The Holy Spirit at Work in Idaho

During the months of September of 2021, the Idaho Seventh-day Adventist Conference embarked on a conference-wide initiative to spread the gospel throughout their territory. Five churches in particular shared their stories below.

Caldwell — "(Paul) planted, Apollos Watered, but God was causing the growth" (1 Corinthians 3:6). This has been the experience in the lives of Chris and Ted. Before moving to Caldwell, Chris and Ted attended the East Salem Adventist Church, in Salem Oregon, where Chris’ mom, Imogene, became a Seventh-day Adventist. Chris and Ted did not join the church there but felt very welcomed and at home there. That warmth eventually led Chris and Imogene to attend the Caldwell Adventist Church sometime after moving to Idaho. Here’s where the story gets more interesting.

Chris responded to an invitation to spend Sabbath afternoon in a Zoom Bible study training session with Michael Gee. Afterwards she decided that she was not able to commit to that ministry. A few weeks later she accepted the invitation to join a weekly prayer call to pray for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the Caldwell Church and its community in preparation for the Hope Through Prophecy evangelistic series. During the prayer call, petitions were made asking God to warm hearts and to bring a harvest. A few weeks later, Chris answers another plea for volunteers to help with greeting and registration. Remember, Chris is not an "official" Adventist Church member yet. Chris, Ted and lmogene attended each night of the evangelistic series and came extra early so Chris could serve as a greeter. At the conclusion of the series, Chris and Ted were the first fruits reaped during the series.

On the night of their baptism Ted said, “I’ve known that God has been working in my life for some time. I’m not sure why I waited so long; I feel so refreshed.” The first words out of Chris’ mouth when coming up out of the water, “All glory be to God.” Yes, all glory be to God!

Emmett — "What can we do for exponential growth in 2021?" This was the question that led our church board early in January of 2021. While we sat there looking at the calendar for the year ahead, the question was asked, “What do we need to do if we want to have a harvest this year?" The previous fall we decided, as a church, that we would dedicate the third Sabbath each month as our outreach Sabbath. By the time January 2021 rolled around, we already had several successful outreaches in the community. We had seen a strong support base for outreach among our members and we were seeing how the Lord was working in our interactions with the community.

We decided to implement the GROW cycle of evangelism. So, we filled our calendar with events that would prepare the soil of the heart in our community; outreaches that would plant the seeds of Truth; and multiple opportunities to invite the community into the cultivation process of Bible study. This led to the fourth stage in the GROW cycle of evangelism, Harvest. Our church just concluded a full evangelistic harvest series that accomplished several things. First, it planted seeds for guests who only came to a few meetings. Second, it welcomed members back who hadn’t attended in a long time. Third, it provided the opportunity for individuals to give their life to Jesus and to join His remnant movement.

God has truly blessed our members and our church family throughout this process. By the end of the series, we had three individuals, one church member and two guests, request baptism and rebaptism. Two individuals have indicated that they would like to think about baptism but would for sure join by baptism or profession of faith. For a church who hasn’t had a baptism in quite a long time, the membership is thrilled with the fruit of God’s harvest. The fifth phase in the GROW cycle of evangelism is Preserve. The discipleship process is kicking off this week for our guests and soon-to-be new members. With the understanding that this was just the first pass through the vineyard, our membership is already gearing up for this month’s outreach Sabbath. Maranatha!

Meridian — It was an amazing three weeks for sure, as Bill McClendon, NPUC vice president and evangelist, preached our wonderful message of hope to a spiritually hungry community! It was apparent the truth was drawing people to attend, as crowds remained steady throughout the five meeting per week schedule. Vacations were postponed or cancelled. Friends invited others to attend. Pre-work and long-time Bible study candidates made decisions to follow Jesus with three baptisms and two Professions of Faith at the end of the series. Many others have committed to attend the follow-up meetings led by newly installed interim pastor Michael Armayor. Especially precious to the Meridian Church was the baptism of Michael Zaughi, husband to our recent new member Norma. Michael, a strong Catholic believer, said, “I’ll always be a Catholic!” but, as he attended meeting after meeting, it was obvious God was speaking to his heart. Many have been praying for Michael and befriending him over the past two years. We were overjoyed when he was lowered into that water to become one in faith with his wife! It is obvious that God is finishing His work.

Middleton — The Middleton Seventh-day Adventist Church held a Discovering Revelation series during the month of October 2021. As a result, there have been four baptisms and two who have joined the church by profession of faith. There are five others who are continuing to attend and study the truths of the Bible they learned during the series.

One couple had not attended any church for the past five years, after having a painful experience in their non-denominational church. But as they witnessed the world becoming a darker place, they began praying that the Lord would lead them to a new church that taught Biblical truth. The very next day they received a mailer advertising the upcoming Discovering Revelation series. The opening night of "A New World Order" caught their eye, and they considered this an answer to prayer.

This couple brought their 20-year-old grandson, and they never missed one night of the meeting. They attended faithfully and their only complaint was "why isn’t the entire town of Middleton here to hear these truths?” The grandson, though somewhat hesitant at first, eventually discovered a beautiful relationship with Jesus and gave his heart to the Lord through baptism as well! This family, as well as the others, found the Bible truths and prophecies that were taught each night gave them healing from their past, assurance of salvation today, and hope for their future. Because they now know that Jesus is coming again and that is the greatest news in the world.

Treasure Valley Area Hispanic — "In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and in view of his appearing and his kingdom, I give you this charge: to preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction." (2 Timothy 4:1-2)

Over the years, I have noticed that when churches decide not to have any evangelistic project, one of the reasons most frequently cited by some local church leaders to justify that decision is that the church is not prepared, that it has not done the work of preparation adequately to have a successful and fruitful evangelistic campaign.

There is no doubt that an evangelistic campaign will increase its chances of success, if proper and thorough preparation work is previously carried out. That is the ideal and you should never give it up. But what happens if that ideal is not achieved? The answer is simple: some congregations spend years without having any evangelistic event. This consequence is sad, or even sadder than the lack of preparation. The point is that we must never ignore or stop taking into account that the Holy Spirit will not always wait for human agents to decide to fulfill His part but will act according to his own pace.

That is what we experienced in one of our congregations, where there was no evangelistic campaign. But in any case, the mere news that one was taking place in a neighboring congregation served as a call to the conscience of one of the visitors who had been attending said congregation. One Saturday morning, after talking with the local elder, and after several years studying the Bible and attending church, Jose made the decision to be baptized. While it is true that he did not attend one of the series that was taking place, that did not prevent him from hearing the voice of the Holy Spirit. On the morning of Saturday, Nov. 6, he went down to the baptistry to give testimony of his love for Jesus Christ, but also as a testimony that the word of God never returns empty.

This story makes me ask myself the question: How many miracles have we missed because it was believed that the church was not prepared to do evangelism? It is time to follow Paul's advice to Timothy and stop waiting for the right moment to do evangelism and make every moment propitious for the preaching of the Gospel.