ho are the member organizations of ASI?
Nothing can match the amazing variety you discover in a stroll through the aisles of the annual ASI Convention exhibits. Here are a few examples that illustrate the vitality and strength of lay-driven efforts to share Christ in the marketplace through specially targeted ministries. To view some video vignettes of these ministries, visit www.asiministries.org/video-magazine.—Editors.
Frontline Builders is an ASI organization committed to building churches around the world for congregations that couldn’t otherwise afford one. “We wanted to help them build permanent structures that they could meet in on Sabbath,” said founder Jabel Busl. Frontline’s main mission is in Sudan where building materials are rare and most must be hauled in from Uganda, a long and difficult drive. The founders had a burden to work in Sudan because there was such a huge need for buildings: most congregations were meeting under trees.
Frontline Builders also worked in Mongolia to build one of the first Seventh-day Adventist churches in the country. In a place where the average winter temperature is well below zero, the builders also supplied the church with wood and coal-burning stoves. Local people were involved in the building process and excited to use what they had helped create.
Frontline Builders would like to establish a base in Africa. “That’s where our hearts are,” said Busl, “developing the church wherever we can.”
Heritage Academy is a boarding school in Monterey, Tennessee, devoted to promoting Christian leadership in its students. Founded on Ellen White’s educational principles, the school teaches students in academic, spiritual, and vocational venues. Many of the students work as colporteurs, and all are trained in disaster relief, first aid, and CPR.
Part of the school day is spent studying, part in worship, and part in vocational areas such as cooking, gardening, and construction. Heritage also offers a flight school where the students can earn a commercial pilot’s license. The school’s aim is to prepare students to serve in the mission field.
“This school has a very spiritual environment,” says Deisi Santillan, a former student. “We try to do a lot of ministries.”
Founded and owned by Dene Sue Ross, the business offers technical writing skills to draw up and develop such documents as computer manuals and curricula. After receiving a large contract with the state of Idaho in the 1990s, the firm moved to the capital, Boise. At this time Ross was neither an Adventist nor a Christian, but she attended an evangelistic series and was baptized in 1996. When friends talked her into attending an ASI Conference, she began to see her business differently.
“It was frightening at first to use my livelihood as a vehicle to witness for Christ. It [the ASI Conference] was truly a life-changing event,” says Ross. She began arriving at work between 5:30 and 6:00 in the morning for Bible study. As her coworkers noticed this, they began to ask questions, and the questions resulted in games of Bible Trivia. She was able to share her Seventh-day Adventist beliefs with them in a low-key and sometimes lighthearted way.
One day, Ross was escorted to a conference room by two security guards to discover half a dozen attorneys waiting for her. An auditor had filed a formal complaint against Ross because he had seen the name of Christ on one of her books as he passed her office and declared he felt offended. When Ross chose not to countersue, people started asking questions relating to her decision, and she was able to witness to dozens of people. Ross says, “ASI has educated, it has motivated, and it has facilitated me to be able to use my company in order to reach out to the people around me.”
Shelter From the Storm
Shelter From the Storm is an ASI organization dedicated to helping ex-convicts remain in the faith once they are released from prison. Prior to the creation of this group, there was no halfway house for Seventh-day Adventists released from prison. Inmates would find the truth in prison, be released, and fall into the same pattern or migrate toward another faith group.
“I didn’t want to go back to my old friends and lifestyle because the Holy Ghost had come into my life,” said Jeffrey Cobb, a former prison inmate.
The ministry, begun with ASI’s support, helps ex-convicts nurture faith in Bible truth while providing them with a safe place to live. Many accept the Seventh-day Adventist faith after coming to live at Shelter From the Storm.
Former inmate Orlando Striver describes what Shelter From the Storm means to him: “It provides you with a bed, it provides you with guidance, and it provides you with a ministry that explains God’s Word to you.”
Better Living Clinic
Dr. Yoshinobu Namihira uses his medical practice to witness to each patient that comes through his door. As a child, Dr. Namihira was diagnosed with polio in the years before the now-famous Salk vaccine was available. His mother rubbed his legs every day, but his parents were convinced he wouldn’t live. Not only did Namihira survive his illness, but today he can walk with the help of his crutches.
After being a patient for so long himself, Dr. Namihira says he understands how his patients feel and can relate to their pain. Hearing the testimonies of ASI members made him sure he wanted to join the ASI family, and now he uses every opportunity to witness to others about Christ. Staff members say that they enjoy their work, and patients insist they know they’re getting the best when they see Dr. Namihira.
“I truly believe that I’m in the best of hands,” says patient Linda Brown. “He held my hand and he prayed over me. It just meant a lot.”
Congo Frontline Missions
A supporting ministry of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, Congo Frontline Missions is dedicated to bringing a message of hope and salvation to the war-torn Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). Initiatives operated by the ministry include preaching, teaching, and medical missionary work.
Working with ASI and Maranatha Volunteers International, Congo Frontline Missions is in the midst of constructing a campus where education, medical services, and religious training will flourish. The founders dream of operating a lay evangelism training program that will supply church planters and Bible workers for the Congo River Basin. The school would serve as an example for starting other satellite schools and mobile training courses to energize laypeople across the DRC to spread the gospel. Another goal is to encourage Adventist Church members in the DRC with evangelism tools, including bicycles, picture rolls, tracts, and Bibles.
Few permanent Adventist churches exist in the Congo River Basin, and the ministry also wants to construct permanent churches and schools that will enhance the work of the Adventist Church in the region. On the drawing board are also plans to establish a radio station in Kisangani to reach large regions of the country.
Medicor Partners, S.C.
Drs. Manuel and Esther Alva are committed to serving their patients in the best way possible, and for them that includes taking time to pray with them and listen to their stories.
“There is ample opportunity to listen to these patients,” says Dr. Manuel Alva.
The couple reaches out to the Spanish-speaking community in a special way and has held 52 health-education sessions, during which 400 people have been baptized. Not only does their commitment to mission work help those they come in contact with, but it has also strengthened their own connection with their children and restored broken relationships in their extended family. The Alvas strongly believe in reaching people where they are, praying for every person who walks through their doors.
Dr. Esther Alva notes, “We’re called to either plant the seed, or to harvest, according to what the Lord presents to us.”
It’s My Very Own
How do you reach the youngest sufferers? Founded by Barbara Neher, It’s My Very Own focuses on reaching out to children taken from their homes by authorities because their parents suffered from methamphetamine addiction. A television news special sparked her interest in helping, and she says she knew she had to do something to help these children who had lost so much.Barbara and her team put together “bags of love” for the children they receive upon being taken from their homes. The bag is filled with a stuffed animal, a toy, personal items, and a handmade quilt. Every bag is prayed over: “Those prayers stay with that quilt,” says Barbara.
The cause is also personal: Barbara’s own daughter suffered from addiction and her two grandsons were put up for adoption. Today, they’re helping their grandmother fill bags of goodies for other children in the same circumstances. These bags provide comfort and reassurance to children who have lost everything familiar, and each arrives also carrying the prayers of a dedicated ministry team.
Erica Richards, a senior English major at Southern Adventist University, is an editorial intern for Adventist Review. Mark A. Kellner is a news editor for Adventist Review.