Adventist churches minister to single mothers
Tortola, British Virgin Islands— On the small Caribbean island of Tortola, four Seventh-day Adventist congregations came together to offer free car washes for single mothers in their communities. Church members connected with 25 mothers and their families by contacts in the community and through social media announcements.
Pastor Howard Simon, district pastor on Tortola, was enthusiastic about the chance the church had to meet many members of the neighborhood. “It was an opportunity to let them know they are cared for by the body of Christ,” said Simon. “Our faith finds its most compelling expression in the everyday words and actions of Christians in their communities. It’s about total membership involvement.”
Several of the single mothers were heartened to know that the church wished to serve them and shared their contact information, expressing an interest in future ministry efforts. “We are usually among the ones who are left out, and I am extremely [glad] that the church is thinking about us,” said Miss Lettsome, a satisfied recipient of the free car wash initiative. “It was an uplifting experience.”
The Seventh-day Adventist Church on Tortola, Virgin Gorda, and Anegada in the British Virgin Islands is an active body of believers worshiping in eight congregations. This effort is one way in which members have been embracing the Total Member Involvement initiative emphasized by the Adventist World Church and the Lord Transform Me initiative led by the Inter-American Division this quinquennium. [Royston Philbert/Inter-American Division staff]
Gospel worker, suspected spy, empowers women and wins confidence
Beirut, Lebanon—When Rihab* arrived in a village in North Africa as a Global Mission pioneer, she noticed the village was overflowing with mistrust and antagonism between clans. Wanting to connect with the women, Rihab started a community project with three women from one of the families. However, the issue of enmity between groups hindered her work because the clans did not want to work together.
Although Rihab tried to work with each of the clans equally, they were jealous of her time. She felt hopeless when she did not have a single opportunity to share the gospel. “That situation taught me to watch my steps,” said Rihab. “You don’t know what you might encounter around the corner in your field.”
Rihab was discouraged, but she did not give up. She left the village for spiritual refreshing through prayer and reading the Bible and Spirit of Prophecy. Two months later, she came back to the town full of God’s assurance.
Rihab, an indigenous Adventist pioneer raised in a Muslim home, invited young women from all the clans to start having Sabbath-morning meetings at her house, and during weekdays she ran a language and music club for women. Everything was going well until many of Rihab’s friends suddenly stopped coming to her activities.
“I heard the rumor that I was a Christian spy funded by Israel and America,” said Rihab. With prayer and fasting, Rihab ignored the rumors and continued to serve the women in the village through visitation, mentoring, prayer, and teaching.
Not wanting a Christian in their village, the people in the community gathered at the local mosque to discuss whether Rihab should stay. Because of her passion for the people and her good deeds in the village, some people advocated for her to stay. However, Rihab was reported to the authorities in the region and investigated for her religion and methods of conversion.
After a Sabbath morning meeting, Rihab’s friend showed her a red fruit in the wooded mountain. As Rihab tasted it, she felt God had guided her to discover the fruit. After researching it online, she found this fruit was good for making jam.
Using this information, Rihab began teaching a woman, one who needed to be self-reliant and gain confidence, how to make jam using the fruit from the mountains. The woman produced 354 jars of organic jam within two weeks,
and many markets in the region wanted to sell her product.
“In a few days, the news spread rapidly,” said Rihab. “It gave me opportunities to connect with more people than before, even outside of the town.”
Local authorities expressed gratitude to Rihab, and the people in the community began to trust her as their friend and mentor.
“A man told me, ‘Ma’am, don’t worry. Be strong and courageous. We accept you wherever you are from,’ ” said Rihab.
Rihab now has confidence that this opportunity is a tool for witnessing. “God gave these golden opportunities for me to preach the love of Jesus through living examples for this community,” said Rihab. [Chanmin Chung | Middle East and North Africa Union]
*Name has been changed
Total Children Involvement evangelism takes Kenya by storm.
Nairobi, Kenya—Total Member Involvement (TMI) is already a reality in Kenya, said Ramon Canals, a TMI coordinator with the Seventh-day Adventist General Conference. Church members are so enthusiastic about TMI that they have created subcategories. In an illustration of TCI (Total Children Involvement), children at a local Adventist school have sprung into action to assist needy children at a larger public school.
“The students of the Adventist school, supported by parents and teachers, went to the public school, bringing a bus loaded with uniforms, clothes, and food for the needy children,” said Canals, who accompanied the children to the school. “Then they stayed for a few hours on the public school campus, interacting with the children. Every Adventist student was encouraged to make one new friend from the public school, learn their names, and pray with them. It was a touching sight.”
Another group of children, from the New Life Seventh-day Adventist Church in Kenya’s capital, Nairobi, have spent time befriending street children housed at the Joseph Kangethe Boys Rehabilitation Center.
Sarah Wekesa, the church’s director of children’s ministries, said in an interview with Hope Channel, “We acknowledge that every member of the church, including children, must be involved in God’s work.”
Canals said he has also heard of TYI (Total Youth Involvement), TWI (Total Women Involvement), and TPI (Total Pastor Involvement). “As you can see, they are having fun with the TMI concept, and more important, they are making it a reality to impact people’s lives for eternity,” he said.
Adventist Church president Ted N. C. Wilson said, “It is amazing how the Holy Spirit is inspiring lay members to do so many things in TMI,” Wilson said. “I love all the derivatives of TMI. This is fantastic and an indication of the Holy Spirit’s leading and guiding.”
“I praise the Lord because church members in Kenya are moving TMI to a new level,” Canals said. “In the process, they are bringing hope to the hopeless.” [Andrew McChesney | Adventist Mission]