The Blessing of a Failed Flight
by Klaus Reinprecht
How often do we struggle to understand the events God permits in our lives? Mostly, we’re left to cling to His promise that, "to those who love God, all things are for the best." We live life in faith, knowing that even if we don’t understand present circumstances, one day, all will become clear.
But sometimes, God draws back the curtain and gives us a glimpse into His divine workings.
One Thursday winter morning, I got in my car to head to the airport, having accepted a spontaneous invitation to an Eastern country to discuss a health project. The luggage was stowed, but the car wouldn’t start. I got in a second car, but it also stuttered and went silent. Luckily, I was able to use my mother’s car so I made it to the train station on time.
In Vienna, the train to the airport failed to arrive. It had been canceled, and no replacement was provided. I waited for another train. When I finally made it to my gate at the airport, I sat down in relief. Shortly thereafter, boarding began—or so I thought. Rather than announcing boarding, an airline employee informed us that the flight had been canceled due to bad weather conditions at our destination. All passengers were welcomed to rebook their flight. What a series of events!
On the train ride home two hours later, I sat looking at my new plane ticket scheduled for the following day. I prayed, claiming God’s promise: "Lord, to those who love You, all things are for the best, so You certainly have a plan with this situation."
The next day's flight went as scheduled. I sat next to the chairman of the Planning Committee for the Olympic Games. He had also been scheduled to fly the previous day and found it very odd that the flight had been cancelled. All other flights to his destination had gone as scheduled.
I arrived safely at my destination and was picked up by my contact person. We used the nearly three hour drive to talk about the health project. The team that had been assembled to work on the project had made an appointment with the city’s municipality for the day I was supposed to arrive. The CEO and other city council members had spent their Friday afternoon patiently waiting for me.
The municipality was delighted that a European was interested in the development of their city and they asked me to briefly introduce myself. Incidentally, I mentioned the success of a cerebral palsy project in Tajikistan, which I had been allowed to initiate. Suddenly, the Communist Chief Officer, the “head of the city,” turned to me with tears in her eyes and in a quavering voice, told the story of her beloved nine-month-old granddaughter, who had suffered massive brain damage from a congenital defect.
The members of the city council left the room to give the Chief Officer, myself, and the translator our privacy. "Can you give me a glimmer of hope?" she asked. I showed her photos of the progress of the children in Central Asia. A tentative smile showed me that she was beginning to have hope. She was so thankful that we had come.
She explained to me that she had been unable to attend the original meeting, scheduled for the day before. She pointed upwards and said, "I know why you didn’t come yesterday; God wanted us to meet, so He permitted the entire flight to be cancelled so we could meet each other.”
I was able to pray with her, and entrusted the well-being of her granddaughter to the Lord. I believe her heart was touched.
The passenger sitting next to me on my return flight home was none other than the chairman of the Planning Committee for the Olympic Games. What are the chances of sitting beside the same person on the same return flight? Insanely small. Coincidence? I think not.
He spoke about our cancelled flight, stating that the decision to cancel the fully-occupied flight out of the blue was inexplicable. He was astonished when I told him it was because of me, and an encounter with a Communist Chief Officer, that the flight was canceled.
God could have used a thousand other ways to organize my meeting this woman, but He chose this very spectacular way.
Leaping in Faith
by Judy L. Shull
Last summer, I took a huge leap of faith. As a teacher for 34 years since graduating from Andrews University, I was about to launch my own independent ministry, Childhoods With Jesus.
Walking from booth to booth at ASI’s 2017 International Convention and learning about the various ministries was an inspiring and encouraging experience. But as I began thinking about beginning my own ministry, I was a little intimidated.
My ministry really began almost two years ago. Returning from our third mission trip to China in 18 months, my husband and I realized the Lord was calling me to make a difference for our new friends in that far away land. As we visited the different Adventist church groups in China, we shared our experiences with children’s ministry and child training. We demonstrated how to lead and teach children of all age groups, as well as worked with Adventist homeschool teachers.
Everywhere we went, we found people deeply engaged in ministry and pleading for support. After years of having to meet in secret, Chinese Adventists are now able to experience corporate worship. They are very anxious to learn more about teaching children about Jesus. The simple programs and Bible studies that we take for granted in the United States are unfamiliar to them.
I clearly remember our last Sabbath afternoon in China. The pastor of a local church took us to a church member’s home. There, he explained the struggles the church was having trying to teach children about Jesus, salvation, and building an enduring relationship with the Savior. The pastor asked us many questions. What materials were available for training, besides the Sabbath School lessons? What Christ-centered textbooks were available? Who could help find Adventist teaching resources available in the Mandarin language? This man wanted to make his province the Adventist education center of the country. Over the next year, I tried to locate the teaching materials the pastor wanted. I looked and looked, but I was both a teacher and the principal of a junior academy, and my spare time was limited. My searching was unsuccessful.
Finally, my husband made a radical suggestion. Why didn’t I stop formally teaching and begin my own independent ministry? That way I could spend more time helping reinvigorate Sabbath Schools and children’s ministries both at home and in China. This was the beginning of my ministry, Childhoods With Jesus. As I continued exploring the idea, it became clear that our teachers and children in the United States are searching for the same help as the Chinese.
My goal and vision for Childhoods With Jesus was to find and/or create children’s ministry materials for Adventist parents and teachers in both China and the U.S. As I progressed towards this goal, God called me to become willing to step out in more faith and adjust my goals to follow His vision—helping our boys, girls, parents, and teachers, no matter where in the world they might live.
This new adventure has allowed me to serve God in a variety of unexpected ways. Opportunities to write stories and children’s books have come my way. I helped lead a mission trip to Bolivia this past February. I also wrote a book for juniors published this spring, Eric, Adam and The Big Hole in the Ground, which will be available at ASI’s 2018 International Convention. Another surprise was a call to help with a special children’s ministry program for It Is Written. I have also accepted another invitation to return to China this summer to train Adventist teachers.
As I reflect on these recent service opportunities, I have found great inspiration and strength in the following quote:
“Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness. The moment one definitely commits oneself, then providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one’s favor all manner of unforeseen incidents, meetings and material assistance which no man could have dreamed would have come his way” (W. H. Murray).
Taking this leap of faith last year and starting Childhoods With Jesus has brought many unanticipated adventures as God leads me toward His goal of helping our children fall in love with our Forever Friend, Jesus.
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Be Made Whole
by Monique Mason
My family owns an SDA-operated natural skincare line called Be Made Whole. The name is based on the scripture in John 5:6, where Jesus approached the man at Bethesda and asked him, “Will you be made whole?” In September of 2016, God inspired us to take the health message to another level. The typical Adventist health message largely focuses on what we eat while promoting a plant-based diet. However, many people in the church and in the world are unaware that the skin is the largest organ of the body and what you put on your skin is absorbed into your bloodstream and can affect you either positively or negatively.
At Be Made Whole, we make all natural soaps, deodorants, toothpaste, body care items, herbal salves for pain, and remedies to treat ailments such as dry skin, eczema, acne, arthritis, and more. We have been to several church sponsored health expos as well as secular events where we are able to connect with people and share the health message and the Gospel of Christ.
My father (who makes our herbal salves), has a connection with the President of the Veggie Pride Parade in New York City. Every year, we attend this secular event on 14th St. Union Square, where we use the opportunity to share health tracts and sell our products. Hundreds of people pass through this event each year, and we are the only SDAs present. We give out health books such as The Ministry of Healing, The International Meat Crisis, The Great Controversy, and others. The President of the parade happened to have read one of Sister White's books in the past. She is not an SDA, but agrees with many of the teachings of Sister White. We pray that through our lifestyle and business practices, she will be able to see a glimpse of Christ. My dad is a regular speaker at this parade and, in the past, was given the opportunity to present information on the SDA church, Ellen White, and other health related topics.
More recently, in Maine, where we live now, there was a pop-up shop organized by a few ladies for Christmas. I signed up and was placed in a yoga studio as one of the vendors. One of the organizers of the pop-up shop loved our facial scrubs and invited us back to do a workshop at her yoga studio! In addition, I was able to connect with several of these women through social media and we have since stayed in contact.
Besides sharing our homemade natural products, we do our best to use our ministry to share the health message and spread the gospel. When we started, we didn’t realize how many people are in pain and are suffering. When Jesus came to the man by the pool of Bethesda and asked him, “Will you be made whole?” did you notice the letters in the word “Bethesda?” If you break it up, Bethesda says Be The SDA. Could it be possible that God is trying to tell us to be the SDA, to live like an SDA and become medical missionaries for Him?
God has greatly blessed our efforts since we started in 2016 and we are already seeing His working through many people with whom we’ve connected. We encourage you to use your platform, whatever it is, to share the truth.
Learn more at: www.willyoubemadewhole.com
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