ASI Spring Fellowship 2004
What does “ASI” stand for? Adventist-laymen’s Services and Industries—an organization for supporting ministries and business people and professionals. It functions as a network to bring talents together in furthering Christ’s kingdom.
Regional and international ASI conventions provide fellowship and training seminars to members and non-members alike. They give opportunities for laypeople to be involved in evangelism locally or abroad. The following is a report and personal testimonies from the 2004 ASI Northwest Convention.
ASI members and friends met in Sun Valley, Idaho, in May, for an extended weekend of activity and spirit-led presentations. Friday night opened with the ASI Northwest president, Dan Ross, introducing Jere Patzer, North Pacific Union president, who shared a history of Northwest missionaries.
Friday morning prayer breakfast opened with part one of a two-part presentation by James Rafferty of Light Bearers Ministry. He related his trials of the last year and how God led through his confrontation with cancer and blessed him with a new ability to relate to those with illness. His response to the ASI spring fellowship: “I received much more than I gave.”
Herb Larson from British Columbia shared his struggle to find relevance in his Christian experience. In the past he had planned to support the Lord’s work when he made enough money. But was there ever enough? He built two successful businesses, only to have the market drop from under each. With an intense desire to know God intimately, he committed to spending an hour every morning in prayer and communion with Him. After nearly two months, he finally began to experience the relevance for which he was yearning.
Today Larson will challenge even the atheist to put God to a test. For just two weeks spend a serious hour with God in prayer and scripture daily, and your life will be changed! After two weeks you won’t quit because you will have found relevance in your Christian walk.
Attendees were also blessed as Doug Batchelor shared a closer look at some Old Testament characters, with practical applications to their lives. He spent time with the youth, allowing them to fire away at him any questions they had about making Christianity relevant. Batchelor’s secretary, Bonnie, commented, “It was certainly our pleasure to be with you. This was a very spiritual weekend, and we met many wonderful people and enjoyed the beautiful surroundings.”
This was the first year that ASI had a program for the youth. With the usual attendance of only a few youth, it hadn’t seemed necessary. But it was decided to provide a class, even for just a few. The “few” turned out to be a dozen young people. Gary Fuller, his wife Florence, and John Tillay helped make this a special experience. Their action project was sharing literature in the Sun Valley community. One young man offered a tract to a bank teller, and all the other tellers gathered around from their stations, asking for one also. A young lady offered a tract to a woman on the street. “Could I get a Bible too?” the woman asked. Batchelor, James and Risë Rafferty, and Mark Trethewey also helped to make the youth class a special experience.
Little ones coming to ASI have fun making new friends and making a “joyful noise unto the Lord.” Candi Catsma made ASI a fun-filled, Christ-centered experience for the youngest attendees. Craig and Julie were first-time attendees at the regional convention. Not sure whether they should bring their three adopted children, they planned to leave the youngest two with family. When their options for child-care closed, they decided maybe the Lord wanted the children to attend.
Julie expressed her satisfaction in the children’s program: “The dedication of Candi was remarkable. Her commitment to sharing Jesus with them was evident in her preparation and the wonderful program she had for them. She is a child evangelist, not a babysitter. Praise God! My children loved going to their meetings, and I’m so glad we came to ASI.”
Positive comments abounded. “I want to thank you for organizing such a wonderful weekend. I was blessed to have the privilege to be there. Your whole team did a wonderful job. Thanks for being supportive to your church," said one man.
“Just want to send you my great appreciation for all the efforts you expended to make Sun Valley the best ASI meeting I have attended," echoed another.
Many have never heard of ASI. Mark Black, a current vice president, said when he was first invited to an ASI convention, he couldn’t understand why—his friend knew he was married. Mark had it confused with Adventists Singles Ministries. But now he expresses that ASI has changed his life since that first convention. Before, he was content to be a pew warmer, but ASI has challenged him to share his experiences of witnessing for Christ in his place of work.
ASI’s goal is to enable individuals to share Christ in their personal spheres. Each one of us has unique contacts. You are the only one who can meet the people in your sphere. You are the one who works or shops where you do. It is your personal mission field! ASI challenges you to reach out to it.
What is it that keeps you from checking out an ASI convention? The blessing is waiting for you! Contact the North Pacific Union Conference at (360) 816-1400, for information on how you can participate.