Producer of Australia’s and New Zealand’s number-one breakfast cereal—Weet-Bix—as well as other cereal products, beverages, and spreads, Sanitarium Health and Wellbeing is known internationally for its healthful vegetarian foods. From its humble beginning in 1898 in Melbourne, Australia, when baker Edward Halsey produced Australia’s first ready-to-eat breakfast cereal and sold it door to door, Sanitarium has grown into a 1,700-employee organization with four manufacturing plants in Australia and two in New Zealand.
What may not be as widely recognized, however, is the company’s commitment to community and its vision to “lead, inspire and resource the genuine experience of happy, healthy living” among those in their region and beyond. The South Pacific Division’s (SPD) Health Food Department, which includes Sanitarium, encompasses the mission of providing “hope for a better life” wholistically through a variety of endeavors that include a health and well-being clinic called Sanctuary, a vegetarian café, breakfast programs for children, an annual triathlon for kids, health services for workplace environments, a lifestyle-intervention program, environment-sustainability initiatives, and support for community projects overseas.
BREAKFAST CLUB: Each school day some 1,200 volunteers provide breakfast to 5,000 children living in areas of greatest need through Sanitarium’s Good Start Breakfast Clubs.Strategically situated on Darling Harbour in Pyrmont, New South Wales, Sanctuary’s team of 16 practitioners, specialists, and support staff help to meet the needs of the whole person. Its team comprises three family physicians, a physiotherapist, a clinical psychologist, a podiatrist, an exercise physiologist, a dietitian, a pastoral counselor, and massage therapists, among others. These health-care professionals focus on acute medical problems, chronic and complex illnesses, women’s health, minor surgeries, pediatrics, emotional health, meaning and purpose, spiritual health, nutrition, and health education.
Sanctuary was established in 2010, and Cathy McDonald, general manager of Sanitarium’s Health and Wellbeing Services, describes it as successful and still growing.
“This particular Sanctuary is our first one, but we intend to eventually expand to 15 to 20 across Australia and New Zealand,” McDonald explains. “The idea for Sanctuary was consistent with the concept expressed in John 10:10: ‘I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly’; as well as advice that Ellen White wrote to Sanitarium. She suggested opening small ‘centers of influence’1 in the cities that would ‘let our light shine forth’2 and open a ‘door of hope.’3 She talks about running cooking classes, and having doctors available, and providing massage and the like. Sanctuary was modeled on her counsel.”
Catering to the breakfast and lunch crowd in the heart of downtown Brisbane, Kitchen offers a host of healthful vegetarian options. The organic, locally produced, and expertly prepared meals draw in the growing number of Australians—particularly younger adults—who increasingly care about health and the environment, but the friendly service also keeps them coming back.
“We make a point of remembering people’s names. It’s part of our philosophy,” says café manager Anca Popovac´au. “We also remember what our regular customers always get. It means a lot to them.”
Popovac´au has high praise for her 12-member staff, including chef Steve Warden-Hutton, who has cooked for Kitchen for five years.
“Steve is incredibly talented,” she says. “The dishes he creates really bring to life the diversity and flavors that whole foods offer. Our customers love the food.”
A 26 percent increase in customers served in 2012 compared to the previous year supports Popovac´au’s appraisals, together with a 92 percent approval rating on UrbanSpoon, an online restaurant-review community.
n 2013, a record-breaking 36,000 Australian and New Zealand children entered the Sanitarium Weet-bix Kids TRYathlon series, every one of them acknowledged as a champion at the finish line.Vegetarian cafés are not a new concept for Sanitarium. It opened its first one in 1902, followed by several others throughout Australia and New Zealand. By the 1980s, market changes resulted in Sanitarium closing its cafés and retail stores, so today’s Kitchen is a new twist on an “old” model.
The revised concept first took root in 2000, when Sanitarium’s management team, led by CEO Kevin Jackson, sat down and asked themselves, “Where do we go with this organization? What’s the future look like, and how do we enlist people on that journey?”
“We went back and looked into our church history—where we came from, what we’re about, why Ellen White said the things that she said,” notes Jackson. “From there we drew inspiration for the future of where we’re going and developed our philosophies. So we’re staying true to who we are and what we’re about rather than just ‘What’s trendy now?’ The nice thing about that, however, is that our health philosophies are actually what’s trendy now.”
Kitchen unabashedly proclaims its link to a Seventh-day Adventist heritage and the health principles espoused by church cofounder Ellen White on its menu and a large placard prominently placed in the café.
Good Start Breakfast Clubs
Studies indicate that one in four children in Australia regularly miss breakfast, a number that rises in disadvantaged regions. This situation is not unique to the South Pacific; nevertheless, Sanitarium began partnering with the Australian Red Cross to effect positive change. The result was Good Start Breakfast Clubs, through which Sanitarium has so far donated 4.7 million servings of cereal and soymilk products. Each school day some 1,200 volunteers provide breakfast to 5,000 children living in areas of greatest need and help raise awareness of the important role good nutrition plays in a student’s academic performance.
“The Red Cross brought the need to our attention about 10 years ago,” Julie Praestiin, Sanitarium’s corporate communications manager, says. “Kids were going to school without breakfast, and our response was ‘We can’t have that in Australia.’ The program has grown to serving 750,000 meals a year, and now we’re pulling in the communities to help sustain it.”
Sanitarium operates a similar program in New Zealand called KickStart, serving about 2.7 million breakfasts a year.
Sanitarium Weet-Bix Kids TRYathlon
THE CHIEF: The appetizing, healthful foods prepared by chef Steve Warden-Hutton, who has cooked for Ktchen for five years, bring customers back.For more than 20 years Sanitarium’s TRYathlon series has promoted physical activities for kids ages 7-15 in order to combat growing health concerns such as childhood obesity and diabetes, as well as to build in them confidence and a “can-do” attitude.
TRYathlon events are held between January and June in 11 locations in Australia and 13 in New Zealand. In 2013, the Trans-Tasman event broke a world record when more than 36,500 children swam, rode, and ran through the series.
“Obesity and inactivity continue to be big problems for Aussie kids,” says TRYathlon national ambassador Brett Lee. “I believe that getting kids engaged in exercise where they are rewarded for participating . . . is part of the solution.”
Vitality Works: Sanitarium Workplace Health
Vitality Works helps organizations and industries such as schools, media companies, legal firms, product manufacturers, the mining industry, and others throughout Australia and New Zealand to put together a portfolio of health and well-being interventions to improve the health of their workers and lower medical costs for the firms. And the results are measurable.
“We do personal health checks at the beginning so the workers understand what the issues are, and then we provide tailored, customized programs,” McDonald says. “The initiative has been very successful, and we started it only three years ago.
“Vitality Works takes our philosophy to busy people and makes it practical and useful for them in those workplaces,” she adds. “We now have a national footprint and can access some of the most remote areas of Australia.”
The successful and effective lifestyle intervention curriculum Hans Diehl of California, United States, developed in 1988 and named Coronary Health Improvement Program (CHIP) has been acquired by the Seventh-day Adventist Church in the SPD, in addition to the Lifestyle Medicine Institute (LMI), also established by Hans Diehl. CHIP, now renamed the Complete Health Improvement Program for its role in preventing, arresting, and reversing chronic disease, has been relaunched with the assistance of Sanitarium Health and Wellbeing Company management. LMI remains the custodian and program provider.
“It’s a partnership between not just LMI and the Adventist Church, but also other entities that provide significant assistance, such as Signs Publishing Company, Adventist Media Network, and the local churches that offer the program to their communities,” says Anja Sussmann, LMI’s medical services development manager. “Our part is to provide the business, marketing, and nutritional know-how to redevelop the program.”
Along with a new look for its professionally produced materials, there is also an increased emphasis on the latest science that supports CHIP’s health-enhanced outcomes.
KITCHEN SANITARIUM: Manager Anca Popovacau assists a customer in Sanitarium's vegetarian café, located in the heart of downtown Brisbane.“CHIP study results have been documented and accepted for publication in such prestigious peer-review publications as the American Journal of Cardiology, The British Medical Journal Open, and others,” Sussmann says. “They’re reporting significant reductions in chronic disease risk factors as well as in health-care costs within a relatively short time period.
Diehl continues to be involved as a key CHIP presenter in the United States, Australia, and New Zealand, along with new presenters Darren Morton, who holds a Ph.D. in exercise physiology, and Andrea Avery, M.D., an internal medicine physician and a professor of medicine at the University of California.
More Than Just Us
Sanitarium’s view of caring for the world around us as “a created gift” influences the way it does business. In 2006 it implemented an environmental management system to mitigate risk and identify eco-efficiency opportunities. It also minimizes the environmental impact of its packaging, has committed to Zero Packaging Waste to Landfill by 2015, has switched to using cleaner energy sources, and works toward reducing CO2 emissions. Kitchen Sanitarium was awarded Green Table Australia certification in July 2011 for minimizing its impact on the environment and using locally produced, organic, and humanely raised products whenever possible. Sanitarium foods are also free of genetic modifications.
The organization gives back to overseas communities as well through ADRA Australia in regions such as Cambodia and Thailand, where they help with disaster relief, education, and child-care programs.
“We’ve developed a deliberate approach of connecting with people, of making our message relevant and appropriate,” Praestiin says. “We go out there with the people rather than box ourselves up. We tell them, ‘This is who we are, what we’re about’—and we hope they join with us and take a journey to truly experience healthy, happy living.”
Does Immunity Decrease With Age? By Peter N. Landless and Allan R. Handysides
My husband is now in his 80s and does not cope as well as he used to with colds and respiratory infections. Do you have any advice about how I can help him maintain good health?
As we get older, our immune system may not always function as efficiently as it used to do. Additionally, immune cells stimulated by infection when we were young may decrease in number, and it can stress the system to produce protective antibodies quickly enough to fight off infection. An example of this is the risk of shingles. Older people who had chicken pox and therefore carry the virus hidden away in their nerve cells may experience an outbreak of shingles as their immunity wanes. People who are infected with HIV (the AIDS virus) also have a weakened immune system and become more susceptible to infections.
One approach to building immunity to specific agents is to be immunized. This process dates back to the years when a cowpox serum was shown to prevent smallpox. Ellen White availed herself and her family of this vaccine when it became available. Since then, smallpox has been totally eliminated, and many of the other epidemic infections are now controlled. For people who are aging, we generally recommend keeping abreast of the current risk factors by taking flu shots; for some, a periodic pneumonia vaccine may also be helpful. Your doctor will advise about a specific regimen for your husband.
It is important, however, to realize the benefits of an active and healthful lifestyle. Exercise improves the tone and capacity of our respiratory muscles and can be very important to our recovery.
We know that older people often neglect their nutrition. When ill, the patient feels less inclined to eat well, which makes matters worse.
As we get older we sometimes think we cannot afford a good diet. Some even go as far as to purchase supplements, but this is not the best answer. We should eat a diet that provides a nutrient-dense array of foods. Such a diet is loaded with those goodies often called micronutrients. These are elements such as zinc, selenium, vitamins C and E, as well as the carotenoids that fight illnesses such as pneumonia.
In September 2012 the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society published an interesting article. Some 217 people, aged 65 to 85, were followed for three months and had a three-month follow-up. One third took a nutrient-rich diet; another third had supplements added to their diet to make it similar in content to the first group; and the other third had their regular diet plus a placebo to make them think that they too had supplements.
All the participants kept a daily record as to how they felt, the infections they had, and whether they had a fever.
The findings showed that at the end of six months the group consuming the nutrient-dense diet had significantly fewer infections and medical visits. They also functioned better in other measures of health. The supplements did not work as well.
Money invested in fruits and vegetables—at least five servings a day—will repay in health much better than that spent on supplements. Colored vegetables such as carrots, squash, pumpkin, cabbage, broccoli, and, yes, my favorite—Brussels sprouts—all pay dividends of good health. Whole grains are nutrient-dense, providing zinc, B vitamins, iron, fiber, magnesium, and selenium. A small handful of nuts taken daily provides Omega 3s, zinc, vitamin E, and, in the case of Brazil nuts, selenium. Vitamin D supplements, however, may prove beneficial during the winter months in northern or extreme southern regions.
The best way to help your husband is to plan his diet carefully, making sure you prepare a variety of healthful, nutrient-dense foods.
While the world needs sympathy, while it needs the prayers and assistance of God’s people, while it needs to see Christ in the lives of His followers, the people of God are equally in need of opportunities that draw out their sympathies, give efficiency to their prayers, and develop in them a character like that of the divine pattern.
It is to provide these opportunities that God has placed among us the poor, the unfortunate, the sick, and the suffering. They are Christ’s legacy to His church, and they are to be cared for as He would care for them. In this way God takes away the dross and purifies the gold, giving us that culture of heart and character which we need.
The Lord could carry forward His work without our co-operation. He is not dependent on us for our money, our time, or our labor. But the church is very precious in His sight. It is the case which contains His jewels, the fold which encloses His flock, and He longs to see it without spot or blemish or any such thing. He yearns after it with unspeakable love. This is why He has given us opportunities to work for Him, and He accepts our labors as tokens of our love and loyalty.
In placing among us the poor and the suffering, the Lord is testing us to reveal to us what is in our hearts. We cannot with safety swerve from principle, we cannot violate justice, we cannot neglect mercy. When we see a brother falling into decay we are not to pass him by on the other side, but are to make decided and immediate efforts to fulfill the word of God by helping him. We cannot work contrary to God’s special directions without having the result of our work reflect upon us. It should be firmly settled, rooted, and grounded in the conscience, that whatever dishonors God in our course of action cannot benefit us.
It should be written upon the conscience as with a pen of iron upon a rock, that he who disregards mercy, compassion, and righteousness, he who neglects the poor, who ignores the needs of suffering humanity, who is not kind and courteous, is so conducting himself that God cannot co-operate with him in the development of character. The culture of the mind and heart is more easily accomplished when we feel such tender sympathy for others that we bestow our benefits and privileges to relieve their necessities. Getting and holding all that we can for ourselves tends to poverty of soul. But all the attributes of Christ await the reception of those who will do the very work that God has appointed them to do, working in Christ’s lines.
Our Redeemer sends His messengers to bear a testimony to His people. He says: “Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear My voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with Me.” Revelation 3:20. But many refuse to receive Him. The Holy Spirit waits to soften and subdue hearts; but they are not willing to open the door and let the Saviour in, for fear that He will require something of them. And so Jesus of Nazareth passes by. He longs to bestow on them the rich blessings of His grace, but they refuse to accept them. What a terrible thing it is to exclude Christ from His own temple! What a loss to the church!
Good works cost us a sacrifice, but it is in this very sacrifice that they provide discipline. These obligations bring us into conflict with natural feelings and propensities, and in fulfilling them we gain victory after victory over the objectionable traits of our characters. The warfare goes on, and thus we grow in grace. Thus we reflect the likeness of Christ and are prepared for a place among the blessed in the kingdom of God.
Blessings, both temporal and spiritual, will accompany those who impart to the needy that which they receive from the Master. Jesus worked a miracle to feed the five thousand, a tired, hungry multitude. He chose a pleasant place in which to accommodate the people and commanded them to sit down. Then He took the five loaves and the two small fishes. No doubt many remarks were made as to the impossibility of satisfying five thousand hungry men, besides women and children, from that scanty store. But Jesus gave thanks and placed the food in the hands of the disciples to be distributed. They gave to the multitude, the food increasing in their hands. And when the multitude had been fed, the disciples themselves sat down and ate with Christ of the heaven-imparted store. This is a precious lesson for every one of Christ’s followers.
Pure and undefiled religion is “to visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.” James 1:27. Our church members are greatly in need of a knowledge of practical godliness. They need to practice self-denial and self-sacrifice. They need to give evidence to the world that they are Christlike. Therefore the work that Christ requires of them is not to be done by proxy, placing on some committee or some institution the burden that they themselves should bear. They are to become Christlike in character by giving of their means and time, their sympathy, their personal effort, to help the sick, to comfort the sorrowing, to relieve the poor, to encourage the desponding, to enlighten souls in darkness, to point sinners to Christ, to bring home to hearts the obligation of God’s law.
People are watching and weighing those who claim to believe the special truths for this time. They are watching to see wherein their life and conduct represent Christ. By humbly and earnestly engaging in the work of doing good to all, God’s people will exert an influence that will tell in every town and city where the truth has entered. If all who know the truth will take hold of this work as opportunities are presented, day by day doing little acts of love in the neighborhood where they live, Christ will be manifest to their neighbors. The gospel will be revealed as a living power and not as cunningly devised fables or idle speculations. It will be revealed as a reality, not the result of imagination or enthusiasm. This will be of more consequence than sermons or professions or creeds.
Seventh-day Adventists believe that Ellen G. White (1827-1915) exercised the biblical gift of prophecy during more than 70 years of public ministry. This article is excerpted from Testimonies for the Church, vol. 6, pp. 261-264.
Missionary Trails Transformed by the renewing of our mind By Michael Sokupa
MISSION PIONEERS (clockwise): C. L. Boyd, pictured with Maud Sisley Boyd, and Mrs. L. G. Boyd, helped organize one of the first Adventist congregations in Africa.Southern Africa has had its share of both colonial and missionary experience. A glance at the changing geopolitical division of the continent over the centuries reveals that dynamic process.
The commemoration of 150 years of Seventh-day Adventism as an organized movement gives an opportunity to reflect on how mission work started in southern Africa.
The First Missionaries
In July 1887 two missionary families arrived in South Africa: C. L. Boyd and D. A. Robinson. On June 18, 1887 Ellen White met these families in Moss, Norway, as they were on their way to South Africa. She wrote them the following counsel: “I have desired to talk with you, but dared not, because I have not felt that I had strength to do justice to any subject in private conversation.”1 In her testimony “Counsels to Missionaries en Route to Africa” she advised the workers “not to stand apart from one another, but work together in everything that interests the cause of God.”2
H. M. Sparrow and his wife spent five months living out of an ox wagon.Ellen White warned the missionaries about being influenced by the individuals they would meet, and urged that they not be swayed to discriminate based on race or socioeconomic status. “There will be men who have means who will discern something of the character of the work,” she wrote, “although they have not the courage to lift the cross, and to bear the reproach that attends unpopular truth. First reach the high classes if possible, but there should be no neglect of the lower classes.”3
A. T. Robinson, pictured with his wife and daughter, helped secure land from Cecil Rhodes for Solusi Mission.She also guided them about methods they should use as missionaries. Topping her list was printed materials. “Let the publications, the papers, the pamphlets, be working among the people, and preparing the minds of the reading class for the preaching of the truth.”4 The role of literature was realized when an Adventist miner, William Hunt, shared some literature with Pieter Wessels and George Van Druten.
The first Seventh-day Adventist congregation was organized by C. L. Boyd in Beaconsfield, Kimberley, South Africa. Ironically, before Ellen White issued her warning about being influenced by class, wealth, or race, people of means and class were attracted to the Sabbath truth through their own reading of Scripture.
Wessels and Van Druten discovered the Sabbath because of their own Bible study. When diamonds were discovered on land farmed by Wessels, Pieter Wessels’ father contributed into the development of the Adventist work with his means. With A. T. Robinson, Pieter Wessels visited Cecil Rhodes, prime minister of Cape Colony, to ask for land that would eventually become Solusi Mission.
The Work Begins to Spread
In 1894, missionary families settled in a turbulent political environment of southern Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe).
G. B. Tripp, H. M. Sparrow, and W. H. Anderson and their wives worked toward building a mission. Racial violence forced them to flee to Bulawayo. The three families lived out of an ox wagon for five months.
In 1902, land was purchased from Seventh-day Baptists in Nyasaland (now Malawi), and the mission station known as Plainsfield was later renamed Malamulo.
In 1905, W. H. Anderson crossed the Zambesi River to establish the Rusangu Mission in Zambia. Zambia is the fastest growing region within the Southern Africa-Indian Ocean Division, and has recently received authorization to divide into two union conferences.
In 1919, Anderson opened the work in Bachuanaland (now Botswana) in cooperation with medical missionary A. H. Kretschmar, who started a hospital at Kanye.
In 1922, Anderson traveled to South-West Africa, now known as Namibia, to explore mission sites in that territory. He was refused access into Ovamboland, and had to travel back to Windhoek to receive permission to pass into Angola. The following year, with the help of T. M. French and J. D. Baker, Anderson chose a site for the Bongo mission.
PARTNERS IN MISSION: William H. Anderson, and his wife Nora, served nearly 50 years in various countries in Africa.Anderson contributed significantly in the early development of the work in southern Africa by documenting his methods.
When Anderson observed local evangelists engaged in meetings lasting only two weeks, he insisted on a longer series. He reports that in Lower Gwelo, Zimbabwe, for example, when they finished the first two weeks, they had only two people who had made decisions for baptism. On the third week, 15 more decided, and on the fourth week, 38 more individuals dedicated their lives to Christ.
During that series he reported that 84 people joined what they called a “hearers’ ” or “probationers’ ” class. In this class the new converts were given instruction for as long as two years. After that, if faithful, they were taken into the church.6
Anderson advised, “When a man goes to the mission field, he must have love for the people, if he is to win them. If he doesn’t have love, he might as well not go. . . . Love is the basis of all missionary work.”7
In 1946 Anderson reported that he had followed a plan in which he assigned each of his evangelistic coworkers an area of homes to visit. Each worker was expected to visit each of the homes in their area every day. Even though people would often not come to the public meeting place, Anderson noted that Africans rarely refused to welcome anyone who came to their homes.8
CROSSING PATHS: In June 1887, Ellen White, attending camp meeting in Moss, Norway, met the Boyd and Robinson families, who were en route to Africa. Her subsequent letters to them were eventually compiled into the book Testimonies to Southern Africa.Regarding the involvement of missionaries in political issues, Anderson stated that missionaries had to avoid such involvement. He emphasized that before passing judgment on the system, it was important to first show people the right way. He made Jesus his model in this regard. There were sociopolitical ills in the Roman government of His time, he asserted, but Jesus always focused on uplifting humanity first.9
A Firm Foundation
Even though Ellen White never set foot on the continent of Africa, her burden for the work is apparent by the counsels she wrote to the missionaries who served there. The extensive work of W. H. Anderson presented a showcase for the work of missionaries in those early years. Anderson took time to record statistics, as well as methods that he used.
The Southern Africa-Indian Ocean Division of the Seventh-day Adventist Church has reached a membership 3 million. From its humble beginnings and methods, God has cared for His work in this part of the world church.
1 Ellen G. White, Testimonies to Southern Africa (Cape Town, South Africa: South African Union Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, 1977), p. 7. 2Ibid., p. 8. 3Ibid., p. 10. 4 Ibid., pp. 13, 14. 5 Ibid., p. 14 6 W. H. Anderson, “Frontier Evangelistic Methods,” Ministry, April 1940. 7W. H. Anderson, “Missionary Problems Considered,” Ministry, October 1933. 8W. H. Anderson, “Work Among African Natives,” Ministry, July 1946. 9W. H. Anderson, “Veteran Missionary Answers Questions,” Ministry, September 1935.
NUMBER 22 Radical Encounters Transformed by the renewing of our mind By Frauke Gyuroka
It’s not easy to write about Christian or Adventist behavior and lifestyle. In Western society we put so much emphasis on our individuality and privacy that we think no one has the right to write or say anything about our individual lifestyle.
In some churches the subject of lifestyle is reduced to a discussion about clothing—leading almost always to tensions within the congregation. Well-meaning older women sometimes take younger (often not even baptized) women aside, telling them that their skirts are too short or their heels are too high. At best, those who are spoken to politely ignore their counselors; in the worst case, feelings of hostility may eventually lead some to stay away from church. There are others, however, who vehemently defend the opinion that our appearance does not matter to God, and therefore it does not matter how we dress for worship or during the week.
Food and drink is another area that can cause problems among Adventists, at times leading to polarization within churches. “Liberals” and “conservatives” find the lifestyle of the other group completely unacceptable, while they feel assured of their own perspectives. Consequently, we often lose sight of the real focus of our faith, the atmosphere in church is tainted, and the mission of the church is diminished or completely paralyzed. Yet it should not be so!
The Biblical Lifestyle Principle
What makes our lifestyle Christian? How can others see that we are Adventists, and should they even see it? Is a Christian lifestyle synonymous with an old-fashioned and boring life, one in which everything that is fun is forbidden? Who can orientate us?
I have greatly benefited from Paul’s counsel in his letter to the Romans: “I beseech you therefore, brethren [and sisters!], by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God” (Rom. 12:1, 2).
God wants us to live an exceptional life, following a standard that distinguishes us from the world surrounding us. The standard is the Bible; Jesus Himself is our example. It’s all about a transformation in our thinking. Only this transformation will help us realize what God wants—then we will be happy to do it.
We are called to be a godly people who think, feel, and act in harmony with the principles of heaven. For the Spirit to recreate in us the character of our Lord we involve ourselves only in those things which will produce Christlike purity, health, and joy in our lives. This means that our amusement and entertainment should meet the highest standards of Christian taste and beauty. While recognizing cultural differences, our dress is to be simple, modest, and neat, befitting those whose true beauty does not consist of outward adornment but in the imperishable ornament of a gentle and quiet spirit. It also means that because our bodies are the temples of the Holy Spirit, we are to care for them intelligently. Along with adequate exercise and rest, we are to adopt the most healthful diet possible and abstain from the unclean foods identified in the Scriptures. Since alcoholic beverages, tobacco, and the irresponsible use of drugs and narcotics are harmful to our bodies, we are to abstain from them as well. Instead, we are to engage in whatever brings our thoughts and bodies into the discipline of Christ, who desires our wholesomeness, joy, and goodness. (Rom. 12:1, 2; 1 John 2:6; Eph. 5:1-21; Phil. 4:8; 2 Cor. 10:5; 6:14-7:1; 1 Peter 3:1-4; 1 Cor. 6:19, 20; 10:31; Lev. 11:1-47; 3 John 2.)
Is this boring or old-fashioned? For a person not interested in Christ—maybe. For an avowed follower of Jesus, however, this is an exciting challenge. If we are convicted that we are truly dealing with the Word of God, we have to live according to His principles. Yet our main challenge is not theological. Our main challenge is finding the time and space to let His Word transform us. If our lives are dominated by media, work, entertainment, or any other demand our environment places on us, chances are high that we adopt more and more (even unconsciously) the lifestyle and rhythm of our environment. We have to counteract this tendency consciously.
The New Testament tells many stories of people whose lives were changed when they came into contact with Jesus. Remember the change in the life of the demon-possessed man in the country of the Gerasenes (see Mark 5:1-20)? That radical encounter with Jesus changed everything—even the way he dressed (verse 15) and how he spent his time (verse 20).
Jesus’ disciples provide other examples of how we are transformed through communion with Jesus. Selfish, ambitious men who sought their own advantage, essentially the same others living in Judea at that time, were changed into selfless, service-minded men who were prepared to use all their resources (money, time, health, skills, etc.) for Jesus. They were willing to make personal sacrifices for Jesus—and were even grateful for the opportunity (see Acts 5:41).
Here is their secret (and it can be ours, too!): in order to develop a Christian lifestyle, it’s imperative to read Scripture and be guided by the influence of the Holy Spirit (Jesus’ representative) as personally and as practically as possible. And yes, this has to happen on a daily basis. John the Baptist’s simple lifestyle (see Matt. 3:4) reminds me of the importance of simplicity in my life. When I read that Jesus and His disciples often did not have enough time to eat (see Mark 3:20; 6:31) and that He frequently had no place to rest (see Matt. 8:20), I realize that I often place too high a value on eating, drinking, and living a consumer-driven life. Perhaps God wants me to use my time and money in better ways.
In fact, Jesus is the perfect example of God’s balance. For although He sometimes had little time to eat, we never get the impression that He was stressed out. He always had time for things that were important. He was not worried by what others said and did, but focused upon His mission (see John 17:4). He wanted to glorify God and save humanity—everything else was subject to this grand objective. Ultimately, Jesus even forgot Himself and gave His life so that we can truly live again.
Those who encounter this Jesus in His Word are changed by the influence of the Holy Spirit from within. “That means that self no longer has the supremacy,” writes Ellen White. “The Spirit has taken of the things of Christ, and revealed them to [the believer] in such an attractive light as to have a transforming effect on his habits and practices. . . . His enjoyment is the same as that of Christ—in seeing souls saved.”*
Our health, our appearance, our possessions, our leisure activities—all of these are no longer an end in themselves, but are subject to the higher goal of glorifying God and winning souls for Jesus. This is not old-fashioned and certainly not boring, but gives a joy and fulfillment that will last into eternity.
* Ellen G. White, “Missionary Work,” Advent Review and Sabbath Herald, Oct. 6, 1891.
Frauke Gyuroka serves as the German language translator of Adventist World and lives with her family in Graz, Austria.
An Urgent Prophetic Calling God guides His church PART 1 By Ted Wilson
This is the first part of an abridged version of “An Urgent Prophetic Calling: A Message From the General Conference President.” The second part will appear in the March 2014 World Vista. The full text and video of the president delivering this message may be viewed at adventistreview.org/an-urgent-prophetic-calling.—Editors
My brothers and sisters in Christ, it gives me, as president of the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, great confidence to know that this church is in God’s hands. He is its founder, leader, and its true head. He has continually guided this movement in the past, is daily sustaining it in the present, and will powerfully lead it into the future. Our Creator, Redeemer, and coming King is the church’s only hope for today, tomorrow, and forever. He has providentially raised this church up for a unique mission, and it will not fail in rising to the destiny for which Christ created it.
Seventh-day Adventists are a prophetic movement with an urgent prophetic calling. We’re not just another denomination on the landscape of religious movements. We are a divine end-time movement with an end-time purpose, message, and mission for the entire world.
This doesn’t mean that the church does not have its challenges. It does. I will discuss this frankly in the next World Vista. But in the midst of challenges, the Holy Spirit is working powerfully; and the ultimate triumph of the church is certain.
The Church Is the Body of Christ
In Matthew 16:18 Jesus said, “I will build My church, and the gates of [hell] shall not prevail against it.” This church is not some human, man-made, bureaucratic organization, as some would have us believe. According to the Savior’s own words, He has built His church, and the gates of hell will not prevail against it.
In 1 Corinthians 12 the church is described as the body of Christ. In Ephesians 5 the church is the bride of Christ. In 1 Peter 2 the church is the household of Christ. In 1 Peter 2:9 the apostle proclaims that the people of God are “a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people.”
Triumphing Over the Powers of Hell
Christ holds His church in His hands. It is His fortress, His city of refuge on a planet in rebellion. It is a light in the darkness, a beacon in the night, and a shining light on the dimly lit pathway ahead. In The Acts of the Apostles we read: “Through centuries of persecution, conflict, and darkness, God has sustained His church. Not one cloud has fallen upon it that He has not prepared for; not one opposing force has risen to counterwork His work, that He has not foreseen. All has taken place as He predicted. He has not left His church forsaken, but has traced in prophetic declarations what would occur, and that which His Spirit inspired the prophets to foretell has been brought about. All His purposes will be fulfilled. His law is linked with His throne, and no power of evil can destroy it. Truth is inspired and guarded by God; and it will triumph over all opposition.”1
In these climactic hours of earth’s history, we see evidence that God’s truth is triumphing over the powers of evil and clear indications that Christ is leading His church. Let me share with you some amazing facts: In 1863 there was one Seventh-day Adventist for every 373,000 people in the world. Today, there is one Seventh-day Adventist for just under every 400 people in the world. It took this church 92 years to reach its first million members. Now we baptize 1 million people every year. We have nearly 25 million people attending our 70,000-plus churches in more than 200 countries. The Holy Spirit is moving in remarkable ways.
Revival and Reformation
During the past few years we’ve been emphasizing revival, reformation, and mission. By “revival” we mean a daily spiritual awakening in the hearts and minds of each one of us. By “reformation” we mean a deepening spiritual commitment to do God’s will, and the daily alignment of our lives, in everything we do, to please Jesus. Reformation occurs when we surrender our will to His will every day. He then gives us an understanding of what His mission is for us as individuals and as a church.
Does the Seventh-day Adventist Church need revival and reformation? Or is this simply another denominational program? God’s messenger, Ellen White, leaves no doubt when she declares, “A revival of true godliness among us is the greatest and most urgent of all our needs. To seek this should be our first work. There must be earnest effort to obtain the blessing of the Lord, not because God is not willing to bestow His blessing upon us, but because we are unprepared to receive it. Our heavenly Father is more willing to give His Holy Spirit to them that ask Him, than are earthly parents to give good gifts to their children. But it is our work, by confession, humiliation, repentance, and earnest prayer, to fulfill the conditions upon which God has promised to grant us His blessing. A revival need be expected only in answer to prayer.”2
A Heart Longing
Without divine, supernatural power, God’s work will not be finished in our lives, and it certainly will not be finished in this world. We are simply no match for the forces of evil. I long for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit in my own life; and I long for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit in all His fullness for the finishing of God’s work on this earth, so that Jesus can come. Our greatest, most urgent, most pressing need is the outpouring of the Holy Spirit.
Will you join me, and other Seventh-day Adventist leaders and members from around the world, in humbling our hearts before God in earnest prayer, seeking for the mighty outpouring of the Holy Spirit? God is calling us to a deeper commitment in these critical hours of earth’s history. This is a time for complete dedication to Christ and His message.
Uniting in Prayer
Revival takes place when we spend time with God in prayer and Bible study. This is the reason the church launched the 7-7-7 prayer initiative (www.revivalandreformation.org/777). Many thousands of Seventh-day Adventists are participating in this prayer experience and are being renewed.
Thousands more are participating in Revived by His Word (revivedbyhisword.org), a daily Bible study program to lead the church through the entire Bible by the General Conference session in 2015. Church leaders in Brazil reported that so many people were tweeting about their Revived by His Word experiences that for a time the number of tweets ranked third in the entire nation of Brazil!
Revival is taking place around the world. The Holy Spirit is being poured out on groups of young people who are seeking God in prayer, studying His Word, and witnessing to the glory of His name. I am so encouraged when I see young people totally committed to the cause of Christ.
Results of Revival and Reformation
Revival and reformation always lead to witnessing and evangelism. There can be no genuine revival without a renewed passion for soul winning. When God does something in us, He will do something through us. Like Peter, we declare, “For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard” (Acts 4:20). With Paul we proclaim, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ; for it is the power of God to salvation” (Rom. 1:16). And with John we cry out, “That which we have seen and heard we declare to you” (1 John 1:3).
All great revival and reformation movements in history have been accompanied by great periods of evangelism and outreach. This was true in New Testament times, in the sixteenth-century Reformation, and later. It was true also with the Second Great Awakening in North America and, subsequently, in the early history of the Seventh-day Adventist Church.
Without revival and reformation, our witnessing activities will be powerless. Evangelism without revival produces meager results. The work of God is to be carried on to completion by the cooperation of divine and human agencies.
When revival and reformation do not find expression in witnessing, they soon degenerate into mere sentimental talk, and eventually die out altogether. All our members can be missionaries called by God to share their faith.
Reaching the Cities
The church has launched Mission to the Cities as a major emphasis in reaching the millions of people in about 650 of the world’s largest cities. Last year about 400 major evangelistic series were held simultaneously in New York City as part of a comprehensive evangelistic approach. Pastors and laypeople from around the world made a significant impact for Jesus Christ, through His power. This comprehensive approach included equipping hundreds of laypeople to witness in harmony with their God-given gifts. As a result of these massive efforts, more than 4,700 people have been baptized already.
Cities around the world are in the midst of similar events and are having similar results. Tens of thousands are being baptized; and this is just the beginning. Combined with Mission to the Cities, the church is launching a comprehensive health ministry, modeled after the ministry of Christ.
God is doing so much in this church. At times it just overwhelms me. There is too much to mention here. One of the projects that indicates God’s mighty moving is the Great Controversy Project. We set a goal of distributing 50 million copies, and a faith goal of 100 million. But through God’s power and intervention, we have distributed—you have distributed—more than 140 million copies of The Great Controversy in various versions. Praise God for this incredible expansion of His work. These books are being read by millions and making such a difference! There is so much to be encouraged about as God’s prophetic movement anticipating Christ’s soon return!
1Ellen G. White, The Acts of the Apostles (Mountain View, Calif.: Pacific Press Pub. Assn., 1911), pp. 11, 12. 2Ellen G. White, Selected Messages (Washington, D.C.: Review and Herald Pub. Assn., 1958, 1980), book 1, p. 121.
Ted N. C. Wilson is president of the Seventh-day Adventist Church.
From Australia's Outback Service to Others Really Matters Grassroots mission movement turns 20. By Sandra Blackmer
BUILDING CONFIDENCE: StormCo team members and Toomelah community children pose in front of a climbing wall that the North New South Wales Conference Youth Department takes to StormCo mission communities to help build the children’s confidence.Customers in the small-town hair salon in Australia’s northern outback jumped in surprise when a man in a clown suit marched in and plopped down into the nearest chair.
“I’m here for a perm!” he said, rainbow-colored tresses bobbing atop a brightly painted face.
Laughter soon broke out and realization dawned on the faces of those who had been residents of the black opal mining community of Lightning Ridge for some years. “StormCo is back!” someone shouted, and the welcome that ensued for Crunchy the Clown—better known as Chrys Martin, a StormCo team leader and a member of the Avondale Memorial Seventh-day Adventist Church in Cooranbong, New South Wales—warmed his heart.
“We’ve built a relationship with so many people in this town that they wait for us to come back; they want us to come back,” Martin says. “The mission of StormCo is all about the town, as well as the Adventist youth who are committed to serving those who live here.”
What Is StormCo?
The Australian-born mission concept coined StormCo—“Service to Others Really Matters” Company—actually arose from a change in plans. Jerry Unser, a former university chaplain for the South Queensland Conference, had arranged an overseas student mission trip, but at the last minute everything fell through.
The team, he said, was “desperate for some sort of adventure,” so Unser called pastors in the region until he found one who invited the group to stay in his church hall while they “looked around for something useful to do” in that small town.
“We ended up visiting schools, running cooking classes, visiting local churches, and hanging out with indigenous community members,” Unser says. “After we got home, we couldn’t wait to go out and do it all again.”
Twenty years later the program is still going strong. Adventist churches, schools, and conferences in every state in Australia and both islands of New Zealand send out StormCo teams on seven- to 10-day mission trips each year. Numbers vary from as few as one conference-based team in some places to as many as 20 or more in other conferences. Fifteen to 20 youth generally comprise each team—many of them returning year after year. The mission concept has also traversed oceans and taken root in such places as Canada, Europe, and Romania.
“The name is sometimes changed to suit the culture,” says Unser, now retired. “In Romania it’s called TinSerV [‘You Serve’]. I’ve been told they’ve sent out as many as 50 teams in one year.”
Unser says StormCo can’t adequately be described as a program, an organization, a form of evangelism, or an event—but rather as “a unique blend of adventure and community service that has become a widespread movement.”
CLOWNING AROUND: StormCo team member Emma-Lea Lawrence plays games with community children during Kids’ Club in Lightning Ridge.
“Our conference youth director, Mel Lemke, along with our personal ministries/ADRA director, David Jack, both caught the vision of StormCo,” Unser explains. “Together the three of us organized additional trips to more communities going out from Brisbane. It wasn’t long before some of the young people involved moved away and took the concept with them. It was—and still is—a grassroots movement. We’ve written coaching manuals, but there’s no official StormCo organization structure, except for those local churches, schools, and conferences who send out their own teams.”
In 2000—with the assistance of the South Pacific pision youth director at the time, Gilbert Cangy, now the General Conference Youth Ministries Department director—Unser wrote the StormCo Guidebook, outlining the foundations and principles of the program. He and Cangy, however, didn’t envision that this many years later, teams would still be building relationships with communities.
“StormCo has become an integral part of the fabric of youth ministry in Australia,” Cangy says. “It’s a great example of what Ellen White suggests when she refers to Christ’s method alone giving success. As we peer into the future, the challenge will be to ensure that ‘building bridges with the community’ leads to intentionality in extending the kingdom of God.”
How Is It Funded?
To help support StormCo, most local conferences provide a subsidy of $1,000 per trip as well as the insurance. Fund-raising in local churches supplements the subsidy, and every person on the team pays a fee to participate. Donations of food and other supplies from church members also play a large role in keeping StormCo teams financially afloat.
StormCo’s premise is twofold. First, the goal is to establish and build strong and trusting relationships, so the teams return year after year to the same community. Second, the teams go with no “agenda.” Instead of arriving with a predetermined program, they ask town leaders what their needs are and the ways they think StormCo can engage with the community. In some places, such as Lightning Ridge—situated about 460 miles (740 kilometers) southwest of Brisbane—that involves a Kids’ Club. To encourage children to attend, each morning Martin and some of his team members dress up as clowns and stroll through the town.
KIDS’ CLUB: Puppet shows, Bible skits, and singing are all part of Kids’ Club in Glen Innes, New South Wales.“We say hi to the grocery people and the bakery man and any customers we meet,” Martin says. “If we see kids, we give them a flyer and invite them to come to Kids’ Club. Most of the shopkeepers know who we are and what we’re about. They advertise word of mouth for us. Some put up posters.”
The children who show up at Kids’ Club—sometimes as many as 50, even in such a small community—learn songs, watch puppet shows, participate in Bible story plays, do crafts, and play games. And everything is Christian-based.
“When I see the rough kind of environment that these kids live in and watch the kids themselves play roughly, I don’t feel comfortable at first,” says Kayla Sleight of Cooranbong, who has participated in five StormCo trips. “But then we start to share love with them, have fun with them, and begin to see little changes in their responses. It gives you a great feeling!”
Avondale College student Joshua Page says he’s been participating in the Lightning Ridge StormCo trip for six years because of the “feel-good experiences, the bonding with the team, being able to serve, and just seeing a need in these communities and feeling like you’re meeting it,” he says. “It draws you back again and again.”
Each morning team members also take over the local radio station. They run the equipment, give the announcements, report the news, and play Christian music.
“It’s great fun!” says Nelson Eddy of Euroa, Victoria (formerly of Cooranbong), who’s been a Lightning Ridge StormCo team member for seven years and heads the group that produces the town’s morning radio programs throughout their stay.
“Like a lot of ministries, we don’t always see the fruits of our labor because we’re here only once a year—but a lot of people remember us, especially the kids. We’ve built a rapport with the people here.”
DISC JOCKEY: StormCo team member Luke Vaughan helps run the Lightning Ridge radio station.Eddy also has seen a shift in his own attitude toward others and mission.
“When you leave your comfort zone and come out here, you get a very different perspective of the world,” he says.
Station managers Bevan and Ann Brown say they’re happy to see the StormCo kids return each year.
“They’re always well-spoken; they uplift the station, and the listeners respond well,” Ann says. “A couple of times we’ve had computer problems, and Nelson has helped us out. We could use him here more often.”
In the afternoons the team rolls up their sleeves to tackle community service jobs such as pulling weeds, woodcutting, painting floors and walls and bleachers, repairing veterans’ homes, cleaning up churchyards, and repairing buildings.
“One time we paid to replace a leaky water tank at the Catholic church,” Martin says. “With StormCo there are no barriers; there are no walls. We’re about people and service.”
And community residents are taking notice. Lightning Ridge Adventist Church member Beulah James says she frequently hears residents praise the team’s work and dedication.
“One woman, whose two girls attend Kids’ Club every year, told me that her daughters get very excited when they know it’s time for StormCo,” James says. “The mother couldn’t contain her joy! She said, ‘My girls have learned about Jesus, and they sing songs about Jesus. It’s so sweet to hear that singing at home.’
“StormCo has established a good name here,” she added.
Serving in “Hard” Places
Some 240 miles (385 kilometers) east of Lightning Ridge lies the indigenous 300-resident community of Toomelah, where StormCo leaders Trudy and Jeff Chilcott and their team have served a week each year for 14 years. While significant improvements have become evident in the health and welfare of indigenous Australians, life in aboriginal communities can still be a struggle. Toomelah is no exception. Indigenous Australians have higher rates of disability, chronic diseases, hospitalization, assault, suicide, and lower-life expectancy than nonindigenous Australians.* Attempts by the government and other groups to change the lifestyle of Toomelah have generally been met with skepticism and resistance—but not so with StormCo.
FOCUS ON KIDS: Children are the focus for the Toomelah StormCo team members.“They embrace us as family members. They protect and respect us—and we love them,” Trudy says.
The Toomelah StormCo team comprising some 20 academy and college students focuses largely on engaging with children, youth, and young mothers. They run a Christian-based Kids’ Club in the mornings, and in the afternoons they take the children fishing, collect firewood, talk to the young mothers about hygiene and nutrition, do crafts, and discuss ways to handle personal challenges.
“I tell the young women to place high value on themselves,” Trudy says. “I explain that others won’t value them if they don’t value themselves—just simple stuff like that.”
In the evenings the team members organize youth nights in the community hall for those age 13 and older.
“We basically play old-fashioned partner-type games, just to get to know everyone,” Jeff says. “On Friday nights we have a bonfire, and young people we’ve asked beforehand give their testimonies. It’s really a powerful thing for a young person to actually talk to their peers about what God has done for them.”
The difference StormCo makes in a town like Toomelah is not found in altering the culture or the people, but in building relationships that provide hope and direction.
“We see small changes, and are thankful for them,” Trudy says. “When we arrive, the young mothers have their little babies all clean and wrapped up and show them off to us. The children are better cared for. The nutrition is improving.” When Trudy asked a local elder whether she had noticed any changes, however, the woman, she said, “was absolutely blown away that I would even ask the question, because she really believes that what we’re doing with the young people is life-changing.”
Team member Adam Bailey of Melbourne has been part of the Toomelah StormCo team since 2008 and says that even though it makes a positive difference in the lives of the children, he personally has grown from the experience as well.
“You come with this almost arrogant way of thinking, that we’re going to change their world; but what we learn from them, and the love we receive, is much bigger,” Bailey says. “We simply show them that they’re valued, that we care.”
COMMUNITY SERVICE: Volunteer Des Vaughan digs up weeds at the Lightning Ridge community center.When Stefanie Gaassen went on her first StormCo trip to Toomelah in 2005, she was drawn to the young children and helped to organize the daily Kids’ Club. She then switched to running the youth nights for the older age group.
“I’ve watched the children grow into teenagers, and some of them now have babies and others are studying at school,” she says. “I encourage them to keep at it and to do something positive with their lives.”
Stefanie is now married, and her husband, Paul, is also a team member. Paul wasn’t an Adventist when he began dating Stefanie and participated in his first StormCo trip, but he describes the mission experience as a turning point in his life that led to his accepting Jesus and being baptized.
“I’d never done any kind of service before; it was such a new and exciting experience,” he says. “I love being able to help others and seeing the benefits from that, as well as learning more about the indigenous culture.”
Stefanie and Paul are currently students at Avondale College, where they’re studying to become teachers.
Jeff Chilcott concedes the secret to StormCo’s success in Toomelah is its approach to the community. Meeting with town leaders and asking them what their needs are and what they would like the team of young people to do to help was “the turnaround,” he says. “They were so used to people coming in and telling them what they needed. That’s the brilliance of this whole program. It just turned a switch, and their attitude became completely different. We have no agenda; no expectations. And we build relationships.”
It’s Also About the Team Members
While building relationships with communities, StormCo team members are also developing strong bonds with one another and renewing their relationship with God. North New South Wales Conference Youth director Jeff Parker says lives have been transformed because of the program, including that of a young student who said that participating in a StormCo trip “really clinched it for him.”
“He said, ‘If this is Christianity, I want to be part of it,’ ” Parker explains. “He wasn’t from a Christian home, but now he’s a teacher in one of our Adventist schools. And this isn’t an isolated story.”
TEAM LEADERS: Toomelah StormCo team leaders Trudy and Jeff Chilcott pose with community children.The Chilcotts also emphasize the positive impact of StormCo on team members.
“StormCo is teaching our kids to be strong leaders, to make decisions for God, to become more aware of others as well as their own God-given gifts and abilities,” Trudy says. “They take this experience back with them to their churches, and it leads them to become involved in church leadership roles. It also guides them in their career choices. I know one young man who became a minister because of StormCo.”
Jeff adds, “Serving others helps the youth to also not be so inward-looking and to focus on others.”
Martin puts it even more strongly: “It’s saving our kids for eternity.”
“So many young people are drifting away from God and the church,” Martin says, “but with StormCo they’re catching a passion of service to God and others. They’re becoming involved in their church. They’re passionate about Christ and their religion, and they’re not afraid to stand up and be counted. I believe StormCo is a gift from God.”
Not everyone can get up in front of people and preach, Chrys adds, but they can help people, they can “go out and live and breathe their Christianity in the community, and when people ask them questions, they’re able to share with them about Jesus. . . .
“StormCo is about being Christ in a community,” he says. “It’s what being a Christian is all about.”