Presidential Blessing: Dec 10

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Presidential Blessing: Dec 10
Greetings from Abbotsford! Today I will have the privilege to attend the Abbotsford Church as an ordinary member. After an extremely busy week, it is amazing to just relax and enjoy the blessings of the Sabbath day – together with my family. Then, tomorrow my family and I will start our vacation as we will be flying to Brazil to be with our beloved ones there.
A few weeks ago I shared with you a testimony of a friend who determined in his heart to be more committed and meticulous when returning the Lord’s tithe. Then, I mentioned that I would be sharing with you some personal experiences about this matter on another occasion. Today is the day.
In February 1988, the second month of my marriage with my wife and the beginning of my fourth year in the ministry, I received a call to pastor one of the largest churches in Brazil then (1,000 members), in my wife’s home city. However, when I arrived at the church (three weeks later), the plans were already in place and in motion for that congregation to sponsor a church plant in the interior of the state (150 kms away), in a place with no Adventist presence. Four weeks later, I “moved” to that town to coordinate the final preparation of the field by the Bible workers who were already there. My wife was pursuing a degree and that was her final year at the University. She stayed back and would only visit me during the weekends, whenever that would be possible for her. We were just starting our lives together and did not have much. Yet, we had just renewed as a couple our previous individual commitment to be loyal to God and support His church with His faithful tithe and offerings, no mater what. I do remember that we went out shopping for house goods during a couple of days off that I had just before the beginning of the evangelistic campaign. We saw some “much needed things,” for our home, but we could not afford to buy them at that point in time. We decided to wait… I headed back to the “evangelism town” and started to preach. God blessed the meetings. Eleven precious souls gave their hearts to Christ. That was a very difficult field, mostly comprised of German descendants with a strong Lutheran background. Two Adventist families moved from their hometown to assist with the church plant, and three months later the church had 18 members! On December 24, 1988, a brand new church building was inaugurated, mostly sponsored by my large congregation and with 26 members. On that day, I was also ordained to the Gospel Ministry. Praise God!

Nonetheless, I also recall that during one of my wife’s “visits to the evangelism town,” we discovered an unbelievable sale that was going on in some stores in town, which allowed us to buy most of those needed things for our home. Yes, those very items were on sale -- 70% off or more of the original price. We knelt, thanked God, and recommitted ourselves to be always faithful to Him, by His grace. Now, nearly 29 years later, my wife is finishing another degree here at the UFV. Currently, we have four students in our household, (our three children and my wife), and for the last nearly four years it has been financially challenging to visit our beloved ones in Brazil. Nevertheless, for over nine years I have been accruing points in my credit card and also through some flights. Yet, it is so hard to exchange those points for air tickets during this time of the year, but not for God! A few months ago, I surfed the net and just thought, who knows… there might be a ticket out there… Wow, I found five available tickets on the exact dates that would fit our schedules. I talked to my wife and children and we prayed as I booked those tickets on the spot, with no hesitation. On the following day, I checked the web just for fun, still “not believing” in what had happened in the previous night. No tickets were available for the amount of points we had – even to his day. Coincidence? Not at all -- God takes care of His children and it is rewarding to serve the Lord in every sense. I am sure each of you have also experienced that with God. His promises never fail: Deut. 14:23, Prov. 3:9-10, Mal. 3:10, II Cor. 9:6-7, Heb. 13:5b.
As leaders in God’s Church, please encourage your congregations to always depend on God and be truthful to Him, also by returning faithful tithes and offerings to support His Cause. The Conference annual budget relies on more than 20% on month of December for its operation.

Note: Three more weeks to continue to Pray and Work Together to Reach 150 Souls for Christ during the 120 Days. Final laps…
Happy Sabbath!
In His Service,                      
Wesley Torres, D.Min.