Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls. Jeremiah 6:16
The secret of the LORD is with them that fear Him; and He will show them His covenant. Psalm 25:14
Vol. 13, Nos. 5, 6 Straight and Narrow may/June 2004
Report on Our
Trip to Australia
By David Clayton and Allen Stump
General Impressions David Clayton
Our trip to Australia lasted for a little over four weeks. The trip was packed with assignments from the very beginning and for the entire duration of the four- and- a- half weeks we did not have much more than a couple of days free. I had to remark at one point that I would always remember this trip as the days of the whirlwind. Our itinerary took us from Sydney to Brisbane, then to Perth on the other side of Australia, then back to Sydney, then to Melbourne, then to Sydney again and from there a trip back up to Brisbane which involved several stops and visits along the way. Initially we had been scheduled to spend a week in the Solomon Islands, but the threat of unrest and a possible civil war indicated that it was best for us to cancel this trip. Instead, we spent this time in Cooranbong, holding other meetings and having a couple of days of rest and recreation.
We spoke in home school gatherings, public halls, private homes and parks. Allen even had the privilege of discussing Adventism with a group of Lutherans in their church, and I had the privilege of speaking in an Assemblies of God Church, even though only the pastor and his wife turned up to listen. I also discussed the truth with a group of hippie-type Christians who lived together in a type of commune and were strongly Trinitarian. They did not budge an inch from their position, even though we presented strong Bible evidence showing them the fallacy of the Trinitarian belief.
The camp meeting in Numinbah was probably the high point of our visit. Thirteen persons were baptized at this camp meeting (Allen did the baptizing) and with the other 12 who were baptized at other places a total of 25 people were baptized during this trip. In addition we had the privilege of seeing several others come to an understanding and an appreciation of the truth about God.
As in other countries, the truth about God has crossed Adventisms boundaries in Australia like nothing else has ever done, and it is not only in the mainline SDA Church that people have been taking a stand for the truth, but also in the SDA Reform Movement (SDARM). We met several believers who were former members of this church and who had been either disfellowshipped or had withdrawn their membership because of the Trinitarian apostasy within their former church. The truth has even made inroads within the ranks of the other independent ministries which have maintained a strong Tritheistic stand and have spoken strongly against the truth. Nevertheless, in every place, despite the strong efforts of their leaders and teachers, honest persons are coming to see the truth and are taking a stand for it.
One of the great regrets which we had on this trip was the fact that we did not see several of our friends and brethren whom we had met on our first visit to Australia. We did not go further south than Melbourne and, as a result, we did not see any of our friends from south of Melbourne. This was a disappointment. The people who organized our visit had apparently been unable to arrange meetings in those areas and this was apparently the reason for our not traveling in that direction. Further, our lines of communication were not as open as we had hoped they would be. Due to much of the scheduling occurring at the very last minute, several were not able to be notified. For this, we are very sorry and apologize to all who were not given the chance to be included in one manner or another.
However, we found that there were many new believers. Since our previous visit two-and-a-half years ago, many others had come to believe and understand the truth about God. On our previous visit, for example, we did not have any meetings in Sydney because we did not have any contacts there. On this occasion, we had three meetings there at which there were approximately 30 persons present on each occasion.
The message is spreading fast. There is a problem, however, in that the movement is not unified. There are isolated individuals and pockets of believers, but there is need of regular meetings, such as a camp meeting or a couple of camp annually, which will give the people a sense of belonging to something that is going somewhere. There is also the need for leaders to arise who will take the steps necessary to keep the message and its importance before the people of Australia. This is something which we need to pray earnestly about.
The believers in Australia have many issues being constantly kept before them and sadly, this has led to fragmentation in the movement. While the majority agree that the most important truth in the Bible is the truth concerning God and His Son, there are others who feel that there are other things which must be attached to the message such as the holy names, or the observance of the feast days, or the message that God does not kill, etc. This has certainly led to division and fragmentation among the believers and is one of the main reasons why the truth about God has not presented a more unified front in Australia. During our meetings we endeavored to show the supreme importance of the truth about God and His Son. All our meetings were aimed at helping people to have a clearer understanding of how an appreciation of this truth affects us and our Christian experience in a very practical way. We had the satisfaction of seeing that our emphasis was appreciated and eagerly received. Several persons in various places remarked that they had never understood the message and its importance before. We felt that the trip was well worth the effort and expense.
The trip had been organized chiefly by two sisters who live in the Queensland area, and who have indicated that they would prefer to remain anonymous. The names of some others have also been withheld because they are still working in the mainline Seventh-day Adventist Church or the Reform branch, and feel that their influence might be harmed if it is known that they are actively involved with groups which work outside of the mainline branches of Seventh-day Adventism.
I must mention an incident which took place while I was staying in the home of some brethren who were former members of a conservative branch of Adventism. One morning, one of the little girls, who was about six years old, was playing with me. She was sitting on my lap and insisting on getting some attention. I did my best to listen to what she was saying and to cuddle her a bit. Her sister, who was a little older than she was, watched us for a while and then commented, Brother David, if you were a R_____ minister you would be very upset. I was startled. I do not know if this little girl had a realistic view of ministers from this group, but, to be truthful, I felt quite pleased and I was happy to know that by the grace of God I was not too austere to have a little child crawl all over me and harass me somewhat.
Arrival at Brisbane
The husband of one of these ladies picked us up when we arrived at the airport in Brisbane. He was a good- natured man with an endless supply of experiences and anecdotes. He took us to his home, about three hours from the airport, where we met his wife who was the person who was mainly responsible for organizing our visit to Australia. There we had a meeting with a few people who came over for worship that night.
After the meeting we left for the home of Glenn and Megan Blakemore where we had a few hours sleep before our ride arrived to take us to the airport for the next leg of our journey, which was the flight to Perth on the other side of Australia. The flight was scheduled to leave at 5:00 a.m. so we had to be there by close to 4:00 a.m. in order to ensure that we were not left behind. This meant that we had to leave at 1:00a.m., and it seemed like I had only just fallen asleep when it was time to get up again. Fortunately we were able to get some sleep in the car on the way to the airport.
We flew to Sydney, and then from Sydney to Perth. In Perth we were met by Corrine Stanley who had organized the meetings there. She took us to her home out in the country, about a half an hour away from town. She lives with her husband Royce and their three children in a secluded place surrounded by trees, with no other neighbors within sight or sound.
We had two meetings in Perth, one on the evening after we arrived, and the other on Sabbath afternoon/evening. These meetings had been advertised in the local newspaper but we only had a few people turn out. Because of this, we changed the format of the meetings from that of a lecture into a discussion format and this worked very well. We were able to answer questions which were in the minds of those who were present and were able to more thoroughly examine the issues involved in the study of the Godhead. In spite of the fact that there were so few of us, we felt that the trip to Perth was a worthwhile one because those who came were able to receive a good understanding of the truth and would be able to share it with others after we were gone.
We thoroughly enjoyed the time we spent with the Stanleys and were sorry when we finally left on Saturday night, March 27, for the journey back to Melbourne. We left at midnight and flew for three-and-a-half hours, but, again we were caught by a two-hour time adjustment, and when we arrived in Melbourne it was not three thirty, but five thirty and time to begin the new day. Needless to say, I was just ready to begin sleeping when we arrived in Brisbane. Here in Brisbane Allen and I separated. He went on to Sydney where he would hold meetings while I stayed on in Melbourne.
I was met at the airport by Andrew, a brother who originates from Fiji, but who has been living in Melbourne for the past 20 years. He is a very zealous distributor of literature and his home was packed with all kinds of literature. When we arrived at his apartment I was able to get a welcome two hours of sleep before we left for the hall where we would be having the first meeting.
On Sunday we had two meetings, the first was at approximately 2:00 p.m. while the other was at 7:30 p.m. that evening. These meetings were held at the Mullauna Secondary College Arts Centre. At the first meeting there were 20 people, but at the evening meeting there were about 35. At the first meeting I spoke on the topic, The Fruit of the Gospel. Later in the evening I spoke on, The God of the Bible. The first meeting was mostly believers, but the later meeting had a few who did not believe and a few of them asked some questions in an attempt to show that we were wrong. However, it seemed that these men were only trying to create difficulties where there was none. As an example of what I mean, the main questioner said that what I had presented was true, but my method of studying the Bible was wrong. One of the problems he had was that in Revelation 4, I read where it says, one sat on the throne. I made an issue of the fact that there was only one on the throne, while the word one is in italics which shows that it is a supplied word. In response I asked him if he thought there was more than one on the throne, as the rest of the passage clearly shows that only one was on the throne. He answered no, but I could not make a big issue of the word one since the word was a supplied word. Needless to say, both the people and I were somewhat mystified in attempting to discover what his point really was. Nevertheless, God blessed these meetings and several expressed the fact that they had learned a great deal. Several were there who had never heard these truths before and were favorably impressed.
That night I stayed at the home of David and Rada Afele. They have four children ranging in age from 6 to 1 year old. By the grace of God I was able to get a good nights sleep.
The next day I had a meeting with a few mothers who were home schooling their children. This meeting was at a place called Lilydale, which was a kind of park beside a lake. I spent a few hours with these ladies and mostly shared some biblical reasons for home schooling and also shared some of my own experiences in home schooling my own children. Later in the evening we returned to Mullauna College Arts Centre for the final meeting. This time I spoke on The Truth of the Gospel and showed how the doctrine of the Trinity embodies the spirit of antichrist. Our friends from the previous day were there again with their questions and we had a session at the end of the meeting where they presented their objections. Their main objection was that we cannot understand many things about God and that we were attempting to explain too much. In their opinion, it was really safer to accept that these things were mysteries which we could not understand. Our reply was that we were willing to leave everything alone which God had not revealed, but that we were not willing to ignore what He had revealed in His Word.
That night I stayed at the home of Igor Vujica who lives fairly close to the airport and would be taking me to catch my flight to Sydney the following morning. Igor was full of questions and I think he would cheerfully have continued to question me all night if he had not discovered that I was very tired and in need of rest. The next morning he continued his questioning and tried to pry every bit of knowledge out of me before I left. When we got to the airport with a few minutes to spare, he found a place where he could park and said, NSow Brother David, what else can you tell me. He really appreciated what he could gain from our discussion, and I think in all my travels I never met anyone who was as appreciative of the opportunity to learn, as he was. Finally, and with reluctance, he had to let me go after I made him a promise to send him whatever tapes and other materials I could.
After arriving in Melbourne, I flew to Sydney where I was cheerfully met by Brother Bill Pinto. Although only coming to the truth about God a few weeks prior, Bill and his brother, Tom, were on fire for the message. I was taken first to Bills home for breakfast, and then I was taken to Bills parents home (Luigi and Linda) for rest. Luigi and Linda were some of the most gracious hosts I have ever stayed with. They quickly perceived that I needed to rest and were gracious to allow me to sleep some before the evening meeting.
That night we met in the Bosley Community Centre. Our subject was the love of God in giving His only begotten Son for mankind. Over thirty people attended and the meeting went quite long. By the time the presentation was over and questions had been asked and discussed, we had been there over three hours! Many of those present were new to the message and appreciated the chance to gain a deeper understanding and appreciation of the message.
One interesting thing happened before the meeting. Two young men approached me and wanted to know if they could record the presentation. As always, I agreed. Later they told me that not only did they wish to record the meeting, but they had asked this of me as a test. All the other independent ministries meetings that they had attended had refused them the right to record, stating that the ministries had tapes that could be purchased. These brethren did not believe that such action was in harmony with the freely-given gospel of Christ.
After the meeting, I learned that these two young men were from Cooranbong, with one having graduated from the nursing program the year before and the other young man was currently taking the ministerial course. I dont know how they found out about the meeting in Sydney, but they gladly made the two-hour trip to attend. They were thrilled to learn that I would be in Cooranbong the next night and asked if they could attend and bring other students with them. Of course I would be thrilled to have them come!
The next day I was taken to Cooranbong to the home of Sister Esther Walker, where there were meetings scheduled for Monday and Tuesday evening. Sister Walker is truly a mother and grandmother of Israel. It was in her home, over two years earlier, that I had first found rest while visiting Australia the first time. Sister Esthers home is a warm and welcoming place where there are never any strangers.
The meetings in Cooranbong were held in The Uniting Church building. The attendance was smaller than the Sydney meeting, with about 25 people present. Most showed a good interest in the message. True to their word, my new friends from the prior night showed up with some other students. Although the topic was again on the love of God, they listened with intense interest. After the meeting, we had a very friendly discussion and I was invited by some of the ministerial students to have the evening meal with them the next night, before the meeting so we could discuss the message more.
At 5:00 p.m. the next evening I was promptly picked up by one of the students and taken to where he and three others lived. We were served some lovely fruit and had a discussion on the subject of the Holy Spirit. It was clear that the message from the night before had provoked some to consider the matter more and they had done some research on the Holy Spirit and had reasonable and thought-provoking questions on the subject.
A few minutes before 7:00 p.m. we left to go to the Uniting Church for the nights meeting. The challenging topic was the Spirit of Antichrist After the meeting I went back with the college students to study and fellowship some more at their place. When I left, we agreed to continue our study and that we would stay in touch.
When I arrived in Sydney I was picked up by Tom Pinto, an Adventist of four years. He and His brother Bill had arranged the meetings in Sydney. Though he is only a young believer, having been a Seventh-day Adventist for four years and a believer in the truth about God for only a few weeks, already Tom has suffered for his beliefs. He and his wife had been happily married for 25 years, but when he became a Seventh-day Adventist, she left him. Even as he spoke to me of this tragedy in his life there were tears in his eyes. He told me that he loves her still and that his friends blame him for what has happened. They ask him how it is that he could allow such a thing as religion to destroy his marriage. However, he has found something better than all the world in Christ and for him, there is no question of turning back, no matter what the cost. Now, he is faced with another mountain as the truth about God has taken hold on his heart and he can see that another tremendous upheaval is on the horizon.
When we arrived at Toms parents home, we met his father and his mother, Luigi and Linda. They are very nice people and they welcomed me to their beautiful home like a son. Linda is one of those delightful souls who believes that good food is one way of helping to keep people happy. She greeted us with a lovely meal which I thoroughly enjoyed.
Before the meeting that evening I had a chance to visit with a dear soul that was struggling with the concept of a good God and a bad world. Among her questions was, Why did God allow such suffering and sin when He knew millions of years before it occurred that it would happen? She expressed herself very forcefully and I could tell that it was a very difficult issue with her. I breathed a prayer for wisdom and gave her the answer as best as I could. When I was through, she nodded her head slowly.
Her next question was, What about this woman, Ellen White? I told her that I believed that Ellen White was a messenger of God and explained that one of the reasons why I believed this was the fact that reading her writings always drew me closer to God. She replied, It is not like that with me. When I read her writings I get scared, especially this book, Great Controversy. She continued by saying that she could not understand why she had suffered all her life; she had had so many bad things happen to her and then in this book, The Great Controversy, it says that she will have to suffer still more at the end. Instead of things getting easier, they get worse! Still more suffering! Again I lifted my heart to God and, again He gave me an illustration which appealed to her. I told her of the poem entitled Footprints, which illustrates the fact that when we go through the most difficult times in our lives God bears us up in His arms. I quoted the verse which says, When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee. (Isaiah 43:2)
I told her that there is no real difficulty in life if we have the right kind of company. It is only when we are alone that things are really very hard. I mentioned the statement, which my wife had made before we were married, that she would live in a cave with me, and I said, We would have been happy living together no matter how hard things were, and we would have been unhappy living apart no matter how easy things were. Its not the load that gets you down; its the fact that you bear it all alone. At the end she was silent for a while and I encouraged her to give her life to the Lord. She whispered, I would like to but I do not trust Him. I told her that the only way to trust someone was to get to know them better and I encouraged her to seek to know the Lord better by prayer and reading of the Bible. She nodded her head and promised to begin doing this.
At the meeting that night about 35 people were present. The subject was, Who is the Holy Spirit. To be truthful I wanted to speak on, The Fruit of the Gospel, the truth which has been burning in my heart for the past few weeks. However, I was told that this was a pressing need of the people and so I decided to speak on the Holy Spirit. The Lord blessed the meeting and those who attended were able to get a clear understanding of the subject. Most of the people were new believers and did not have a clear answer to some of the questions which people often present. They were happy for the presentation.
Bill and Tom Pinto are very zealous for the message of the Godhead though they have only recently accepted the message. They are level-headed guys who are planning to get fully involved in the work of spreading it. We have the hope that they will make a significant impact on the work here.
I left Sydney at 7:00 a.m. on Wednesday, March 31, with Tom and Bill, and headed for Cooranbong where I would meet Allen. It was a drive of nearly four hours and we arrived at about eleven oclock. It was a joy to meet Allen again, but it was an extra special blessing to also meet, again, Alan Walker and his mother, Esther, dear friends from our previous visit to Australia.
At this point we transferred our luggage to Alans van and said goodbye to Bill and Tom. Alan would be taking us on to our next assignment, which was a meeting of home school parents and children. We drove for two hours before we arrived at the meeting place in an area called Taree. There we found several families gathered and waiting for us. There seemed to be children everywhere. The talks on home schooling were not something which I felt very comfortable with. I had never spoken on the subject before coming to Australia. I was much more comfortable with preaching, and the sight of all those expectant faces, about 20 children and eight mothers, was a little intimidating, even though I had been a school teacher some years ago. Nevertheless, Allen and I proceeded to give talks based on our own experiences and the insights we had gained from the Bible which were relevant to home schooling.
To our joy and relief, these talks were enthusiastically received and the parents and students expressed the feeling that they had been very blessed by hearing us.
From the home school meeting we were taken to the home of Peter and Vikki Marshall. Here we would be spending the night before going on to Coffs Harbour for a meeting the following day.
The Marshalls live out in the middle of the country in a very beautiful area, without a single neighbor in sight anywhere. The landscape is very lovely, with hills all around, and yet the area is open enough that you can get a view for many miles on one side. I could not help thinking that it was the perfect place for rearing children if one was interested in keeping them close to nature and away from the influences of the city.
Peter and Vikki have four children ranging in age from12 to one year- old. We found them to be mannerly children who had an intense interest in every living thing that moved. They were constantly bringing bugs, crickets, and butterflies to show to us. Living as they do out in the country, they constantly have encounters with all kinds of wildlife. While we were there, they had a large iguana lizard more than two feet in length which they had captured when it came to steal the fowl (or chooks as they are called in Australia) eggs. They said that it was the third such lizard which they had caught since the year began. They regaled us with all kinds of stories of their encounters with snakes and other creatures. At one point they had been awakened in the night by the sound of one of the children whimpering in his sleep. When they turned on the light they discovered a python wrapped around the childs leg with its teeth fastened in the leg! I was impressed that this family had a special regard for life as they always try to relocate these animals rather than kill them. Even this python, which bit Nathan in his sleep, was released far away from the home rather than being hacked to bits. I had to admit that they were far more tolerant than I was!
The next day Peter took us to Coffs Harbour, which was about four hours away from where they lived. His eldest child, Amelia, came with us. We were also accompanied by Sarah Dury, a 17- year-old girl who had joined up with us in Sydney and was traveling with us to the camp meeting in Brisbane. Speaking at this camp meeting was to be our main assignment while we were in Australia and as we traveled from place to place we were gradually working our way up the coast toward the place where this camp would be held.
We arrived in Coffs Harbour late in the evening, just a half an hour before the meeting was scheduled to begin. We had set out a little late from the Marshalls home. I think Peter miscalculated the time it would take us to travel to Coffs Harbour. In addition, we had stopped along the way to see Ellenborough Falls, one off the highest waterfalls in the Southern Hemisphere. This waterfall is over 200 meters tall and is a spectacular sight. We spent a little time viewing it from different angles and taking pictures.
When we arrived in Coffs Harbour there were already some people waiting for us at the high school where the meeting was scheduled to take place. In a few minutes they were all there and we started. There were only 14 of us in all, but those who were there paid close attention as, first, Allen spoke on the subject of the love of God manifested in the giving of His Son, and then I spoke on the subject of the Holy Spirit. The only opposition came from a little old lady who was not obnoxious but dogmatic. She kept asking questions and making comments which annoyed some of the other visitors. At the end of my presentation she said, Well, I believe in three Gods, God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. This was too much for one of the others who said, Your problem is that you will not listen! You must listen, or else you will not learn. This created a little tension but we called for prayer and things calmed down before they got out of hand. Most of the people at this meeting were people from the SDARM and they were mostly immigrants from places like Germany and Bulgaria. However, there were also a few native Australians present.
From the meeting place we went to the home of John and Karla where we would spend the night. It was a lovely home with a swimming pool in front of it. In fact, there were two houses and one was quite empty. This was where we would spend the night. John told us that we were welcome to use the swimming pool, the only condition being that we should have a proper shower first as the water in the swimming pool was cleaner than drinking water due to a special filter system he had! It was too late for me to face up to it, but Allen had a swim before he turned in. Peter and Amelia had planned to return home that night but by the time the meeting was over it was so late that we all pleaded with Peter not to take that four- hour drive back home at that late hour. Finally he reluctantly agreed to stay.
The next morning we left early for Brisbane. John would be taking us and, since it was a four hour drive, he was anxious to make an early start so that he could get back before it was Sabbath. We sadly said goodbye to Peter and Amelia, and Allen, Sarah, and I set off with John on the journey to Brisbane. When we arrived in Brisbane we were somewhat disappointed to discover that Allen and I were again to be separated. He was to go to Stanthorpe and Toowoomba while I was to go first to The Sunshine Coast and then to Maryborough.
Waiting for a Ride Allen
After David left with his ride, I was left waiting for my ride to the Stanthorpe area. I was told that I might have to wait up to three hours for a brother from the Stanthorpe area to come where I was. Further, I was told that Trish Grieger, a home-school mother of the Catholic faith, might pick me up. This was because David and I had been scheduled to have a meeting for home school mothers at this sisters home. She lives about an hour from Stanthorpe and might be picking me up to stay the night with her family. After about an hour-and-a-half, I began to get pretty homesick. I was again separated from David and missing my family back home. I prayed and asked the Lord to give me courage and strength. I then decided to read the rest of my cards from home.
To help combat homesickness the last few years, my family and a few close friends have written encouraging notes and cards and have given them to my wife or daughter to hide in my luggage before I have left on speaking trips. I had three cards that I had found that were unopened. I had been saving them for Sabbath afternoon but decided that I could not wait any longer. I was so glad that I didnt wait. One of the cards carried a special bit of encouragement. Besides the usual lines of being missed and loved, the card carried these words:
May God bless your words and works! May the people be touched and blessed! Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision: for the day of the Lord is near in the valley of decision. Joel 3:14 We all have decisions to make what you say does have an effect on people. May God bless the work you have there.
God used this text from Joel and the encouraging words of this card, with the other cards I had, to refresh my spirit. (I had 25 cards and notes in my luggage and read each one almost every day after it was found!) After waiting another hour-and-a-half, Trish, not Andrew, arrived. Using an outdated map, she had failed to find the location at first and was quite tired when she finally arrived. After prayer, we proceeded to her home in Marburg.
Trish practices the Catholic faith and lives a lifestyle much like a Mennonite mother on a farm. This industrious woman not only home schools her two children, but raises a large garden, and keeps several animals including chickens, goats, sheep, and cows. She milks the cows each day and sells some of the milk for money. Some of the milk is used to make butter and yogurt. She sews and does many chores that are hardly considered by most women today. Her husband Terry was quite a contrast in some areas. He is the son of a Lutheran minister and is a leader in the local Lutheran church. He teaches computer graphic arts in a local school. Together, they were as friendly and hospitable as anyone I met in Australia.
Marburg Lutheran Church Meeting
As we were traveling from the very busy city of Brisbane to Marburg in Trishs pick-up truck, she told me about Terry being a Lutheran and that they currently lived in the old parsonage that he grew up in. She also told me that the Lutheran Church was having a meeting that night and the subject was, Seventh-day Adventism. She informed me that she thought I might be interested and had taken it upon herself to ask the minister if it would be proper to invite me. He told her that I would be welcome. I told Trish that I would indeed be very interested in attending the meeting. We arrived at the Grieger home about ten minutes before the meeting was scheduled to begin. After eating seven minutes worth of dinner that Terry had prepared, we walked across the lawn to the church fellowship hall where the meeting was to be held.
Upon arriving I realized that this was no ordinary meeting for an Australian church group. It seemed like everyone was already there and on time. Australians, like Jamaicans, seem to be an extremely laid back type of people who do not get in a hurry easily. Either these Lutherans were different from all the Adventists I met on the trip, or there was a hot interest for the topic of the night, or both.
The meeting was going to consist of a video presentation on Seventh-day Adventism followed by an open forum discussion. The video was, Seventh-day Adventism: The Spirit Behind the Church, produced by Jeremiah Productions. The producers of the video claim to follow the highest quality of excellence in both content and research.(jeremiahfilms.com) This video featured several former Seventh-day Adventist Church leaders with a common message: Ellen White was a false prophet; Adventism is cultish and anti-gospel. Even though I had seen the video before, I listened intently and took careful notes. I knew that the claim to feature the highest quality of excellence in both content and research, was not at all true for this video. The great majority of the video was either outright misinformation or materials taken out of context.
After the video was finished, the pastor asked the approximately 50 people to put their chairs into a large circle so that an open discussion could begin. Immediately people began to ask questions about Adventism, looking directly at me as if I were supposed to answer. Asking for heaven-sent wisdom and love, I responded, remembering the words that I had read earlier in the day from my card.
I began by telling the people that if this video was all I had to base Adventism on, then I would run as far away from Adventism as possible. However, I knew that there was much more to the matter than the video presented and shared several points that would prove to any honest and objective person that the video was not fair and balanced in many points. God allowed me to share several points from the Bible to clarify issues that the video had misrepresented about Adventism, as well as to share facts about Sister White and her writings.
All the people were very friendly and of a good spirit. I responded to all questions as from sincere hearts. I was given a very liberal amount of time to answer questions, as well as to share what I understood to be a fair and balanced perspective on Adventism. For example, one of the charges the video brought against Adventism was that, like the Jehovahs Witnesses, they had produced their own Bible, The Clear Word Bible by Dr. Jack Blanco. I told the people that The Clear Word Bible claims to be a paraphrase, yet it is not really a paraphrase, but a specialized commentary on the Bible and should have never been published as a Bible.
Most questions involved issues of salvation and the spirit of God gave me several Bible texts to share. One sister asked me if I could say I was saved. I told her I would like to read her a Bible text. She replied that she just wanted a yes or no answer. Perhaps she was thinking I was trying to avoid her question. However, I just wanted to give Bible justification for all that I was saying. So I responded to her that I would be glad to give her a yes or no answer if she could give me just one Bible text that gave her the authority to say she was saved. This seemed to come as a surprise to her and she appeared to be at a loss for words. Finally she said, Just give us your Bible text. To this I gladly responded with 1 John 5:10-13, which plainly declares:
He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself: he that believeth not God hath made him a liar; because he believeth not the record that God gave of his Son. And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life. These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.
After the meeting, one of the older brothers in the church said, Boy I wish I knew the Bible like you. I responded that it is the privilege of each one to know Gods Word if we will take the time to study and earnestly ask the Lord for understanding.
Near the end of the meeting we discussed the mark of the beast, Sunday keeping, and other doctrines that might be controversial. However, a good spirit prevailed. After prayer, there was time for refreshments and fellowship. Several told me that they were thankful I had come to the meeting because they were sure that their perception of Adventism would have been different if I had not been there.
That night I thanked the Lord for being with me and for the kind spirit of the people. I was sure that this would be the spiritual highlight of my visit to Australia. As good as this experience was, God had an even greater experience for me later!
On Sabbath morning, Brother Andrew Coyte came to take me to the home of his grandmother, Sister Ida Murray, where I would be staying while in Stanthpore. I found it very easy to relate to Andrew. He was tall and red-headed like I am. Being an engineer, he is interested in science like I am. But most of all, he is interested in knowing God and doing His will.
Like Sister Esther Walker, Sister Murray is a true grandmother of Israel. Her home breathed the atmosphere of heaven. Although the attendance of the meetings we had in her home the next few days was small, ranging from three to about ten people, the interest among those who did attend was very good. I got to know some of Idas family and clearly saw the influence of her godly life in them.
Our last meeting on Monday evening was the best-attended meeting, and we studied the Bible for almost three hours. Several good questions were asked and the Lord supplied the answers. One brother said that he might be able to believe what I was saying if I could answer two questions. After we looked at what the Bible said, he noted that his questions had been answered. Near the end of the study, one of those in attendance stated that he had always believed that Jesus was the Son of God and that what we had studied was really what he understood about the gospel! After the guests left, I stayed up to almost one oclock in the morning, visiting with Sister Ida and some of her family. I had truly felt that I had been adopted into that sweet fold.
The next morning I was taken by Andrew to Toowoomba, where we would be holding a meeting sponsored by John and Peggy Andrew. John had told me before that there were two couples ready for baptism and possibly some others from one of the families. When we arrived at Toowoomba we immediately began to visit with those who expressed an interest. Later we met at the Toowoomba Aquatic Centre where we were granted use of one of their pools for a baptismal service. Eight people, mostly with Roman Catholic backgrounds, descended into the watery grave. One brother said that he had been waiting over two years to be baptized in the name of Jesus and he felt sure that God had sent me from America to baptize him. I was sure that God had also. That evening we had a meeting in a rented hall in downtown Toowoomba. About 20 people attended and most of those there showed an excellent interest.
The next day, Andrew and I went back to Marburg to meet up with David and have one more home-school meeting before going to the camp meeting at the Log Cabin.
Sunshine Coast David
When I arrived at the Sunshine Coast I discovered that an interview had been arranged for me with a local newspaper. The interviewer was a young lady who seemed quite interested in my idea that it was only in a relationship with God that we can experience true love, and that the key to selflessness in love, is to understand the nature of Gods own unconditional love as displayed in the gift of His only begotten Son. This young lady professed not to believe in God, but she asked many questions, some of them apparently for her own benefit, for she put down her pen at one point and listened intently as I explained that we really have no reason for doing what is right unless we accept the reality that there is a God to whom we are accountable, who has the authority to determine what is right and what is wrong. Later, an article was published based on this interview, which was entitled, Jamaican Here to Spread Some Love.
The next day, April 3, was a Sabbath. A meeting had been arranged in a building called the Federal Hall. I had stayed in the home of Brother Arch Chater for the night and he took me there in the morning. Eventually about 25 people turned up for the meeting. I spoke on The Fruit of the Gospel, and also on the Holy Spirit. After the meeting I went to Maryborough to the home of one of the families who had organized our trip to Australia. There I would spend the next couple of days.
While I was there in Maryborough the schedule was especially hectic. On one occasion I had four different engagements for the day. However, these kept me busy and prevented me from missing home too much. I have to confess though, that everything seemed to go by in a kind of blur.
On April 4 I went to speak at an Assemblies of God Church in Bauple. Our hostess had arranged these meetings on an impulse. She had just happened to be passing the church one day and had stopped to ask the pastor if he would be willing to allow a visiting minister from Jamaica to have a meeting in his church. Astonishingly, the minister had agreed! However, when we arrived for the meeting we found that only he and his wife were present. He explained that there was another meeting later on in the evening and that most of the people were planning to attend that meeting and so had not turned up for my meeting.
We had a good discussion on the love of God manifested in the gift of His Son. However, we did not touch on anything controversial. The minister was impressed and wished me to tarry so that I could speak to his church for the evening meeting. However, I had to decline since I was scheduled to have another meeting in just a few minutes from that time at the QCWA Hall in Maryborough.
At the meeting in Maryborough that night about 30 people turned up and listened attentively as I spoke on The Fruit of the Gospel. The audience was a mixture of some who already believed in the truth about God and others who wanted to know more about this much- criticized doctrine. All who came seemed to have been favorably impressed.
The next day I took worship with the staff and students at Riverside Christian School. Both sessions were short but, in addressing the staff, I again spoke about Gods love in giving His Son and the response was very favorable. We left directly from there and traveled to a place called Glenwood to meet with a group of hippie-type people. These people live in a kind of commune and seemed to me to be very self-righteous. They feel that they have obeyed the Bible and forsaken everything. They do not believe in secular employment although when I asked how they obtain money to buy food they answered that now and then one of them will go out and do some work. They cook with a wood fire and try to live as primitively as possible. Their women do not seem to shake hands because twice I offered my hand when I was about to leave and both times it was ignored.
These people are very Trinitarian in their beliefs and I did not seem to be able to make much of an impression on them though I presented clear Biblical evidence to the contrary. They seemed to be quite set in their ways and had an air of knowing-it-all.. They did not smile much while I was there and when we left I was somewhat relieved.
In the evening I spoke again at the QCWA Hall. The topic was, The God of the Bible. These were public meetings and had been advertised as Elijah on Mount Carmel: Who is the God of the Bible. Again, the response seemed to be very good. Everybody listened attentively and, although I challenged the audience to please stop me if I used one single text out of context or with a false interpretation, there was complete silence throughout the presentation.
The following day I went to visit with Sandra and Wally Claus at their beautiful home. They live on a property of 14 acres named Walandra. I enjoyed the time I spent with them. Later in the afternoon I transferred to the home of Glen and Megan Blakemore and enjoyed a restful time with them and their four children, Sam, Lachie, Connie and Mia.
In the evening we returned to the QCWA Hall for the final meeting there. I spoke on the subject of the Holy Spirit. This evening saw the largest audience so far. The local newspaper had carried an article that day on Allen and myself entitled, Group Without Name Has Message for All, and this apparently brought out a few people. They listened attentively and, at the end, almost all of them expressed appreciation for what they had heard. One person walked out during the sermon but, apart from him, there seemed to be united agreement by the time the message was over. One lady thanked me and then left to go home. Soon she was back with a bag of bread rolls which she placed in my hand. I know that a traveling preacher needs the bread of life, she said. As she handed me the rolls she pressed a little money into my hand. I was especially moved by this because she was not one of the believers, but just a lady who had come in response to the newspaper article. This sign of genuine appreciation was heartwarming. Afterwards I spent a restful night at Glens and Megans home.
Home School Meeting at Marburg
The next day, April 7, I traveled to Brisbane where we were picked up by Andrew Coyte who took me to Marburg where I would meet up with Allen again. We met at the home of Trish Grieger, who Allen had stayed with before. There was a meeting of home school mothers in her home, which we were scheduled to address. The ladies there seemed to appreciate and to be encouraged by the experiences we related as we told of what it had been like home schooling our children. We spent the night at this home. I admired Trish for her willingness to have us stay, and I wondered at the irony that two Sabbath-keeping ministers should be entertained by this Catholic lady. I was even more impressed when she willingly agreed for another lady and four of her children to also spend the night.
Camp Meeting at the Log Cabin
The next major event was the camp meeting. This, in fact, was one of the main events on our itinerary. The next day we traveled with Andrew Coyte, his mother, Robyn, and his grandmother, Ida Murray, up to the campsite. The campsite was called the Log Cabin. It is a secluded place in the mountains in a place called Numinbah, and is set on 20 acres of land. There are trees and hills on every side and it is a really beautiful setting. Here is where we would be for the next three days or so. I would be leaving on Sunday afternoon for an appointment in another part of Australia, but the camp meeting would continue until Monday morning.
The camp meeting was one of the highlights of the trip to Australia. The people who came appeared to be truly blessed by the messages which we presented. Our main focus was on the implications of the messagehow it affects our lives and not just the theory of trying to prove doctrines. This emphasis was appreciated and on the whole we had a blessed time. On the Sabbath there were perhaps close to 80 persons in attendance. Some came already believing in the truth about God, but there were a few who were skeptical, and even one or two who were outright opposed to the message. At the end, there was one lady who attended most of the meetings but was not convinced. However, to the best of my knowledge she was the only one. One couple told me that they had heard the message six years ago but had not seen any light in it. They had come to the camp meeting for a second look, but not with any real expectancy that they would find anything different. However, as they spoke to me they were overjoyed with their new understanding and felt that the message was most important. Another lady told me that she had only come to observe, but she stated that she had found herself weeping as she had listened to the messages of the love of God manifested in the gift of His Son, and she rejoiced that God had opened her eyes. These testimonies were very encouraging to us and we felt that our trip to Australia had really been worthwhile.
Blair Andrew took me to the airport on Sunday, shortly after noon. Leaving my new friends at camp was a somewhat traumatic experience for me. I was reluctant to go. I had known them for only a couple of days, but it does not take long for people to become embedded in your heart when the love of God is the binding factor, and it was only reluctantly that I pulled myself away after some painful farewells.
The Log Cabin Allen
My experience at the camp was simply wonderful! Here we got to see, among others, Alan Walkers entire family as well as his sister, Glenys Walkom, and her children, Jonathan and Jessica, whom we had met on our first trip to Australia. We also got to meet several new people and we were certainly made to feel at home quickly by all. I appreciated getting to meet Brother Blair Andrew and his family, whom I had missed on the first trip due to my delay in departing from the states because of my son, Hans health condition at the time. Blair helped with meetings for the youth and His wife Carolyn was the head of the kitchen. I am so thankful to write that she did a splendid job. The meals were tasty and nutritious and the process was all done in an orderly manner.
While at the camp I was impressed to make both personal and public appeals for those who had not given their heart to the Lord to do so. I was especially interested in appealing to Jonathan and Jessica Walkom. They are two sweet young people who live in an area with little opportunity for contact with other believers. I believed that the camp meeting would be an excellent opportunity for them, as well as others, to make a public stand for Jesus Christ. During the first few days of camp I talked to them and others privately about giving their lives to Christ, as well as making public calls. We scheduled a baptism for Sunday afternoon, this being about the only time free in the schedule for the long walk/climb down to the river near the camp. I was truly sad that David had to leave to go to Rockhampton just before we left to go to the river.
The hike down to the river was steep, rough, and slick in places, but almost all made the trip, including my two spiritual grandmothers, Ida Murray and Esther Walker! They seemed almost as agile as mountain goats and were more than happy to make the trek! Five had made a decision for baptism, but Jonathan and Jessica were not in the group. I knew they wanted to make a decision and the fruit of their lives showed that the spirit of the Lord was in them. The water was brisk and one would not have to worry about going to sleep in it! After the five candidates had been baptized, and I was ready to come out of the water, someone shouted for me to stay in the water, that someone else wanted to be baptized! Then another and another who had Gods spirit working upon their heart made the commitment for baptism. Among them were Jonathan and Jessica, as well as Sara, who had traveled with us earlier in the trip. When I thought there were no more, another would step forward to the rivers edge. Altogether there were 13 souls who were baptized, each one so precious and happy for their experience. It was a foretaste of the latter rain and we rejoiced that God was able to work upon the hearts of all to make this experience possible. By the time the service was over, I had been in the water for almost an hour and was chilling so badly I could hardly talk or do the last baptism, but God gave me strength and I was glad that even though it was a long walk back up to the camp, there would be a hot shower waiting! This truly would be the highlight of my time in Australia. After everyone showered and warmed up, I shared a special talk from Romans chapter six for those who had been baptized.
That evening while we were having tea, the Australian term for the evening meal, I was talking with Natasha, a young lady who had been associated with Alan Walkers family. David and I had met Natasha when we were in Australia over two years before. Since that time she had matured into a very sweet person with a sincere desire to follow Jesus. She had not been baptized, but remarked to me that the baptismal service of that day was the first one she had attended and that it was the most beautiful thing she had ever seen. She asked me to explain more about conversion and the meaning of baptism to her. I believe strongly that God was working on her heart.
The next day was to be the final time at the camp and I was not looking forward to saying goodbye to so many new and old friends! Parting did not come easily.
After an hours flight I arrived in Rockhampton where I was met by Vera Latcham. Vera is a very pleasant and easy-going lady, and a committed Christian who is a very good hostess. Vera and her husband, Barry, treated me to the very best of hospitality and, although Barry is not a believer in God, I found him to be a very likeable and a genuinely friendly and considerate person who is very easy to get along with. They live on a lovely property of about 35 acres, with a river flowing on one side and a creek going through the middle of it.
Meetings were scheduled at their home on the night when I arrived and also for most of the following day. The first meeting found 12 persons present who listened attentively as I spoke on the subject of The God of the Bible. There were a few persons there who came with a skeptical point of view. Happily, however, at the end of the meeting most of the skepticism seemed to have disappeared. One man said that he had been of the impression that we were downgrading Christ, but after listening to the presentation he could see that this was definitely not the case.
The following day there were perhaps 10 persons present at the study. There were two presentations, one on the Holy Spirit, and the other on The Fruits of the Gospel. The people listened attentively and appeared to be moved by the presentations. There was one man present however, who raised up discussion and argument at the end of every presentation and talked for extended periods of time. He claimed to be impressed by what was said, but then went on to explain that he believed in the Trinity. He spoke at great lengths of how the co-equal, co-eternal members of the Godhead had adopted certain roles and went on and on, though he did not shout, raise his voice, or get offended. When he was asked for the scriptural evidence for his beliefs he would avoid the issue by making more long comments. He had many ideas but very little Scripture to back them up and when it was pointed out that there were many problems with his ideas he would claim that these were mysteries. The other people were really frustrated and some walked out from time to time just to get a break. It was somewhat of a relief when evening came and we finally broke up.
The following day I rested for most of the morning. It was good to have an opportunity for some quiet time, undisturbed by the pressure of meetings. In the afternoon Vera took me for a visit to a park which was kind of like a mini zoo. Afterwards we went to the airport where I said goodbye and took flight back to Brisbane.
Our next stop was to be at the Maroochydore Neighbourhood Centre at the Sunshine Coast. I would be staying with Ben Turner and his family. After that we had been scheduled to go to the Solomon Islands, but due to circumstances beyond our control we would not be going. We asked the Lord to direct us to where we should spend the last days of the trip, and we believed that the Lord was directing us to Cooranbong. This allowed Glenys Walkoms family to travel with us to Woombye and then to take us to Cooranbong. But first, we had two nights of meetings at the Sunshine Coast.
As David wrote earlier, an article in a local paper had been written entitled, Jamaican here to Spread Some Love. We all smiled when we heard the title of the article and I, especially, took some delight in reminding David of his mission. What I did not know till the night of the meeting was that David would not be back from Rockhampton in time for the first meeting and I would have to fill in for him that night, and possibly the second night as well, if his flight was not on time or traffic from the airport was busy! About 30 people attended and God blessed with a good meeting. I shared that we can only have successful human relationships if we first have a relationship with God. We examined the love of God in giving His only begotten Son for man and appealed to the people to come the next night to hear the Jamaican speak further on the subject!
David Returns to Sunshine Coast
I was met at the Brisbane airport by Ben Turner. He informed me that I had to speak at a meeting in half an hour. The problem was that the meeting place was one-and-a-half hours from where we were. We set off with him, driving a bit like a Jamaican at times. Fortunately, the traffic was not heavy and we arrived in just about an hour and hour and- a-quarter. In the meantime Allen had been holding the fort by recapping some of the things that he had preached the night before. He was greatly relieved when I arrived although, to tell the truth, I wished that I had had a little time to catch my breath before speaking. However, I was able to speak with conviction and the people seemed to have been blessed by what they heard. That night we stayed at the home of one of those who came to the meeting, a brother by the name of Andrew.
The Australia Zoo David
Early the next morning Ben came to pick us up. This was the only day of the tour when we would have a full holiday. We were scheduled to visit the Australian Zoo, owned and operated by the famous Steve Irwin, the Crocodile Hunter. We got there at around 9:00 a.m. and stayed there all day until closing time at 4:30 p.m. It was interesting, but I missed my family especially at times like this, and it somewhat dampened the excitement of the situation for me. Nevertheless, it was an interesting day; especially the various shows they had throughout the day when they fed the animals or demonstrated how they responded to training. There was a special show between 10:30 a.m. and noon when several shows were done in a mini-stadium called the Crocoseum. There were demonstrations with birds, snakes, tigers and crocodiles. It was quite interesting. We returned home satiated, but quite tired from all the walking we had done (at least I was).
The next day we went up to a place called Imbil where we had a baptism for three persons. The baptism was near the home of a couple who had been to the camp meeting and who had called to say that there were a couple of persons in their area who desired baptism. This baptism took place in a nearby river.
We again spent the night at Bens home. It was a tight squeeze because Glenys Walkom and her two children, Jonathan and Jessica, as well as her mother, Sister Esther Walker, had stayed with us because they would be taking us down to Cooranbong for the next few days. This was a contingency plan which had been worked out when we discovered that the plans for us to visit the Solomon Islands had fallen through. So there were the four of them as well as Allen and I, staying with Ben and his wife, Bethany, and their newborn Samuel. They were very happy to have us all stay with them and didnt seem to mind being inconvenienced.
The next morning we set out for the journey to Cooranbong. It was to be a journey of nearly 14 hours so we set out very early at close to 4:00 a.m. We drove for most of the day, stopping for a while at a place called the Big Banana, where there were souvenirs and a few attractions, such as the opportunity to ride on the Toboggan. This was something like a bobsled ride where you went sliding down a metal chute at high speeds in a kind of sled.
We arrived in Cooranbong just before sunset. It was Friday evening and we hurriedly made preparations for the Sabbath and made contact with a few people to see if they would be interested in coming to a meeting on the following day. Quite a few people agreed to come.
The next day we went to a park where about 30 people turned up for the meeting. This was a bit of a surprise as we had not expected anywhere near so many, but apparently the news got around and some whom we had not been able to contact heard and decided to come. We had a very good day, with a study in the morning on the subject of how the doctrine of the Trinity is related to the spirit of antichrist. In the afternoon we took a walk and then in the evening we had a question and answer session. The main subject of discussion was the nature of Christ and how it is related to the truth of the Godhead. We finally parted, as it was getting dark, after a very good days fellowship.
That evening we watched a video Alan Walker had recorded of the baptismal service at the camp. Natasha, who had traveled to Cooranbong for the weekend, watched with special care. After the video she wanted to talk more about how to know if one was ready for baptism. By Gods grace she made a commitment to be baptized the next day! Early in the morning we went to Dora Creek and found a beautiful spot near the swinging bridge, and Natasha was baptized. Please keep Natasha and the others who were baptized on this trip in your prayers that they will never lose their first love experience.
Later that day we were taken to a kind of lake, which was really an estuary as the water originated in the sea and was salty. However, it came in through a narrow channel and was almost completely surrounded by land so it was almost a lake. It was quite large and was a lovely spot. Here we met a friend of Glenys who owned a jet ski. Alan Walker also brought his speed boat along and we had a day of recreation, which was good fun for everyone. I was even persuaded to ride on the jet ski and learned that the art of survival was to cling to the person in front of you for dear life. Our driver was skilled at his art and took delight in taking his vehicle through all sorts of contortions, with the express purpose of trying to throw the passengers off. He made it buck worse than the wildest bucking bronco of the Wild West. He seemed to sense that I had an antipathy to cold water and did not do his best while I was on the vehicle. Later, he succeeded in throwing Allen, much to the delight of the rest of us watching on shore.
Allen also tried to water ski, as Alan Walker had brought equipment along for doing this, along with his speedboat. After about his tenth try, and several nasal enemas, Allen finally gave up. We went back home to Esther Walkers, where we were staying, happy for the opportunity to have had a little break and recreation. It was also a good opportunity to get to know our brothers and sisters better. Brett and Charlene Murray were there as well as Bob and Judith Higgs, Alan and Donna Walker with their family, Glenys Walkom and her children, Jonathan and Jessica, Mark Holsten and his daughter Kristen, and Natasha were also there, as well as Esther Walker.
That evening we said goodbye to Alan and Donna and the family as well as to Bob and Judith. It was a sad time. We have truly come to regard them as family and it was as painful as having to say goodbye to our own flesh and blood. The following morning Glenys, Jonathan, and Jessica, also left very early before daylight and we had to go through the same trauma again.
The next day we visited an Adventist Book Centre and bought a few books, but we spent most of the day working on our laptops and getting ready to leave on the following day. We had just one more leg of our journey before we started back home, and this was the journey back to Brisbane where we would spend the night at the home of Ben and Bethany Turner before flying to America the following day. The journey back to Brisbane would not be so bad because we would be flying and it would take us just about an hour-and-a-half.
That night we had one last meeting with the students from Avondale College whom Allen had met when he was in Cooranbong earlier. This was mostly a social meeting where we got to know them better and develop bonds of friendship and trust.
The next day David Holsten took us to the airport from where we flew back to Brisbane. There Ben met us and we returned to his home where we spent one last night. There was a kind of get-together with some members of his family where we said our last nostalgic goodbyes. It was a bitter-sweet time, sweetened by the thought that the next day we would be heading for home. It would be a long trip, close to 45 hours for me and a long wait in Los Angeles of nearly twelve hours. I would arrive home dirty and tired. However, after having been away for more than a month, the long journey home did not seem like such a daunting prospect and we were eager to start. For Allen it would have only been a little better if things had gone according to schedule for him. However, his last flight from Pittsburgh to West Virginia was canceled and he was delayed an extra day before arriving home.
We flew out the following morning at 11:00 a.m. After a 15-hour flight, with a short stop in New Zealand, we arrived at Los Angeles where Allen and I separated. We both arrived home two days after leaving Australia, grateful to God for a profitable journey and a safe return.
(Click on this link to go to the Acrobat file of this issue to view the pictures that appeared in the printed version of this issue. You must have Acrobat Reader 5.0 or higher/ A free download from Adode.com)
As we noted in our report on Australia, there were several brothers and sisters that we had met before, that we were unable to have personal contact with on this trip
However, there was one family that we missed this time due to illness in their family. In 2001 David and I were graciously hosted in Tasmania by Paul and Helen Borg. Currently Sister Helen is challenged with serious health concerns and your prayers for her are needed and greatly appreciated.
Sister Janet Cox of Ohio that many know from camp meeting is having a heart valve replacement. Please keep her in prayer.
Also, when you get this, we should be making the final arrangements for our camp meeting. Your prayers for good weather and a good spirit are appreciated. Editor
Camp Meeting Almost Here!
Grace be to you and peace from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ. (2 Corinthians 1:2) Well brothers and sisters, this is the last issue before camp meeting. We are getting all ready for you to come, so we certainly hope you can make it. Camp meeting is always a time of rich spiritual food and wonderful fellowship. Every camp meeting I have attended has left me challenged and renewed to continue in the straight and narrow path that leads to everlasting life. As we look around us at the way the world is today, we can see that we need spiritual strength and encouragement more now than ever before. Please do all in your power to attend, and pray that the Lord will open any doors that are keeping you from coming. There are plenty of camp sites available at no cost, and we have lots of good spring water. Please come prepared to camp. You may visit www.presenttruth.info/contact.htm for directions and maps or call us at (304) 732-9204 for more information.
Those interested in the rafting trip the Sunday after camp meeting should contact Allen Stump as soon as possible so he can finalize arrangements. Lynnford Beachy
Dear Children:Jesus is inviting you to open the door of your hearts, and let him in. What are you going to do? Will you search carefully your heart, and see what you indulge in and cherish, that displeases Jesus and keeps the door of your heart shut against the dear Saviour? Is pride, or love of the world, or selfishness in your heart shutting Jesus from you? If it is keep Jesus out no longer. Turn these things out of your heart. Go alone and pray for grace, overcoming grace. Die to these sins, and make the happy exchange for Jesus, his presence, his love, his power.
Says Jesus, If any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in and sup with him and he with me. Have you heard the voice of Jesus? Have you responded to that voice? Has the cutting, saving message taken hold of the soul, and worked a reformation in the life? Or, have you suffered this precious voice, to be drowned by the confusion of the world? You can hear his voice if you will. You must first listen, then hear his voice, then empty the heart of besetting sins, that room may be made for Jesus, that he may come in and abide there.
Children, if you overcome your besetments you must pray, and watch yourselves with jealous care. The grace of God is sufficient for you. It is sufficient for the weakest, and the strongest must depend upon the same grace, or perish. To obtain this grace, you must go to your closet and there plead with God. Create in me a clean heart O God, and renew a right spirit within me. Be in earnest, be sincere. Fervent prayer availeth much. When you sincerely feel without the help of God you perish, then will he appear for you. Then, as you hunger and thirst for righteousness, Jesus will come in and sup with you, and you with him. Often will your faith be tested, be tried; but tire not. Be unwearied in your efforts. Trust God, and your heart will again be joyous with a sense of pardoned sin, and a holy confidence in your Redeemer. (Ellen G. White, Youths Instructor, October 10, 1857)
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The greatest want of the world is the want of men-- men who will not be bought or sold, men who in their inmost souls are true and honest, men who do not fear to call sin by its right name, men whose conscience is as true to duty as the needle to the pole, men who will stand for the right though the heavens fall. (Education, 57)
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Report from Kenya
By Maurice O. Anyango
I am happy to write a report of the meetings that were held in Mbita. Actually it was not in Mbita town but it was a shopping center between Mbita and Homa-Bay. I can say that this was one of the most successful meetings weve held in Kenya. It was well attended with average attendance being about 100 people.
Before we conducted the meetings, we spent three days there with some of the orphans doing preparations and inviting people to come and attend the meetings. Invitations proved very, very important because the majority of the people who were invited attended throughout the week. During the invitations, we walked from door to door, prayed for the sick we found in the homes, distributed tracts that we carried with us, and read one or two scriptures from the Bible. Some people told us the problems they had so that we could help them pray. Most of the problems were financial e.g. My child is out of school due to lack of school fees, please pray that God may open ways so that we get fees for the child. Some of the problems were sickness. We prayed for all the problems. It was as if we were conducting a week of prayer as most churches do it here in Africa. We walked from house to house. Actually, it was so good to visit people in their homes with the message of God! Our main aim was simply to invite them and inform them about the meetings. But we did more than just the invitation and it was a real blessing both to us and to the families we were able to visit.
We started our meetings on Sunday February 22. On that day we introduced people to the topic about the Trinity. First of all, we wanted to hear what people say the Trinity is. So we started with the question, what is the Trinity? We got different answers from the congregation. One person said that it means three who are united to become one and they are all equal. Then I asked, How many people support that idea. Only 14 people raised their hands.
Another person replied that it means, Three immortal beings that have the same goal towards human beings and they all did creation. They all have the same powers and agree on what each should do. This answer was rather funny to me. When I asked how many people supported the idea, 21 people raised their hands.
Another person (a Pentecostal pastor) answered that it means One eternal being who reveals Himself in three different ways. When He came to the world, he revealed Himself as the Son. When He is away, He wants us to call Him the Holy Spirit, because He is ever present but we cannot see Him with our naked eyes. And when we describe Him according to where He is now, we call him the father. So they are three i.e., God the father, God the son and God the Holy Spirit. But He is just one God. When I asked how many people supported that answer, 48 people raised their hands.
I could see that most people raised their hands not because they were convinced that was the right answer, but because it was a reply from a pastor whom they felt knows a lot from the Bible. One person even caused laughter when he stood up and said, I do not know what the Trinity is, but I have raised up my hand in support of the pastors answer because I know that a pastor cannot be wrong in his reply to the question.
I asked him to tell us why he felt the pastors reply was right, and he replied, Because he reads the Bible daily. Then I asked him, Dont you also read the Bible? He replied, once a week, only when I go to church. People laughed. I asked him why just once a week yet he has his own Bible. He said that he is too busy throughout the week to get time to sit down and read the Bible. He again said, As far as the Bible and its explanation is concerned, I leave it to my pastor.
This is where the problem with most Christians is. Many Christians dont read the Bible. They like to work for God. They like the Word of God and they know that it is pure, holy and has life. But they rarely sit to find the truth for themselves. All they believe is what their spiritual leaders tell them.
There is one statement by Sister White that has really encouraged me throughout my life. She wrote, The minds of the Bereans were not narrowed by prejudice. They were willing to investigate the truthfulness of the doctrines preached by the apostles. They studied the Bible, not from curiosity, but in order that they might learn what had been written concerning the promised Messiah. Daily they searched the inspired records, and as they compared scripture with scripture, heavenly angels were beside them, enlightening their minds and impressing their hearts. (Acts of the Apostles, p. 231)
Wherever the truths of the gospel are proclaimed, those who honestly desire to do right are led to a diligent searching of the Scriptures. If, in the closing scenes of this earths history, those to whom testing truths are proclaimed would follow the example of the Bereans, searching the Scriptures daily, and comparing with God's word the messages brought them, there would today be a large number loyal to the precepts of Gods law, where now there are comparatively few. But when unpopular Bible truths are presented, many refuse to make this investigation. Though unable to controvert the plain teachings of Scripture, they yet manifest the utmost reluctance to study the evidences offered. Some assume that even if these doctrines are indeed true, it matters little whether or not they accept the new light, and they cling to pleasing fables which the enemy uses to lead souls astray. Thus their minds are blinded by error, and they become separated from heaven. (Acts of the Apostles, p. .232)
I started the lesson about the Trinity after reading the above quotations. I was happy when some people asked me to repeat the words from the quotations for them to write. Most of the congregation were from the Seventh-day Adventist Church and so they were familiar with the book I was quoting from.
I realized that it was very important to explain to the congregation where the doctrine of the Trinity originated. The tracts that we had distributed really helped people to understand. The tract Which God had brief, but very important explanations. I was happy that people followed the teaching very keenly. The whole day we discussed how the protestant churches borrowed some false teachings from the Catholic Church, such that even though they protested, they still follow some of the Catholic doctrines, which are not biblical. Some of these doctrines are, Sunday keeping instead of Sabbath and the immortality of the dead.
On the second and third day, we taught about Who God is. We read from scripture to scripture. We read the Old and New Testament and we found that God is one, not two; not three. Quotations from Jesus (John17:3), Paul (1st Corinthians 8:6), Moses, and from God Himself, speaking to the children of Israel and to the patriarchs and prophets of old, proved that God is one and our Father.
On the fourth day, we taught about Who Jesus Christ is. All agreed that He is the begotten Son of God. The scripture proved everything. All agreed that Jesus is not a second God.
In the evening of the fourth day and morning of the fifth day, we studied about the Holy Spirit. People got it clear that it is the Spirit of God and not a third God. In order to show that she understood the teaching, one woman stood in the congregation and said, Just as my spirit cannot be another me, or a second me, so the spirit of God cannot be another God or a second God or a third God.
On the fifth day, we taught about The Sanctuary. We found out that most people who were Adventists understood the topic very well. It was, however, a new teaching to some people from other denominations and they requested another Bible study on the topic. We did that in the evening.
On the sixth day, Pastor Nyamora taught about the Sabbath. It was a good topic. We found out that most people accept Saturday to be the Sabbath day of the Lord but keep Sunday instead. When we asked them the reason, some of them said, We found our parents keeping the day. One woman said, My husband forced me that I must go to church with him and there is no way we can divide our family when it comes to spiritual matters. Some said that the change was made by the church and so we believe what the church did. Still others said that it is what the majority of the Christian world has accepted and so I have to keep the day too.
He taught how important it is to obey Gods Word. Many people accepted the message.
On Sabbath, which was our last day of the meeting, we made a call and five people accepted to be baptized. Because people wanted more Bible study in the afternoon, we postponed the baptism the next day.
I thank God for the message that was delivered during the meetings. I thank all of you for your prayers and financial support that enabled us to conduct the meetings. May God bless you and be with you. Pray for the work in Africa as a whole. We become so much encouraged with the reports that we read about the expansion of the truth to different parts of our continent e.g. Ghana. May God richly bless all of you.
(Pastor Maurice writes from his home in southwestern Kenya, where he is the director of Hope for Childrens Center orphanage, and leads out in the ministry work there. Please pray for him, the orphans, and the progress of the work in Africa and around the world. Editor)
Thank you and the others at Smyrna who have been praying for T______ and thank you for your thoughtfulness in sending him a card. Please continue to pray for him. ... Please tell Brother Beachy his book, Gods Love on Trial is excellent. I would appreciate receiving 10 more copies to share with others. NC
There is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things. May this small thing help in His work. Thank you for your prayers, Present Truth, Hearth to Hearth, and Old Paths literature. Our prayers are with you also. WV
Thank you for the work you are doing. Please send me five copies of Gods Love on Trial. Thanks. UT
God bless your work thereHe is working mightily here. Soon the Angel of Revelation 18 will come down and lighten the earth with His glory. Enclosed is money for What Did the Pioneers Believe? as many as this will purchase. May God watch over you all. TN
God bless you so- o o o o much is my prayer. Cant tell you how very special you have become to us. I hear that you have a new book out by Brother Lynnford Beachy entitled Gods Love on Trial. I would love to have at least two copies. MI
I pray often for you. Its really a nice feeling to have found a ministry to which I can give in full confidence that God will be glorified. MN
Grace and peace be unto you all from God our Father and His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ, our Lord and Saviour. My prayers ascend daily to our Father God on your behalf. May His rich blessing be upon all His people everywhere. Thank you for the work you are doing around the world. Keep looking up going forward in faith. God bless you and keep you. May His great mercies be upon you all and give you peace. Amen. P.S. Thank you for the two books, The Fourth Angel and Gods Love on Trial. Canada
Just wanted to let you know Im thinking of you and praying that God will keep blessing. Here is my tithe & offering. I hope to see you all at camp meeting. Till then . . . God bless. TN
May God continue to bless and keep each one of you and save you at last into His soon coming kingdom. WA
The Truth About God ministries are in my prayers, and I especially remember Bros. David, Allen, Lynnford and Howard. The work of the ministries puts me in mind of a pebble thrown into a brookthe circle grows wider and wider. Praise the Lord for these faithful brothers. I thank God for each and every one of His faithful workers. My prayers are with you. MT
It is very exciting to read about the work that is progressing so nicely overseas. People here in this land of milk and honey too often seem apathetic towards the truth. Its good to hear of those who truly value the knowledge of the one true God and His Son, Jesus Christ. KY
Thank you so much for your wonderful ministry in sharing this beautiful truth about God and His Son and Their spirit. We are so thrilled to read of how this truth is spreading around the world. We know of at least one denominationally employed pastor who believes this truth, and is sharing it quietly with his congregation. I believe there are many more pastors who believe this truth. We especially enjoyed the article in Old Paths on the Adult Sabbath School lessons on the book of John. WA
I would like to extend a warm thanks to you for sending to me a number of audio tapes on this topic [Godhead]. It is much appreciated and may God bless you all. I have already listened to all the messages and continue to do so. What a benefit it is to clarify the issue of who our God is!!! I would like to send a donation but need an address. Also is there a catalogue that I can look at and maybe order more tapes (audio/video) Thanks again. Australia
(Donations may be sent to our contact address on page 20. We do have a list of materials and is available upon request. Editor)
Please let me know when the last four videos in the Good News About God series are ready. TX
(We are sorry the progress has been so slow on these messages. We are working on them and hope to have two more titles released by the next three months.Editor)
I would like some tapes of the Florida camp meeting and any back copies of Old Paths. Also please send me one copy of all your books and tracts. TN
Thank you for all the newsletters, books and other literature that you have sent assisting my study of God and His Son. Its a beautiful understanding. I want to contend for the faith given to our fathers in love as you are. I dont know if I said thank you yet for the little history of Smyrna Gospel. But I do thank you and was blessed by it. TN
We received the books Gods Love on Trial and enclosed you will find the two checks to cover the cost plus shipping. We thank you all for all your devotion to Gods work. May the Lord continually bless your work. CO
We are so thankful for the reports in Old Paths and Present Truth. We read them through then share them with others by copy. Keep claiming Gods promises and praying for us. We pray for you folks, too. God bless you all. CO
Thank you for sending me the newsletter Old Paths. I really like the gold printing of Old Paths in the letterhead! The Nobility of its appearance makes me think of the Bible verse, and creates within me a desire to read it. It looks so simple, yet so profound. Also, I would like to request the Present Truth publication. If you have any back issues of Old Paths, I would like to request some of those.
I just read the February Old Paths and I wanted to commend you once again for an excellent and well done job! This article has helped me to better understand the various terms used within the realm of those who love trinitarianism. The article which you wrote in this February issue on Sabbath School lessons not only was disclosing in a straight-forward manner the confusion and contradiction which this false doctrine induces upon the understanding of Scripture, but also illustrated to me a corporate list of these terms together, which helped me to understand the various definitions of such terms as: Tritheism, Politheism, Orthodox, and classical, etc. MN
Thank you for the Old Paths. TX
Pass on to Allen Stump how much I have appreciated his articles Sabbath School Lesson on John Muddies the Gospel Waters. I want to xerox the past one to send to my sister. TN
Please remove me from your mailing list. Thank you. IL
I would like to receive the monthly newsletter Old Paths please. Also send the book What Did the Pioneers Believe? and Shelter in the Storm. Thank you for the wonderful work. I am interested in the tracts Someone Special Loves You. I would like 100. TX
Old Paths is a free monthly newsletter/study-paper published monthly by Smyrna Gospel Ministries, HC 64 Box 128-B, Welch WV 24801-9606. U.S.A. It is sent free upon request. The paper is dedicated to the propagation and restoration of the principles of truth that God gave to the early Seventh-day Adventist pioneers. Duplication is not only permitted, but strongly encouraged. This issue, with other gospel literature we publish, can be found at our web sites. The urls are: http://www.smyrna.org and http://www.presenttruth.info. Phone: (304) 732-9204. Fax: (304) 732-7322.
Editor: Allen Stump -
Associate Editor: Lynnford Beachy - E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
Please also visit our Present Truth Website!
This page was last updated: Sunday, May 26, 2013