In The Market Place
Christ’s Method Alone
Carliani and her boyfriend, Ananias, developed a strong friendship with their neighbors in Manaus, Brazil. Their new friends (Bible workers with Amazon Lifesavers Ministry) led Carliani and Ananias to know God. Soon they acted as “wedding planners,” then watched as the newlyweds were baptized and began Bible worker training. Mingling with neighbors was of eternal value to Carliani and Ananias.
Jesus was a Master at mingling when He walked the earth. “Christ’s method alone will give true success in reaching the people. The Savior mingled with men as one who desired their good. He showed His sympathy for them, ministered to their needs, and won their confidence. Then He bade them, ‘Follow Me’” (Ministry of Healing, p. 143).
Outpost Centers International (OCI) is a family of supporting ministries of the Seventh-day Adventist Church that desire to follow Christ’s example of soul winning. A member of ASI, OCI nurtures approximately 100 ministries in 45 countries worldwide. OCI’s member ministries, including Amazon Lifesavers Ministry, creatively build relationships with their neighbors in order to share Christ in their marketplace.
Large tents are lined up along a major highway. Golden pillars peek over the top of white curtains. It isn’t a traveling circus; it’s Messiah’s Mansion, an outreach ministry of Oklahoma Academy. Its students are on the frontlines guiding inquisitive visitors through a full-scale model of Moses’ wilderness sanctuary. Oklahoma Academy has taken Messiah’s Mansion on numerous tours around the world to explain the significance of what Jesus is currently doing in the heavenly sanctuary, as well as God’s plan of salvation. The students reach people who may never step foot inside a church.
It’s lunchtime in Prague, Czech Republic. A busy office worker weaves determinedly through Old Town Square looking for a bite to eat. The forest green restaurant façade of Country Life Prague catches the eye and invites the hungry passerby inside. Thousands of such customers visit Country Life Prague’s three restaurants and health food stores each week. Inside, staff care not only for their clients’ physical but also for their spiritual well being.
In India, nearly 3,000 babies die every day. Pregnant women, especially in rural villages, often don’t receive the necessary medical attention that would enable them to enjoy the blessings of motherhood. Traditional superstitions, such as keeping the baby small for birthing by not eating a substantial diet, put both babies and mothers at risk. Living Springs Overseas Missions fights these trends by training young women as midwives. More than 70 midwifery graduates are now saving mothers and babies through prenatal education and Christ-centered medical care in India.
JUST LIKE JESUS
Jesus understood that success in ministry was about cultivating sincere relationships with those He came in contact with, whenever and wherever He met them. “The Savior’s work was not restricted to any time or place. His compassion knew no limit. On so large a scale did He conduct His work of healing and teaching that there was not a building in Palestine large enough to receive the multitudes that thronged to Him.…Wherever there were hearts ready to receive His message, He comforted them with the assurance of their heavenly Father’s love” (Ministry of Healing, p. 17).
Angelica Miller served in School by the Sea in Poland. The school reaches out to its neighbors through language acquisition classes. “I taught English to all ages, and it was an amazing ministry,” she says. “I found that friendship ministry is fantastic and effective! I was asked numerous times about my beliefs or about the Bible. I know it was the Lord impressing upon them that I was different.”
So many people are anxious to meet the Giver of Life. All they need is a friend to show the way. “There is need of coming close to the people by personal effort. If less time were given to sermonizing, and more time were spent in personal ministry, greater results would be seen. The poor are to be relieved, the sick cared for, the sorrowing and the bereaved comforted, the ignorant instructed, the inexperienced counseled. We are to weep with those that weep, and rejoice with those that rejoice” (Ministry of Healing, p. 143).
AN AUDIENCE OF ONE
People followed Jesus because they knew they were more than just a statistic in His eyes. He crossed the Sea of Galilee to show compassion toward a demon-possessed man; that man then told his entire town about the One who set him free. Jesus sat on a well with parched lips as He waited for the Samaritan woman to share news of the Prophet she had encountered. On Sabbath at Bethesda, He watched a man skip away from the pool where he’d lain crippled for 38 years. Jesus’ divine appointments were often just an audience of one—one person in desperate need of His sympathy and care.
As OCI member ministries spread the love of Jesus one person at a time, they hold onto the promise that the Holy Spirit will be their Guide. “Every worker who follows the example of Christ will be prepared to receive and use the power that God has promised to His church for the ripening of earth’s harvest…. As they go forth to the day’s duties, they have the assurance that the unseen agency of the Holy Spirit enables them to be ‘laborers together with God’” (Acts of the Apostles, p. 56).