Have you ever wondered what happens to all those TV programs, radio shows, all the magazines and websites the Adventist Media Network produces? Do they all just float off into the great unknown never to be heard of again?
Kent Kingston, host of Record InFocus, chuckles: “I’ve wondered that myself.” To test how many people are watching InFocus, earlier this year he offered a book as a free giveaway on the show. The problem? “We were overwhelmed! I had to drop everything and become a full-time order delivery taker. All the postage shot our budget. But it also answered a question. Apparently being on Foxtel and HopeChannel has a pretty amazing reach.”
Sometimes God uses Adventist Media to reach even into the most improbable places, and into the most unlikely of hearts.
At 15, New Zealand youth Alex Peihopa was sentenced to life imprisonment for murder. His future looked bleak. It would be almost 10 years before he would meet the man—and magazine—that would change his life forever.
When Alex was 24, he was assigned a cellmate called Jacky Yang, a Chinese national incarcerated for smuggling drugs.
One day, Jacky was in the prison library when he came across a Signs of the Times magazine. He enjoyed reading it and signed up for the free offers inside. This led to him completing a number of Bible correspondence courses from the Discovery Centre.
Jacky’s newfound interest in the Bible bothered his cellmate.
“I would watch TV while Jacky read his Bible, but he sat in front of the TV to do his Bible study,” Alex says. “After a few weeks, I asked to move out of his cell."
It wasn’t long, however, before the Holy Spirit began working on Alex’s heart. He started attending a Bible study group. He also began reading the Bible and, for the first time, started to feel peace in his heart about the future.
In April 2012, Alex moved to Waikeria Prison to begin his work release program. He requested Signs magazines that he could share with other inmates. Many of them accepted the magazines and also signed up for Bible studies with the Discovery Centre.
Alex was released from prison in August 2012 and baptised into the Cambridge Seventh-day Adventist Church the following year, where he is still a faithful member.
“Shame and guilt no longer haunt me,” Alex says. “It was only when I repented and confessed to God that I found peace.”
Sometimes God uses Adventist Media to reach someone at precisely the time that they begin asking exactly the right questions.
Yvonne Sookloll was involved in her Sunday-keeping church for more than 30 years but still felt like something was missing in her life. She asked her pastor for advice on what to do, but he didn’t share her concerns. “You’re doing just fine,” he assured her.
A back injury led to Yvonne having to stay off her feet for some time. She began tuning into satellite Christian television and found a program called Hope Sabbath School. She quickly became engrossed in the Bible lessons and began studying the Bible for eight hours each day.
Yvonne was amazed by the number of passages in the Bible that spoke about the Sabbath and God’s law. She and her family decided to leave the church they had been attending. They were ridiculed and told they should repent for leaving.
Yvonne and her husband began keeping Sabbath at home, as they didn’t know of any Sabbath-keeping churches. One day, their son Pascal met a woman who was getting baptised at Clarkson church (Western Australia) and asked his parents to go.
“We joined the Clarkson congregation and were baptised,” Yvonne says. “I am thankful and grateful for all the prayers and support from Hope Sabbath School.”
Sometimes evangelism occurs through less obvious media. “A woman came up to me at camp recently,” says Adventist Record editor James Standish, “and told me she had started attending an Adventist church after a friend shared the Adventist Record with her. Adventist Record tells the story of our Church—what we think, what we do, who we are today. And apparently that’s a very attractive package.”
“Media allows us to overcome barriers to get into the home, the car and even jail,” Media Ministries director Geraldine Przybylko says.
“Our aim at Adventist Media is for all our media (It is Written Oceania, Christian Services for the Blind, Diggings magazine, Hope Channel, Discovery Bible School, Signs magazine) to work together with local churches to reach the apparently unreachable. We want to reach people who are seeking something more in life, point them to Jesus Christ and connect them with local churches where they can be nurtured.”
Ellen White makes it clear that God’s final message will be spread to a large degree through the influence of media working hand-in-hand with local churches. At Adventist Media, we take this challenge very seriously. Our vision is to have the Adventist message “never more than an arm's length away”.
Whether you are watching InFocus on Foxtel or It Is Written on Channel 7, listening to Faith FM in your car, reading a Signs you found in your doctor's waiting room, perusing a Diggings magazine you picked up at your local newsagent or digesting a copy of the Adventist Record given to you by a friend; whether you are watching a video on demand on your phone, doing a Discovery course on the net, or relaxing at home watching a Beyond DVD; wherever you are the Adventist message is there. Up front. Ready to access. Clear and free.
And we have plans to do far more.
We are about to take HopeChannel into nearly every home in New Zealand and Papua New Guinea. HopeChannel is already available on mainstream TV in Fiji, Vanuatu and Samoa. And by God’s grace we ask you to pray Australia will be next. Why? Pastor Mark Finley reports that God has used HopeChannel to bring more than 2 million people into our Church. In Brazil alone, more than 17,000 people come into the Church every year through HopeChannel. What God has done for others, He can do for us.
We continue to need your prayers and financial support to make this dream a reality. Creating good media requires an investment, but it’s an investment that brings amazing results.
Thank you for supporting the spread of God’s Word,
Chief Executive Officer
Adventist Media Network
Vania Chew is PR/Editorial Assistant for Adventist Record.