In the wake of recent natural disasters that have ravaged various areas and are expected to impact others in the coming days, Ted N.C. Wilson has addressed the following personal message to Seventh-day Adventist members throughout the world. We join Pastor Wilson and many others in praying for those impacted by these terrible disasters. ~ Adventist Review Editors
My fellow Seventh-day Adventist Church members around the world,
As many of you have worshiped already today and many more will around the world, I am asking you to especially pray for those who have recently experienced devastation and death in the Caribbean from Hurricane Irma. I have prayed for them. Wherever you are pray for God's church and the witness of His people. I am currently on an international trip and have felt strongly impressed to share this message with you today. The deadly storm of Hurricane Irma has ravaged the islands of St Maarten, St Barts, St Thomas, Barbuda, Anguilla, Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, Haiti, Cuba, and now strongly threatens Florida, Georgia, and South Carolina. Literally millions are fleeing the storm. Now, Hurricane Jose seems to be following in the wake of Hurricane Irma.
Please pray for our church members and the general population who have witnessed devastation in the areas just mentioned and the thousands who have gone through devastation in Houston, Texas, and the large surrounding region of southeast coastal Texas. I have prayed for them. Our hearts also go out to our members and the population in Mexico who have been devastated by a powerful earthquake affecting the states of Oaxaca, Chiapas, Tabasco, and even jolting Mexico City. In addition, Hurricane Katia is bearing down in the State of Veracruz. I have prayed for our people and the country of Mexico.
Without being overly dramatic, we need to recognize the times in which we live and ask God for not only protection but the power of the Holy Spirit to proclaim God's last-day three angels' messages of warning and hope focusing on Christ and His righteousness especially as the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation is observed with some people apologizing for the reformation or saying it is over. My brothers and sisters, the Spirit of Prophecy says that the Protestant Reformation was never to end with Martin Luther but was to continue to the end of time. By God's grace, may Seventh-day Adventists worldwide stand firmly for the principles of the Protestant Reformation-only the Bible, only by faith, only by grace, Christ as our only Mediator, and only God to be worshiped.
We have witnessed devastating natural disasters and warfare all over the world in recent times and throughout history. Not long ago typhoons destroyed homes and churches in Vanuatu and Fiji. Nancy and I had the privilege of seeing category 5-resistant Seventh-day Adventist churches being rebuilt by Seventh-day Adventist teams on Vanuatu and this November we will witness the same in Fiji. We praise God for the relief and rebuilding efforts around the world for devastated places by ADRA, Adventist Community Services, church organizations, and church members showing the practical love of Jesus. Pray for Seventh-day Adventists as they witness for their faith in helping others in disasters and in great need in these most recent and ongoing natural disasters.
During these troublous times, keep your eyes focused solely on Christ, His Word, and the prophetic mission entrusted to Seventh-day Adventists. Pray without ceasing. Do not be distracted by any divisive issues in your local church or in your region or globally. Pray for God's people throughout the world as we proclaim biblical truth and live lives of Christian service for others. Pray for the young people of God's church as they let the Lord use them in a powerful way to witness to others and combat the evil influences around them. Pray for men and women to unite in the proclamation of the prophetic Advent message of Holy Scripture. Do not be swayed by strange teachings that are not based in the Bible. As you study your Bibles also study the instructions and guidance given in the Spirit of Prophecy.
Pray currently for those in the Inter-American Division who have been so affected by the ongoing hurricane situation. Pray for those in the North American Division where devastation has taken place in Texas and is now threatening in Florida, Georgia, and South Carolina. I have prayed for them. Pray for our church members, organizations, and institutions in those areas. The impending approach to Florida of Hurricane Irma could affect the headquarters of the Inter-American Division, the Southeastern Conference, and the Florida Conference as well as many church buildings and institutions. I have prayed for these organizations. Two Sabbaths ago, it was my privilege to preach at a wonderful South Florida Religious Liberty Rally in the Miami area after a very successful International Religious Liberty Association Congress in Ft Lauderdale and now that whole area may be devastated by another type of persecution of natural disaster. Certainly, as time progresses we will see the oppression of religious persecution and horrible natural disasters. We have been told this in Scripture and the Spirit of Prophecy and we should not be afraid......let us place ourselves in God's powerful hands. Jesus is coming soon!
I would like to make another special prayer request for the upcoming Annual Council of the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventist as we focus on Revival and Reformation, Mission to the Cities, Total Member Involvement, Comprehensive Health Ministry, Nurture and Retention of members, unity in our mission and the church, and so much more. Please pray that the leaders of God's church will be humble, faithful servants and that we will humbly carry out the mandates of heaven to proclaim the prophetic warning messages with Holy Spirit power. Please earnestly pray for revival and reformation in our lives and the general life of the church. Pray for the latter rain of the Holy Spirit. My brothers and sisters, Jesus is coming soon and He wants to use all of us to proclaim His last-day message of salvation only in Him. May Christ's focus found in John 9:4 be our focus today and until He comes: "I must work the works of Him who sent Me while it is day; the night is coming when no one can work."
May God bless your work and witness for Him as Seventh-day Adventists all over this world as we pray for the latter rain of the Holy Spirit and Christ's soon return.
Ted N C Wilson
General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists