does it not? Exemption from military service. But we must remember, Fredricka, that God has a purpose behind all this. Though we cannot see what it is yet, we can trust Him.”

Valentine remembered the confidence and peace of that worship period the next evening when the heavy door of the little jail in Velva slammed behind him.

“Ivanovitch!” He heard the towering, fur-capped office bellow. “Take this … this Baptist and lock him up. I do not know for how long. Forever, for all I care!”

“But officer,” fussed the balding little jailer, “you know this Valentine Leer makes nothing but trouble in here. He is always converting . . .” The nervous little jailer’s voice trailed off. The door was shut and the officer gone.

“All right, all right, Valentine Leer,” he sighed, “what is it this time?”

Valentine sank down wearily on the hard slat-covered bed and began to unlace his muddy boots.

“This time, Mr. Ivanovitch, your officers on horseback drove me five miles on foot through the mud to you here because I was reading from the Bible to my Russian neighbor. I was reading from the Book of John, you know, the part where our Savior says . . .”

“You mean you were out making converts for the Baptist Church again. Proselytizing. That is against the law!”

“Yes, you are right. It is against the laws of Russia, and I am sorry for that. I do not like to disobey laws, especially the laws of a country which has been so good to our people in the past. But if God’s laws tell me to preach, and man’s laws say not to, then I must obey God’s laws.”

The jailer slid down beside Valentine, his eyes on the curious faces of the other inmates as he scooted nearer.

“Tell me something, Leer,” he half whispered. “I do not know much about the laws of God, but I would like to know why it is so important for you to do this—to keep preaching this gospel you talk about, always ending up in jail here. Why are you so different from the rest of us anyway?”

“Valentine leaned against the wall, closing his eyes for a moment. He was very tired. Being marched five miles through deep mud had not been easy, especially after a hard day’s work in the fields. He wanted to be alone to rest and think. To think about the letter which had come that day from Herr Wall in America. He would really prefer to talk to the jailer later.

Then a picture of Paul and Silas in the Philippian jail came to his mind. They had been tired, too, and had been beaten besides, when they sang their triumphant hymns. He turned to the jailer.

“Mr. Ivanovitch, I am glad to tell you why I seem different. It is just a matter of faith. I see you have an icon over there. You have a fine one, my friend, the gold frame is beautiful and the picture of Jesus is lovely. Now when the priest has blessed this icon, you say it is sacred and you pray to it. You have faith in the icon, do you not?”

The jailer nodded.

“Now I have faith, too, but not in a picture made by a man like myself. I have faith in God and His Son, Jesus. I can pray directly to Him. I know that God hears me, that His Spirit is with me,always, wherever I am. I do not have to buy an expensive icon, and then a more expensive one, hoping that it will bring me blessings. I talk with the Creator who made the universe, and yet Who loves and cares for me. Is that not wonderful?”

“Look,” he said, “I will read it to you just as our Savior said it.”

He took his German Bible from an inner pocket and slowly translated several sweet promises into Russian. He could see that the other prisoners were straining to hear, and he wished he could read louder so that they would be sure to get the meaning.

“Come now,” he said finally, “I will teach you how to pray directly to your heavenly Father. We will kneel together.”

As he knelt, Valentine rejoiced to see four of the men climb from their bunks and slip to their knees on the floor. “Now I will teach you the prayer our Savior taught His disciples.” And Valentine slowly repeated the words of the Lord’s Prayer. Soon others were joining in with, “Our Father, which art in heaven . . .”

Suddenly they heard the tramp of boots outside and the grating of a big key in the lock. Before the jailer could get to his feet, the heavy door swung open revealing the overseer of the southern Ukrainian prisons.

The overseer cursed in anger.

“Ivanovitch, you swine, what is going on here? Oh, yes, now I see. It is that Valentine Leer here again. These Baptists,” he roared, “when you have one, you have two. If there are two, there will be four. And now look we have six, and one of them is my jailer.”

“All right,” he sighed, “let him go. And do not bring that little Leer into one of my jails again. He makes as many converts inside as he does outside!”

Well, I am free to go home again, Valentine thought, pushing along through the mud. Home to what? A few acres of land which could be taken from him at any time, Russian schools for his children where they would be indoctrinated with the Orthodox belief, military service which might take him from home for many years to fight in wars of conquest he could not conscientiously support, and most important, to a total lack of understanding of what religious freedom should be.

He realized that he had come to the place where he must either give up his spiritual work for others or be prepared for a future which could include not only the Velva jail, but also a Siberian prison.

He had almost memorized the words of Herr Wall’s letter—”There is freedom here in America, Valentine. You can worship or not, as you please. You can change your religion, preach any message you wish—no one hinders you in any way.”

Valentine turned to look at the fields of home. He would miss the rich acres and the mild climate as well as the Russian people. But when he would plow and plant and preach again, it would be on freedom’s soil.

Sequel: Valentine Leer did come to America. He was a Baptist at that time. In America he met an English speaking man who shared the Ten Commandments with him. That was all it took. The Holy Spirit gave him understanding as he studied for himself.

Valentine Leer raised up twenty-five Seventh-day Adventist churches in North and South Dakota. He also raised $70,000 for the College of Medical Evangelists to give young people the opportunity he did not have—to learn.

The American branch of the Leer family prospered and grew over the years. Many of them are missionaries, ministers and teachers carrying on the family tradition of active service for the Lord like their progenitor, Valentine Leer.


Editorial — To All the Believers Around the World

The year of 1997 has slipped into the annuls of history. What is on the record? What have we done for Jesus? Have we strengthened the feeble knees that hang down? Have we dared to risk everything to spread the Three Angels’ Messages? Have we stood boldly against apostasy?

Another year has now come. What will we do for Jesus this year? We must take a united stand against error. It is time for us to gird on the armour of God and take up our charges against the enemy of truth. It is not time to be downcast and discouraged. We must lift up our heads, for our redemption draweth nigh. Jesus is coming soon. When it looks as though all is lost, then it is that God will work. David said, “It is time for the Thee, Lord, to work: for they have made void Thy law.” Psalms 119:126.

As we look around us, we can surely see that that time has come again. The world is trampling on the law of God, and worse yet, those who profess to be God’s elect are teaching that God’s law cannot be kept. I am ashamed to hear of it and ashamed to write it. God’s professed people have dishonored His name. The barriers of God’s holy law are being weakened and torn down within God’s professed church. “Those who have had the greatest light and privileges have become contaminated by the prevailing iniquity. Influenced by the unrighteous around them, many, even of those who profess the truth, have grown cold and are borne down by the strong current of evil. The universal scorn thrown upon true piety and holiness leads those who do not connect closely with God to lose their reverence for His law. If they were following the light and obeying the truth from the heart, this holy law would seem even more precious to them when thus despised and set aside.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 209.

It is time to raise a cry of warning, a cry full of love and entreaty. It is a time to expose the prevailing iniquity in the world and the church, in hopes that some may be saved. “While others try to throw a cloak over the existing evil, and excuse the great wickedness everywhere prevalent, those who have a zeal for God’s honor and a love for souls will not hold their peace to obtain favor of any.” Ibid., 210.

Do we love the souls for whom Jesus died? Then, in the name of our all powerful Redeemer, tell them (and show them) that through His grace we can and must keep His law. Warn them that those who despise His law will perish in their iniquities. Assure them that the only way of peace is to turn from sin and to learn to love and obey God’s law. Jesus will never turn one weeping, contrite one away. “He healeth the broken in heart, and bindeth up their wounds.” Psalms 147:3. But those who cling to sin and worldliness will eventually pass the boundaries of His grace.

The day is coming when even respected ministers and leaders, who have been indifferent to the prevailing apostasy, will cross that fearful boundary. “Those who have been regarded as worthy and righteous prove to be ring-leaders in apostasy and examples in indifference and in the abuse of God’s mercies. Their wicked course He will tolerate no longer, and in His wrath He deals with them without mercy.” Ibid., 212.

Oh, what a fearful day that will be! Only those who are sheltered under God’s wings of truth, those whose minds are fortified with the Bible, will be saved. Will you and I be among that blessed number?

Let us make 1998 a great year of preparation to meet Jesus. “It is now that we must keep ourselves and our children unspotted from the world. It is now that we must wash our robes of character and make them white in the blood of the Lamb. It is now that we must overcome pride, passion, and spiritual slothfulness. It is now that we must awake and make determined effort for symmetry of character . . .

“What are you doing, brethren, in the great work of preparation? Those who are uniting with the world are receiving the worldly mold and preparing for the mark of the beast. Those who are distrustful of self, who are humbling themselves before God and purifying their souls by obeying the truth—these are receiving the heavenly mold and preparing for the seal of God in their foreheads. When the decree goes forth and the stamp is impressed, their character will remain pure and spotless for eternity.

“Now is the time to prepare. The seal of God will never be placed upon the forehead of an impure man or woman. It will never be placed upon the forehead of the ambitious, world-loving man or woman. It will never be placed upon the forehead of men or women of false tongues or deceitful hearts. All who receive the seal must be without spot before God—candidates for heaven.” Ibid., 215, 216.

May you be among that blessed number!


Witnessing to People At the State Fair

“And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come.” Matthew 24:14. Jesus said that this gospel would be preached to all nations before He returned to receive His people to Himself. How is this to be accomplished? The Lord has given you and me the privilege to work for Him. He has called us to “cry out with a loud voice,” to “plead with the people,” and to present the “Third Angel’s Message.” He has asked us to tell his people to “come out of Babylon.” How can we accomplish this most sacred work for the Lord?

There are many avenues of witnessing. We can travel, do door to door evangelism, give Bible studies, feed the poor, visit the sick, be hospitable, preach, print books, give literature and magazines and much more. If we take advantage of our opportunities, if we listen to the guiding voice of the Holy Spirit, if we love Jesus more than ourselves, and if we love people more than ourselves, we will be looking for any opportunities to do the Lord’s work. A member of our church recently had back surgery. Most would not think of this as a witnessing opportunity. But God can turn even the worst situations into an opportunity. This gentleman was able to witness and even give whole Bible studies to nurses and patients in the hospital. He was only there three days and gave out many Spirit of Prophecy books and signed up several people for Bible studies through the mail. Is there anything impossible for God?

God is raising up a people for Himself, and a group of people who want to finish the work of getting out His last day message. Ellen White says, “If you are in communion with Christ, you will place His estimate upon men; you will feel for others the same anxiety, the same deep love that He has felt for you. Then you will be able to win, not drive, to attract, not repulse, the souls for whom Christ died.” She goes on to say, “Not one soul would ever have been brought back to the fold, if Christ had not made a personal effort to save that which was lost; and it is by this personal effort that you can rescue souls. If they stray, you will not, cannot rest in quiet indifference and ease. You will leave the ninety and nine that are within the fold, and will go out to seek the lost.” General Conference Bulletin, 23.

Leaves of Autumn

Last year we were looking for new avenues of witnessing. It was suggested that we secure a booth at the Kansas State Fair. Ellen White tells us that we should be represented at these kinds of events so we can spread God’s literature like the “leaves of autumn.” We were truly blessed both last year and this year by witnessing at the fair. The fair here in Kansas is a ten day event and there are always many exhibitors showing off their products and competing for the attention of the people. We were on the second floor of the commercial building and as you walk in the door and look up, you saw Steps to Life’s bright blue exhibit. It was the most outstanding booth in the building. Unlike the other exhibitors, we were not competing for the business of the people. On the contrary, we were giving away free books! As people passed by our booth, we would hold out a book and ask them, “Would you like a free book?” Most people are astounded that anyone would be giving away free books. As they passed by, they would often take either a book or a pamphlet and sometimes more than one. Last year, we featured the National Sunday Law as our give away book. This year, we featured two books: Who are the Angels and What’s Behind the New World Order? Both of these books are excerpts from The Great Controversy.

We found that more women liked the book on angels, and more men liked the book on the New World Order. We also found out that less people came to the fair this year than last, yet we were able to give away more books. Praise God. Let me give you a list of the books we gave away. You will be amazed. First, there were 7500 What’s Behind the New World Order and over 6000 Who are the Angels. We also gave out 600 National Sunday Law books, 1210 Steps to Christ for a Sanctified Life, 200 Why Protestants, Why Catholic (which is the same book as the New World Order book with a different title), 200 How to Quit Smoking, 100 How to Keep the Sabbath, 100 Uncertainty of Life, 400 8 Laws of Good Health, 1500 Wake Up to Wellness, 2000 Eat for Strength. (These three pamphlets were about God’s 8 laws of health and the harm that meat, caffeine, alcohol, and tobacco can have on the body.)

Health—Entering Wedge

Many people today are interested in good health. They are hungering for anything that will help them take off weight, avoid illnesses, and give them a better quality of life. We see in today’s world that God is able to use our health message to reach people for Christ. It is truly the right arm of the gospel. Many people want to quit smoking but are just not strong enough to overcome. Can you relate to not being strong enough of yourself to overcome sin? Jesus is strong enough, though. We can do all things through Christ who strengthens us. Philippians 4:13. Through our love for others, we can help them to find God’s answers to the dilemmas they face. The theme of our booth was the 8 Laws of Health. We listed them on our blue background in an easy to remember order. It spelled NEW START; Nutrition, Exercise, Water, Sunshine, Temperance, Air, Rest, Trust, in Divine Power. We even talked to many people about vegetarianism. Some were so interested that they bought Country Life cookbooks. Of course, as we presented healthy living to them, we also talked to them about God’s plan for their lives.

We saw many people at the fair this year that we saw last year. One was an exhibitor who was very interested in the National Sunday Law book. When she saw that we were back out at the fair again this year, she rushed down to our booth to see if she could acquire three more National Sunday Law books. She said she had people who had to read this book. Her name was Virginia. Virginia also told us that she had been talking to her daughter about the Sabbath and on what day the Sabbath fell upon. Her daughter said it wasn’t Saturday, so Virginia told her to read the National Sunday Law book. After reading this book, her daughter decided to do some investigative work to prove it all wrong or right. She later came back and told her mother, “You know, Mom, you were right!” Then she went to work and started telling all her coworkers about the Sabbath. Praise God!

We also met another lady who had been at the fair last year and she also had read the National Sunday Law book. She was convicted on the truth and when she saw us at the fair this year, she came over to get more of our books. She told us that she believed the truth and wanted to keep the Sabbath. She said that when she had read the book, she went to talk to her pastor to get some answers, but her pastor could not give her any good rebuttals to the truth she had learned. The devil can not do anything against the truth of God. She told us that she had recently moved to Iowa and wanted to know if we knew of any home churches. Do we ever! We are setting her up with a home church in Iowa so that she can worship with God’s true Seventh-day Adventist people.

Our very first day at the fair was very exciting. We were passing out books left and right. Suddenly, two gentlemen came up to me and started talking to us about God. They were very enthusiastic about following Jesus the way He said to follow Him. We talked about overcoming sin and that this is why we need the Holy Spirit in our lives. They agreed and said today most people do not believe you can overcome sin. Then one of the men asked me to tell him on what day the Sabbath fell.

I said, “What does the Bible say?”

He said, “The Bible tells me it is the seventh day, which would be Saturday.”

“That’s right,” I said. He was amazed.

He said that we were the first people he has met that agree with him. He then asked “When does it start and end?”

I said, “What does the Bible say?”

He said, “The Bible tells me that it starts from Friday sunset to Saturday sunset.”

“That is correct,” I said.

“You mean you believe that too?” he said.

“Yes, we believe in only what the Bible says. We go by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God,” I said.

As we talked further, I found that he had learned all this from studying his Bible and searching for the truth. He told me that they had no where to worship God and did not know of anyone who believed as he did. I discussed starting a home church in his area. He is very excited about the home church idea and wants to learn how to keep the Sabbath properly. He has even offered to let us use a small warehouse which he is building for his company to worship in. God is wonderful!

High School Students

We had many high school students at the fair and some were there not solely for fun. Some had school projects, and they were working on customer service. We found this out as they came by our booth and loaded up on books and pamphlets. They said they were looking for bad customer service and we were not it. As they went from booth to booth, we saw one student earnestly reading What’s Behind the New World Order. He was sitting directly opposite our booth at a rest area. We continued to pass out books and talk to people, periodically looking over to where this young man was sitting. He must have read half that book before he moved on, because he sat there for a very long time. We could tell that this young man was going to have more than customer service stories to share with friends and family.

Of course, there is always a down side to every effort to do Gods’ work. Satan is out to discourage and destroy the people of God and all who would listen to them. This should not dishearten us, though. God’s people triumph in the face of adversity. When you pass out free literature, you must expect some people to take the books and throw them away. Pastor Marcussen calls his National Sunday Law books little preachers. I agree with this analogy when speaking of literature that leads people to the truth. When people threw these books at the fair, it was like shooting these poor little preachers. But God is merciful. Periodically, we would send out our medics and nurses to check the trash cans and retrieve the wounded little preachers.

Some had been destroyed, but a lot were just wounded and after retrieval and revival, we sent these little books back out to fight the battle against the powers of darkness. One man read the New World Order book and was furious. We watched as he climbed the stairs, rounded the corner, then the second corner, then to our booth and said “This is what I think of you and your book.” He ripped it in half and threw it in the trash can in front of our booth. He then stormed off looking very pleased with himself. But I think we had more people take the books after his big show. They probably were interested to find out why he was so upset. The children who helped at our booth were a big help handing out literature and checking trash cans. These little helpers of God were not too proud to go and retrieve these little books. Remember Virginia that I told you about earlier? Her booth was at a very strategic corner where people would throw away their books. She was helping with our booth by retrieving books thrown away in her trash can. Does God have everything planned out?

The Lord wants to use each one of us to complete His work, but we need to listen to that still small voice which is the Holy Spirit. One morning as I was getting the booth ready, I had sat down to d o some morning devotions. As I was reading, I was impressed by the Holy Spirit. I looked downstairs and saw a girl who was running a horoscope booth. I was impressed that I should go down and give her a book. So I picked out a book and some pamphlets, and I went downstairs, walked up to her and said, “Hi. I was upstairs doing my devotions and the Lord impressed me that I should give these books to you. I hope you will enjoy them.” She said thank you, and I walked off. That was the last time I saw her at the booth. I do not know if she read the books or what the Lord is doing in her life. I do know that she did not sell horoscopes anymore. God knows the hearts of the people. We need to just follow his guiding hand and listen to the urging of His Spirit.

Call Now for Next Year

“The harvest truly, is great, but the laborers are few; therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest.” Luke 10:2. God wants all to be laborers for His harvest. There are many people who will be saved if we love them enough to give them this message. The state fair in your area is a great way to reach people with His last day message. You will need to get in contact with your state fair as soon as possible. They fill up booth spaces very quickly. Remember, time is growing short. Paul said in 2 Timothy 4:2-5: “Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrines, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned away to fables. But you be watchful in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.” There will come a time when people will no longer listen to God’s last day messages. We are responsible for the people we know and will have to answer for those who we did not love enough to give them the message. The fair is a great way to meet people and to present God’s message. I encourage you, reader, and your church to actively get involved in witnessing. We at Steps to Life want to help you to get God’s Three Angels’ Messages out to the world. Let us know how we can help.

Bible Study Guides – Tested on Stewardship

January 29, 2012 – February 4, 2012

The Christian’s Calling

Key Text

“How is it that I hear this of thee? give an account of thy stewardship.” Luke 16:2.

Study Help: Christ’s Object Lessons, 325–365.


“Every gift, every talent, every ray of light, is ours as a sacred trust, bestowed upon us that we may win souls to Christ.” The Review and Herald, February 27, 1894.


  • Why was God’s greatest gift bestowed upon us—unworthy as we are—and how should we respond to it? John 3:16, 17; Romans 5:6–10.

Note: “The gift of Christ to the world was beyond computation, and no power could compete with God by giving a gift that would bear any comparison to the value of heaven’s best treasure. The greatness of this gift was to furnish men with a theme of thanksgiving and praise that would last through time and through eternity. Having given His all in Christ, God lays claim to the heart, mind, soul, and strength of man. Looking upon the treasure which God has provided in the full and complete gift of Christ, we can exclaim: ‘Herein is love’ [I John 4:10]!” Our High Calling, 18.

  • What must we consider about our accountability toward the One who bestows every good gift and talent? Romans 14:10, last part, 12; James 1:17.

Note: “If you are true disciples of Christ, you will consecrate every talent, and be able to reach out for the unconverted, by ways and methods that will be effective. You will be active, working agencies for Christ.” The Signs of the Times, May 29, 1893.

“Every human being will have to give an account to God for the way in which he has used his entrusted talents.” This Day With God, 318.


  • How does our standing in the hour of judgment involve all that we have ever received from God? Luke 16:1, 2.

Note: “To every man God has entrusted talents for wise improvement. If rightly used, these talents will reflect glory to the Giver. But the most precious gifts of God may be perverted, and thus become a curse rather than a blessing.” Our High Calling, 218.

“We must train and improve our ability that we may not disappoint our Master, but reach the highest possible standard, and thus influence others to follow in the footsteps of our Example. We may say, ‘Neither society nor intimate companions must have their ideas of Christian character cheapened by my course of action.’ ” Ibid., 290.

“Why have you been so passive? Why have you done so little? … What have you gained by serving self at the sacrifice of the best interests of God’s cause?” The Review and Herald, December 5, 1907.

“The talents of God’s people are to be employed in giving the last message of mercy to the world.” Counsels to Parents, Teachers, and Students, 494.

“If we do but one third of that which we have entrusted talents to do, the other two thirds are working against Christ.” Testimonies, vol. 6, 439.

  • When we consider the abilities and talents God has given us—whether small or great—what is our continual duty? II Corinthians 13:5, 6.

Note: “Every energy, every endowment, is a talent that should contribute to God’s glory by being used in His service. Our God-given capabilities should not be made to serve selfish ends. We should always be willing to impart, letting others know all that we know; and we should rejoice, if they in their work develop an energy and an intelligence superior to that which we possess.

“God’s gifts are not to be used for the exaltation of self, but are to be put out to the exchangers, so that He shall receive His own with usury. Let not one attempt to secure greatness, happiness, or self-gratification by diverting from their proper use the powers with which he is endowed; for by so doing he dishonors the Giver, and fails of fulfilling the purpose for which he was created.” This Day With God, 132.

“As a people we have had great light. Oh, that we were awake to the purposes of God and to our individual responsibility! Then would we use every gift, every talent, in the work of giving to the world the truth for this time.” Pacific Union Recorder, August 28, 1902.


  • What did Christ say concerning Peter’s curiosity about John? John 21:20–22.

Note: “We have a personal work, an individual responsibility, a personal account to render, and it is our own salvation we must secure, for it is a matter of individual concern. … The piety and obedience of others will not save us or be doing our work. Their efforts will never be registered against our names as ours. …

“God has left to every one of us our work—not the temporal labor as planting, sowing, reaping, and gathering in the harvest, but to build up His kingdom, to bring souls to the knowledge of the truth, and to regard this as our first and highest duty. God has claims upon us. He has endowed us with capabilities and given us opportunities, if we will see them and improve them. These obligations to God none but ourselves, individually, can meet.” Our High Calling, 303.

  • What should we consider when tempted to compare ourselves with others? II Corinthians 10:12.

Note: “The delinquencies of others … will be no excuse for any one to follow their example, because Christ is lifted up as the only true Pattern—faultless, pure, uncorrupted.” Our High Calling, 303.

“What shall be said of those who, having had many years of experience in the truth, and many precious advantages for growth in grace, are yet inclined toward the world, and find pleasure in its amusements and display? Instead of going on from strength to strength, they are, little by little, departing from God, and losing their spiritual life. …

“Talent can never take the place of piety, nor can the applause of men recommend us to the favor of God.” Ibid., 218.

“The knowledge of the truth is altogether too precious to be hoarded up, and bound about, and hid in the earth. Even the one talent entrusted by the Master is to be faithfully employed.” Ibid., 290.

  • In Christ’s prayer to His Father, what task did He entrust to His followers? John 17:18.

Note: “We are individually responsible. We ourselves should be our concern. Are we in all our words and actions building up the kingdom of Christ, or are we tearing down?” Our High Calling, 303.


  • What sobering thought comes to mind when we consider our talents during the times in which we are living? John 9:4; Judges 5:23.

Note: “Could the ledger of Heaven be opened before us, we would be greatly astonished at the large proportion of professing Christians who really contribute nothing toward the upbuilding of Christ’s kingdom, who put forth no efforts for the salvation of souls. Such are slothful servants. Many who are satisfied not to do much good, flatter themselves that they are doing no harm so long as they do not oppose the earnest, active workers. But this class are doing much harm by their example. …

“The slothful servant was not condemned for what he had done, but for what he had not done. There is no more dangerous enemy to the cause of God than an indolent Christian. An open profaner does less harm, for he deceives no one; he appears what he is, a brier, a thorn. The do-nothings are the greatest hindrance.” Our High Calling, 302.

  • In this busy age of constant struggle for economic survival, what should be foremost in the mind of all who profess to believe the present truth? Mark 8:36–38.

Note: “The heavenly Guest is standing at your door, while you are piling up obstructions to bar His entrance. Jesus is knocking through the prosperity He gives you. He loads you with blessings to test your fidelity, that they may flow out from you to others. Will you permit your selfishness to triumph? Will you squander God’s talents, and lose your soul through idolatrous love of the blessings He has given?” The Review and Herald, November 2, 1886.

“We are living in a time when there should be deep thought and solemn consideration. What shall be the end of these things? What profit is there under the sun?” Ibid., March 6, 1894.

“What shall we say, what can we say, to arouse those who know the truth, both ministers and lay members, to a sense of their responsibility? How can they be led to feel the burden of imparting to others the truth God has imparted to them? O that they were awake to the purposes of God and to their individual responsibility! Then would they use every gift, every talent, in the work of giving to the world the truth for this time. The number of laborers would greatly increase, and the work would grow in influence and extent. God’s people would be light bearers, shining amid the darkness of this degenerate age.” Australasian Union Conference Record, August 1, 1902.


  • How do the signs of the times relate to our talents? Matthew 24:32, 33.

Note: “Am I [Ellen White] so familiar with the ‘sure word of prophecy’ that I can see in the events transpiring around me positive evidence that the coming King is even at the door? Do I sense the responsibility that rests upon me, in view of the light God has given? Am I using every talent entrusted to me as His steward, in well-directed effort to rescue the perishing? or am I lukewarm and indifferent, partly mixed up with a wicked world, using the means and ability God has given me, largely in self-gratification, caring more for my own ease and comfort than for the advancement of His cause?” The General Conference Bulletin, April 1, 1897.

“If ever there was a time when men and women should have an assurance that they are co-partners with Christ in the saving of the world, it is now.” The Review and Herald, April 9, 1895.

  • What inspired declaration should echo in each heart? Galatians 6:14.

Note: “Call every talent into exercise to copy the Pattern. Christ died to save man, and He calls upon us to live as seeing Him who is invisible, that we may save souls. Then seek the Lord most earnestly. Eternal life at the right hand of God is worth a lifelong, persevering, untiring effort. Look to the cross of Calvary, and be no longer half-hearted. It is either life or death with every one of us; and when we surrender all, then Jesus will open ways that we may serve Him with every power of our being. The Lord would have us gather up the rays of light, and be witnesses for Christ.” The Signs of the Times, November 28, 1892.


1 What example did God demonstrate in giving us His Son?

2 In what ways may I be misusing the talents God has given me?

3 Why is competition to have no place in the Christian experience?

4 Why does the mere struggle for economic survival fall short of God’s plan?

5 As we consider Christ’s sacrifice on the cross, what should we do with the talents entrusted to us?

© 2005 Reformation Herald Publishing Association, Roanoke, Virginia. Reprinted by permission.

Reporting from Montana, USA – In Everything Give Thanks

When I worked for a large corporation in Anchorage, Alaska, the job required frequent travel. I usually flew on Alaska Airlines. When Alaska Airlines serves their meals to their customers, they always place a little card on each tray with the following Bible verse: “It is a good thing to give thanks unto the Lord, and to sing praises unto Thy name, O most High: to shew forth Thy lovingkindness in the morning, and Thy faithfulness every night.” Psalms 92:1, 2. That thought has never left me. It is good for us and we are even required to give thanks unto the Lord, for we read in 1 Thessalonians 5:18: “In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.”

Most of the time we forget to thank the Lord. We dwell on the dark side of life, and on the failings of others, because of this we become discouraged and unhappy. I am glad that the owners of that airline had the idea and the courage to place these verses on my tray. I am only one life they touched with these messages from God’s Word. This is what I would like to do with my life—to touch the lives of other people so they have a desire to follow Jesus more closely, not to follow a man or a system, but the Lord of the Church. The 144,000 are doing that according to Revelation 14:4 — “they follow the Lamb.” Even if we can touch only one individual in our life and that one person is saved, it was all well worth it. It would be better to help one soul to be truly converted and saved, than to baptize fifty people that are not converted and will be lost anyway.

I read a statement in Testimonies, vol. 2, 246: “One soul saved, to live throughout the ages of eternity, to praise God and the Lamb, is of more value than millions in money.”

My being here on earth is no accident. God is in control. He always has been and always will be and that’s good news.

Just looking back in my own life, I remember when God saved me from drowning as a little child; when He led us out of Berlin four weeks before a bomb destroyed the apartment complex my parents lived in; when He helped us to escape from the Russian army in East Germany while they were only one mile away from the place we stayed; when He brought us safely to a little village in Bavaria (West Germany), hundreds of miles southwest; when He protected us from various severe bombing attacks in Bavaria; when He brought my father safely home from a three and a half year prison term in Siberia, and when we learned the beautiful Three Angels’ Messages through the Seventh-day Adventist movement. I can only marvel and be grateful for His leading.

As a young man I immigrated to the United States, and served for two years in the U.S.A. Army. During my overseas stay, I met my first wife with whom I was privileged to spend twenty-eight blessed years raising three nice children. During my first years in the U.S.A. I became acquainted with several sincere, upright, honest, and spiritual Seventh-day Adventist Christians. Today I would consider them Historic Seventh-day Adventists. God used them to impress upon my mind and heart the importance of the messages given by Him to Ellen White, in the Spirit of Prophecy—one of the main signs of the true Church. In Testimonies, vol. 4, 148, I read this statement: “In ancient times God spoke to men by the mouth of prophets and apostles. In these days He speaks to them by the testimonies of His Spirit. There was never a time when God instructed His people more earnestly than He instructs them now concerning His will and the course that He would have them pursue.” But will they profit by His teachings? Will they receive His reproofs and heed His warnings?”

There is a very important statement found in Selected Messages, vol. 1, 48, which says: “The very last deception of Satan will be to make of none effect the testimony of the Spirit of God . . . There will be a hatred kindled against the testimonies which is satanic . . . Satan cannot have so clear a track to bring in his deceptions and bind up souls in his delusions if the warnings and reproofs and counsels of the Spirit of God are heeded.” When I read this I was convicted and determined to remain true and faithful to God by heeding His counsels and encourage others to do so.

When false teachers, theories, and the modern theology crept into the church, when finally celebration and NLP and the tearing down of standards came into the church, I already had a good foundation by being grounded in the Spirit of Prophecy. We read in Selected Messages, vol. 3, 84: “All who believe that the Lord has spoken through Sister White, and has given her a message, will be safe from the many delusions that will come in these last days.”

It was several months after my wife died of cancer in 1993 that I was invited by the Printed Page to go to Romania, Poland, Czech Republic, and Germany to speak to various independent groups and conference churches encouraging them to stay faithful to the historic message given to this movement over a hundred years ago, and not to follow any man or system or to believe any new teachings without testing them by the Bible and the Spirit of Prophecy. The early believers checked out Paul’s teachings as we read in Acts 17:11: “These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the work with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.” If they had to check out Paul by the written Word, then we surely must check out every one that comes along today, and if he preaches the truth, he has nothing to worry about because the truth will stand.

During one of my speaking appointments in Germany I met a lovely Christian woman, who I married this month. We plan to use our time and talents to glorify Jesus and to be an encouragement to others.

For the past three years I have been priviliged to speak as a layworker to various groups and churches in Europe and the States, for various independent ministries, and in some conference churches. I am not interested in erecting walls of separation but in encouraging people to follow Jesus alone and the truth He has given to this movement. My main goal is to encourage each one, myself included, to become like Jesus in character. “It is character that decides destiny.” Christ Object Lessons, 74. “It is. . . the possession of a Christlike character that will open to us the gates of Paradise.” Christian Service, 247.

It is my goal and desire to continue to be a blessing and a support to my local church and wherever the Lord wants me to share that information in order to prepare a people for the coming of the Lord.

We are told in the book Desire of Ages, 253, that “Jesus had nothing to do with subjects of dissension among the Jews. It was His work to present the truth.” “He denied the right of the priests and rabbis to question Him or to interfere with His work.” Desire of Ages, 211. “Jesus taught the Scriptures as of unquestionable authority.” Ibid., 253. “As the Son of man, Christ would stand loyal to God.” Ibid., 114.

Jesus is my example, He is my leader, and I want to follow Him in my personal life and in the presentation of my messages as we find in Testimonies, vol. 5, 147: “Choose poverty, reproach, separation from friends, or any suffering rather than to defile the soul with sin. Death before dishonor or the transgression of God’s law should be the motto of every Christian.” May the Lord help us in this endeavor.

Reporting from Oklahoma, USA

In 1987 my husband and I began a Bible Correspondence School. Our goal was to cover Oklahoma with the opportunity to study the Bible. Our flyer offered a FREE Bible to those who might not have one as well as free Bible Study Guides. We did not worry as to how many baptisms would result. We only thought of the benefits of getting the literature into the homes so the Holy Spirit could work and reveal truth to searching hearts. We remembered that the Lord does not work to bring many souls into the church right now because many of us are unconverted. But it is always time to sow seeds in preparation of the Loud Cry. That is when we plan to do most of the reaping of the work that is now being done.

Our program was designed for rural areas since they are the least worked. Everyone gets mail delivery. Reaching people through the mail seemed the most feasible method of designing our outreach. With 77 counties in Oklahoma we decided to cover one county at a time. We used all our spare funds to get things ready. By the fall of the year we sent our first flyers. Our response was one-half to two percent return. As people heard of the work, they wanted to help too. Some people helped get lessons and books ready to mail, others gave money, and many people prayed.

Other churches heard of our project and asked us to cover the rural routes of their cities or counties. This gave them names to visit and opportunity for invitations to Revelation Seminars and evangelistic meetings. Our flyers found backslidden SDAs and the lessons sent to new SDAs helped to ground them in truths they had already discovered.

Later, our church became involved in helping get cards offering a FREE Great Controversy and Bible Studies, ready for the mail. We were able to obtain a non-profit, bulk mailing permit which saved thousands of dollars in postage and enabled us to cover more area at one time.

Today we have expanded so that we have several people employed as well as a whole church full of volunteers. Our work covers other states as well. We send cards out for other church groups all over the United States as long as they pay the very minimal expenses involved. They can decide if they want us to send the Great Controversy and the lessons or they can choose to do it themselves.

God has also opened the way for us to mail the National Sunday Law book all over the United States for Amazing Truth in Illinois. Our non-profit status saves thousands of dollars in postage and our church volunteers love the work.

To date we have covered all but 18 counties in Oklahoma and have sent thousands of Bible studies, books, and literature throughout our state. We are making plans to do a second coverage with the National Sunday Law and in fact have already covered five counties. The responses are tremendous. Several people have been baptized and many others are giving serious consideration to the subject of the Sabbath. After doing a coverage of one county with the National Sunday Law book, one lady wrote in, regarding her convictions for the Sabbath, and said that the book had really created a stir in her town.

If a person or church group cannot afford to cover a whole county, start with one town or one route. But do something! The more seeds we sow now in times of peace the more souls we will reap in the harvest of the Loud Cry!

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Reporting from Maryland, USA

I am a certified public accountant. Together with my son, I have a small localized accounting practice in the Maryland suburbs of our nation’s capitol. Since our operations are rather generalized, covering a range of duties from tax planning and preparation to financial planning and auditing, we have a unique opportunity to meet and work with people in diverse stations of life. We sometimes refer to ourselves as financial doctors. To some, lacking a full understanding of our function, this work may sound mercenary and totally secular.

To the contrary, however, we believe there is a direct relationship between a person’s heart and his wallet. Many are the chances that come our way to assist people struggling with personal and corporate economic difficulties. We can often present remedies by sound budgeting, debt restructuring and avoidance, and even good stewardship. In the area of stewardship we can help two ways: first, we demonstrate how you can reduce your taxes in giving to the Lord’s activities. And, secondly, we can point out that God multiplies our meager resources as we are faithful in returning our tithe to Him.

In a personal way we offer to assist with accounting, computer software, and financial audits for Historic Seventh-day Adventist Churches and the members who require such help. At this writing, I am involved in helping one of these churches who have been investigated for possible failure to pay sales taxes where the state taxing authorities have made certain allegations. Our experience in this area is helping to resolve the matter and show the church to be fully exempt of the sales tax provisions in this case.

Another way we can help the Historic churches is by providing an annual audit. Often criticisms circulate that we are not audited. As we hold CPA licenses this matter can be cared for at a greatly reduced cost to the church. Good accountability enhances good stewardship and faithful giving promotes the Gospel proclamation. This is how we see our work relating to helping prepare a people for the end.

“I saw that there was great inefficiency in the bookkeeping in many departments of the cause. Bookkeeping is, and ever will be, an important part of the work; and those who have become expert in it are greatly needed in our institutions and in all branches of the missionary work. It is a work that requires study that it may be done with correctness and dispatch, and without worry or overtaxation; but the training of competent persons for this work has been shamefully neglected. It is a disgrace to allow a work of such magnitude as ours to be done in a defective, inaccurate way. God wants as perfect work as it is possible for human beings to do. It is a dishonor to sacred truth and its Author to do His work in any other way.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 553.

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The Closing Work in Ghana

“Among earth’s inhabitants, scattered in every land, there are those who have not bowed the knee to Baal. Like the stars of heaven, which appear only at night, these faithful ones will shine forth when darkness covers the earth and gross darkness the people. In heathen Africa, in the Catholic lands of Europe and of South America, in China, in India, in the islands of the sea, and in the dark corners of the earth, God has in reserve a firmament of chosen ones that will yet shine forth amidst the darkness, revealing clearly to an apostate world the transforming of obedience to His law.” Prophets and Kings, 188. In our part of the Lord’s vineyard, Ghana, in West Africa, (In fact heathenism is now a thing of the past here) the Historic Adventist Group has always sought to maintain primitive godliness, and to be a part of faithful ones proclaiming the message of the third angel. What methods do they use?

In 1991 I had a chance to attend a Bible Workers’ Seminar in Canada. In the process, it came out that there are various means of reaching the world with the gospel: Tracts, pamphlets, books, Bible studies, magazines, loaf of bread, cooking classes, letters, a telephone ministry, Sabbath schools, character building stories, a prison ministry; the list can go on and on. A good emphasis was put on acquisition of training before one can work effectively in any of these areas.

The Ghanaian group lacks most of these logistics, though good in themselves. But with the assurance that “The Lord will work through humble instruments leading the minds of those who consecrate themselves to His service. The laborers will be qualified rather by the unction of His Spirit than by the training of literary institutions. Men of faith and prayer will be constrained to go forth with holy zeal, declaring the words which God gives them.” Evangelism, 699. His members and workers are fully engaged in the proclamation of the Third Angels’ Message. In this article, I want to share with you some of the unique experiences we have had during the past year.

General profile of work in the churches

Every individual is involved in the house-to-house work especially on Sabbath afternoons.

Volunteer groups like “Christ Support Groups” in Kumasi and Accra are seriously complementing the efforts of ministers.

During the last Easter holidays the youth wing of the church had a 4-day fasting and prayer session, with the view of getting the power of the Holy Spirit to proclaim the Third Angel’s Message.

Efforts in the Gold Mining City

Prominent among the strategies used here are door-to-door evangelism, open air crusades, and preaching on the streets. In February 1995, our Mobile Gospel Team (comprising Pastor Sam Bempong, and Evangelists Boakye, Kusj and Anning) embarked on a four week open air crusade at Obuasi (a gold mining town). Apart from going from house to house, they also sold 1080 cassette tapes. These tapes have the following messages recorded on them in the local language: Christian marriage; In the Days of Noah; Who is a Christian?; The Judgment; Health Reform Principles; Prophecy (Daniel 2, 7 and Revelation 13) ; and Is Rapture Real? The interest was indescribable. One hundred and nine persons are receiving Bible studies, and thirty-five souls joined the local church. An interested individual sold his old 15-seater Volkswagen bus to the group. The bus is now running on a second-hand Toyota Carina engine.

The Tema Crusade

Between late June and early August 1995 (4 weeks), the mobile team moved to Tema, an industrial city near Accra, the capital of Ghana. Fifteen souls were won to the Lord and 78 others are receiving Bible lessons. Here too, 430 tapes were sold.

Dunkirk Street Preaching

Dunkirk is a spot close to the center of Kumasi, the city where we have the church headquarters. At this spot daytime street preaching has been going on since July 1993. On a typical day the mobile team and/or some lay members will mount platforms and use the prophecy series in Daniel and Revelation printed on cloths to warn passers-by who are easily attracted to the spot. In fact, many souls have joined our various churches through this effort. Notably, the Tema church was started around an individual who first heard of the message at Dunkirk. Recently, the emphasis has shifted to medical evangelism, where Evangelist Adu Poku (Head of our Sanitorium Unit) and his group are doing the work of the mobile team, whereas the original mobile team has moved into the districts to help for a time.

Now and Beyond

This year, with the establishment of Steps to Life Bible Correspondence School in Accra, more souls are being reached. The lessons are structured in such a way that, midway, the students would be approached by contact persons from the church. Everyone is busy doing his or her part. Dear reader, this is a group that has little, but offers all. Why don’t you get on board?

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Reporting From Kansas, USA

Our goal at Steps to life has simply been to be a humble instrument in the hand of God for the preaching of the Three Angels’ Messages to all the world through television, radio, video, and audio tapes, seminars and revival meetings, evangelism meetings, and the printed page. In addition to this, we want to be a humble instrument in the hand of God to awaken a sleeping church with the Elijah message—”to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.” (Luke 1:17) We believe that the work will be finished in the world-field in the same way that it is finished in our local community (which is the largest metropolitan area in the state of Kansas). For this reason we are actively engaged in evangelistic work here.

From the beginning, we have found that it is the lessons that the Lord is teaching us that enables us to give counsel and to be a blessing to God’s people in other parts of the world enduring similar trials. When people have related to us their trials, we have marveled that God has already led us through a very similar experience right here in Wichita, and we have been able to relate our experience which God used to bring encouragement to others. This we believe is of the Lord and want all praise and thanksgiving to go to Him alone.

One of the main lessons we are learning is that the only way that we can stay on the strait and narrow is to be involved in evangelism. From the trials we have been through in the past, we have learned that any time we lose sight of the big picture, we in are danger of making a serious mistake. Although we believe in literature distribution, if that does not result in Bible studies, almost no harvest will be reaped. In his last sermon, Marshall said that we must go far beyond giving out literature. Giving Bible studies that do not result in baptisms and having baptisms without a church to bring people to where they can get rooted and grounded in the Third Angel’s Message and become sanctified will not accomplish our mission.

Can you be saved if you are not involved in working for the salvation of others? “If they [church members] refuse to practise self-denial, and fail to place themselves in the channel where the Lord, by his Spirit can work through them, they are not registered as Christians in the books of heaven.” Review and Herald, March 22, 1898.

For this reason, Marshall established a ministry to help every one of God’s people to be involved in all phases of evangelism. Some people can sponsor radio or television programs; others can organize churches and use Steps to Life Bible Studies to bring eternal life to their acquaintances; others can take the prophecy seminar scripts and use them to hold prophecy seminar meetings, and others can distribute Land Marks to help awaken and prepare the church for the coming of the Lord. Some can start Bible Correspondence Schools. Audio and video tapes are produced, not only for home church meetings, but to help God’s bleeding, torn, and scattered flock to organize and become more successful in evangelism, church organization and administration and to help us all to put on the wedding garment. The bottom line is that we exist as servants of God’s last army which has the responsibility of giving the Loud Cry under the Latter Rain.

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Reporting From New Zealand

Hope International (NZ) Ltd. Was formed officially back in 1987 after George Burnside, Ron Spear, and others visited New Zealand. Doug Hurley and I were the original founders and a board was formed. The self-supporting work had been going on in New Zealand since the early part of 1980. The work was financed by individuals who worked during the day and witnessed during the night. The formation of this self-supporting ministry was an attempt by dedicated laymen to promulgate the Three Angel’s Message as blended with the Righteousness by Faith message of 1888. It was first financed by the private saving of the founders and several sizable donations from conservative SDAs who believed the church which we all loved was losing the plot.

The ministry has gone from strength to strength and now has eight full-time workers operating computers, printing presses, a book shop, and mail orders for books, tapes, etc. There are several part-time workers and volunteers. It is obvious to those who have watched the spectacular progress of the ministry that a greater Hand than the founders or the board has been over the work.

The ministry’s work has expanded into the Pacific Islands, and at the moment we are actively at work in Fiji, Vanautu, Solomon Islands, and Papua, New Guinea. We support a full-time worker in Fiji who is having wonderful results in his health mission. We also ship tracts and large numbers of tabloid papers there. The Hurley family ran a health mission both in Fiji and Vanuatu. Last year I also ran a workshop in the Pango SDA Church in Vanuatu and an Outreach Mission in the capital, Port Vila. We have just shipped a large screen video projector to the Solomon Islands for the work over there. In Papua, New Guinea, the work is starting to explode as the common people are finding out about the Righteousness by Faith Message. We have just shipped a printing press, plate maker, and a quantity of paper to the brethren in P.N.G. this will allow cheap tracts containing our vital truth to go like the leaves of autumn all over this exciting country. We work in the Islands very closely with various ministries in Australia who are doing a wonderful work all over the Western Pacific. The ministry helped with speakers to P.N.G. Last year and will again send a speaker in July, if our visas get granted. There is a growing opposition to the work by those who are not going in themselves, yet they are trying to hinder those who want to go in.

The ministry runs two or three camps a year in New Zealand. Our big camp is at Easter, which is Autumn. It is held in the country and is very well attended by people from all over New Zealand. We hold an October camp in New Zealand’s capital city, Wellington, which is at the bottom of the North Island. We are holding a camp in late June this year in Auckland which is the largest city in New Zealand. The ministry brings speakers from many parts of the world and they travel the length of New Zealand giving talks to conservative SDAs and holding outreach meetings. The ministry has been supporting street workers for many years. Hundreds of thousands of tracts have been handed out on the streets in just about every city and town in New Zealand.

We have had a booth on health for several years now at the Canterbury Agricultural and Pastoral Show. This has been a great opportunity to share vegetarian cooking and the basic laws of health. Thousands passed through in a matter of days. Two hundred boxes of clothing have just been packed for the Pacific by kind volunteers at the ministry. We also continue to send inexpensive Bibles to every part of the world.

The ministry has made several nationwide drops of newspaper which Australian Carey Rowlandson has pioneered. The mailing list has grown from about 35 in 1987 to approximately 1,000 today, This is a fair indication of the blessing God has given us as He takes the work into His own hands (Testimonies to Ministers, 300) and cuts it short in righteousness with the common people. We are committed to giving to all who wish to listen in the South Pacific area, the opportunity of eternal life through Christ Jesus the Son of David according to the flesh.

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