COMMITMENT

STEWARDS OF THE GOSPEL

The greatest stewardship given to believers is not the stewardship of money, talent or time. It is an amazing wonder to the universe that the Son of God sacrificed His life to provide forgiveness for the sins of mankind! It is an additional great wonder

that "He has committed to us the word of reconciliation" 2

Corinthians 5:9 (NASB).



The triumph of Jesus in the great controversy with Lucifer

is dependent on human believers to make disciples for Jesus among all peoples.

(Matthew 28:19.) This is to take place successfully in every city and village

on planet earth. (Testimonies for the

Church
, vol. 9, p. 28, 29.)



Of the seven

billion humans presently living on planet earth, 17.6% or 1.31 billion people

are in the modern India. The fourth largest state in India in area and in

population is the Telugu speaking state of India with 65 million people.

The shaded area in yellow is the state of Andhra Pradesh where Telugu is an official language.

They gave time, talent, and treasure, to assist in sharing the gospel and constructing more than 5,000 chapels for worship and several residential schools for the Christian education of the children of the new believers."

Person

The first decade of this century saw a wonderful revival

in the Adventist stewardship of the gospel, where a spiritual awakening

occurred. At the beginning of that decade Adventists had 135,000 registered

believers among these people. By the end of that decade there were more than

800,000 registered believers. When Adventist church members and pastors in

other regions of the world heard of this spiritual awakening several hundred

men, women, and youth came from North America, Europe, and Australia to

exercise successfully their stewardship of the gospel. They assisted the local

believers in planting thousands of new congregations of disciples in this area.



They gave time, talent, and treasure, to assist in sharing

the gospel and constructing more than 5,000 chapels for worship and several

residential schools for the Christian education of the children of the new

believers. One American business family networked with others and funded gospel

meetings to plant churches in some 750 locations. Arrangements were made for

the construction of chapels for worship in these same locations. Several

members of the General Conference staff participated in conducting revival

meetings and constructing houses of worship.



Supporting ministries of the church such as Maranatha,

Gospel Outreach, Quiet Hour, ASI, Amazing Facts, and Asian Aid, as well as the

church’s It Is Written joined the local members and pastors in this stewardship

of the gospel. Local churches in the developed world as well as local

conferences, and unions, pastors, laymen and laywomen participated.



It is estimated that 3% of the population of this state with

their families are now part of our end-time movement. Many believe the Lord is

pleased with this successful expression of the stewardship of the gospel.



One illustration of

how the Holy Spirit is changing lives in Andhra Pradesh can be seen in the Venkatraj

family.

Mr. Venkatraj, with

his wife and three small children, was a farmer in a non-Christian settlement

in coastal Andhra Pradesh in India. His wife worked alongside him in the rice

fields. It was back-breaking labor.



Community of Seventh-day Adventist villagers in

Andhra Pradesh, India.

When they came home

from the fields in the evening his wife would begin to prepare their food, but Venkatraj

would go to the local bar and drink alcohol (toddy) to ease the pain of his

limbs and muscles.



The family suffered

as there was little to eat and few clothes to wear as the result of him

spending his money on drink. His wife would scold him and he would beat her

amid the cries of his naked children. The beatings grew worse and his neighbors

were frightened for the health of his wife and children.



Then one day the

village elders heard about a series of meetings that Adventists were holding in

a nearby town. They urged Venkatraj to attend with them. He started to go every

night. He became very excited when he learned that Jesus Christ was to return

to earth soon to gather his faithful disciples.



If you ask him now if he beats his wife, he replies with a twinkle in his eye. "Now she beats me."

When the speakers

pointed out that those preparing for Jesus return would give up bad habits like

drinking he decided that it was the right time for him to make a major change

in his life. He accepted Jesus as his savior and was baptized with his wife.

He completely gave

up alcohol and wife-beating. Today he is the respected elder in his village and

indeed all the families in the settlement are now Seventh-day Adventists. The

health and the cleanliness of the village have entirely changed. Many of their

former health problems have disappeared.



If you ask him now if he beats his wife, he replies

with a twinkle in his eye. "Now

she beats me."
  The families are

determined to raise their children to love the Lord and obey His word.

Dr. Ron Watts
Ron served as president of

the Southern Asia Division from 1997 to 2008. He is an experienced pastor,

evangelist and administrator. He is presently serving as the special assistant

to the General Conference president for Southern Asia Projects. Previously he

served as president of the Karnataka Mission, the South India Union, and the

Alaska and British Columbia Conferences. He served in mission work in India for

27 years.

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