It was a week I’ll never forget. It was supposed to be an ordinary visit to a large city. But this particular trip had me on the edge of my seat because in front of my eyes was one of the most passionate people I’ve ever met.
Asebi* is an immigrant in one of the world’s largest cities. Like other large cities, it’s attracted people from many countries, cultures, and religious backgrounds. Some of these people groups have traditionally been very opposed to Christianity. The history of war, colonialism, and trade has made a significant impact on them, causing them to see Christians in a negative light.
When Asebi came to this city as a student, he was not a follower of Jesus. He had a good job and things were going well for him until immigration officials wrongly sent him to jail.
While in prison, Asebi began to experience God’s love in a new way. Some fellow prisoners shared Christ with him, and he became a believer. In one of the books they gave him, he found a card for Discover Bible Lessons and began doing Bible studies through the mail. Asebi didn’t understand everything he read, but the lessons raised a lot of questions for him, even about the religion he had grown up in. Within a few days those who were answering his questions called one of the pastors who works for a Global Mission Center that specializes in the religion of Asebi’s birth.
To Asebi’s surprise, he soon received a visit from an Adventist who knew more about his birth religion than he did. His new friend didn’t take him immediately to the scripture, but patiently answered all his questions about his birth religion. Little by little, Asebi gained a deeper understanding of scripture, himself, and Jesus.
When Asebi was released from prison, he stepped out into a brand new life. He had experienced God’s grace and wanted to share his discoveries with those who shared his religious background.
Asebi does his work, living on small assistance from the church and a lot of help from fellow Christians. His work is sacrificial, but he trusts God to provide for his every need.
During my week in the city, I spent hours visiting people in their homes and in prison, witnessing the remarkable change the gospel has brought to their lives. Not all of them shared the religion of Asebi’s youth, but they all shared something else—the opportunity to have the gospel presented to them in a language and culture they can understand. It was the first time that Christ and the Bible truth had been presented to them without the garments of western culture that so often are confused with Christianity. I was on the edge of my seat that week, watching the great controversy between Christ and Satan played out before my eyes, and—in spite of the news so often reported—Christ was winning in the lives of those we met.
People all over the world are looking for something more real, more profound, and more practical than what they currently know. They’re looking for Christ, and many don’t even know it.
One way you can help share the good news is to learn as much as you can about the cultures and religions of the world, to study the ways of people, and to learn what Ellen White calls “the science of salvation.”
The Office of Adventist Mission started the Global Mission Centers with you in mind, because it is you who presents the gospel to your coworkers and neighbors. The centers offer resources and training for churches and members around the world. If you’d like to know more about building bridges with people from other world religions or help people like Asebi in their work for the gospel, please visit www.AdventistMission.org.
* Not his real name.
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Centers of influence are currently being established in cities around the world.
I had been in the Philippines as a volunteer for five months and had been praying for extra ways to help out in the seaside village of Pagudpud.