The AIIAS community celebrated Mission Emphasis Week from February 27 to March 4, 2023. This special week was combined with the week of prayer featuring guest speaker Dr. Oscar Osindo, director of the Institute of World Mission of the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists.
AIIAS is located in a large territory that is home to many unreached people groups. Additionally, the countries around the Philippines contain large groups of people devoted to various world religions such as Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, and animism. Emphasizing the Great Commission in Matthew 28:16-20, Osindo introduced topics that led his listeners to a broader view of how the gospel can be effectively shared with people of other belief systems.
“When you are introducing a new religion, be careful to understand as much as you can about the particular religion [in which you’re working],” said Osindo. “Consider what you are intending to displace with your new religion because religions help people.” He elaborated on the importance of meeting others’ needs with a functional substitute when introducing a new faith.
Throughout the week, Osindo shared his experience and expertise, using illustrations highlighting how to reach Muslims in various parts of the world, including his home country of Kenya. He related several stories of sharing God’s word in an Islamic context. He also shared his experiences in equipping others to participate in soul-winning and church-planting projects. “As we go across culture, as we [answer] the clarion call to go with Jesus everywhere, it also calls for responsibility. There’s a lot to learn as we engage with other people, and a lot to process as we move from our comfort zones to where the Lord is sending us,” he said.
Each evening meeting featured a spotlight on frontline missions, with missionaries sharing their testimonies. Retired AIIAS professor Dr. Jim Park shared his conversion testimony of being an aspiring band musician whose life was going nowhere. A young man had changed his life by handing him a small Bible while he was living in an abandoned chicken house in northern California. Park described how his receptivity to God’s Word led him into the Adventist faith over time. He eventually became a pastor, a professor, and a missionary. Reflecting on reading his gift Bible long after receiving it, and coming to conversion as a result, Park said, “I don’t think God shows us very much of what our missionary effort is actually accomplishing. Maybe He shows us a 10th of one percent…. God puts His hand over it, and all we have to do is to be faithful and follow God’s leading. Allow the results to be with God.” He then quoted Ellen White’s writings, “Every faithful effort put forth in the spirit of Christ will ultimately reap its own reward.”
Frontline ministries such as Philippine Frontier Missions, 1000 Missionary Movement, Adventist Development and Relief Agency, and Adventist World Radio were also spotlighted throughout the week. Representatives of these organizations also spoke of training youth for the mission field and providing aid to those who need it most.
Osindo closed the week-long prayer meetings by urging the congregation to answer God’s call wherever He sends, and to do whatever He asks to be done.
Dr. Oscar Osindo grew up as a non-Adventist in Kenya. He became a Seventh-day Adventist at the age of 18 years old. From there, he embarked on soul-winning and church-planting.