Mission Festival Raises $150,000 for India
Late-season snow drifted through the air as members of 13 Salem-area Adventist churches awoke to attend the Willamette Valley Mission Festival.
But by the time 1,000 to 1,500 attendees began gathering at the Dayspring Fellowship church in Keiser, Ore., the sun was shining brightly, a harbinger of warmth and fellowship to follow.
After a rousing song service, Don Livesay, Oregon Conference president, welcomed the audience.
Caring for Cuba
Don Noble, director of Maranatha Volunteers, International (MFI), then reported on conditions in Cuba, where carrying a Bible once invited persecution and books could not be imported. But change has come.
The Adventist Church in Cuba now has its first offset press, Noble said, and MFI has helped repair 85 Cuban Adventist churches that had been in disrepair for decades.
Meanwhile, an Adventist seminary has been reopened in newly conditioned buildings, and Cuban prison ministries attract more Bible students than there are baptized Adventists on the island.
Thanks to modern technology, Festival attendees heard, live, from Ron Watts, Southern Asia Division president, and saw photographs of a church dedication that had taken place that day in India.
“Indians meet in their churches seven days a week,” Watts reported, noting that 3,000 new churches are needed immediately and that MFI plans to build 400 churches in the next four years.
Merlin Farley, of Southern Oregon, described the thrill of watching seven new churches being dedicated in India.
The audience also listened in as Mike Ryan, General Conference Global Mission director, interviewed a pastor from Kalimantan, Indonesia.
MFI plans to build 70 new Indonesian churches in the next three years.
Ryan reported that $10,000 will build a new church for 200-300 members, and $50 will support a Global Pioneer for one month.
Pastor Jan Paulsen, General Conference president and keynote speaker, noted that the Global Mission program is now 12 years old and remains one of the most innovative plans devised by the General Conference.
“I am pleased with the seamless ministry between Global Mission and Maranatha,” he said. “One group to build congregations, and one group to build churches.”
“Finding God was never meant to be a difficult thing.” he said, “We must never give up on people, Jesus didn’t. Secular people are unable to see what God can add to life. What God offers at the end of the day is just what we need…His grace as a gift.”
After the spiritual feast ended, the crowd adjourned to a church gym, where Karen Vandehay and her helpers coordinated and served a delicious lunch.
As they returned to their homes, sleet covered the hillsides, but hearts were warm with the day’s inspiration and the generosity of giving $150,000 to build churches in India. •