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Sung Runs Away to Church

Sung Yeon Yang“Cli-click” the door quietly latched behind Sung Yeon Yang (Soong Yee-HWN Yang) as she quietly slipped out of her Taiwanese apartment building on the Eastern coast of China. No one knew where she was going, not A-pah (Taiwanese for Father), not  Mama, (Taiwanese for mother) not even her little sister. As she ran down the sidewalk toward the little Adventist church (Kàu-hoë), she hoped that her parents wouldn’t ask here where she had been because she was sure they wouldn’t want her to be going to church.

Sung’s  family didn’t know Jesus but when she first started  school (Hák-häu) her parents wanted her to be able to learn English so they sent her to an English language class after school. That’s where she first learned about Jesus. You see, the language school was run by Seventh-day Adventists! Even though it was hard, she loved learning English and she also loved her teacher. But this week she had heard her teacher talking about the church’s worship services.

“May I go to your Kàu-hoë (church) too?” Sung asked her teacher.

“Why, of course, you are very welcome to come!” Teacher replied. And that’s why Sung was running toward the little Adventist church on this Saturday morning.

As she slipped inside she was warmly welcomed and directed to a Sabbath School class for kids her own age. She loved the songs and Bible stories so much that she decided to come back! Week after week Sung slipped out to go to Sabbath School, while her parents thought she was taking part in a school activity.

“Sung,” Her teacher said one day, “you’re such a good singer, how would you like to join the children’s choir?”

“Really? I’d love to!!” Sung exclaimed bouncing up and down eagerly. She loved to sing! But now she would have to stay for the worship service some days because the children’s choir often sung for church.

One Sabbath when Sung was supposed to sing in the choir for church she invited her little sister to come with her. “But don’t tell  Mama, and don’t tell Father where we’re going!” Sung warned, she didn’t want her parents to find out and tell her she couldn’t go to Sabbath school anymore. Both girls slipped out of the house and ran to the church. Sung’s sister loved it as much as she did! But when they got home Mama asked, “Where have you girls been all morning?”

Sung fidgeted a little, she had a funny feeling inside.  In the past when mom had asked this question she had lied to keep out of trouble but now she just couldn’t do it anymore. “I-I have joined a children’s choir at the Adventist church, and they sang today for worship,” she confessed, it felt good to tell the truth but she was really worried that her parents would stop her from going back.

Mama seemed to understand and Sung thought everything would be OK. Then A-pah found out! “No, you may not go to any Christian church!” he told them. “Not even to sing in the choir.” So Sung and her sister had to stay home on Sabbaths. But whenever A-pah wasn’t around,  Mama let them go.  

Then one day A-pah found out. He was angry! “I told you girls not to go to that church and now I find out that you’ve been going anyway!!”

But Mama interceded “But A-pah , look at how kind and obedient the girls have become. They’re learning that at church. I think it’s good for them to go.” So A-pah reluctantly agreed to let them go.

One month, two, three…six months passed. Then one day Mama met one of the members of Sung’s church in town. She was very friendly and after visiting for a while the lady said, “Why don’t you and your husband come visit our church to see what your girls are enjoying. We’d love to have you!”

“You know,” she said to A-pah when she got home, “the girls have been going to that church for quite a while now, don’t you think it is time we went to their church to see just what our daughters are learning?” The girls jumped up and down for joy when they heard that both Mama and A-pah had decided to come with them to Sabbath School and Church.

But that Sabbath Mama and A-pah were very uncomfortable. “I don’t know what to do or when or do it; like everyone else does” whispered A-pah . This made them feel embarrassed, they didn’t like it. It was different than anything they had ever seen before. And even though the church members tried to help, they decided that they didn’t want to go back. “You girls go ahead to church, A-pah and I will stay home.” Mama said the next week. As the girls went to church that next week, they were a little sad because it was just the two of them again.

Then one day an Adventist lady moved into their apartment building. She was very nice and caring and soon they became friends.

Every morning the phone would ring. Mama would answer, ” Pêng-an (That’s how Taiwanese say “Hello”)?”

“Hi, this is your new neighbor, would you and your family like to come over to my house for worship and prayer?”

Her parents were pleased that someone cared enough to invite them over for prayer and so for another six months the phone continued to ring every morning and Sung’s family would go over to their neighbor’s house for prayer.

Soon Mama wanted to her own prayer time in her house and A-pah began to study the Bible with the pastor. A-pah learned what Sung had been learning about the God of love and was anxious to worship him too. Sung-Yeon-YangHe threw away his prayer beads and began praying from his heart.

Just 18 months after Sung first sneaked to church her whole family became Adventist Christians. A-pah has become a gentler, happier man. Mama enjoys worshiping with the family. And Sung and her sister love to sing praises to Jesus in the children’s choir. She is glad that she ran away to church. Aren’t you?

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This story was adapted from the AdventistMission.org web site @ http://www.adventistmission.org/article.php?id=853 . In order to maintain the accuracy of the retelling, some portions are entirely or mostly taken from the original story.

 

 

The Holy Spirit Vs Evil Spirits:A Halloween Story

I’ve been reading a really neat book about the adventures of a lay missionary who simply goes by the name Paul, although that’s not his real name. Since Halloween is coming up at the end of this month, a holiday where people celebrate ghosts, magic, witches and death, I thought I’d tell you one of the stories in this book.

Some Missionaries go to a village and stay there for many years preaching and healing and raising up a church. Others are itinerant missionaries, they go from town to town preaching for shorter periods of time, that’s the kind of missionary Paul was.

One day Missionary Paul went into a town he’d never been to before. It was a beautiful, busy seaside town; he saw a busy seaport where people from all over the world came to import their goods. He saw huge ships docked at the ports and heard snarly sea captions yelling orders in all sorts of languages to the poor slaves as they bent their backs carrying the heavy loads off the ships. He also noticed that a lot of the townspeople were big-time into witchcraft and sorcery. Witches, wizards and sorcerers scurried around the town with their charms and magic books to cast spells. People would pay them to either hurt their enemies or “help” themselves or their friends. A lot of the time they just did this to impress people or because they liked the powerful feeling it gave.

Missionary Paul wondered where he could start preaching is such a beautiful but wicked town. Finally he found a group of 12 guys who weren’t into all that witchcraft. Somewhere, probably from a Christian sailor who had come through town, they had found out about Jesus and although they didn’t know much about Christianity they were following God to the best of their ability. With all the evil spirits around in this town Missionary Paul asked them, “Have you received the Holy Spirit?”

Why, they’d never even heard of such a thing? They knew that the witches and sorcerers had evil spirits which gave them power but they didn’t know that God wants to give us His Holy Spirit, which is much more powerful than Satan’s spirit. They were excited to hear about this! He sat down with them and began to tell them all about Jesus. They listened to Missionary Paul’s every word with rapt attention. They were so excited about what they’d learned that they asked Missionary Paul to baptize them again, now that they knew the truth about how to follow Jesus and about the Holy Spirit that Jesus sent.

Missionary Paul took them to a shallow spot in the harbor, they were like tiny little toy men compared to the huge ships in the harbor, but that didn’t matter, God noticed them even if no one else did. As Missionary Paul lowered each one under the water and back up again their faces were filled with joy. Then the missionary put his hands on them and prayed that they would receive the Holy Spirit. God responded to that prayer in a BIG way. The Holy Spirit gave then two spiritual gifts, prophecy and the ability to speak in all sorts of languages. As soon as they came up out of the sea they began going from sailor to sailor, captain, to captain, slave to slave telling them the good news about Jesus in that person’s own language!

This certainly did get the people’s attention! The townspeople were eager to hear about this wonderful new religion that gave people the ability to talk in anyone’s native tongue. Missionary Paul found a lecture hall and began giving Bible studies the every day. The people flocked to hear him.

Now, you’ve probably heard about witches and wizards. You’ve probably heard of the book and movie series called Harry Potter. These kinds of books make witchcraft seem fun, exciting and harmless. In these books child wizards go on all sorts of exciting adventures using their special powers. But what they don’t tell you is that wizards are working for satan. And while satan can seem nice and fun in order to catch you, once he’s caught you he does a lot of hurtful things.

Since this town was filled with people who were into witchcraft, Satan was able to do a lot of really bad things. In fact he had gained so much control over many of the people that they became demon possessed. A demon controlled everything they did! If the demon said “go there” they did, if the demon said, “cut yourself” or “burn yourself” they did! Everyone was very afraid of demon possessed people.

Sometimes the demons would use their superhuman strength to hurt people. They may throw the person they possessed into a fire to burn them, just to hear them scream in pain, or they may use the possessed person to attack someone and beat them unmercifully, and since demons are stronger than humans the people had no way to escape.

Many of these demon possessed people were sorry that they had let the demons take control by playing with witchcraft. They didn’t like to be hurt or burned by the demons, they didn’t like to have to do everything the demons told them to, they didn’t like hurting other people, but they couldn’t do anything about it. They were helpless.

When Missionary Paul saw some of these people He said, “In the name of Jesus Christ, I command you, evil spirits, to come out!” and the Holy Spirit, who is more powerful than satan’s spirit, drove the evil spirits out! Now they were free! Sick people also came to the missionary and Jesus healed them through Paul. In fact, so many people needed to be healed or set free that people would just take a handkerchief or another item of clothing that Missionary Paul had touched to the sick or demon possessed people and they would be healed!

The townspeople were amazed, they thought this Missionary and His God were really cool; but they weren’t willing to totally give up on their witchcraft. They would say they were following Jesus, in order to get the benefits but they were still trying to follow their old ways too. That’s called taking the name of the Lord in vain which is against third commandment (see Exodus 20:7)!

Well, one day, seven boys came upon a demon possessed man. Wanting to get in on the action one said, “Hey, let’s cast the demon out using Jesus’ name just like missionary Paul and those 12 Christians do!”

“Yeah! That’s a great idea, that’ll make us powerful!” they all chorused.

So in their most important sounding voice they said, “In the name of Jesus Christ, whom Paul preaches about, come out of that man!” But instead of leaving, the demon talked back to them!

“Jesus I know, and I know Paul, but who are you?” then he jumped on all seven of them with superhuman strength and beat them mercilessly. In trying to escape they ripped their clothes off and ran away, leaving their clothes behind.

When word of this got around town all the people were afraid. They realized that they needed to give proper respect to Jesus and not just use him for their own good. They realized that they couldn’t mix Christianity with witchcraft. That night some of the leaders in the town built a big huge bonfire and all the witches and wizards and sorcerers, as well as all the people who just like to “play around” with the devil, brought their magic books and burned them in the fire; to show that they weren’t going to have anything to do with the evil spirits anymore. They wanted Jesus and His Holy Spirit only!

This month, as most of the people around you celebrate Halloween. Please remember that, even though it may look fun and harmless, witchcraft and ghosts never are. You cannot mix God’s things and Satan’s. It’s not safe! And if you already have some Halloween things or any other thing that comes from satan, throw it away! Or ask your parents to help you burn them. Use this time of great evil to pledge total allegiance to Jesus and ask His Holy Spirit to come to you!

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(This story is from the Bible book of Acts 19.)

Chief God Came to Visit Me

Hey Kids! Here’s an interesting true story written by Missionary Braden Pewitt, a missionary to the Pnong people in Cambodia. For more stories by Missionary Braden click here.

–Uncle Steve

***********Braden, Johanna, Keenan & Jaden

“I saw you last night in my dream,” Lokru shouted to me with excitement.  “You came just as you are now.  I saw you with your helmet on and your jacket and your scarf.  This is exactly like my dream!  You are here just like in my dream.”

I had come to visit Lokru and his family since I knew they still mourned the recent passing of Kruweh, their father and husband.  I knew each night they lay restless, waiting for the certain attacks of the demon sorcerers.  I’d been praying for them and I came once again to assure them that Chief God was with them and would keep them safe.  “We haven’t yet seen the soul-eating sorcerers,” Pumrok explained.  “Fortunately we still have a number of people staying with us from night to night.”  I nodded my head in relief.

I had also come to assure Lokru that I would support him financially so that he could continue the teachers training courses his father and mother had already sacrificed so much for.  His face lit up.  “I’m so happy!” he exclaimed.  “I so want to become a teacher.  I promise I will study hard and do my very best.”  And that’s when he said, “I saw you in my dream last night.  My dream came true!”Cambodia

Chills raced up and down my spine as I realized once again that Chief God had prepared the way before me; that in fact, I had come right on time just as He wanted.  I suddenly understood the sudden idea that had popped into my head the evening before: why not go to Boan Village before breakfast in the morning?  That idea hadn’t been my subconscious playing tricks.  It in fact had been the voice of God.  Wow!  “Thank you God for directing me once again.  And help me to be more open next time.”

But Lokru wasn’t the only one who had dreamed the night before.  When I stepped into Liu’s hut, she was beaming.  “Chief God came to visit me last night in my dream,” she told me.  “He arrived with the chief in a car and then walked here to my hut.  I recognized Him.  I invited Him in and He stepped into my hut.  I reached for His hand and He shook it.  [The traditional Pnong greeting].  I offered Him a drink and He drank with me.  It was Chief God for sure.  I recognized Him.  He was like you!”

I glanced at the place Liu was pointing to on the raised platform.  Chief God had been here!  He had sat with this widow in her tiny hut right here on this spot.  Suddenly chills tickled more than my spine.  My entire body was trembling with excitement and joy.  For my God, my Friend, my Guide, had been here with this woman just a few hours before.  I glanced around the dark hut.  And he’s here now, I thought to myself.  He’s right here with us now.

“He was like you,” she had said.  I still don’t know what she meant.  Did I somehow remind her of Him?  I hoped so.  Did my love seem familiar when she saw Love Itself walk through her door?  Once again I hoped so.  But whatever the case, she recognized Him when she saw Him.

Please pray for these Pnong people.  We’re leaving the province again.  This time we have meetings in Thailand with AFM, a few days of buying supplies, and a week of family vacation.  We won’t be back until the end of next month.  But as you can see, God can speak to these people without us even being around and sometimes He uses the times we are away to do His greatest work.  Please pray for Lokru, Pumrok, and their family as they still watch the shadows for the jyaks, the soul-eating sorcerers.  Please pray that they find Chief God there instead and give Him praise.  Please pray for Liu.  Chief God is obviously sharing Himself with her right now.  Pray that during this next month she will welcome His presence even more – not only into her hut but also her entire life.

Love,

Braden, Johanna, Keenan & Jaden

Japan Earthquake: ARDA is there!

Click here for more or to donate. Or text “support” on your cell phone to 85944 to give $10 to the relief efforts, (the $10 donation will show as a charge on your cell phone statement)

Who’s Birthday Is It?

It’s almost Christmas time! Yeaaa!!! If you’re like most kids you’ve been guessing what’s in the presents under the tree.

Have you ever wondered why people give each other gifts on Christmas? I mean we’re celebrating Jesus’ birthday right? Why don’t we give Jesus a Christmas present?

“That’s silly,” I can hear you say, “how could we give Jesus a present when He lives up in Heaven?”

Ahh, but there’s a way. Jesus says, “Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.” (Matthew 25:40) When you show love to someone in need Jesus says that you’re really doing it for Him!! Isn’t that cool?

Uncle Steve wrote a song about this. Wanna hear it? Click here to listen to it

One cool way of giving Jesus a Christmas present is with ADRA’s Really useful gift catalog. You can ask your parents, or grandparents, or anyone, to give you a gift from ADRA. How it works is they buy something to help a needy person (Like a Goat for a Girl in Niger) and give it in your name. Then you’ll get a card that says what your “present” was. It’s really a Christmas present for Jesus!! Click here to fine out more.

Have a very merry Jesus Birthday!!

Your friend,

Mr. Guteeair