In Our Own Backyard

A family reconnects with the SDA church after many years

With the end of the third quarter 2020 and with special 13th Sabbath programs staged at our churches on Pohnpei, this was also the season of Holy Communion services. Once again we received the invitation to conduct worship, and if requested, Communion Service on Sabbath afternoon in a nearby home. When we entered the house, during our preliminary communication, the family was asked if they would like us to hold a Communion Service for them in their home. There was ready agreement. A makeshift Communion table was set up with bread and wine.  

Communion table

Our church visiting group sang, shared Scripture, and prayed. I shared a simple message of encouragement, hope, and inspiration from the first five verses of Psalm 103. Feet were washed and the emblems of the broken body of our Savior and His spilled blood were freely shared. The sweet influence of the Spirit was felt by all. The family expressed that our visit, worship, and Communion that day was a most beautiful blessing. How true is the saying, “Christ by the Holy Spirit is there to set the seal to His own ordinance. He is there to convict and soften the heart. Not a look, not a thought of contrition, escapes His notice. For the repentant, brokenhearted one He is waiting. All things are ready for that soul's reception” {E.G. White, Desire of Ages, 656.3}.

The ordinance of humility in foot washing

I was wondering how a family could so readily and willingly open their home for an Adventist Communion Service including foot washing, the ordinance of humility. Amazing and unbelievable answers to my unuttered queries were revealed during our little closing testimonies. We were so pleasantly surprised when the lady of the house said that almost her entire family had received Adventist education and graduated from the SDA School on this island. Another member of the family divulged that he graduated from Southwestern Adventist University and is actually a baptized Seventh-day Adventist. What rejoicing followed as they accepted my invitation to worship with us again on Sabbath days!  

"Almost her entire family had received Adventist education and graduated from the SDA School on this island"

The shocking fact is this: They have been living within walking distance from our church but have had little or no contact with the Seventh-day Adventist Church for so many years – that is, until we found them that Sabbath afternoon!  

Visiting and singing praises

Usually, the Adventist Communion Service is not perceived as an outreach tool for direct evangelism but rather as more of an in-reach program for the spiritual nourishment of our members. However, my own experience in my recent pastoral ministry has shown it to be otherwise. When we take Communion to individual homes for the benefit of those who have not been able to attend and participate at our church facilities, then this sacred service is especially powerful. It becomes an evangelistic avenue to seek and save those who are waiting – yes, only waiting – for someone to come and bring to them the Bread of Life.  We reestablished contact with God’s sheep when we knocked at their door with Communion emblems. I also promised the family that I will share with them some Adventist literature for their reading and study.

Pastor John sharing hope from the Bible

How marvelously appropriate to have this experience at the beginning of the fourth quarter as the world church immerses itself in the Sabbath School lesson study on Adventist Education. Due to the family’s close ties with the SDA school system we ended up reminiscing about Adventist schools and colleges, presidents and principals, teachers and counselors, fellow students and classmates. One of the reading materials I am planning to share with them is our current Sabbath School Lesson Quarterly.

May Jesus continue to bless and prosper our humble ministry until the whole world is lighted by His glory and the earth is prepared to receive her King. This is my earnest prayer.

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