Lost in the Mountains

BY JOHN STETZ
My Image

Sangho Kim could not walk any farther. He had to admit a frightening fact: He was hopelessly lost.

The Taebaek Mountain range of Korea was not the place the 23-year-old deacon wanted to be when night came. Wild boars and man-eating tigers still roamed freely among the rocks and trees.

Sangho had gone to preach the gospel in the villages that dotted the area. Most of the people who lived there worshipped idols and spirits they believed resided in trees.

After a month of traveling and preaching, Sangho asked some men in a village about the best way to travel back to his home. What Sangho did not know was that these men resented him for teaching their people contrary to their ancient religion. To retaliate against him, they deliberately sent him in the wrong direction.

Sangho set off into the mountains, thinking he was taking a shortcut. For two hours he walked, climbing higher and higher without seeing any houses or people. To make matters worse, it started to rain.

As night fell, the surroundings grew dark, but Sangho trudged on. By midnight he was deep in the forest. He could see nothing in the pitch-black darkness. The October winds were cold, and his wet body was shivering.

Finally Sangho dropped to his knees.

“Lord, I’m lost,” he prayed. “I’m soaked and freezing. I’m weary and sleepy, and I can’t walk another step. Please help me and protect me from the wild beasts. Please don’t let me die here.”

With those words, he slumped against a tree and fell asleep.

Sometime during the night, Sangho was awakened by a tickling sensation on his neck. He quickly grabbed for what was touching his skin, fearing it was a snake. But what he felt was furry, like the tail of an animal.

Cautiously, he felt around and decided that a full-grown Asian tiger was lying right beside him, keeping him warm! Sangho had feared a hungry tiger would kill him, yet the huge creature was protecting him from freezing.

“Thank You, Lord,” Sangho said.

There, in the pitch-black darkness, he quickly drifted off to sleep again. He rested peacefully until the bright sunshine of morning woke him.

At that point, the tiger seemed to know that his job was finished. It stood, looked at Sangho for a brief moment, and licked him on the cheek. Sangho jumped to his feet to get a better look at his new friend, but the creature had already disappeared.

Eventually Sangho found his way home safely. In the years that followed, he pastored several churches in South Korea and served on staff at Yoido Full Gospel Church in Seoul.

Throughout his life he often wondered about the creature that helped him in the forest that dark, lonely night. He did not know where the tiger came from or where it went. But one thing is certain: He would never forget how God saved his life.

John and Edith Stetz were AG missionaries for nearly 40 years.

Claiming the 'No Hurt' Promise

BY LOREN McRAE
My Image

The sun was hot on Pastor Boon Song as he traveled down a road in South Thailand. All day long he had preached the gospel of Jesus Christ in the villages along the way, but his message had received almost no response.

As he passed near a house, a woman came out and offered him a drink. He drank it gratefully, wiping his brow.

Within only a few minutes, Boon Song became deathly ill. By the time he arrived home, he was losing consciousness. Too late, he realized that the drink he had so gratefully accepted was poisoned!

At the nearest hospital, doctors began to treat the now-unconscious man. Blood was coming from Boon Song’s nose, his throat was closed, and his lips were badly swollen. His death appeared all but certain.

Boon Song’s wife, however, was praying earnestly for him. She claimed the promise of Mark 16:18: “If they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them.” And, true to His Word, God performed a miracle. Boon Song regained consciousness, and his condition stabilized. In only a few days he was out preaching again.

Boon Song went back to the village where he had been poisoned. The people gathered around him, including the woman who had given him the deadly drink.

“You should be dead,” the woman cried.

The people listened as the woman told what she had done. Since Boon Song was obviously alive and well, they were anxious to hear his story. When Boon Song told them about a God more powerful than poison, almost the entire village accepted Christ as Savior. During the next 18 months, Boon Song established a strong church.

But Boon Song’s miracle was not the last one to take place in that village.

Mr. Noy, a new believer, was plowing in his field one day when he was bitten by a poisonous snake. Almost immediately, his leg began to swell.

Hurrying to his house, he called to his wife to bring him their Bible. Frantically he searched for Mark 16:18, the verse Boon Song had quoted so many times.

“The verse that saved Boon Song from death—it’s my only hope!” he told his wife. “I’ve got to find it!”

In desperation Mr. Noy placed the Bible over the snakebite and prayed, “O God, I can’t find that verse anywhere. I know it’s there somewhere, and since this is Your Book, You must know where it is. You find that verse, Lord, and You make it work for me like it did for Boon Song.”

Mr. Noy and his wife waited a few minutes and then lifted the Bible off the snakebite. The page of the Bible next to Mr. Noy’s skin was soaking wet.

“Look at that wet spot,” Mr. Noy said. “The poison has come out.”

Mr. Noy recovered completely from the snakebite. In his village, Mark 16:18 became known as the “no hurt” promise. Boon Song and Mr. Noy are living testimonies of its truth.

Loren and LaDonna McRae were AG missionaries from 1969 to 1977.

Bapa Timmy's Quest

My Image

Bapa Timmy lived in a mountain village on Buru, one of Indonesia’s thousands of islands. An animist, he worshipped his ancestors and sought to appease the spirits he believed inhabited such objects as rocks, trees and manmade fetishes.

Sometime around 1942, tragedy struck Bapa Timmy’s family. Ten of his brothers and sisters died. In his sorrow, Bapa Timmy turned from animism and began to search for the unknown God he believed must exist somewhere. And God, who reaches out to every searching heart, began to reveal himself to Bapa Timmy.

Realizing his fetishes were sinful, Bapa Timmy destroyed them and cried out to the God whose name he did not know, asking forgiveness for his sins. He built a house where he and his family gathered whenever he felt moved to worship. During these meetings they wept in the presence of God and sang songs they composed. The group soon grew to about 100 people.

Angered because so many people were turning to Bapa Timmy’s God, 30 armed warriors came down from the mountains, beat Bapa Timmy unmercifully, and left him to die. Bapa Timmy survived, but within a week, 24 of the warriors were dead. The remaining six were afflicted with various ailments they believed were punishment for their attack. They went to Bapa Timmy, accepted his God, and were healed.

In a song Bapa Timmy composed, he mentioned the name of Jesus. Although he did not know the meaning of the name, he had heard it once and the sound of it stirred his heart.

In 1952, Bapa Timmy met Johan, a man from an AG church. As Johan explained God’s plan of salvation, Bapa Timmy recognized this was the truth to which God had been leading him for the past 10 years.

Bapa Timmy went to study at a Bible school. Kind friends helped him learn to read and write so he could study God’s Word. On his return to Buru, all of his meetinghouses became affiliated with the AG.

News of Bapa Timmy’s God spread. When Bapa Timmy visited a village called Danu Rana, more than 100 people were waiting for him. They had never heard Bapa Timmy speak, but they had already decided to accept his God. When Bapa Timmy arrived, the Holy Spirit fell. All of those present began to speak in other tongues.

As Bapa Timmy grew older, he no longer traveled to preach the gospel. Instead, people came to him. Several weeks before his death, he introduced a group of visitors to Christ. The visitors then returned to their home village and started a church.

Bapa Timmy died in 1988 at age 91, but during his life he planted 13 churches. Bapa Timmy’s quest for the true God led many to the Truth.

Dealing With the Enemy

BY DWIGHT PALMQUIST
My Image

Warfare is not always evidenced by artillery, aircraft and explosives. Every day missionaries and national believers face battles that are humanly impossible to win. But we do not fight the enemy alone. God is with us, and He is the victor.

I often travel with an evangelism team on outreaches across the Philippines. On one of our journeys we traveled deep into a mountain region. After 12 hours of hiking, we crossed an 8,000-foot pass and descended into the small village of Bato. We planned to help the young church there in its outreach to the surrounding area.

Two years earlier, a believer from a neighboring tribe had ventured into this valley with a burden to plant an AG church—the only church in the animistic village. In an effort to thwart the new work, the local witch doctor performed a variety of rituals to bring powerful curses against the pastor. But the curses had no effect. Instead, the new church grew.

We immediately set up equipment to show the Jesus film. At certain points during the film, team members translated the dialogue into the local language. Almost everyone could relate to the sufferings of Christ because they had experienced strong opposition from nearby enemies. Somehow, God helped them understand the purpose of Christ’s coming, and many received Him as their Savior.

I was surprised at how little opposition we experienced in Bato, but I soon learned the reason. Six months earlier, 42 days of rainy weather had caused a huge landslide on the mountain above the village. Most of the Christians ran to the church to pray, even though the building was directly in the landslide’s path.

The neighbors thought the Christians were crazy and rushed to find shelter away from the slide. But as the landslide picked up speed, it quickly overtook them. Many of them perished.

What no one knew was that a large rock was buried deep in the mountain about 100 yards above the church. When the wall of earth struck the rock, it split in half just before it reached the praying believers. Almost everyone in the area acknowledges that this had to be a miracle from God. No wonder they were so receptive to our message!

In the work of the Lord, battles are inevitable. But we can stand strong against the enemy in every circumstance we face. God’s power is limitless, and the ultimate victory is His.

Dwight Palmquist has been a missionary to the Philippines since 1976.

When God Answered by Rain

My Image

As Maek Wat listened to his radio, the pastor’s sermon spoke to his heart. Could the message he was hearing really be true?

A member of Myanmar’s Arakan tribe, Maek Wat had never heard of a loving God. From an early age, he had sought God in the only way he knew— by following the teachings of Buddhism.

Determined to know the truth, he left his remote village and sought out the preacher he had heard on the radio. The man told him about Jesus, and Maek Wat opened his heart to the Savior.

Maek Wat then went to a layman’s Bible school to be discipled in God’s Word. Soon he was baptized in the Holy Spirit and felt God leading him to become a pastor.

After a year of study, he told his mentor of his plans to go back home.

“I want to tell my people about Jesus,” he said.

When Maek Wat returned to his Arakan village, he was bombarded with questions.

“Where have you been for so long?” his friends asked. “Why are you no longer wearing a saffron robe as other Buddhist monks do?”

Maek Wat told them he had learned about a God of love. “He is in heaven, and His name is Jesus,” he said.

His former friends found such an idea unbelievable. They concluded that Maek Wat had lost his mind.

For weeks Maek Wat talked about Jesus, but no one believed him. Then one day while reading his Bible, the story of Elijah’s contest with the prophets of Baal inspired him. Maek Wat’s village was in severe drought. If God could answer Elijah by fire, why couldn’t He answer Maek Wat with rain?

Going to the village leaders, Maek Wat said, “Why don’t we see whose God can bring rain. You pray and burn incense in the Buddhist temple and ask for rain. I’ll pray to Jesus. We’ll see which God sends rain.”

“That’s ridiculous,” they replied. But they agreed to the plan.

Maek Wat followed the biblical pattern and had the village leaders pray first. Nothing happened. When Maek Wat prayed, rain fell.

“That was a coincidence,” the village leaders said.

“Then let’s try again,” Maek Wat challenged.

The Buddhist monks spent a day in prayer, but no rain fell. After they gave up, Maek Wat prayed. Soon it began to rain.

After this miracle, the people in the village began listening to Maek Wat’s message about Jesus.

Several, including some of the monks, received Christ as Savior. God had honored His Word.