Thanks for the recent emphasis about missions. As a young lad recently converted, I was inspired by the missionaries who came to Brazil. They made commitments for life and brought the message to our country.
I think of the Halliwells, who for 25 years sailed with the Luzeiro medical boats, risking their health and ministering to people in the Amazon. Names such as the Websters, Wilcoxes, Christmans, Nelsons, and many others not only learned our languages but helped sow the seeds of growth. Many perished in the mission field.
Later, while working for the General Conference Secretariat, recruiting missionaries for Latin America, I was impressed with the dedication of men and women who wanted to serve the Lord overseas. They were motivated by love. As Bill Knott wrote: “No obligation ever made a real missionary of anyone. Duty may get us to the door, but only love will make us choose to sacrifice.”
Let’s pray that the coronavirus may not stop our mission to make disciples and prepare people for the soon coming of Jesus.
Leo Ranzolin Sr.
The word “mission” does not appear in Scripture. Having been to other countries on “mission trips,” I returned underwhelmed, embarrassed, and discouraged. I felt that I had wasted time, money, and resources—ours and theirs. Jesus was never the focal point of our endeavors; it was our culture and way of doing church in North America. This haunts me to this day!
We take pride in and effectively hide behind “mission.” Personal friends take trips and volunteer in programs, but do not know the name of the teller at their bank. We flaunt our involvement and high-five ourselves through our publications to the point of embarrassment.
Jesus was the master of the personal interview, the knowing touch, the real connection, being-to-being. We don’t need metrics on viability and success in missions, nor should we brag about it. How about a church that is “human-minded”? Social distancing has been an integral part of Adventist culture for far too long.
We each have a sphere of influence; let’s use it.
Thank you for the insightful March issue of Adventist Review.
Because Lowell Cooper and I were together in classes back in his college days, it was especially pleasing to read his fine, well-reasoned article.
The interview with the General Conference’s chief legal counsel is one of the centerpieces of the issue. You presented some very timely, searching questions for him to address.
In view of recent developments in the church, the article by Gerald Winslow is perhaps the most valuable of all. I hope that every General Conference delegate will read it carefully and follow its wisdom. Not only is the message of the article clear and convincing, but also the quality of the writing is exceptionally good. He has an extraordinary ability to choose just the right word in passage after passage.
As always, there are other delectable fruits on the same tree. It’s always a privilege, for example, to read the inspiring columns of Dixil Rodríguez.
A reader from New England
Lowell Cooper’s “The Live Option,” along with Gerald Winslow’s “When Cultures Clash” and Costin Jordache’s “Why Journalism Matters to Adventists,” are right on target. As Jesus said: “For God called you to do good. . . . He is your example, and you must follow in his steps” (1 Peter 2:21, NLT).* This issue is one I will keep in my files.
John Loor, Jr.
I appreciated the short, direct, ethical stories in the March 2020 Adventist Review. Jesus spoke in stories so that everyone could understand the point He was making.
I was a little confused by Ricardo Bacchus’s article “Mr. Unethical Goes to Church.” To me, calling a person “Mr. Unethical” is judgmental. Perhaps “Mr. Different” would have been better. The string of negative behaviors Bacchus listed as being practiced by church members on one visit was so improbable that the story did not hold up for me and would definitely discourage anyone from returning to church.
Our church leaders sometimes pontificate as to who is “ethical” and who is “unethical,” and some church boards blindly follow their recommendations, preferring not to dig deeply for themselves. I ask that we carefully evaluate how we treat others, and do what is Spirit-driven and right, rather than follow what others have deemed appropriate for us.
Thank you for these words of encouragement during this time of crisis.
We thank God that His church continues to meet online, despite the physical barriers orchestrated by COVID-19. Here in Zambia, even though the government has permitted places of worship to resume meetings, our church leaders advised that members should continue meeting online until the situation has improved. Our church promotes health principles as espoused in the Bible and Spirit of Prophecy. So it makes sense that we should be in the forefront, encouraging everyone to avoid as much physical contact as possible during this period.
*Scripture quotations marked NLT are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.
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