June 13, 2013
Shoes of Redemption
“I Wash Feet”
What is summer without something to read?
This special issue will get you reading, and thinking.
14 In the Wilderness: While They Were Sleeping GERALD A. KLINGBEIL
God pulls out all stops to reach His people—and the world.
18 Molotov Cocktails LUPU CORNELIU BENONE
He thought he could make a contribution by blowing things up.
22 Shoes of Redemption GY THOMAS
Desperation is a strong motivator.
26 Brighten the Corner MARVENE THORPE-BAPTISTE
It doesn’t take much to make someone’s day.
28 60 Days of Service
Make them an adventure.
7 Page 7
8 World News &
13 Give & Take
25 Searching the Obvious
39 Introducing the Why
30 One Step at a Time DARIN PATZER
Being prepared for anything.
34 “I Wash Feet” JUDITH P. NEMBHARD
There’s more than one way.
36 Converted on the Golf Course JAMES C. PARMELE
The power of a couple random comments.
40 Highly Committed DE WITT WILLIAMS
The life and legacy of Neal C. Wilson.
44 One Year in Catholic School KIMBERLY LUSTE MARAN
It was unforgettable.
6 BILL KNOTT
Fitbits and Pharisees
7 CARLOS MEDLEY
Take the Time
Publisher General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists ® , Executive Publisher Bill Knott, Associate Publisher Claude Richli, Publishing ing gBoard: Ted N. C.
Wilson, chair; Benjamin D. Schoun,
vice chair; Bill Knott, secretary; Lisa Beardsley-Hardy; Daniel R. Jackson; Robert Lemon; Geoffrey Mbwana; G. T. Ng; Daisy Orion; Juan Prestol; Michael Ryan; Ella Simmons; Mark Thomas; Karnik
Doukmetzian, legal adviser. Editor Bill Knott, Associate Editors Lael Caesar, Gerald A. Klingbeil, Coordinating Editor Stephen Chavez, Online Editor Carlos Medley, Features Editor Sandra
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www.AdventistReview.org | June 13, 2013 | (483) 3
LETTERS FROM OUR READERS
» Shane Anderson’s cover
article “Un-Real” (May 9,
2013) had a refreshing perspective
on the challenges
young people face. I agree
that warning about legalism
simply results in driving
youth to relativism and secularism.
I also rejoice that
Anderson was bold enough
to point out the strong negative
impact media has on our
young people—a desperate
issue in the church largely
While I love Ravi Zacharias,
I wouldn’t, however,
emphasize apologetics. It is
not going to reach nearly as
many young (or old) people
as the simple revelation of
Jesus in Scripture when
enlightened by the Holy
Spirit. This was the emphasis
of the early Christian church.
Also, Anderson, like George
Barna and Frank Viola in
their recent books supporting
home churches, has
missed the fact that the early
Christian church did have
structure. It was patterned
after the Jewish synagogue
worship, which had Scripture
reading at its core (with some
May 9, 2013
Hope Channel Ukraine
An E rand for a Rainy Day
Kids Eat Fr e
BRINGING FAITH AND
PRACTICE INTO FOCUS
Protestantism has moved
away from reading Scripture.
Our worship services need to
be reformed and small group
interaction is needed, but we
must be exceedingly careful
not to let it turn into social
gatherings devoid of powerful
that exalts Jesus and His sacrifice.
The Word is powerful.
In his article, Anderson
strongly supports personal
Bible reading, but let’s also
see a revival of Scripture
reading as part of our church
worship services as well.
Silver Spring, Maryland
» What a powerfully clear
analysis of truth in our own
backyard! Yes, it is time to
remind our youth to read
their Bibles to understand an
unambiguous lifetime commitment
to Christ. Anything
less can lead to blind duplicity
and stunted faith. Shane
Anderson’s call for purposedriven
worship for our
youth resonates with those
Adventists who can remember
when all church members
contributed to Sabbath
worship. We were not at
church to be entertained.
Member numbers were
smaller. People knew each
other as extended family
members. There were many
possibilities for involvement,
from oh-so-cute toddlers
who could recite Bible verses
to budding musicians cranking
out a tune with a few
bum notes. And you could
feel genuine love from participants
“giving it a go.”
Choices for how to worship
are an essential part of
teaching our youth how to
be involved. Media in itself is
not evil; it’s how it is used
that makes a difference. The
challenge of applying the
Bible’s principles of living in
our world—dealing with all
that is good and bad—allows
young people to actively
learn real Christian lifestyle
values because they have
made an effort to be personally
involved in “doing
stuff.” Church life is about
“getting it sorted” among
friends so that Christian values
are meaningful for the
whole of their life.
A call for our youth to be
more hands-on in a return to
reality is appropriate. The
Bible was written as our
prime source of truth
throughout all ages. Christian
parental wisdom is supplied
in 1 Corinthians 3:11
and 1 Corinthians 3:7. This is
What Is a
» OK, the author of the April
18 editorial “Sqooshkappers,”
Lael Caesar, is erudite
and sapient! Now, if we
could have a definition of
who or what a sqooshkapper
is, we could better understand
the message being
“Sqooshkappers” are fictions
that serve perverse rationality:
Sqooshkapppers are things we
believe in, support, or argue for,
because we want to believe in
them regardless of reality. Believing
in a multimillion-dollar,
objectively scientific research
project by an atheist into
whether or not there’s an afterlife
is a conspicuous example of
what sqooshkappers are all
» Michael Zwaagstra’s article
“Postmodernism in the
Classroom” (Apr. 18, 2013)
warmed my heart. In my
experience, education is
most efficient when there is a
balance between lectures and
“hands-on learning.” Could
we add Ephesians 6:1-4,
which suggests that adults
should be careful to not
expect learning to occur out
of harmony with the child’s
mental, physical, and spiritual
development? In support
of this concept, a reread
of Education, by Ellen White,
would be beneficial. I’d also
suggest Better Late Than Early,
by Raymond and Dorothy
Moore, and this Web site by
Susan Johnson (a non-
4 (484) | www.AdventistReview.org | June 13, 2013
“We need to examine our own
assumptions, as they may limit our
understanding of God as much as
ways of thinking that challenge the
—KAREN SUVANKHAM, Maryland
Adventist M.D. and developmental/behavioral
specialist) as most timely
» I would like to have seen
the article “Postmodernism
in the Classroom” published
alongside a companion article
taking up another perspective
on this question.
While Michael Zwaagstra
does well to ask us to examine
ways in which constructivism
challenges to faith and Christian
education, I wish that he
had encouraged us with
equal fervor to consider the
challenges presented by positivism,
the school of thought
from which he writes. Many
of us have grown up in a
largely positivist culture, and
positivist reasoning is so
much a part of our thought
processes that it can seem
obvious to us that this way
of thinking is natural, right,
logical, or even biblical.
While we tend not to feel
threatened by the familiar,
we need to examine our own
assumptions, as they may
limit our understanding of
God as much as ways of
thinking that challenge the
» I just read the article about
Morris Venden’s passing
away (online on Feb. 15,
2013; also in the print edition
on Mar. 14, 2013). I
arrived on March 2 in America,
and his memorial service
was on March 3. One of the
reasons I was looking forward
to visiting the U.S. was
to meet Pastor Venden again.
I am so sad!
I first saw Venden in
Manila. He was holding an
evangelistic campaign with
Jennifer LaMountain at the
Convention Center. When I
heard him speak, it’s as if I
heard God’s voice through
him. I was an active leader in
our church already. But his
words touched my heart.
They made me realize the
futility of my service. At that
time I only knew “about”
God. I cried every time Venden
concluded his sermon
for the night. And even now
as I remember the man who
changed the way I view God
in my life, it makes me cry.
I followed Venden’s advice.
I went home with a renewed
mind—I purposed to know
God personally and put Him
in my heart. I started reading
The Desire of Ages. It inspired
me to read the Bible again
and again, looking for clues
on God’s character. I fell in
love with God. And every
time I feel that life is overwhelming
me, I remember
that time when I was
I will not be able to see
Venden alive again here on
earth and thank him for how
he helped change my life. But
when we all get to heaven,
Pastor Venden and I will
What Is a Mystic?
» “What Is a Mystic?” by Eric
Anderson (Jan. 10, 2013) has
agitated me in a good way. It
has agitated me to read more
of the Review, and more of
Ephesians 1 and 2.
“I saw that your mind was
at times unbalanced from
trying very hard to study
into and explain the mystery
of godliness, which is just as
great a mystery after your
study and explanations as it
was before” (Ellen White,
Selected Messages, book 1,
His mystery, our inheritance
» Paulasir Abraham, author
of “More Than You Asked
For” (Apr. 25, 2013), is an
associate pastor of the
Southern Asian Seventh-day
Adventist Church in Silver
» The photo credit for the
April 25 cover belongs to
Chet Williams; photos on
pages 18-21 of this same
issue are courtesy of Chet
Williams and The Food Collective.
We regret the
We welcome your letters, noting,
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Send correspondence to Letters to
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www.AdventistReview.org | June 13, 2013 | (485) 5
Fitbits and Pharisees
I’LL ADMIT IT: I LIKE MY NEW TOY.
Before you assume that I’ve succumbed to the midlife pull of red Corvettes or canary-yellow Sea-Doos,
let me hasten to assure you that my toy is clad in somber black, weighs about two ounces, and looks
remarkably like a USB drive.
It’s a modest and unflashy toy, a thoroughly Adventist toy, one that I can take to the General Conference
office each day without fear of being thought a show-off or provoking concerns among my colleagues that
I’m hankering for lost youth and prowess. Less noticeable than a tiepin and less gaudy than a set of cuff
links, it clips demurely to a belt or pocket edge—unseen, unheard, un-commented upon. Even its brand
name—Fitbit—is still relatively unknown, providing me an unusual opportunity to imagine myself something
of a trendsetter.
But oh, the satisfactions of my unobtrusive toy.
At 9:00 a.m. I open the smartphone app that quickly syncs my Bluetooth with my Fitbit: 1 “1876 steps,” it
silently reports on my iPhone screen; four staircases climbed; . 86 miles walked; 774 calories burned—as
though my breakfast had disappeared already, overwhelmed by the intensity of my early day. At this pace,
and at this hour, it should be relatively easy to mightily impress myself by day’s end. Already I imagine the
inner warmth provided by the pop-up message declaring I have passed 12,000 steps, ascended the equivalent
of a 10-story building, and made last night’s lasagna-fest completely disappear.
If diligent, I chart my weight, ounces of water consumed, and hours of sleep—trusting that no intercepting
technology can steal the record of my less-admirable statistics. I even have the consolation of what
passes for accountability, for one of my colleagues—an overactive German with a body type entirely unlike
mine, I remind you—can track our daily steps in a friendly competition that he always wins by miles.
My Fitbit is, as I noted, a thoroughly Adventist toy, no matter who may have manufactured it. It is discreet,
invisible to others, tracks my behaviors with unerring accuracy, and rewards me with encouraging
small messages for having met my too-low goals. I know just how I’m doing as often as I want to, accompanied
by the inner glow of the one who can prove—numerically—that his actions are superior to the
masses who trudge along unmeasured and uninspired. Whole new behaviors now emerge because I know
they’ll be recorded—like that evening a week ago when I paced 100 large circles around the darkened living
room to meet my daily step goal.
All of which would only be the stuff of a 50ish editor’s self-congratulation until I caught myself some
days ago half-wishing that there was a Fitbit for my faith—you know, some somber, lightweight, unflashy
device that tracked my daily progress toward the kingdom: prayers uttered (or at least promised); kind
words spoken (or imagined); embraces cheerfully given (or at least given, cheerful or not). How convenient,
I found myself musing, if my recording angel sent an hourly progress report by some divine Bluetooth
technology to my smartphone. How easily I might be inspired by the record of my own good deeds
to do more—and still more—for the kingdom!
“God, I thank You that I am not like other men—extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this tax collector. I fast
twice a week; I give tithes of all that I possess” (Luke 18:11, 12, NKJV). 2
The subtle temptations that accompany a faith with high behavioral standards always predispose us
toward that most insidious of spiritual postures—the one whereby we stand in the house of God, decorated
with self-given medals, and pray with our bettered selves. True, even the cup of cold water given in
the name of Jesus will not lose its reward (Matt. 10:42), but Jesus knew that we are too easily impressed by
the record of the good His Spirit does in and through us. And so He continues to advise us, “But when you
do a charitable deed, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing” (Matt. 6:3).
Here’s a call for an unself-conscious Adventism—a trust that the name of Jesus will be praised even if
the record of my living or your giving disappears forever into celestial cyberspace. No metrics could have
ever captured how much the Master gave, and, as He said: “A servant is not greater than his master” (John
Fitbit is a registered trademark of Fitbit, Inc.
Texts credited to NKJV are from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1979, 1980, 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All
6 (486) | www.AdventistReview.org | June 13, 2013
Take the Time
SOMETIMES A FEW WEEKS I HAVE AGO TO I CAME LAUGH HOME AT MYSELF. FROM WORK AND LOOKED IN OUR
refrigerator A few weeks for ago something I came home to eat. from I ended work and up taking looked an in our item refrigerator from the freezer for something and started to eat. to
prepare I ended up it. However, taking an in item the from next the instant freezer I stopped and started in my to tracks prepare and it. looked However, for something the next else. I
changed instant I my stopped mind in not my because tracks and I didn’t looked like for the something food—I knew else. I would I changed enjoy my it—but mind not because because I just I
didn’t like want the to food—I spend the knew 10 to I would 15 minutes enjoy it—but would because take to prepare I just didn’t it. So want I settled to spend for something the 10 to
quick 15 minutes and easy, it would and less take enjoyable. to prepare it. So I settled for something quick and easy, and less
enjoyable. Has that ever happened to you? You settle for something less enjoyable because you don’t
want Has to that invest ever the happened time it takes to you? to create You settle the ideal for something alternative? less enjoyable because you don’t
want In today’s invest world the time we need it takes things to create fast. We the want ideal results alternative? now. You can easily find instant copies,
instant In today’s meals, world instant we marriage need things certificates, fast. We want instant results loans, now. and You instant can easily movies. find instant copies,
instant Too often meals, our instant schedules marriage are so certificates, packed with instant projects, loans, meetings, and instant assignments, movies. appointments,
deadlines, Too often and our commitments schedules are that so packed we don’t with have projects, time for meetings, thoughtful assignments, reflection. appointments,
from deadlines, early and in the commitments morning to late that into we don’t the night, have and time there’s for thoughtful no such thing reflection. as “after We’re hours” running anymore.
from early I once in heard the morning a radio commentator to late into the jokingly night, and say: there’s “Leaving no the such office thing at as 5:00 “after p.m. hours” almost anymore.
like I once working heard part-time.”
a radio commentator jokingly say: “Leaving the office at 5:00 p.m. almost
feels With like today’s working rapid part-time.” lifestyle it’s no wonder that God admonishes us to take the time to be still
and With patiently today’s wait rapid on lifestyle Him (Ps. it’s 37:7). no wonder Christ wants that God to give admonishes us rest and us peace, to take but the too time often to be the still
rush and patiently of life crowds wait on out Him His (Ps. still 37:7). small Christ voice. wants to give us rest and peace, but too often the
rush It’s of time life that crowds we set out aside His still time small for fellowship voice. with Jesus. He longs to renew our minds, rejuvenate
It’s time our that souls, we and set refresh aside the our time spirits. for fellowship He wants to with give Jesus. rest, He if
we longs just to take renew the our time. minds, rejuvenate our souls, and refresh our
spirits. He wants to give us rest, if we would just take the time.
An Adventist Christening
Fernando and Ana
Stahl spent 45 years in
pioneer mission service
at the headwaters of the
Amazon River. With no roads,
travel was by boat, on foot,
or by mule. The Stahls often
walked up to 45 days to reach
a mission station location.
A new day in world
missions began 50 years ago
on June 16, 1963, when
the General Conference
purchased its first mission
plane to serve the South
American Division. The
airplane was christened the Fernando
Stahl in Angwin, California. To perform
the traditional christening act, Mrs.
Stahl, then 93, used a fresh bottle of
orange juice to break over the nose of
the plane, proclaiming, “I christen thee
Following the dedication service, Mrs.
Stahl was given a ride over the Pacific
Union College campus and surrounding
area. “Oh, it was wonderful,” she said.
“I should be allowed to enjoy things at
my age, shouldn’t I?”
The Fernando Stahl served the
South American Division faithfully until
February 25, 1967, when it crashed into
the Ucayali River during takeoff. The
pilot and passengers survived; the plane
sank into the silt and mud of the river.
World News & Perspectives
PANORAMA OF DESTRUCTION: Part of the devastation caused by an EF5 tornado in
Moore, Oklahoma, on May 20, 2013. Spray-painted “X” on a car indicates no one was
found in the mangled vehicle.
Adventists Join Oklahoma
Tornado Relief Effort
ACS sets up relief center at Hope Adventist
Fellowship, untouched by massive storm.
By MARK A. KELLNER, news editor
ADVENTIST COMMUNITY Services
(ACS) is providing disaster relief to victims
of the May 20, 2013, tornado that
cut a 17-mile path of destruction
through Moore, Oklahoma, a suburb of
Authorities said 24 people, including
10 children, perished in the twister,
rated at EF5, the highest rating on the
Enhanced Fujita scale used to measure a
tornado’s strength. The May 20 storm
hit on the second consecutive day of
tornadoes in the state, packing peak
winds of 190 mph, and touched down in
the towns of New Castle and Moore and
other Oklahoma City suburbs. The tornado
spent 40 minutes traveling 17
miles on the ground and devastated an
estimated 30 square miles that included
neighborhoods and two elementary
“Please remember to pray for the
many victims of this tragedy, and for all
of our faithful ACS and rescue and relief
workers and volunteers,” said Sung
Kwon, North American Division (NAD)
ACS executive director.
ACS is currently operating a distribution
center from the Hope Adventist
Fellowship in Moore, whose building
was miraculously untouched by the
storm. Collection centers are being
operated at the Midwest City Adventist
Church, Oklahoma City Central Spanish
Adventist Church, Tulsa Adventist Fellowship,
and Tulsa Adventist Academy.
VOLUNTEER EFFORT: Johnny Flores, a
volunteer with Adventist Community Services,
stacks packs of water at the Hope
Adventist Fellowship church in Moore,
Oklahoma, for distribution to victims of
the May 20, 2013, tornado there.
ADRA International has committed
$50,000 to the relief efforts and will
work with ACS to assist with the disaster
ACS Disaster Relief (ACS DR) is a
member of National Voluntary Organizations
Active in Disaster (National
VOAD), along with about 55 other non-
| www.AdventistReview.org | June 13, 2013
profit organizational members. Each
response organization has their own
specialty as they work together in a
disaster area, cooperating seamlessly
with the Federal Emergency Management
Agency (FEMA) and other state
VOADs in an orderly, well-trained manner
within their own area of expertise.
ACS DR specializes in handling donated
goods and distributing relief supplies.
RELIEF SUPPLIES: People carry water
bottles as they walk away from the Hope
Adventist Fellowship church in Moore,
This means the ACS teams collect, sort,
warehouse, and distribute goods.
Much-needed relief supplies are distributed
to survivors and responders
using fixed sites that are often Adventist
churches and schools, and also
using mobile distribution units.
—with information from the North American
Division and Adventist Community
Loma Linda’s Earth and Biological
Sciences Department Turns 50
Has only accredited geology program supporting a Seventh-day Adventist worldview
By HEATHER REIFSNYDER AND NANCY YUEN, Loma Linda University
THE FLAGSHIP medical and health professions
university operated by the Seventh-day
Adventist Church, Loma Linda
University (LLU), recently marked 50
years of a unique graduate program.
The Department of Earth and Biological
Sciences celebrated the anniversary
April 21–27, 2013, with events that
included field trips, a “wild animal vespers,”
and discussions on both creation
and environmental stewardship.
It was in 1961 that several biologists
from the basic science faculty in the
School of Medicine proposed a doctoral
program in biology for nonmedical professionals.
Its geology program is the
only accredited doctoral-level program
that subscribes to a recent, six-day creation
The goals were threefold: to prepare
science teachers who were trained with
a biblical worldview for Seventh-day
Adventist schools and colleges; to
develop a better understanding of the
relationship between faith and science;
and to provide basic science faculty
members new avenues of research.
LLU’s board of trustees approved the
new Department of Biology in December
of 1961, and the first students arrived in
fall of 1962—all three of them.
Since that beginning enrollment has
CENTER OF ATTENTION: Loma Linda University students take turns being photographed
with an Amazon parrot. The colorful parrot was present as part of “Entrusted: Christians
and Environmental Care,” a symposium sponsored by the LLU Department of Earth and
Biological Sciences and the LLU Center for Biodiversity and Conservation Studies.
grown 16-fold to its present high of 50,
and the department now also offers
degrees in geology, environmental sciences,
and natural sciences. Students
can shape their degrees to fit their goals
The department’s name has changed
to Earth and Biological Sciences, and its
faculty are involved in research including
studies on sea turtles, crabs, rattlesnakes
and venoms, and a variety of
geology and paleontology topics.
“We’re getting to be better known,”
said department chair Leonard Brand,
Ph.D. “Students value our programs
because this is a unique place. At many
other schools offering these degrees,
anyone who asked a question about
religion would be laughed out, but at
LLU our students can talk about anything
and ask any questions.
“This is the only place in the world in
which a Christian student can get a doctorate
in biology or geology and study
under faculty who accept the Bible,” he
continued. “We’re a creationist faculty.
The students learn our viewpoint as
well as secular viewpoints. They need to
www.AdventistReview.org | June 13, 2013 | (489) 9
World News & Perspectives
VOICE FOR ANIMALS: Marianne Thieme of the Party for the Animals, Netherlands,
answers questions about her seminar: “Advocating for Animals: Political Action and the
Global Consequences of Intensive Livestock Farming,” as Ronald Carter, Ph.D., provost,
Loma Linda University, serves as moderator.
know what they’re choosing and why.”
Richard Hart, LLU’s president, said:
“Though the department has changed
names several times, it continues to train
faculty for Adventist colleges and academies
with an understanding of core Adventist
beliefs about creation and the
origins of this earth. Its current six faculty
rely on other programs in the university
for complementary courses and
research collaboration. Most major Adventist
higher education institutions
now have one or more faculty who have
graduated from this program, with a current
enrollment of about 25 representing
many international institutions.”
The anniversary celebrations included
a banquet on Wednesday, April 24, in the
Wong Kerlee International Conference
Center of the Coleman Pavilion. Citations
were given to distinguished alumni and
department professors, including Brand,
who retires this year.
Other aspects of the celebration were
designed to bring in other LLU students
and community members, with organizers
seeking to reach out as well as
commemorate. To do so, officials created
the “Entrusted: Christians and
Environmental Care” symposium, sponsored
by the LLU Department of Earth
and Biological Sciences and the LLU
Center for Biodiversity and Conservation
To the question “Why a symposium?”
event organizers posted this explanation:
“In the beginning, God created the heavens
and the earth. When finished, God
saw all that He had made, and declared
that ‘it was very good.’ He then tasked
humans—the crown jewel of His creation—to
care for all that He had made.”
One LLU professor expanded on that
thought: “Our department,” said William
K. Hayes, Ph.D., professor of biology,
“has a long history of contributions
to the relationship between faith and
science. In addition to serving as the
concluding portion of our department’s
weeklong fiftieth anniversary celebration,
the symposium represented the
second and more recent thrust of our
department: environmental care and
—with additional reporting by Lael
Caesar, Adventist Review
Integration of Technologies
Highlighted at Adventist
In Dubai 230 tech leaders meet to share strategies.
By LIBNA STEVENS, Inter-American Division,
reporting from Dubai, United Arab Emirates
GREATER INTEGRATION of Internet
platforms and messages was a key theme
of the 2013 Global Adventist Internet
Network (GAiN), which hosted 230 Seventh-day
Adventist Church technologists
and communicators in Dubai, United
Arab Emirates, May 15-19, 2013.
Ted N. C. Wilson, president of the
General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists,
spoke to Web professionals,
communicators, church leaders, and
members at the Seventh-day Adventist
church in the neighboring emirate of
Ras al-Khaimah on Sabbath, May 18.
Wilson encouraged listeners to continue
using all means possible to spread
the Word of God.
“Share God’s love; share the three
PHOTO: DARYL GUNGADOO/ANN
SHARE THE GOSPEL: Ted N. C. Wilson,
president of the General Conference, delivers
the Sabbath sermon at the Ras al-
Khaimah Adventist Church near Dubai on
May 18. He urged technology professionals
to continue finding innovative ways of
sharing the gospel through the Web.
| www.AdventistReview.org | June 13, 2013
angels’ messages as to how God is preparing
people for His soon coming,”
Wilson challenged technologists to
explore ways to help in a comprehensive
integrated media approach for
reaching the hearts of people through
various outreach initiatives.
Participants were also shown the new
Creation film series that will be completed
and distributed around the
world church later this year. Wilson
appealed to conference participants to
collaborate in innovative ways to showcase
the films in churches and special
venues in every community.
During the GAiN conference, successful
Adventist Internet ministries were highlighted,
along with effective initiatives and
strategies to assist the church in social
media impact. The conference also allowed
for group discussion about consumer
trends, how to better connect congregations,
distance learning, and other topics.
Global participants expressed enthusiastic
support for the conference’s goals.
“I found the GAiN conference
extremely informative and invigorating.
With so many talented people gathered
together, the discussions were lively and
filled with energy. The wide variety of
topics opened my eyes to how many
ways the church is using Internet and
social media to promote the Adventist
Church’s initiatives and ministries,” said
Carlos Medley, online editor for Adventist
Review magazine. “The meeting has
inspired me to recommit myself to do all
I can to advance the church’s work.”
Mirjana Kicusic, network developer
and marketing manager for the Trans-
European Division, attended the GAiN
event for the first time: “The participants
had an unforgettable opportunity
to learn new things in their areas and
were able to hear great reports from
other divisions and unions,” she said.
And Jones Masimba, Central Kenya
Conference treasurer, said the event
“has been an eye-opener for me. It has
been a great experience, showing us the
many opportunities that are available
PHOTO: DARYL GUNGADOO/ANN
for service, and to reach out to the community.
Things are changing fast today,
and GAiN is helping us keep current.”
Along with the case studies and presentations
on the Creation film, General
Conference communication leaders
announced the pending launch of a new
www.adventist.org Web site.
The homepage overhaul will include
an improved design framework, creating
an opportunity for better integration
of the hundreds of Web sites
throughout the world church. Church
leaders say the move will deliver stronger
and more consistent branding
across the denomination.
“This will allow the church to define
its brand, to clarify its voice and move
from a place of multiple different sites to
becoming a network of sites,” said Garrett
Caldwell, assistant Communication
Department director for public relations
at the world church headquarters.
Williams Costa, Jr., the Adventist
Church’s Communication Department
director and GAiN conference organizer,
stressed the importance of a unified
“We understand the diversity
[around] the world, the different tastes,
colors, cultures, and the need to have
something that binds us, but people
need to see us as a family and with clear
content and visibility,” Costa said.
Offering greater unity of content and
design was a need that prompted Corrado
Cozzi, communication director for
the Inter-European Division, based in
Bern, Switzerland, to attempt to integrate
diverse and multilanguage territory
Web sites for branding more than a
year ago. Cozzi and a team led by Klaus
Popa of the Adventist Media Center in
Germany have coordinated efforts with
the Adventist Church’s new Web site
project in the integration of microsites.
GAiN’s 2014 meeting is scheduled to be
held in India, church officials said. Information
on that event can be found online
CREATION FILM: Williams Costa, Jr., left, Communication Department director for the
Adventist world church, interviews Henry Stober, the maker of a film on Creation that Adventists
worldwide will show this year in their churches and other venues to promote the
biblical account of the earth’s origins. Stober spoke at the Global Adventist Internet Network
conference in Dubai in May 2013.
www.AdventistReview.org | June 13, 2013 | (491) 11
GIVE & TAKE
At the appointed time on the appointed day,
my brothers and I went down to the barber.
Wise. Handsome. Tall. Athletic. Strong, yet
with the gentle touch and dexterous hands of
To cut the hair on the far side of my head, he
didn’t spin the stool, and he didn’t walk around
the chair either. Rather, he snuggled my head
over against his chest so he could reach over to
the far side, working from above.
I could hear his breathing. I could feel his
I could feel his heart.
When the whim struck, he blew away the
loose hairs from my neck or face with a burst of
his own breath.
Once finished, my barber would stand back,
gaze proudly at his work, and then proclaim,
“Not bad for an amateur!”
How the years went rushing by! Looking
back past all those years, I wish my dad still cut
The glory of children is their father . . .
—S. T. MANN, DOME CREEK, BRITISH COLUMBIA,
THINK ABOUT IT
Let us remember: When we put
God first in our worship, knowing
He is not only our Creator but our
Redeemer, our sorrows don’t seem
so big. We realize that He can and
will be there for us. When we do
His law—that is, putting Him first,
then our neighbor—we soon forget
about our problems. We are now
focused on God and helping others.
The prayer of Colossians 1:9-15
should be on our lips always.
—MARY BATTEY, MAUI, HAWAII
Have a prayer need? Have a few
free minutes? Each Wednesday
morning at 8:15 EDT the Adventist
Review staff meets to pray for
people—children, parents, friends,
coworkers. Send your prayer
requests and, if possible, pray with
us on Wednesday mornings. Send
requests to: Let’s Pray, Adventist
Review, 12501 Old Columbia Pike,
Silver Spring, MD 20904-6600;
fax: 301-680-6638; e-mail:
About a year away from turning 100, I need to
use a walker. When I get off the elevator at my
floor, sometimes the other residents at the retirement
community where I live will say, “You get off
first because you walk faster with your walker than
we can walk.” I get teased about how rapidly I
move with my walker.
Yesterday, as I sped along and passed a kind old
gentleman, he remarked, “You are exceeding the
—ALICE ROBBINS, LOMA LINDA, CALIFORNIA
© TERRY CREWS
www.AdventistReview.org | June 13, 2013 | (493) 13
WHILE THEY WERE SLEEPING
This is the third installment
of a series of articles
focusing upon the book of
for those waiting to enter
the Promised Land. 1 .
BY GERALD A. KLINGBEIL
It was a balmy night. Rebekah listened drowsily to the rhythmic breathing
of her husband lying next to her. Her little son, Aviv, was getting
ready to exercise his tiny lungs. It was time—and he was hungry.
Quickly, before Aviv began his night serenade, Rebekah had the little
bundle in her arms and moved silently and quickly to the entrance of
the family tent. She did not want to wake up her hardworking husband
and the other members of the large household.
The moon shone brightly and the stars filled the night sky with brilliant little sparkling
lights. Rebekah heard the rhythm of the night orchestrated by cicadas and crickets.
As she nursed Aviv she looked around the large encampment. There were very few
lights in the orderly rows of family tents surrounding the tabernacle. Smoke was
slowly trailing heavenward from the big altar located at the inner court of the sanctuary.
Rebekah could see some tiny slivers of lights shining through a gap in the curtain.
Oh, yes, that must be the light from the candleholder in the holy place. Little
Aviv slurped the warm milk greedily; he was happy and content.
Rebekah looked beyond the tabernacle structure and saw the tents of the Levites and
priests closely surrounding the sanctuary. She could already hear the sounds of early
morning. As she lifted her eyes she could make out the shape of the mountains bordering
the plains of Moab. On the other side of the camp she could see the deep gorge of
the Jordan River—the Promised Land was right there, waiting for them to enter.
Aviv had finally fallen asleep again. Rebekah turned around once more. A quiet
camp surrounded by silent mountains. The Promised Land awaited them on the other
side. Peace filled her heart as she put her son on his mat in the family tent. God was
watching over him. She did not see the fleeting shadows climbing the mountains overlooking
the large camp of Israel. 2
Numbers is not only a book of lists,
itineraries, murmurings, and rebellions.
Numbers—as most other books in
Scripture—looks beyond the familiar
landscape of God’s people. Pegged in
between the description of the first successful
military campaigns of Israel in
the Negev and on the eastern side of the
Jordan (Num. 21) and the second census
of the new generation (Num. 26) we
find the curious story of Balaam and
Balak—prophet and king with dubious
links to Israel.
It is a well-known story: a willing,
curse-for-hire prophet, eager to stock up
his retirement fund; a king frightened by
the stories of military victories of Israel’s
multitudes; a donkey that sees what people
do not see and says what people will
not say. Illustrators and cartoonists have
found inspiration in this narrative. Children
love the visual boldness of an angel
barring the passage to a “sightless” (or
better, visionless) prophet of the Lord.
Adults may react to this story with a bit
more reserve. We want to know where
this prophet (who apparently talks to the
Lord on a regular basis) got his credentials.
We wonder about prophets for hire
and the significance of blessings and
curses. And for those of us reading the
entire book, we would like to know why
three long chapters have been dedicated
to the story of spiritual warfare while
Israel is apparently blissfully ignorant in
their tent city on the plains of Moab.
Would it be possible that the unique
story of Numbers 22-24 is illustrating
God’s desire of working with those who
are naturally in opposition to Him?
Listen to the Story
Balak, the king of Moab, is terrified. He
knows what Israel has done to the Amorites
(see Num. 21) and so he approaches
the elders of neighboring Midian to join
forces against this powerful enemy. They
are clearly worried about their grass,
their fields, and their homes. Just imagine
a huge crowd of people with their
animals settling on your land.
Balak has also heard what had happened
in Egypt a generation ago, and he
realizes that he
needs the marines—
the best, the bravest,
the fearless. He
sends for Balaam,
the son of Beor, who
lives close to the
river (which, in Old
refers to the Euphrates;
lived in northern
Mesopotamia, the area to which Abraham’s
father had traveled). Balak needs
a religious superman, somebody who
has a direct line to the gods and whose
curses are devastating. He is ready to
invest significantly and sends the elders
of Moab and Midian with a large
amount of cash to Balaam.
Scripture does not explain why
Balaam had such a good standing. 3 Perhaps
he had worked for Balak in the
past. Perhaps he kept his Facebook page
regularly updated and employed the
best agents. Be that as it may, he is the
source of Balak’s hope for victory.
Did you catch the irony in Balak’s
SEER DOES NOT
SEE WHAT A
request to Balaam? “I know that whoever
you bless is blessed, and whoever you curse
is cursed” (Num. 22:6). The war that Balak
envisions is a war of words. Divination is
powerful and Balak is a firm believer.
The messengers present their
request—and Balaam calls for a timeout.
“Give me one night, and I will give
you an answer tomorrow,” says the seer
(see Num. 22:8). The next scene is amazing:
God “comes” to Balaam during the
night and we listen in on a dialogue
between God and prophet. Balaam
needs an answer and the sovereign
Master of the universe steps into our
world and listens to His wayward messenger
who has dollar bills in his eyes.
The next morning Balak communicates
grudgingly God’s refusal for a service
request to Balak’s messengers. No green
Yet Balak does not
give up. He ups the
cash offer and sends
a bigger and more
Balak wants this
Balaam also wants
wants a cushy honorarium
accompanying recognition. Reputation
requires a successful transaction—and
Balaam is someone who delivers!
On the Way
And God relents. God knows Balaam
and his love for cash. I imagine that
Balaam smiled broadly as he saddled
his donkey and began his journey. He
already saw the balance increase
sharply in his checking account.
The next section of the story is comical—yet
at the same time tragic. The
blind seer does not see what a dumb
donkey can see. God, who has relented
under only one condition (namely, “do
www.AdventistReview.org | June 13, 2013 | (495) 15
only what I tell you” [Num. 22:20]),
knows the heart of Balaam—and yet He
is trying to reach him by any means
(and this includes the angel of the Lord
with a sword in hand).
This happens three times, and Balaam
becomes abusive. He curses and strikes
the poor animal—without looking up.
On the third occasion there is no way to
squeeze past the angel, and God performs
another miracle—the donkey
begins to talk (verse 28).
When Donkeys Talk
The most comical element of this
well-known story is that Balaam enters
into a discussion with his donkey without
even blinking an eye. This is the
only recorded time in Scripture that a
donkey talks. And yet Balaam keeps
arguing with his donkey. He cannot see
the angel—something is terribly amiss
with his spiritual antenna. “No reception”
signs are all over his smartphone—and
he doesn’t notice.
I wonder about our spiritual antennas.
Do we pay sufficient attention to
God’s promptings, or do we stick to our
own agendas? How often do we ignore
God’s communication (verbal and nonverbal)
in our lives? Does the fact that I
worship every Sabbath in an Adventist
church or even work for this church protect
me from losing touch with the Master?
I wonder when I read Balaam’s story.
Can You Hear Me?
King Balak has waited anxiously.
These journeys must have taken weeks,
and he can still see the orderly Israelite
camp on the plains. “I can only speak
what God tells me,” reminds Balaam
(see verse 38). Balak is not interested in
hearing divine messages; he wants to
get on with it. Time is of the essence—
and he needs a curse, not God’s Word.
Balak brings the prophet to the high
places where seven altars are installed.
Do you get the irony? The prophet of
God is at the place of Baal worship,
using seven (a very significant number
in the Old Testament) altars. Following
the sacrifice, God puts a word in
Balaam’s mouth. In the midst of idolatry
and blatant disobedience God
speaks: He speaks of His chosen people
that will be as numerous as the dust of
the earth—who can curse what God has
blessed (cf. Num. 23:7-10)?
That sounds like a blessing, and Balak
catches on very quickly. He is furious—
and like Balaam earlier—he does not recognize
the immensity of what has just
happened. God has been close by. A divine
message has been given in his presence.
God keeps knocking on callused
hearts. Twice more he sends divine messages
via Balaam. Balak listens twice
more to words that come straight from
the heavenly throne room—and yet he
pays no attention.
God still knocks on our hearts. The
One who included three chapters and
96 verses telling us the story of a wayward
prophet, a talking donkey, and a
terrified king and his people is still anxious
to speak to those who do not yet
know Him. God’s mission becomes our
mission. God invests in people and
places that seem so unlikely to respond.
I wish Numbers had a happy ending. I
wish Balaam would have traveled home
a changed man. I wish Balak would have
realized his foolishness and thrown in
his lot with God’s people—after all, they
were relatives, and God had not
intended Moab to be destroyed by Israel.
But there is no Hollywood ending.
Scripture tells us that Balaam was killed
during the Midianite war (Num. 31:1-11)
after he had counseled Israel’s enemies to
use sexual immorality mixed with idolatry
to defeat God’s people (Rev. 2:14). And
yet, even though there is no “and they
lived happily ever after,” I am again
amazed at God’s commitment to reach
the wayward, the lost, the rebellious that
seemingly do not warrant the effort.
We had received her name as part of a
list of potential interests. My friend Erhard,
a seasoned pastor, and I looked at each
other as we rang the doorbell. What would
await us on the other side of the door?
We were not prepared for what we
saw. The woman who opened the door,
holding a young baby, looked worn out.
The smells that came out of the flat were
indescribable. The baby was crying. As
we entered we barely found three chairs
in a flat that was dirty and mostly empty.
She had fallen on hard times. Her husband
had left her with a baby and no
resources. She had a drug problem, and she
told us of nightly terrifying encounters—
clearly Satan was hard at work in this flat.
As we left the apartment I looked at
my friend and said: “This is impossible.
She is not ready for Bible studies.” My
friend also looked rattled but said:
“Gerald, God sent us here on purpose—
He can change this mess.”
Over the next four months we visited
every week at least once. We opened
God’s Word, and we saw tremendous
changes. I will never forget the day
when she first appeared with her child
in the local church—and was warmly
embraced and accepted. At the end of
the evangelistic series she stood
together with many others and
requested baptism. I still remember the
wonder that I felt when I saw her standing.
No, it wasn’t our effective Bible
study or the loving church (even though
they all played a role)—this was God’s
Spirit reaching her heart. He specializes
in the impossible. He is passionate
about the unlovable and those far away.
He even loves a Balaam and a Balak.
While Israel was sleeping God was at
work. While we may be sleeping He still
speaks tenderly to our hearts and is at
work in the people around us that we just
don’t like or understand. It’s time to wake
up. As you listen to His tender voice—
why don’t you join Him in His mission to
reach those who need Him most?
See Gerald A. Klingbeil, “In the Wilderness: Of Tassels,
Wanderings, and the Promised Land,” Adventist Review,
May 10, 2012, pp. 20-22; and “In the Wilderness: The Epidemic,”
Adventist Review, Mar. 21, 2013, pp. 26-28.
This fictional narrative is based on Numbers 22:1-3.
In case you may wonder about this Balaam, son of
Beor, who comes out of nowhere: Archaeologists have
found a text written in Aramaic in a sixth-century B.C.
context in Deir ’Alla (on the eastern side of the Jordan)
that makes reference to a certain “Balaam, son of Beor.”
Eight centuries after our narrative, Balaam was still a
household name in ancient Palestine.
GERALD A. KLINGBEIL IS AN
ASSOCIATE EDITOR OF THE
ADVENTIST REVIEW WHO ASKS GOD
DAILY TO WAKE HIM FROM A HOLY
16 (496) | www.AdventistReview.org | June 13, 2013
BY LUPU CORNELIU BENONE
ILLUSTRATION BY RALPH BUTLER
The sun’s first rays cast their reddish
tonalities through the gray, metallic
structures of Rome’s Ostiense train
station. On platforms 14 and 15
more than 150 sleeping bodies are
scattered across the bare concrete
floor. One hundred more sleep on a
street outside, near the Termini
train station, some as young as 14
or 15 years old. Dirty tents close by shelter dozens of
other sleepers. These refugees from Africa and the
Middle East are alone and hungry, sad and largely
ignored. But each Sabbath and Sunday morning my
team and I bring them food. Marian, Simona, Ulise,
Gabi, Sami, Sergiu, Mihnea,
Vali, Cornel, and the
rest have thrown their
hearts into this work.
Their love for these forlorn,
lost youth is palpable.
As they talk, laugh, and eat with them, joy, and
something else, well up together in my soul. For I see
myself. These lonely foreigners from Pakistan,
Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran, and Africa are on a journey, as
I too have been, in body and in spirit, in years gone by.
Growing up Communist
I grew up in Communist Romania. I was not necessarily
hungry for bread. Life was fine until my
Orthodox father began to study the Bible and discovered
the Sabbath. He stopped working on Saturdays.
Furthermore, he found the Adventist Church
and decided to get baptized. That started all the
trouble. Shortly after his baptism, the government
tried to compel my father to work on Saturday. He
refused. He was arrested and imprisoned for three
YOU BLOW UP,
THEN YOU START OVER
www.AdventistReview.org | June 13, 2013 | (499)
and a half years. In prison they chained him, beat
him, and otherwise physically and psychologically
tortured him. One Saturday morning, because he
refused to eat meat, guards chained him, opened
his mouth with iron pincers, and tried to force their
hot pork soup down his throat. Anything was possible
in Communist Romania. So his torturers tried
everything to make him give up his faith. They
On a sunny autumn day he returned home. He was
thin, but his face shone with joy. He was a winner—
His faith had been victorious over the Communist
A Sudden Change
Despite my father’s experience and
his faith, I continued to starve myself of
spiritual food. I made no changes in my
life. I was disrespectful toward him and
sometimes laughed about his faith. I
would go to church and join in the programs,
but I didn’t know God. My parents
prayed a lot for me. Once they told
me to fast. It was an irony for me, and I
made fun of them. I wasn’t interested
Until the morning a strong, unfamiliar
voice spoke out in the house: “Go
and pray, because you’re walking a
I laughed, mocking my father and his
God: “What kind of God talks to
humans?” That voice had to be nothing
but illusions and nonsense from my
Hours later I was to go through my
life’s most dramatic, most explosive experience. I
was preparing a bomb. Suddenly the Molotov cocktail
blew up right in my hand. The explosion’s shock
wave stunned me. My clothes caught fire, and now
my father’s house was burning. The fire affected its
electrical system, and my mother was jolted by electric
shock. With the help of neighbors we put the
fire out and my mother survived. But I suffered several
burns and my hands were devastated. God had
warned me that morning that I was in grave danger,
but I had mocked Him and laughed. It was the last
time I made fun of God. My life changed from that
day on. I became a believer.
OUT IN THE
doctor says the cancer might have spread. But I
have placed my life in God’s hands. I am ready to
live or die as He wills.” We prayed together in that
hospital room in Bucharest, Romania, and I left.
Two days later when I returned to visit my father, I
found him preparing to go home. “What happened?”
I asked. “You were so ill!”
“I may have been dreaming,” he replied, “but after
you left, I saw an intense light at the foot of my bed.
A man standing in the light told me that God had a
work for me to do. Later I asked my roommate if he
had seen a bright light or heard a voice during the
night, but he had seen and heard nothing. Surely I
have been visited by an angel!”
We asked God to show us the ministry
he had for us. We began, with one of
my brothers, to visit Romanian prisons:
Bucharest, Iasi, , Târgoviste, , and Timisoara,
where Dad had spent several years
as a prisoner for his faith during Communist
times. He recognized many of
the guards and remembered the insults
that he had endured from guards and
prisoners alike because of his faith. At
one prison in southern Romania where
my father had spent one year as a prisoner
a guard recognized him and
hurled new insults at him. My father
and I began sharing with the prisoners
messages of hope in Christ. That same
day a boy who was in prison for his
crimes asked me for a Bible. I gave him
one, and when we left the prison, we
gave another to a guard.
As the years passed, the guard who
had insulted my father became willing
to listen to his testimony. His heart was touched,
and he accepted Christ as his Savior. He is now a
Seventh-day Adventist. My brothers Doru and
Savel are both pastors. Recently someone came to
one of their churches and asked to be baptized.
This man had known Christ for many years, having
come to know Him through a Bible he received in
prison. He was the very person I had given the
Bible to. He too is now a member of the Seventhday
Adventist Church. Florea, another inmate, was
baptized along with him, and the two now work as
evangelists. They have built up a small group of 20
Healing and Commission
Several years later my father, Vasele Lupu, was
hospitalized with a serious illness. When I went to
visit him, he looked up from his hospital bed into
my eyes and said quietly: “It’s not good news; the
A Shift in Ministry
After a few years of missionary work in the prisons,
my brothers and I decided to become pastors.
After my theology studies and pastoral service in
several districts, my work has brought me to Rome,
20 (500) | www.AdventistReview.org | June 13, 2013
Italy. I carry on my heart the many years of my
father’s prayers for me, and the unusual experience
by which a patient and loving God abruptly
terminated my mockery, humbled me, and called
me to His work. In His kindness He has made me a
witness to many special experiences.
I think of the past five years during which I have
sacrificed my vacations and money for Africa’s people
in the Kalahari Desert and Kongola, Namibia.
Particularly, I have been touched by the Kalahari
Bushmen, so simple and poor, and yet of such great
heart. The Bushmen receive you in their shed with
joy, and they listen for as many hours as you wish
to talk to them. Amazingly enough, I
met the It Is Written team in that
place. Together with them and other
volunteers we built wells with solar
pumps. Then we built a small church
at Tsumkwe. Collaborating with one
of my colleagues, Pastor Sorin Neacsu,
of ADRA Italy, and volunteers from
Rome and Turin, we have built in the
Caprivi Region a school, a clinic, and
an orphanage. During these five years
I have fallen in love with the continent
and the children of that region.
God’s special help has enabled us to
invest thousands of euros on behalf
of orphans living there. We ourselves
cannot explain how we are able to
invest so much, since we didn’t have
any kind of resources. Our gifts seem
to us like just a few cents, and we
have not missed our holidays, for we
have lived through amazing years in
which God has given us great family
times together in ministry.
Challenge in Rome
Africa has not been our only challenge. In Rome
we experience as many surprises as we do in the
Kalahari Desert. Italy has become an immigration
destination for people of such varied nationalities
as Russia and Romania, Peru and Brazil, Ghana and
Sudan, the Philippine islands, Pakistan and Afghanistan.
Immigrants bring needs and challenges. They
are searching for a home, for a job, and, not least of
all, for God. Because the Italian Union has been proactive
in establishing ethnic church communities,
companies of 30 or 40 persons have quickly grown
into churches of thousands of people. Rome’s six
churches include three for native Italians, along
with one each focused on Filipino, Latin-American,
and Romanian communities.
Responding together to the great missionary
challenges of our city, we teamed up with Pastor
Shawn Boonstra, then speaker and director of It Is
Written. Our churches distributed more than
600,000 invitations; several articles appeared in the
press; there were ads everywhere. The effort was, I
think, unprecedented in Rome. Then four short days
before our opening presentation it was halted by a
hidden hand. Our work and prayer through those
four days became more feverish than ever. We had
to redistribute tens of thousands of flyers, and the
furor generated new television interviews and more
newspaper articles. Glory to God, on the opening
evening there were more than 600 attendees.
A young student at the Orthodox
Theology Institute, already assigned
his parish and on the way to the priesthood,
learned from Elder Boonstra’s
biblical preaching what previous study
had failed to show him. He decided to
give up his parish ministry, and he is
now a member of our church in Rome.
While the facts of my life and this
story whirl in my head, I’m heading
with my volunteers to Termini Station.
Dozens of hungry people are waiting
for us there. The sun’s red beams are
clearly visible now. The once-sleeping
youth are already awake. In a few
moments the police will be here to
clear them away. We must hurry to
feed them. This is all that they will eat
today. One of my colleagues recently
dared to ask one of our friends on the
sidewalk if she was hungry. She
started to cry. Silently. As he handed her a package,
he could see big tears rolling down her cheeks.
People have largely forgotten to cry in Rome. But
we are still received with tears and joy. It is the same
joy that we met in the Kalahari. It may or may not be
the same feeling that surges within me when I think
of where God has brought me from. It may or may
not be that the hungry youth we serve here will learn,
as I did, that there is a God who speaks to humans—
not merely about their present, but about their
future. Maybe the bread in my hand is a bomb.
LUPU CORNELIU BENONE IS A SEVENTH-DAY
ADVENTIST PASTOR IN ROME, ITALY. HE AND HIS
WIFE IRINA HAVE TWO CHILDREN, BIANCA AND
www.AdventistReview.org | June 13, 2013 | (501) 21
Shoes OF Redemption
BY GY THOMAS
It was 1937. My youthful days at McCune Home for Boys in Jackson County, Missouri,
were history. The Great Depression of the 1930s was at its peak. Apprehension
and confusion accompanied my release into a world of desperate, jobless,
hungry men. At 17 I too became desperate and homeless.
The natural instinct to survive soon taught me to follow the trail of men
searching for employment that would put bread on the table for their families.
Often a rumor that there was work in another state caused men to “ride the rails”
or “hop or a freight” “hop a freight” to be the to first be the to apply first to for apply a job. for a job.
A Brush With Death
I experienced a time during which the bad seemed to exceed the bearable
by a considerable margin. Because of my own carelessness I found
myself in an area known for its violent treatment of transients by local
authorities. I decided to head to the freight yard, where I would “hop” a
freight train headed west.
Via the grapevine I understood that the freight yards in this particular
area were noted for making transients extremely uncomfortable. My usual
method for hopping a freight train was to wait until a train was gathering
enough speed to indicate that it was leaving the yard. Then, watching for a
boxcar with an open door, I’d run from my hiding place, pace myself alongside
the moving car, toss my bag of belongings inside the open door, and, at
the right moment, scramble up into the interior of the car before the yard
bulls saw me.
Near dusk, evening shadows fell before a train finally left the yard. It was
moving a little faster than I liked, but I decided to try, not wanting to
remain in that area overnight. I ran from my hiding place, tossed my bag
into an open door, misjudged the speed of the train, nearly missed the edge
of the door, and ended up clinging by my elbows to the splintery floor of
the car with my legs swinging wildly outside.
I was clawing desperately at the floor of the car when a long, skinny,
dirty arm reached out, and a clawlike hand closed around my wrist. I
looked up into the grizzled face of an older man and voiced a humble
thank-you as he pulled me inside.
“Ain’t no way to hop a freight,” he said.
His face wrinkled into a sly grin. His clothes were in the last
stages of disrepair, and several days’ worth of stubble covered
his chin. He was so scrawny that when he spoke his Adam’s
apple ran up and down his long neck like a chipmunk running
up and down a telephone pole.
“Pretty close, kid,” he chuckled. “But this town ain’t no place
for a man of leisure.”
I tried to thank him again, but he ignored me. He moved to the other
side of the freight car and slid down to the floor, back against the rocking
side of the car. He motioned me to a spot nearby. “Glad to have some company.
Don’t like being alone with someone when they pass on.”
He nodded, and jerked his thumb toward the darkened front of the
© RALPH BUTLER
| www.AdventistReview.org | June 13, 2013
car. I could barely make out what looked
like a jumbled pile of bones. From it
came a rasping cough mixed with the
sounds of someone gasping for air. I
stood up to go to the pile of bones,
instinctively knowing that someone
needed help. My savior grabbed my arm.
“Don’t go near him, kid. Ain’t nothing
you can do for him.”
“What’s he got?” I asked.
“We used to call it consumption. Guess
you call it TB now. A lot of guys can’t take
the dust from whatever was hauled in these
boxcars last. It gets into their lungs. Takes
’em fast. This one won’t last much longer.”
I shuddered. This was going to be a
“Poor devil,” the old man went on. “Told
A VOICE CAME
me he has a wife and a couple kids back in
Detroit. Worked in the auto plants; lost his
job when the unions started raising hell.
Wouldn’t join ’em and couldn’t find work
anywhere, things being the way they are.
Finally ran out of food. He said he kissed
his wife and kids and vowed he would
find work somewhere. That was a couple
years ago. He’s kept movin’ along, lookin’
and hopin’ but never findin’. He ain’t
heard from the little woman or tried to get
in touch with her since.
“Guess he feels guilty. Last time he
spoke to me, he said to keep away from
him. He didn’t want anyone to catch
what he has.”
“How long has it been this way for
you?” I asked.
“Since ’ 28,” he replied. “Had a good
practice. Worked in the finest hospitals.”
He looked at his hands. “Been all over.
Been around a lot of nice people. Too old
now to make a new start. One day I’ll
end up in the dark side of a boxie; not
like him, but just as dead. I only hope
the good Lord will be kind to me.”
His voice carried the combined
weight of his years. He fell silent and
appeared to be asleep.
It was a good hour, well after dark,
before my companion moved again. He
reached behind him, pulled out a bit of
newspaper, opened it, and exposed
three large carrots with the tops still on
them. He selected one and gave it to me.
“I got these back a ways. I was saving
them for the pot at the next jungle, but I
couldn’t leave him.” He jerked his
thumb toward the front of the car. “Has
to be someone there with you when it
happens, you know.” He sighed and sat
silent for a moment.
Then he said, “Save the top of the carrot,
kid; you may need ’em to suck for
water. This car is mighty dusty. We don’t
know when we’ll get out of it.”
I sat looking at the carrot in my hand,
with no appetite or desire for food. The
train rumbled through the summer
night. The wheels of the boxcar clacked
their song of death and loneliness on
the rails of the tracks. I got to my knees
and crawled to the sick man.
“Here, this might help your throat.”
His eyes lit up as he saw the carrot. He
started to reach for it, then raised both hands,
palms toward me in a gesture of defeat.
“No, all it would do is start me retching
again. Thanks. Keep it. You’ll need
it.” And between coughs: “Please go
back. I’m contagious. I don’t want . . .”
His coughing cut him off. I glanced
over his body and noticed that his shoes
appeared to be almost new. I looked at
my own. I had started putting cardboard
in them to cover the holes in the
soles months ago. Guilt smothered the
thought that came to me, and I retired
to the other end of the car to settle my
back against the wall a few feet from my
older companion. He seemed to be
sleeping. I dozed off myself.
A Vision in the Night
Sometime in the night, as the freight
train rumbled along, I was awakened by
something that seemed to be a dream.
But never have I had a dream that
burned its way into my very soul as this
one did. I will not try to explain it; I’ll
just tell it as it occurred.
The car was too dark to see my companion
only a few feet away, but the far
end of the car seemed to be lit by a
strange, soft light; a pure, white, selfcontained
I heard low voices. The sick man’s
coughing stopped, and I heard him say,
“Tell them I love them. Tell them . . . I
tried . . . I tried . . .”
Another figure bent over him, cradling
the frail body on a white-sheathed arm. A
voice came that was soothing, tender,
comforting. “They know. Just rest. It’s
been so hard for you.”
As curious as I was, I felt frozen in
place, unable to move or speak. The
light began to draw in on itself, until it
was entirely dark again. I wanted to
know more, but sleep made me its prisoner
until sunlight thrust its way
through the open door.
The train was not moving. I glanced
out the car door and saw that we had
been left on a railroad siding. I was
alone. I looked toward the far end of the
car. The figure was slumped in a position
that meant only one thing.
Glancing at his feet, I realized that his
shoes were gone.
GY THOMAS WROTE THIS FROM
CORNING, CALIFORNIA. IT IS TAKEN
FROM HIS BIOGRAPHY RUGGED IS MY
WHAT DO YOU THINK?
1. Remember a time you were totally
at the mercy of strangers. Recall it
2. By what criteria do you decide whether
someone is worthy of your trust?
3. Have you ever had to trust someone
whose appearance and manner
would have made that impossible
under normal circumstances?
4. Every day contains reminders of our
fallen natures. How have you been
reminded of that reality today?
(Don’t answer out loud.)
www.AdventistReview.org | June 13, 2013 | (503) 23
Searching the Obvious
Always a Child
I AM STANDING IN THE HALL OF THE ICU. I AM PRAYING. THAT’S ALL I CAN DO. I’M
praying for time. I feel a tap on my shoulder, the ICU nurse simply says: “She’s here.”
* * *
She doesn’t look up when she asks, “Will I ever be in the ICU?”
How do I answer this? Sitting in a chair next to Rachel’s bed, we have been drawing pictures for the nurses,
and now we are deciding who gets which picture. Rachel is undergoing treatment t for lymphoblastic
leukemia. She is 7 years old, and treatment has just begun. I watch her shuffle through the pictures. She
is so positive and kind, always thinking of others regardless of her pain.
“Can I at least see the ICU? Can you take me for a visit?”
* * *
The lights are dim, and I can hear the monitors inside the room. Before I enter the room, I
say a prayer. I have never met this patient. I’m not even supposed to be here. While I was visiting
Rachel, my nurse friend Cheri had approached and asked if I could make a chaplain visit to
her ICU patient, Harvey. I slide open the door and enter the room.
“Hello? Who are you?”
I quickly introduce myself as I take in the contents of the room. He invites me to sit
down, explaining that his vision is not so good anymore. I sit and talk to Harvey. He is 99
years old. He has been in wars I have only read about in textbooks. After his stroke two weeks
ago he was transferred from a nursing home to the hospital. He sighs when he speaks. I ask if
there is anyone I can call for him, and his cloudy blue eyes turn away.
“My daughter, but we haven’t spoken in 15 years. She won’t come.”
I look through Harvey’s chart for a contact number. There it is. I ask Cheri about the daughter.
Messages have been left, but no one has called back. I’ll give it a try. As I reach into my pocket for a
pen, I feel the folded piece of paper, a drawing. Rachel. I ask Cheri about a visit to the ICU. Rachel can
be brought by wheelchair only to the doors. She will be able to look in but not enter.
That sounds like enough.
Sitting at the nurses’ station in ICU, I hang up the phone. No answer. As I try the second number I hear
the alarm of a Code Blue. I look up to see everyone heading into Harvey’s room. No. No. No. I pick up the
phone and dial again. Dear God, I just need a miracle. On the second ring she picks up.
* * *
The room is quiet. Harvey is not well. I pray with him, and we read Scripture. I tell him his daughter is on
the way. He can’t talk. But his tears let me know he understands.
* * *
She’s here! I pick up my Bible and walk toward the ICU. The doors open, and I see Cheri pushing Rachel’s
wheelchair. Behind them is a woman wearing a visitor’s badge. Impossible timing. I greet a smiling Rachel,
then introduce myself to Rhonda, Harvey’s daughter. As I walk Rhonda to the room, I give her a quick
update. We enter Harvey’s room. I stand back and watch a reunion that yields forgiveness. Shortly after,
Harvey passes away.
* * *
As Rhonda and I walk out of the room we pass the nurses’ station. Cheri has something for Rhonda. It’s a
drawing from Rachel, two butterflies. Cheri explains, reminding Rhonda of the little girl in the wheelchair.
Rhonda holds the drawing, smiles through her tears, mumbles “God bless her,” and slowly walks away.
* * *
I peek into the room. Rachel is sleeping. I pray for strength for what is to come. It has never been more obvious
to me: “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs
to such as these” (Matt. 19:14).
DIXIL RODRÍGUEZ, A COLLEGE PROFESSOR AND VOLUNTEER HOSPITAL CHAPLAIN, LIVES IN TEXAS.
www.AdventistReview.org | June 13, 2013 | (505) 25
Heart and Soul:
SERVICE IS NOT
BY MARVENE THORPE-BAPTISTE
Very often when we hear about service
we conjure up pictures of complex
mission trips to a foreign country, or
some other complicated project involving
others. How often do we pause to
consider that we could be of service anytime, anywhere,
and in any circumstance, with the acts of service
being planned, unplanned, or commissioned?
A few summers ago I was delighted to accompany
my husband on a Sunday morning walk. I couldn’t
help noticing that he was becoming a bit irritated by
the length of time it took me to get on my walking
shoes, as well as to collect a few bits of personal
“things” to take on the walk. He remarked that these
“things” were unnecessary. My response was that I
always took these “things” with me on my walks.
Making our way back home from a delightful
walk, I noticed a college-aged woman heading in
our direction. Stopping in front of me, she
explained that she had not expected the weather to
warm up so quickly, and was feeling
extremely dehydrated. Asking for a
drink of water, she
promised to “air
drink” from the
bottle, rather than
mouth to touch it. I
was happy to let her have the water, because the bottle
was one of the “things” that I’d brought with me.
The young woman was obviously in need of
water—she was heavily perspiring, and her hands
were trembling terribly, making “air drinking” an
impossibility. As she guzzled the chilled water, my
husband looked at me questioningly, as if to say,
“What made you bring that bottle of water?” I told
the thirsty runner that she could keep the water
bottle and offered her some chilled grapes—
another one of my “things”—but she declined.
Did I have any foreknowledge that something was
going to be required of me that morning? Of course
not! However, I’m glad I stuck to my routine of always
bringing a bottle of water and some fruit whenever I
venture out on a walk.
It has been said that preparedness is everything.
This is certainly applicable to the Christian believer,
because we never know where or when we will be
called into service. The apostle Paul admonished us
to “put on the full armor of God” (Eph. 6:13). With
such a long checklist to follow in being prepared
(verses 13-17), my water bottle and grapes really
paled in comparison. Thank God He is still able to use
the little we have to enable us to minister to others.
One day I received a call from a young woman
inquiring about Adventist World magazine. She had
seen an issue at a friend’s workplace and was
inspired by the contents. She wanted to obtain the
magazine on a regular basis. Through our conversation
I realized that she was not affiliated with the
church, and I decided to send her a few copies. A
few weeks later I received the following letter: “I
wish to let you know how thankful I am to you,
and honored by your generous gift of the Adventist
World magazines. . . . Thanks for caring and sharing.
You are a blessing.”
I get mail quite often, but this one touched me. I
26 (506) | www.AdventistReview.org | June 13, 2013
Corner Where You Are
thought that I was just doing my job, even though I
extended myself a bit to accommodate her situation.
However, her written response of gratitude showed
that it meant much more to her than I’d realized.
How often in our “busyness” are we tempted to
ignore a phone call—viewing it as a distraction
from the important task at hand—while failing to
realize that perhaps that particular call is the
important task that God has sent our way, that the
unknown voice on the line is in fact searching for a
“lifeline,” one for which God
has given us some measure of
FOR GOOD OR
EVIL IS GREAT.
What do you do, however,
when you’re being of service,
only to be “beaten about the
head,” as it were, by the very
individuals you’re trying to
help? It may be that you were
asked to serve in one of those “much-sought-after”
church positions or on the school board or even in
Such was my experience recently when my husband
and I had to make a decision to relocate one of
our children from one part of the house to the other.
After considering the logistics and the needs of that
child, we felt we had made the best decision. When I
disclosed our decision to our offspring, however, I
quickly found myself on the receiving end of their
verbal displeasure. I thought I was doing something
that was beneficial for their health and well-being,
only to be met with vitriolic, verbal ingratitude.
Feeling discouraged, I sought solace in my bedroom.
There I sent up a silent plea to God for courage,
strength, and wisdom to deal with the
situation. There I was able to refocus on why this
act of service was being done.
In the end I was able to let my child know that
my action was the right thing to do; it was one that
was expected of me as a parent, but more important
it was what was required of me by God, and to
do anything less would be to dishonor Him—to do
a disservice to Him. In a short time that child came
to respect, and accept, the decision.
Always Ready to Serve
Some weeks later during my private devotional
time, I came upon a reading entitled “Faithful in That
Which Is Least.” My resolve to be ready at all times to
serve was bolstered as I read: “The active service of
God is directly connected with the ordinary duties of
life, even its humblest occupations.
We are to serve God just where He
puts us. He is to place us individually,
and not we ourselves. Perhaps service
in the home life is the place we are to
occupy for a time, if not always.” 1
It goes on to state that “the importance
of little things is underrated
just because they are small, but the
influence of the little things for good
or evil is great. They supply much of
the actual discipline of life for every
human being. . . . They are part of the training of the
soul in the sanctification of all our entrusted talents
to God. Faithfulness in the little things in the line of
duty makes the worker in God’s service reflect more
and more the likeness of Christ.” 2
What an awesome God! He is not one of happenstance—He
wants to place us in situations
where He would have us serve. All we have to do is
be ready, willing, and faithful so that we may
embody His words in Scripture: “Whoever can be
trusted with very little can also be trusted with
much” (Luke 16:10).
Ellen G. White, That I May Know Him (Washington, D.C.: Review
and Herald Pub. Assn., 1964), p. 331.
MARVENE THORPE-BAPTISTE IS AN EDITORIAL
ASSISTANT FOR ADVENTIST REVIEW AND
ADVENTIST WORLD MAGAZINES.
www.AdventistReview.org | June 13, 2013 | (507) 27
We often talk about the importance
of service, but how often
do we really do it? Below is a
list of 60 service ideas. The plan is easy.
Start this Sunday. Each day read the
suggested task and go for it! Feel free to
substitute your own ideas, switch ideas
to different days, or modify them. At the
end of 60 days, let us know how it went
(write to email@example.com; or
see our address on p. 3). You might not
be able to do all of them, but we believe
that God offers amazing experiences to
those who serve.
BY MERLE POIRIER
Father’s Day is June 16. Mow the
lawn for your father, or “adopt a
dad” and do it for him.
Day 2: Offer to clean
up a neighbor’s yard
that might need
Day 3: Organize an
stuffed animal collection.
Donate it to a
fire station or other
Day 4: Bake several
dozen cookies and
them to a
Day 5: Go to a
Day 6: Volunteer to
play with animals at
an animal shelter.
Day 7: Choose a fam-
ily with young children
to sit with in church
this Sabbath and help
keep them engaged.
Day 8: If you knit or crochet,
make several baby
blankets. If not, purchase
blankets. Then donate
them to a homeless
shelter or community
Day 9: Organize a
campaign to raise
funds for an item in
the ADRA gift catalog
Day 10: Ask your public
library if you can
volunteer to organize
a reading hour for
children once a week.
Day 11: Do you have a
garden? Plant an
extra tomato plant.
Use those tomatoes toes
to share with others.
No garden? Buy some
extra produce at the
Day 12: Buy some
fresh flowers and surprise
Day 13: Take an
elderly church member
shopping ping or offer
to pick up
Day 14: Offer to teach
a Sabbath school
class in one of the
Day 15: Organize kids
in your congregation
and go to several
homes to wash their
car for free. Make sure
you bring all the
Day 16: Organize
kickball or softball
games with kids from
your church and/or
Day 17: Volunteer to
help at Vacation
Day 18: Think of items
new parents might
need and create several
kits to give when a baby
is born. Drop them off
at your local hospital or
at your church’s community
Day 19: Plan a picnic
and invite people
you’ve never had to
your home to join you.
Day 20: Is there a
place in your neighborhood
that could use
Plant some flowers
and maintain them.
Day 21: Visit a nursing
home. Find three
elderly people and
have a conversation.
Day 22: Offer to wash
the windows of your
church (this one might
take a larger team to
on the size of your
Day 23: Build a birdhouse
and place it
somewhere in your
Day 24: July is
Month. Plan to pick or
buy blueberries. Get
some extra for friends
and surprise them.
28 (508) | www.AdventistReview.org | June 13, 2013
Day 25: Does your
church operate a
school? Call the principal
and volunteer to
do some summer
Day 26: Send a donation
online to Christian
Record to help a
blind child go to camp
click on “How You Can
Day 27: Take a small
child or a friendly,
well-trained pet to
visit a nursing home.
The residents love
animals and babies!
Day 28: Select five
people in your church
you haven’t seen for a
while and write them
each a note.
Day 29: July is
National Ice Cream
Month. Pick up an
elderly person and
take them out for ice
Day 30: Take some
kids from your church
to a creek or river area
and clean up the
Day 31: Offer to babysit
a church member’s
or neighbor’s children
to give them a muchneeded
Day 32: Ask your
church office for the
names of three people
with July birthdays.
by sending a card.
Day 33: Is there a
playground in your
Adopt it. Clean it up.
Add new mulch.
Wash and repair
some of the
Day 34: Have your
kids color pictures for
people in the hospital.
No kids? “Adopt”
some church children
or neighborhood kids
and supply all the
paper and crayons.
Day 35: Plan special
music for Sabbath
school this week. If
you can’t do it yourself,
Day 36: Offer to help
an elderly person
Day 37: Does your
church have flowers in the
sanctuary on Sabbath?
Sponsor a bouquet and
surprise someone, or
bring a bouquet in from
your garden for this coming
Day 38: Find a
museum you enjoy
and volunteer to be a
Day 39: Go to the
local community center
Day 40: Buy a few
toys and donate
them to a community
Day 41: Offer to care
for someone’s s pets
while they are on
Day 42: Invite itepeople to your home for a
Day 43: Visiting a
beach this summer?
Surprise a person
with a free cold drink.
Day 44: Organize a
community dog wash
with the kids from
your church—all for
free, of course.
Day 45: Go to a busy
park and set up a free
lemonade stand for
those who are there.
Day 46: Write your
pastor(s) a note of
appreciation for their
Day 47: Buy a gift
card from the grocery
store and give it to
someone in need.
Day 48: Buy a few
bird feeders and hang
them up in your yard.
Make sure you keep
Day 49: Organize all
those in your church
who play an instrument
into a band or
orchestra. Play for the
Day 50: “Adopt” a
grandparent in your
church. Find meaningful
ways to keep in
touch with them.
Day 51: Bake some
brownies. Put individual
ones in small
bags and hang them
on your neighbors’
doors with a “Have a
good day!” note.
Day 52: Buy school
supplies and make up
some school kits to
donate to a local
school for kids that
can’t afford them.
Day 53: Ask your
church for the name of
a homebound church
member. Call or visit.
(Be sure to check their
Day 54: Plan and
cook an entire meal
and take it to a young
Day 55: August is
Month. Buy some
fresh peaches and
share them with your
Day 56: Arrange for a
vespers for your
church. Include people
who might not
often get asked to do
Day 57: Almost time
for school. Organize
kids in either a readathon
Raise money for a
Day 58: Head to a
nursing home and
spend some time
reading aloud to
Day 59: Support a
Day 60: Offer to take
the neighbor’s dog
for a walk.
www.AdventistReview.org | June 13, 2013 | (509) 29
PHOTO COURTESY OF THE AUTHOR
MOUNT HOOD MEMORIES: The author (left) with his father,
Jere, and brother, Troy.
BY DARIN PATZER
All seems eerily quiet in room 14 of the intensive care unit (ICU), except for
the metronomic beeping of the ventilator that is helping my father
breathe. Our family’s three-year journey through the valley of the
shadow of cancer is nearing its end.
I find myself wrestling with God. This isn’t how it’s supposed
to end. Doesn’t the Bible ask us to pray for God to raise up workers
for the harvest? Dad spent his entire life as a pastor, sacrificing
to travel around the world with the gospel. Why haven’t You
answered our prayers, God?
Dad’s unconscious body, still young looking at 61 years, is
finally collapsing under the weight of this hated disease. As the doctor prepares to
remove the life-sustaining breathing tube, I allow my mind to wander back to another
day of great consequence for our family just a decade before.
Heading for the Summit
Crisp, chilly air blows against my face as I strap on the last of my gear. I hoist a
pickax and rope onto my shoulders. We’re amateur climbers, but for as long as our
family has lived in the Pacific Northwest and caught glimpses of its majesty, we’ve
wanted to conquer Oregon’s 11,240-foot Mount Hood.
Standing outside Timberline Lodge on this early spring morning, I look around at the
other three members of the climbing team: my brother, Troy, a college junior; my dad,
Jere; and our guide, Jim, who’s made more than 70 successful ascents to the peak of
Mount Hood in his 70-plus years of life. Legend has it that Jim once biked the 60 miles
from Portland to the mountain, climbed to the top, then biked home, all before sunset.
As we begin our ascent, snow crunches beneath our hiking boots, and the first hour
passes quickly on fresh legs. By 4:50 a.m. we can see the sun silhouetting Mount Hood’s
noble peak. The light also makes the craggy snow-patched cliffs around us sparkle.
I think of our morning worship and the poetic words of King David: “I lift up my
eyes to the mountains—where does my help come from? My help comes from the
Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth”
(Ps. 121:1, 2).
As our hike continues, we begin to
spread out over the vast face of the
mountain, each of us climbing at a rate
that suits us. We begin to feel the added
weight of each unnecessary ounce in our
backpacks. It reminds me of the wisdom
of the apostle Paul when he spoke of the
Christian journey: “Let us throw off
everything that hinders and the sin that
so easily entangles” (Heb. 12:1).
Watching the subtle changes in the
peaceful beauty surrounding me, I grow
introspective. Questions from my heart
that have surfaced more than a few times
begin to pour into my mind: God, where
are You? Why do You remain so distant from
me, even as I seek You? Are You leading me on
this path of life, or am I to find my own way?
Suddenly my thoughts are interrupted
as my feet fall through deeper
snow. It’s getting more extreme ahead.
We take a swig from our canteens, and
Jim attaches his crampons, mountain
climbing ice cleats, to his boots and
instructs us to do the same.
By 6:00 a.m. we begin hiking again, and
the elevation grade becomes noticeably
steeper. I shed a layer of clothing as the
sun’s radiance and my own body temperature
begin to climb. With the sun beating
down on our backs and on the glazed
30 (510) | www.AdventistReview.org | June 13, 2013
snow in front of us, Troy and I chide
ourselves for being foolish enough to
attempt such a climb without eye protection.
A rookie mistake.
Yet again King David’s encouraging
words come to mind: “The Lord
watches over you—the Lord is your
shade at your right hand; the sun will
not harm you by day, nor the moon by
night” (Ps. 121:5, 6).
As the peak, our goal, rises
ever before us, it motivates
me to place one foot ahead of the
other, to keep climbing higher. But
gradually our climb gets more challenging.
The three of us stay close to
our guide, whose physical fitness and
stamina amaze me. Jim, the only one who
really feels like talking at this point,
shares climbing tips and stories from his
50 years of service on the Mount Hood
Search and Rescue Team and Ski Patrol.
“Right over there,” he calls out, “is
where some college students, trapped by a
blizzard for more than a week and a half,
survived in a snow cave. They had no food,
and they melted snow for drinking water
with heat from their own bodies.
“And right up there,” Jim points to a
rock outcropping, “we pulled out eight
high school students and their guide after
an ill-planned expedition. Although we
were able to get
a helicopter in
and airlift them
out, the elements
too much for all
but two of them.
cost them their
lives.” The value
of having Jim
along as our experienced guide is continually
reinforced in my mind.
By midmorning we reach a point near
the peak referred to as the Hogsback, the
most treacherous part of the ascent up the
west slope of Mount Hood. The Hogsback? I
chuckle to myself. It must have been named by
a delirious climber, famished with hunger, who
saw a mirage in every outcropping!
I soon discover that the Hogsback is a
narrow footpath sloping steeply
between two sharp precipices on either
side. One missed step could send a hiker
on a sudden, frantic slide hundreds of
feet toward the boulders and cliffs below.
Jim, who’s been warning us of the
danger in a serious tone of voice, tells
us, “Not two weeks ago a climber carelessly
moved too close to the edge and
lost his balance. As his partner looked
on helplessly, the climber shot down the
icy slope with pickax in tow, stopping
only as he slammed into the jagged
rocks below. He was broken and
bruised but, amazingly, alive.”
A small chill runs down my spine as I
strain to see the jagged rocks that Jim
refers to. I get the picture, and I don’t
need any more dramatic stories to convince
me that the added weight of the
rope I’m carrying is well worth the effort.
Step by carefully balanced step we make
our way higher and higher up the Hogsback
to the rhythmic sound of clinking pickaxes.
More of Psalm 121 echoes in my mind: “He
will not let your foot slip—he who watches
over you will not slumber” (verse 3).
Step by Step
After much struggle we reach the crest;
a pair of tall rock cliffs await us, guarding
either side of the path. I smile at the irony
as Jim tells me their name—
Heaven’s Gates. We pass through
Heaven’s Gates, and what a wonderful
sight opens before our
eyes—the peak of Mount Hood. We’ve
made it! An occasional cloud passing
close enough to touch is the only obstacle
between us and an astounding
360-degree view of the surrounding hills,
valleys, forests, and secluded lakes. In the
distance stands Washington’s stately
Mount Rainier, and near it the active volcano
Mount St. Helens.
The four of us stand in awe for many
minutes, just soaking in the scenery, one
grand picture of God’s creative perfection.
From our distant vantage point all seems
right with the world. Our journey is complete.
We have conquered Mount Hood!
Later, while returning home from the
mountain, I realize that the experience
has given me subtle yet provocative
answers to some of the deep questions
that had plagued my mind on the way up:
God, are You leading me on this path of life?
A Chinese proverb asks, “How do you
eat an elephant?”
The answer: One bite at a time.
This day I have learned how to conquer
a mountain: one step at a time.
That’s how God leads me in life, too.
I have a clearer perception that God
seldom promises to reveal to us the distant
future. He doesn’t say He’ll be a
floodlight and show us the road miles
up ahead. But He does promise to be “a
lamp for my feet, and a light on my
path” (Psalm 119:105).
The Present Challenge
The urgency of my surroundings in
ICU draws me back from the simpler,
happier memories with Dad. The doctor
has just removed the breathing tube,
and we gather to hold hands in a small
family circle, awaiting the end.
Throughout this traumatic cancer journey,
Dad had always been the one to buoy
us up with his optimistic faith in God’s
purposes. Recently someone had even
made a ball cap for him expressing one of
his familiar phrases when he was asked
whether or not he felt God would heal him.
The cap simply said, “It gets better either
way!” Either God heals, or else we awake to
an eternity of heavenly joy, “in the twinkling
of an eye” (1 Cor. 15:52).
Dad would remind us that no matter
how horrific Satan’s attacks, by the time
evil reaches a child of God it will have
passed through God’s filter, and He will
see that the suffering will work for our
eternal good and that of others.
A hospital housekeeper added her
wisdom one day, sharing: “Without a
test, there’s no testimony.”
As the moments in ICU draw on, sudwww.AdventistReview.org
| June 13, 2013 | (511) 31
denly the pulse rate blinking on the
heart monitor begins to slide rapidly. We
do our best to say our last goodbyes.
Then, in a moment, my precious father
breathes his last earthly breath.
There was stillness in the room for
many moments, and in those moments
each of us in that room agree, a peace was
present. In those final moments of death
there was not a desperate, frantic clinging
to our loved one’s last gasp of life, but a
peace and hope that the world would not
understand. A comforting presence that
makes all the difference in the world at
such a moment, and a feeling of being held
that makes me believe that everything we
hope for in eternity is really true!
Together we laid our hands on Dad one
last time and handed him over to God with
a song of praise: “I love You, Lord, and I lift
my voice to worship You, oh, my soul
rejoice. Take joy, my King, in what You hear.
May it be a sweet, sweet sound in Your
It has been said that the truest test of
character comes when a person does
not receive that which they sincerely
believe they rightfully deserve. Our family
did not experience the healing for
which we had hoped, believed, and
prayed. But God is sovereign. God loves
us, and He knows exactly what He is
doing in the lives of His children.
A few days later, as my brother, Troy,
and I, delicately placed the soil over the
burial site on a little hill called Mount
Hope, we could envision with eyes of
faith the day when, just like back on
Mount Hood, we will again pass
through the Heavenly Gates and stand
with Dad on the mountaintop.
DARIN PATZER IS A HUSBAND,
FATHER, AND DISCIPLE OF CHRIST,
CLEVERLY DISGUISED AS A RADIO
STATION MANAGER (KEEH-FM,
SPOKANE, WASHINGTON). DIALOGUE
WITH HIM AT DARINP@UCCSDA.ORG.
1. When have you been challenged
in reaching a goal that was physically
treacherous? What lessons
did you learn? List three.
2. How do the challenges of life
affect our spiritual condition? Is it
all right to question God?
3. When have you been disappointed
that God didn’t
answer your prayers as you
think He should have? Are
you still disappointed? Why,
or why ynot
On what have you
learned to anchor
your faith? Does
www.AdventistReview.org | June 13, 2013 | (513) 33
JESUS HAVE IN
HE CALLS US
TO A LIFE OF
BY JUDITH P. NEMBHARD
The meeting was held in our
downtown library with its
imposing facade that says
clean and inviting. In the
meeting hall a diverse panel
of writers took turns making 10-minute
presentations about the writing life. A
group of established and would-be
writers, ever on the lookout for ways to
hone our craft, paid close attention.
The third speaker was an impressive
specimen of a man: more than six feet
tall, corpulent, dressed in a flowing robe,
and wearing a skullcap. An Episcopal
priest, he said he belonged to a monastic
order whose members “live and work in
the real world.” As he spoke, the two
presentations preceding his became forgettable,
outvoiced by his resonant tones
and the stinging words he dropped on
our ears right from the start.
“I have chosen to wash the feet of the
homeless,” the priest said concerning
his vocation. Disturbing stuff, I told
myself. Does he really do that, or is he speaking
metaphorically? What about the promised
presentation on writing? I wondered.
The priest read some poems written by
He spoke with compelling compassion,
like one who actually washed the feet of
the homeless. The fire in his soul seemed
inspired by that Passionate One. He, too,
had nowhere to lay His head. He, too,
with towel and basin stooped to wash the
feet of those who seemed undeserving of
His selfless gesture.
A Dose of Reality
The meeting ended, and a number of
individuals crowded around the presenters.
I dashed for the exit. On the
library landing I paused in recognition.
Sitting there was the same young man I
had passed on my way into the building.
Being, at times, somewhat of a onewoman
Sunshine Band, I felt compelled
to say something to him.
“You’ve been here a long time,” I said
with a hint of cheer in my voice.
“Yeah,” he said from where he sat, his
body draped over two tiers of the library
steps. He lifted tired eyes to meet mine.
Earlier when I passed, he was sitting on
a ledge next to two companions. They
seemed a group of normal youth, sharing
a pleasant afternoon together. The
others were gone now, and he was left
huddled to one side of the library steps.
“I Wash Feet”
the homeless people he served. The
pungent language pierced the carapace
of our well-housed consciences.
“I wash the feet of the homeless,” the
priest repeated. What does he mean? Does he
really get down on his knees to wash their feet,
or is he using a gratuitous figure of speech? I
listened and tried to decipher his meaning.
“The homeless live in the real world,”
the burly priest said in a voice that
stabbed the ear as well as the heart. He
was bringing us moral discomfort.
The priest continued to speak with
fierce passion on behalf of those who
lived without the basic necessities of food
and shelter. Anger rumbled in his throat.
“I saw you when I came in,” I told
him, not knowing why I continued to
speak with him.
“I haven’t left. I’m homeless.” A teenage
face, clean-shaven, looked up at me.
He must have seen my shock, even felt
it. “I’m trying to get my GED,” he added,
looking away from me, “but I haven’t
been going for about two weeks.”
“There’s a bus that comes right onto
the campus,” I offered.
“Yeah, but I don’t have the money to
pay the fare.” Our conversation sounded
unreal to me. “I sleep out here. I wait till
they close up. Then I go over there.” He
stuck out his chin in the direction of
34 (514) | www.AdventistReview.org | June 13, 2013
some benches. My helplessness weighed
heavily on me. Then I remembered.
“One of the persons in there works with
the homeless. He’s a priest. You’ll see him in
his robe. Talk to him when he comes out.”
I paused and said, “I hate to leave you
here without doing anything to help you.”
His eyes seemed to say, “I understand.”
What else can I tell him? He needs a place
to lie down and sleep. “Don’t forget to
watch for the priest when he comes out.
See if he can help you.”
I HESITATED TO
cession. The promise sounded hollow,
but I meant it sincerely. I walked to my
car, feeling that I should take him in,
but I couldn’t, so I left him to the priest.
Homelessness is pervasive; it’s not just
out in the city’s streets. It can intersect
our lives in unusual places. In a classroom
of fewer than 20 students it is easy to
notice when one is missing. The young
woman had been absent for about two
weeks, so I gave up on her. Then she suddenly
appeared, and I tried to understand.
“Let’s talk after class,” I told her.
When we met just outside the classroom
door, she said, “I’ve been homeless.”
I gasped and wasn’t able to do any
more than put my hand on her shoulder.
“My children and I had to move out of
our apartment because of mold after the
heavy rains. We’ve been sleeping in our
car.” Tears welled up in my eyes. Perhaps
she saw them.
“We’re OK now,” she said reassuringly.
“We’re staying with a friend.”
I encouraged her and tried to bring out
Living the Story
There were three in the story told long
ago. One gathered up the folds of his
robe and passed by on the other side.
Another had a desire to see but no will
to act. He looked at the man—bruised,
wounded, and lying by the roadside—
and turned away. He was a priest. Surely
this compassionate priest who washes
the feet of the homeless will not pass by
on the other side.
Feeling useless, I hesitated to leave
the young man. “I’ll
say a prayer for
you,” I told
him as a
basin and towel. I told her about the
help that was available in the Student Services
office on campus. She promised to go.
After two or so class periods, she was
gone again and stayed away for a while.
Then she returned.
“I have a place,” she told me excitedly.
“We’re fine.” I washed her feet with my
understanding. I knew I couldn’t give
her grades based on sympathy, but I
told her I’d make myself available to
help her catch up on her work. To wash
feet, we have to bend.
We are all called to be part of “a royal
priesthood” (1 Peter 2:9), but it is doubtful
that any of us wash the feet of the
homeless, either literally or metaphorically.
However, the words of a plainspeaking
priest can make us aware of our
need to have a heart that goes beyond a
prayer or a recommendation. Compassion
dictates that we go about our daily
duties ever mindful to carry a basin and a
towel to “wash the feet” of anyone we
meet who may need our help.
JUDITH P. NEMBHARD IS A FORMER
UNIVERSITY PROFESSOR AND
ADMINISTRATOR. NOW RETIRED, SHE
LIVES IN CHATTANOOGA, TENNES-
SEE, WHERE SHE IS AN ADJUNCT
ENGLISH INSTRUCTOR AND FREELANCE WRITER.
WHAT DO YOU THINK?
1. In one sentence, state your personal philosophy
regarding helping those who are
2. What kind of personal contact have you
had with people who are homeless?
Looking back, do you consider those
experiences positive or negative?
3. On a scale of one to 10, Jesus would
probably treat those who are homeless
as a 10. What’s your score? (Be honest.)
4. How far are you willing to go to help
those who are homeless? List three practical
things you would be willing to do.
www.AdventistReview.org | June 13, 2013 | (515) 35
© TERRY CREWS
m er Spe
36 (516) | www.AdventistReview.org | June 13, 2013
HOW AN IMPROMPTU CONVERSATION
SEALED MY FAITH.
BY JAMES C. PARMELE
was near 20 years of age when I
decided to visit relatives in the midwest
of the United States. I left home
in Oregon, headed to Michigan to
visit my uncle and his wife. Other
relatives lived farther east, but this uncle
had worked for years in the Cadillac division
of General Motors. They lived about
10 miles north of Detroit.
They were happy to see me, and they
invited me to stay with them. In order not
to be a burden to them, I found a job as a
caddy at the Clinton Valley Country Club.
An Unusual Foursome
After working for some time, I was
doing quite well financially. I wasn’t getting
rich, but I enjoyed working outdoors.
One Monday morning four Catholic
priests arrived at the course. One was
the bishop of Detroit. The priest I caddied
for lived in Mount Clemens, farther
north and a little east of Detroit.
He was a friendly, excellent conversationalist,
and I enjoyed our time
together. Even though I was only a caddy,
he spoke to me as though I was his equal.
As we approached the last few holes, he
asked, “Son, what church do you go to?”
My mind suddenly went blank. We
had gone to a Baptist church at times,
because my mother had a Baptist background.
When we lived in Cornelius,
Oregon, two Seventh-day Adventists
came to our house and proposed Bible
studies. My mother decided to take the
studies, and the two men, Mr. Featherston
and Mr. Van Hook, studied with her.
My mother was later baptized into
the church. I was only 4 years old when
she was baptized in the Tualatin River. I
wasn’t going to any church when the
priest asked me that question.
But there on the golf course I thought
about my mother and said, “I’m a Seventh-day
Without hesitation the priest said, “Saturday
is right. Hang on to it. Never let it go.”
Not long afterward I decided to become
a Seventh-day Adventist.
“SON,” HE SAID,
DO YOU GO TO?”
Now I live in North Carolina. Every
Wednesday I attend a Methodist Bible
study, made up mostly of women, a few
of whom are Baptist. During the past
year we have furnished each home represented
with the five-volume set of the
Conflict of the Ages Series, some 20 sets
Some time ago I told my story to the
people at our Bible study. When I finished,
one woman said, “You were converted by
a Catholic priest.” And I wonder: If his
words so influenced me, what influence
did they have on his own life?
JAMES C. PARMELE WRITES FROM
LIBERTY, NORTH CAROLINA.
WHAT DO YOU THINK?
1. Think carefully back over
your experience as a Christian.
Are there any unusual
influences that brought you
to where you are now in
your spiritual walk? What
2. What do this story, and
your own, say about the
mysterious working of
3. When have you had an
that gave you an opportunity
to share your faith?
4. How do you make yourself
available to the leading of
the Holy Spirit? What spiritual
disciplines mean the
most to you?
www.AdventistReview.org | June 13, 2013 | (517) 37
Introducing the Why
Taking Matters Into God’s Hands
HE APPROACHED THE OBLIVIOUS MONARCH, KNIFE IN HAND. THIS WAS FINALLY
his chance to end this madness. But before plunging the blade into his back, the king-to-be paused and realized the man in
front of him wasn’t just any old king: this was God’s king.
I wonder what it must have been like to be hunted like wild game by the man you had saved. Without
David, Saul’s reign would have ended when Goliath of Gath threatened to make slaves out of the Israelites
unless someone defeated him in a one-on-one battle. In modern vernacular, the name Goliath is
used to characterize a seemingly unstoppable force or one’s greatest personal struggle. As the shepherd erd
boy with five stones and no armor proved, Goliaths aren’t defeated by normal human means.
After Goliath’s death, Israel enjoyed a steady rise in power. At first Saul gave David his due. However, er,
as David’s popularity increased, Saul started to view the young man as a threat to his throne. One day,
after a victorious battle, women began dancing and singing in the streets. “Saul has slain thousands,
and David his tens of thousands.”
At first Saul’s plots to put an end to David were subtle. He even used his daughter’s hand in marriage
as a method to have David destroyed by the Philistines. But as David’s popularity grew, Saul’s tactics cs
became more overt. After David was nearly hit by a flying spear, he knew it was time to run.
What followed was a tactical game of cat and mouse that pitted Saul and his men against David and
his loyal followers. One day, however, the roles were suddenly reversed.
Letting down his guard, Saul slipped into a cave without his bodyguards. Unbeknown to the king,
David and his men were already hiding in the crevice. This was David’s chance to end the madness s
once and for all. But as he snuck up behind Saul, another thought entered his mind. How could I kill
the man God Himself had anointed as king over Israel?
David had every reason to kill Saul. First of all, Saul was trying to kill him; that’s self-defense.
Furthermore, after being anointed by the prophet Samuel, David was the rightful king of Israel; Saul
had blown his chance. And as evidenced by the women fawning over him after battles won, the people e
clearly would have followed David.
Yet, although David could have easily justified the murder, he merely cut off a piece of Saul’s robe to
show the hardened king that he’d mercifully spared his life.
Yes, David would become king. But he wanted it to be on God’s terms, not his.
Let God Make It Happen
I’m struck by the significance of this story found in 1 Samuel 24, especially compared to other “heroes”
of the Bible. Take Jacob, for instance. God also promised Jacob a great position. He, not his older brother,
would be the leader of their family. But when Jacob became fearful that God was not going to live up to His
word, he took matters into his own hands and deceived his father. Although Jacob ultimately succeeded in
life, deception followed him at every turn.
Jacob tried to gain his blessing through deception; David waited for God to fulfill His promise.
As humans, our tendency can be to try to run ahead and claim that which, to us, is rightfully ours. But like
David, the man after God’s own heart, we are called to humble ourselves and let God do His thing in His
“Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time” (1 Peter
Has God promised you something? Maybe a new position at work, or that breakthrough for which you’ve
been longing. Don’t step out of bounds by trying to directly or subtly fulfill God’s word for Him.
No matter how easy it is to justify taking matters into your own hands, let the One who made the promise
be the One who fulfills it.
JIMMY PHILLIPS (JIMMYPHILLIPS15@GMAIL.COM) WRITES FROM BAKERSFIELD, CALIFORNIA, WHERE HE IS ELECTRONIC MEDIA COORDINATOR
FOR SAN JOAQUIN COMMUNITY HOSPITAL. VISIT HIS WEB SITE AT INTRODUCINGTHEWHY.COM.
www.AdventistReview.org | June 13, 2013 | (519) 39
PHOTO COURTESY OF THE WILSON FAMILY
The following is an abbreviated excerpt from the book
Highly Committed, by DeWitt S. Williams.—Editors.
BY DE WITT S. WILLIAMS
THE WILSON FAMILY LEGACY
FIRST GENERATION: Family pioneers
Isabella and William Henry Wilson
The day was full of surprises. First, the weather had turned hot—
really hot for that part of California in 1904. Steam vapors streamed
up from the sawdust floor in the worship tent in shimmering wisps.
The last of several gifted and long-winded preachers sitting on the
raised plank platform had just finished speaking, and Ellen White,
dressed in simple black, was being introduced. Ellen White, who
lived in St. Helena, California, at that time, was the featured speaker of the day.
Regular church services at Healdsburg usually finished shortly after noon, but
this was camp meeting, not just church. There were so many outstanding speakers
that nobody paid much attention to the
time or the heat.
Isabella Scott Wilson sat halfway
toward the front with her four sons—
William George, Robert Ray, Nathaniel
Carter, and Walter Scott Wilson—and her
husband, William Henry Wilson. They
had married 17 years earlier in 1887, and
Isabella soon after accepted the teachings
of, and joined, the Seventh-day Adventist
Church. Her husband, however, rarely
attended the church meetings. William
was not opposed to church. He didn’t use
liquor or tobacco or those sorts of things.
He didn’t party. He lived very carefully
and was very dedicated to his wife and
children. He just didn’t want to be
involved in religious matters.
Isabella and the four boys had spent
the week camped under the trees in a
tent enjoying the spiritual feast. William
Henry then surprised Isabella by
agreeing to come to camp meeting that
morning, and her heart filled with
anticipation when she saw him drive up
in his spring wagon pulled by two
horses. He tied up the horses, fed them
a little bit, came inside the big tent, and
sat next to his family. Isabella offered a
silent prayer that God would speak
through Sister White directly to her
husband’s heart. 1
Ellen G. White’s sermon was not long,
about 30 minutes. She then extended an
invitation to the congregation: “Today, if
you hear His voice, harden not your
heart. God wants you to give your heart
to him now. Today, you must prepare
yourself for the coming of Jesus.”
She paused, then spoke again, it
seemed, directly to William: “If God is
telling you to join His family and prepare
for a home in heaven, come down
now and give your heart to Him.”
William stood up and walked down the
sawdust center aisle. Sister White shook
his hand and welcomed him into the
Christian family and the Adventist Church.
Tears of happiness streamed down Isabella’s
face. Other members of the Healdsburg
church who knew her and her family
were also wiping tears from their eyes.
In a few weeks the old Healdsburg
church had a baptism, and William Henry
Wilson was baptized. There was joy in
| www.AdventistReview.org | June 13, 2013
heaven but also great joy in the Wilson
home! After his baptism and throughout
the rest of his life, whenever he had a little
time from his many farm activities, William
“would sit by the dining room window
with his Bible and The Desire of Ages or
The Great Controversy, feeding his own soul
with the precious things of God.” 2
William was a changed man from that
day on. His faith in the Bible and the Spirit
of Prophecy grew stronger. In the evenings
after supper he would look for his Bible
and copies of his favorite Ellen White
books, sit in his comfortable chair by the
dining room window, and begin reading.
A Committed Life
William was born in Donegal County,
Ireland, April 25, 1858. He had met Isabella,
also from Donegal, Ireland,
shortly after he came to America. They
married in Eureka, California, March 10,
1887, and lived in that area long enough
to have their first son, William George
Wilson. For about three years they lived
in Canada. The 1891 Census of Canada
shows them living in the province of
Ontario and notes their religion as
being Methodist. From about 1892 they
resided in California, where William
worked as an engineer and businessman,
for the most part in Humboldt
County. He later purchased a farm in
Healdsburg and became a successful
fruit farmer and cattle rancher. He had
watched Isabella closely and knew that
she lived out her faith, and he had come
to respect the doctrines of Seventh-day
Adventists. Before, he was happy to
come to an occasional camp meeting
and other services, but he didn’t want to
commit to Christ or to religion. Now he
pursued religion with vigor.
The church nominating committee
quickly elected William as a deacon, then
an elder, and then first elder. Whenever
Mrs. White was speaking in the area, he
made it a special duty to attend. She was
his favorite speaker and author. The fact
that he had joined the church from an
altar call of the special messenger to the
Adventists was a precious thought to
him. He often mentioned this connection
with the Spirit of Prophecy and let
others know that God had been good in
favoring the church with these wonderful
sources of light and truth.
William and Isabella were quite concerned
about their four sons and
wanted them to be dedicated to the service
of the church and trained for usefulness.
During the late hours of the
night, while the house was quiet with
sleep, the three youngest boys especially
were often a topic of the couple’s deep
prayers and meditation.
William George, the eldest, had completed
his studies at the Healdsburg
High School in 1907 and then left home
for Western Normal Institute, later
called Lodi Normal School, an Adventist
institution. He graduated in 1909 in the
school’s first graduating class.
A young woman in the same class
caught his eye. Soon after graduation, in
June 1910, he and Edith G. Pierce were
married. They both wanted to be teachers,
and they sought employment at
Mountain View Church School some 100
miles from Healdsburg. The little school
hired William George as the principal/
teacher and Edith as one of the teachers.
Robert Ray, Nathaniel Carter, and Walter
Scott Wilson were growing rapidly.
Nathaniel later reflected on his early boyhood:
“I started school in Healdsburg at
Old Healdsburg College, and I recall those
days and years with much joy. When
Healdsburg College was closed, I continued
school in the schoolrooms in the big
old SDA church. I very well remember Sister
White coming to the school and
speaking to us and going up and down
the aisle and putting her hand on each
child and wishing us God’s blessings.” 3
The parents thought of the tremendous
expense it would be to send all three of the
boys to Lodi Normal School. So after much
prayer, they pulled up stakes in Healdsburg
and purchased a farm near Lodi. They
felt good knowing that their children
would live under the parental roof and at
the same time be near an academy and a
teacher-training school. On January 11,
1911, they settled into their new home,
and the boys were enrolled in school.
A Tragic Loss
A week after moving to Lodi, William
opined to his wife, “Isabella, I don’t
SECOND GENERATION: Nathaniel
Carter Wilson is one of Isabella and
William’s four sons and a former
GC vice president.
THIRD GENERATION: Neal
Clayton Wilson is Nathaniel Carter’s
son and a former GC president.
ADVENTIST PHOTO ARCHIVES.
think I’m going to prayer meeting
tonight. I don’t feel well. I’m going to lie
down.” As the day wore on William
grew worse. Isabella called for a doctor,
who said her husband had la grippe. All
during the next week William rested in
bed but continued to grow even worse.
Again the doctor was called.
“I believe he has spinal meningitis,”
the doctor said. “Let him stay in bed,
and I’ll stop by again in a few days.”
William Henry, however, became
weaker and weaker.
Feeling his strength slip away, William
called Isabella to his side. “I think
my time here on earth is about to end.
Call Ray, Nathaniel, and Walter, and tell
them to come to my bedside.”
By this time William George, their
eldest son, had arrived with his wife,
Edith, as well as Elder J. N. Loughborough.
Loughborough prayed a fervent
prayer for forgiveness of sins, peace,
and rest for Brother Wilson and a special
prayer for the three youngest boys
standing around their fading father.
Brother Wilson asked his family to
forgive him for anything he had done
wrong. He told his wife he loved her and
thanked her for introducing him to the
Lord. He then asked his sons to promise
him that they would never give up the
Sabbath, would faithfully return the
Lord’s tithe, and would prepare themselves
for usefulness in God’s cause.
The boys said, “Yes, we promise,” and
www.AdventistReview.org | June 13, 2013 | (521) 41
PHOTO BY AFIA DONKOR
FOURTH GENERATION AND BEYOND: Ted N. C. Wilson and his
wife, Nancy (center), along with their children, their children’s
spouses, and their grandchildren. Ted Wilson is Neal C. Wilson’s
son and the current GC president.
Loughborough prayed another fervent
prayer. Four days later, on Tuesday, January
31, William closed his eyes forever.
4 Unbelievably, less than a month
after getting the family settled and the
boys enrolled in school, William Henry
Wilson was gone.
William was buried in the Historic
Lodi Memorial Cemetery. Engraved on his
tombstone are the words: “I shall be satisfied,
when I awake, with thy likeness”
(Ps. 17:15, KJV). The Pacific Union Recorder
and pray for her
sons for 12 years
after her husband
passed to her rest
in California near
Lodi on January
30, 1923. The Wilson
family, in all its generations, owes
to Isabella its dedication to God and to
the Adventist Church.
A Family Faith
No one at that time could have known
that generations of dedicated, committed
workers would come from the Wilson
family. Some would serve in the medical
field, some in publishing, and some in
ministerial and other areas. Three names
especially would become highly wellknown
throughout the Seventh-day Adventist
Church: William’s son N. C.
(Nathaniel Carter) Wilson, a former vice
president of the General Conference; his
grandson N. C. (Neal Clayton) Wilson, a
former president of the General Conference;
and his great-grandson Ted N. C.
(Norman Clair) Wilson, current president
of the General Conference.
From the interview tapes of W. Bruce Wilson, son of
Nathaniel and Hannah Wilson, recorded in the early 1980s
and transcribed by Gwen Woodward-Schmidt, Feb. 2, 2011.
Adventist Review, Sept. 20, 1979, p. 2. The mini-camp
meeting was arranged by a group of local churches and
not an official conference-sponsored camp meeting.
A letter from Nathaniel Carter Wilson to Elder Herbert
Ford, vice president of Alumni Affairs, Pacific Union College,
Nov. 11, 1984.
Pacific Union Recorder, Feb. 16, 1911, pp. 6, 7.
Pacific Union Recorder, Feb. 23, 1911, p. 5.
DE WITT S. WILLIAMS IS A RETIRED
MINISTER WHO SERVED AS A
PASTOR, MISSIONARY, AND, MOST
RECENTLY, AS DIRECTOR OF THE
HEALTH MINISTRIES DEPARTMENT
OF THE NORTH AMERICAN DIVISION.
| www.AdventistReview.org | June 13, 2013
BY KIMBERLY LUSTE MARAN
Our Lady of Mount Carmel. I knew
enough about the “our lady” part to be a
bit concerned (credit: a Catholic
grandma). But the carmel part sounded,
well, delicious and intriguing.
I was 6 and knew I wasn’t going back to public
school for first grade; I overheard my teacher tell
my mother not to send me there. This was fine by
me; I had assumed I’d go to the Adventist school my
mom was to teach at. But after eavesdropping on
my parents’ closed-door discussion, I realized this
caramel lady and I might instead get acquainted.
I had spent the first six years of life glued to my
mom’s side, and now my parents were ready to cut
their little girl loose—for a year with the caramel ladies.
© TERRY CREWS
A fine September morning saw me standing
hand in hand with my mom at the bus stop. I
barely noticed the other kids around us. I did
notice that my hands and underarms were sweating,
and that my stomach flipped and swirled every
time I thought the bus was rounding the corner. I
noticed that my head felt thick, and that my breath
was going in and coming out in little puffs. And
then it was here. The bus.
I dutifully climbed tall, dark steps in my greenplaid
skirt, white cotton blouse, and sturdy black
Mary Janes. I sat down and gulped. As I attempted to
be one with the green bench seat I prayed for safety
from a laundry list of things—mean children, mean
teachers, scary teachers, bad people, embarrassment,
unwanted attention—and wondered why my
parents had done this to me.
Last off the bus, I followed kids into the school,
found my desk, and got ready for prayer and the
pledge. I watched one girl in particular, April, who was
two rows in front of me. She had pretty, straight black
hair, and golden yellow skin. And she was even more
afraid than me, it seemed. She didn’t talk to anyone.
As we finished up with “and justice for all” I
noticed a puddle had formed around April’s feet.
Sister Mary and the other kids noticed too. April left
with the sister, never to return that day.
44 (524) | www.AdventistReview.org | June 13, 2013
The next morning the same thing happened, except April left
with Sister Mary and a bag of clothes. She came back a few minutes
later. Poor April, I thought, as this ritual was repeated day
after day. She’s way more scared than I am. I added April to my
prayers, and remembered to smile at her as often as I could.
Lunch was an adventure. I’d carefully and slowly eat, trying
to blend into the sea of uniformed children. We were not
allowed to talk much, but I’d whisper with other kids about
important things such as games to play at recess, how many
times classmate Abraham got in trouble, the latest Muppets
show, and who had what for lunch. I’d cast furtive glances at
Lea, a petite and popular brown-haired girl who had a perfect
Dorothy Hamill cut. I was friends with her, but not best
friends. Yet. I was pals with Melissa, who was a BFF of Lea, so
things were possible.
I was not petite. I did not have perfect auburn hair—mine was
frizzy and “dirty blond.” So I had to work hard to be like Lea. I
begged my mom for the exact same pencil case as Lea. And I tore
it in the same place hers was torn. I was committed.
One day Sister Anita was making announcements from
the front of the lunchroom. About lent, or something. A
priest was up there too. He talked about stuff, above the
low din of eaters and whisperers.
Everyone was focused on the special guests. Melissa and Lea
decided to sneak out to the bathroom. They crouched down
between the rows of students and darted away. Deciding I had
to go too, I followed them. They had a 50-foot lead on me and
were just turning the last corner around tables before the exit
door when Sister Anita stopped talking, then shouted, “Lea!
Melissa! You get back to your seats right now! You have not
been dismissed!” They froze in fear. I froze in fear. I dropped
lower and scurried back to my seat, praying Sister Anita would
not call me out—I knew those twin ice-blue lasers had seen
me. Ninja-like, I slid into my seat. Melissa and Lea inched back
and took their seats, mortified and red-faced. After that, I
wasn’t as keen on being just like Lea.
Easter was a big deal at Our Lady of Mount Carmel. In addition
to daily recitation of the Hail Mary and Our Father prayers,
we listened to and spoke the Act of Contrition. We went to a
special mass in the church, where the priest sang-spoke a lot.
I didn’t retain much of what transpired—all I could think
about was the mark burning into my forehead.
Upon entering the sanctuary, I thought I knew what would
happen—I’d been to Mass with my grandma. Obligatory kneel
by pew followed by sign of the cross. Then we’d sit down, and
stand up, and sit down, kneel, stand up, sit down, repeat
“Lord, hear our prayer” and a few other key phrases . . . I was
not prepared for what did occur.
Once the signal was given, our entire class walked up to the
front of the church, single file, where the priest plunged his
index finger into black powder and drew on the children’s
foreheads. My anxiety ratcheted up about 20 notches. Faint,
hot, worried—this was it, I thought, the mark of the beast. I knew
just enough about the mark and the role of the Catholic
Church in prophecy to be
dangerous. I imagined
refusing and running
away, but I was an obedient
child—and I was terrified
of embarrassment. I
Trying not to hyperventilate,
I reasoned with
God. I don’t think I can avoid this, I told Him. I’m sorry. Please don’t
let this stop me from going to heaven. I’m on Your side. Please don’t let
this be a permanent mark against me. I’ll wash it off as soon as I can.
It does wash off, right?
I was next. I closed my eyes and felt the warm, dry finger
brush an X across my brow. Branded, I sat down and went
through the motions until we journeyed back to class. I do not
like Ash Wednesday, I declared silently. I dared not rub or smear
the cross, as we children were told to leave it untouched.
As I walked down the aisle on the bus after school I licked my
index finger and proceeded to smear, wipe, erase the mark. The
remains of ash likely just looked like a bit of dust, but I still felt
. . . compromised. I ran into our bathroom at home and emerged
a few minutes later with a clean face and relieved spirit.
More to It
I survived Catholic school. And as an adult I realize the
value of that year. Not only did I gain some independence, and
learn to worry (a little) less, I grew spiritually.
As brisk as Sister Anita was, I knew she was devoted to the
students. Sister Mary was a kind and gentle woman. As different
as their faith was from mine, I still learned dedication and
compassion from them. And with all the praying I did for others—and
myself!—I discovered that fragile little 6-year-olds
can have their own fearful, precious, heartfelt faith too. That
year was more than terror, bus rides, rosaries, and ashes.
KIMBERLY LUSTE MARAN, AN ASSISTANT EDITOR OF ADVENTIST
REVIEW, IS GLAD THERE WON’T BE ASH WEDNESDAY IN HEAVEN.
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“Yet I tell you
that not even
Solomon in all
like one of these.”
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