Answering the question posed in Isaiah 6:8
Well, here we are already in the second month of another year. Never has there been more anger, confusion, or strife in the world. But what troubles me most is the almost limitless avenues of evil influences on our youth. When we visit different churches, I look for our young people. Most of them seem so terribly bored and restless. They are counting the days until they can launch out into the world where they think they will find happiness and freedom. What a profound loss! My heart aches for them, their families, and for God’s work, as well. But in a small corner of Madison County, Virginia, there is a school that trains young people and helps them find satisfaction in serving God. I am so privileged to be a part of this work. Interacting with students from around the world and seeing them channel their energies in spreading the gospel is inspiring beyond words. Here are two wonderful reports. Enjoy!
Antioch Project Japan (APJ)
A Crossroad or a Runway?
Two years ago when we accepted Toki Kawakami’s pioneering project, we could never have imagined the forces of evil that Satan would unleash on Japan. I’m not saying that Antioch Project Japan caused a tsunami or nuclear disaster, but the results are presenting many challenges for APJ.
First, some of Toki’s potential team members have taken new positions and are no longer available. The daily lives of many residents and the environment in the area where she planned to begin her ministry have changed, indicating that this may not be where God is guiding. I can tell you that Toki’s burden to do a work for God is not diminished by these challenges. Her desire to reach her island nation almost devoid of the knowledge of Christ burns on.
Since Toki began her Bible Instruction internship in September, she has gained many insights on how to work with people who have diverse backgrounds and different mindsets. “It’s beautiful to see how people are touched by different aspects of the gospel, and start making changes in their lives,” says Toki. “While everyone sees things differently, the Bible covers everything humans can possibly need, and God has given us so many gifts, such as the health message, to touch people’s lives where they are. But one thing that stands out clearly is that, young or old, past experiences shape people into what they are today.” Toki continues, “Negative influences oftentimes hinder their understanding of God, whether by people in their lives, or lifestyle habits that distort their ability to comprehend, or even prevent them from meeting consistently for Bible studies. I cannot help but wonder how different their lives could have been if someone had inspired them to seek God in their youth.” “Since I was about age 10,” smiles Toki, “I have had a desire to do something for children and youth. This internship experience is confirming to me the importance of reaching out to young souls while they are more open, and have the greatest potential and energy to share the gospel truth with others.”
“So how does this fit into APJ?” you may be asking. After many prayers and email discussions, Toki and I agreed that since God seems to be putting us back at “square one,” that’s exactly where we’ll start! Toki’s burden is to work with young people, so several months ago we discussed the possibility of organizing a mission trip to conduct a youth camp. We are now praying about this and we want to ask you to pray with us. Youth are under strong parental pressure to excel in school and strive for success in Japan’s highly competitive business environment, and mastering English is seen as a necessity to many. Yet without God, all the striving is emptiness. Japanese youth are increasingly turning to drugs, alcohol, and even suicide. We are planning to conduct a small-scale youth camp in August, with the vision of making it bigger in the following years. Everything will be conducted in English, in a similar manner to Juniper Fountain Ministry’s Bible/English school (featured in our June/July 2012 newsletter), which should appeal to parents and youth alike. But the activities would be focused on topics designed to help participants recognize God’s love and care for them through nature and the caring interaction of the counselors.
Toki could have given up on her plans at the very beginning. After all, a tsunami and nuclear fallout are pretty good arguments for cancelling a project. But Toki has a burden to do something for the Lord in Japan. “Have you ever heard it said that when God closes one door, He opens another?” asks Toki. “Satan wants us to look at the closed doors, and give up. We believe that if we move forward, God will open a door for us, and we want to be ready to walk through it.”
Santo’s Evangelistic Training Institute (SETI)
Copying Enoch’s Method
Although the SETI team has been very busy developing their agriculture and health food industries that will provide a strong foundation for their school, they feel strongly that they should not neglect the responsibility to evangelize the cities. They continue to hold monthly events in Vitoria and Venda Nova.
During the past year, they have presented diverse themes of present truth at these convocations to promote well-balanced spiritual growth. “We have covered health reform, mental health, family issues, entertainment, education, practical godliness, and many other subjects,” says Giancarlo. He adds, “These topics have proven beneficial not only for church members, but other attendees also. They provide critical springboards for prophecy and doctrinal topics.”
In July, Hal Mayer presented a series on prophecy, and in August, Diego Silva preached on the prophetic gift to the remnant church. In September Dan Shafer and Colin Standish spoke on righteousness by faith, and baptized Juliana, a young lady whose conversion was greatly influenced by the SETI team. Then in October, Hector Torres presented a series on family life issues.
“During Brother Mayer’s visit, we took him to see the SETI property, and to discuss some administrative ideas for the school’s advancement,” shares Giancarlo. “He spent the day looking over our property, and following are his thoughts about our project.”
I recently had the privilege of preaching at the SETI convocation in Vitoria. Giancarlo and his wife Tatiana moved to the nearby SETI property in July and they were eager to show me around and share what they have done. It was a bustle of activity. SETI is intended to be a missionary training school with an agricultural emphasis, and God has blessed them with an excellent location. They have a profusion of fruit trees plus well-established, fertile gardening plots, and are already in a position to sustain themselves with certain planned improvements. But the quietness of the surroundings especially appealed to me. There are many vibrantly colored birds, monkeys, and other animals. These beautiful 22 acres are nestled in a valley with mountainous terrain on all sides, providing an ideal environment for study and communion with God. There are enough buildings, currently being converted to classrooms, dormitories, and service areas, for students and staff to get started and potential for more development.
The property has been purchased through the gifts of those interested in the project. But their work, and the challenges that will attend it, are just beginning. Please pray for Giancarlo and his team as they start this important work for the Lord.
“There is still much to be done before the school can open, and the monthly convocations take planning and time,” shares Giancarlo. “But they are ‘food for the hungry’ and soul winning is our ultimate goal,” beams Tatiana. “So for the last meeting of 2012, we decided to invite all our contacts to a special convocation here at the new property.” “It was sort of an open house to share what God has provided through our faithful supporters,” says Giancarlo. The speakers for this special event were Giancarlo and Diego Silva, both Hartland graduates with a burden to offer true education in their homeland. The SETI team worked feverishly to finish building restrooms and dorm rooms, to reopen old roads that give access around the property, and to make the property look like “God’s beautiful farm.”
For those who would like to help SETI financially, their current need is a vehicle to carry supplies and students to and from the cities, and to carry their natural food industry products to sell. The cost of a van is approximately $4,300. Also, for completing renovations in preparation to open the school, they estimate cost of construction materials to be approximately $7,400. SETI and the LSM team thank you so much for what you have already done, and our prayer for you is that the Lord will bless and keep you throughout this coming year.
Pure Light for Africa (PLA)
PLA’s progress report will be in our April–May issue. Don’t forget to pray for all our projects.
The definition of tenacity is: persistence, cohesiveness, adhesiveness; the greatest amount of stress a substance can bear without breaking apart. Being a student at Hartland College is not easy. Not all make it to graduation day, but those who do learn that serving on the front lines requires tenacity—patience, courage, and perseverance. They know there will be mountains to climb, and valleys peppered with danger, but they go with God’s armor, and they trust in His guidance. Time is running out. Wouldn’t you love to be reading about one of your local church youth in this newsletter? God wants them to be part of His “army of…youth, rightly trained.” Education, p. 271.
Let’s all pray for the youth in our churches throughout this coming year. If only they would surrender their lives to Him in their youth, they, too, could be part of that great army winning the world for Jesus.
We want to thank you all from the bottom of our hearts for your prayers, your confidence in us, and your financial support. Without you, these projects would not exist.
In His service,
Hartland World Mission Director
Make your gift out to “Lord, Send Me.”
Write in the memo:
1. “SETI” for the school in Brazil.
2. “Africa” for the Pure Light for Africa school project (or “Loago’s Stipend” to help with housing).
3. “Japan” for Antioch Project Japan.
4. “LSM” for the general support of the program.
You may also donate using our secure website, www.hartland.edu.