November 22, 2006

One More Time

2006 1533 page5 capere it is, the Thanksgiving season again and time for my annual report to the “stockholders” of the Adventist Review—you, dear readers.
I have been writing these reports for eight years now, ever since we devised the New Believers’ program—a plan to send the Review without charge for one year to people who join the church in the North American Division. By God’s grace the plan has raised nearly $400,000 and funded the church paper to more than 50,000 new members.
Let me share once again some of the gems that have come through the mail this year. Do I get some tough letters? Occasionally, yes; but many more that are upbeat and encouraging. Like the following:
“We had the Review since 1918, and I do not want to be without it. I am now 100! Thank you for interesting and valuable reading. God bless you and thank you,” wrote Margaret (Benedict) Gill. And her subscription is paid ahead three years!
Raul A. Batista of Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, responded to my cover story “Four Big Questions” (May 25):
“For 20 years I stayed away from the Review, thinking it was too traditional and had very little thought-provoking material to nourish me spiritually and intellectually. Lately, I have been changing my view of the Review, however slowly.
2006 1533 page5“I was especially moved and amazed at Brother Johnsson’s prescient article. I congratulate him and the editors who jointly agreed to publish this article. It is my prayer that this kind of soul-searching and honesty continue in the pages of the Adventist Review, or as I now fondly think of it, my Review. God bless you all.”
The new CrossWalk edition brought a highly positive response. This from Gene Trent of Bothell, Washington:
“It’s been quite a long time since I have subscribed to Adventist Review. But the new design coupled with the new CrossWalk emphasis on discipleship has forced me to renew my subscription. . . . Jesus and His life and His teachings are truly radical and especially as capsulated in the Sermon on the Mount. This emphasis on living a radical Christian life couldn’t be coming at a better time for our church. I just pray that radical discipleship catches on like wildfire among our members.”
It’s been a year of heavy mail. “Four Big Questions” brought many letters, most of them of a very thoughtful nature. The article that pulled the most mail, however, was James Nix’s “Growing Up Adventist” (March 23). John Verderber of Sacramento, California, sent a long response that in part said:
“I wanted to comment on the article ‘Growing Up Adventist.’ I am a subscriber who reads the Review cover to cover every week. I have never read any magazine with this much enthusiasm. This is also the first time I have written any magazine for any reason. I felt compelled to comment on this article. . . . God brought me here when I was ready. It took 40-some years, but I feel God has brought me to a beautifully truthful, spiritually grounded, and yes, an imperfect church. I praise Him every day for all of you.
“. . . Let me tell you as an outsider just recently entering the church, lift each other up to the Lord, be thankful for the truth we have had the privilege to share, and please realize this, the Adventist Church is the only game in town. And to that I say AMEN!”
Donald L. West of Ooltewah, Tennessee, wrote a glowing letter listing all the features he likes in the Review. He closed thus:
“Well, I’m going too long! But I’m glad for every dollar I sent for the New Believers’ Fund. I believe a true reader (cover to cover) of the Review will not walk away from God! Keep up the great work.”
So, dear reader, I invite you to share in this ministry.
All funds given to the New Believers’ Fund go 100 percent toward sending the church paper to new members. For your convenience, you’ll find a reply envelope stitched into this issue. As we have done from the first, Noelene and I are giving $1,000 to this ministry.
Now, a final word: time moves on. Soon I will be handing over the reins to another. This is my last invitation to share in the blessing. And thank you, thank you for all the love, support, and encouragement.
William G. Johnsson is editor of the Adventist Review.