As a student of the ARISE program, I was blessed with a rich experience of meaningful Bible studies, priceless interactions with classmates, staff, and community, and most importantly, a clearer understanding of the beauty of God’s true character. “It is the darkness of misapprehension of God that is enshrouding the world. Men are losing their knowledge of His character. It has been misunderstood and misinterpreted” (Christ’s Object Lessons, p. 415). As I reflect on the cornerstone text that ARISE is founded on (Isaiah 60:1,2) and references that I’ve come across over and over in the Spirit of Prophecy regarding “Light Bearers,” I am thankful to God for this ministry partnership that reveals the true character of God lived out in the day-to-day lives of godly, loving, growing disciples.
One prime example is David and Ty co-preaching a sermon. I had never heard of, nor had seen, such a thing done before! Imagine two well-known preachers sharing the stage, respectfully taking turns speaking, and even more respectfully interrupting the other, with the interrupted one graciously appreciating the input of the interrupter! “…in all our labors we are to remember that the greatest talents or the most splendid services are acceptable only when self is laid upon the altar, a living, consuming sacrifice” (Prophets and Kings, p. 65).
The lepers are a daily reminder that we are spiritual lepers
“Then Jesus said to His disciples, ‘If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me’” (Matthew 16:24). Self must die and Christ, our wonderful, merciful Savior, must live and shine in our lives. In His great mercy to save my soul, God sent me to China to serve in the leper colonies. Below is my latest email update to family and friends.
Dear Family and Friends,
God is so good! God has been blessing me with priceless spiritual experiences in the Chinese leper colonies. The Holy Spirit has been teaching us countless truths in the Bible and Spirit of Prophecy and my eyes have been open to the beauty of God’s character, Jesus’ matchless love in dying for my sins, and the work that true Christians must do.
The need is great in the Chinese leper colonies. There are 600 leper colonies in China with 240,000 lepers! We have only about 80 volunteers and are active in 12 leper colonies. The wonderful thing about the leper colonies in China (as opposed to in Korea or Japan) is that the lepers are completely open to all Bible truths, including the Sabbath and the Second Coming.
There are 600 leper colonies in China with 240,000 lepers! We have only about 80 volunteers and are active in 12 leper colonies.
The Holy Spirit has been working mightily. Many Chinese volunteers from all denominations come hearing about the need in the colonies. Their hearts break when they see the pain and suffering of the lepers. Those who commit to serve quickly accept the Spirit of Prophecy, the Sabbath, and the Second Coming. It’s amazing how God works to unite believers in one faith through the work of benevolence, His appointed work.
John 14:12 states that those who believe in Jesus will do the same works that He did including signs, miracles, and all the workings of the Holy Spirit. Just like Jesus healed the blind, crippled, deaf, mute, and lepers while He was on earth, I believe that He will do these same miracles before He comes again (see Desire of Ages chapters 63 and 64). The lepers in China have all the qualifications to be Jesus’ soon-to-be healed children. What is needed is faith and there are many lepers who believe that Jesus will heal them! When Jesus heals them, they will become the greatest witnesses to the whole world! Can you imagine Jesus healing them, restoring their missing limbs and digits?!
Below is a picture of Yu-papa. He is blind and crippled. As volunteers have daily read the Bible to him, he has memorized many passages of Scripture including Psalm 119 (up to verse 142), Isaiah 58, Psalm 130, Exodus 20, and more. It is truly amazing to see God working in his life!
The second picture is of Jiang-papa. He is crippled. He has a steadfast faith. When visitors come, he can’t help but share spiritual things. (And boy, can he talk!) He tells people that God has done two miracles in his life: First, God restored his sight so that he can now read the Bible and Spirit of Prophecy. Second, God healed a wound on his leg that he had for over three months. He declares that he is waiting for a third miracle from God: to walk again. What faith!
Dear friends, the lepers are a daily reminder that we are spiritual lepers, filled with sin! God is calling us to repent and to give our lives completely for His work, living for others. Life is so comfortable in the US and it’s so easy to forget that we have work to do to help Jesus come back sooner than later. Let’s wake up!
A graduate of the ARISE program, who has requested anonymity, is currently a missionary volunteer in the leper colonies in China and is committed to following God’s open doors. For more information or to contribute, please email Light Bearers at firstname.lastname@example.org.