Thirteenth Sabbath Program
Thank you so much for your generous gift to the Thirteenth Sabbath Offering.
“Hark! the Voice of Jesus Calling”
The Seventh-day Adventist Hymnal, no. 359
Superintendent or Sabbath School teacher
“Across the South Pacific”
"Rise Up, O Church of God”
The Seventh-day Adventist Hymnal, no. 615
Participants: One narrator and two readers.
Props: Flags (or pictures of flags), from the following countries: Vanuatu, Fiji, New Caledonia, New Zealand, and Papua New Guinea.
Narrator: This quarter our mission focus as been on the South Pacific Division, and we’ve heard some exciting stories from many of the islands, including (raise flag when appropriate country is named): Vanuatu, Fiji, New Caledonia, New Zealand, and Papua New Guinea.
Reader 1: In the island nation of Fiji, the government recognizes that its people are facing a severe health crisis. Four out of five Fijians are dying from non-communicable diseases [NCDs), and that number is rising.
Reader 2: There are four main types of NCDs: cardiovascular diseases, cancers, respiratory diseases, and diabetes.
Reader 1: Many risk factors make a person vulnerable to NCDs, such as tobacco use; physical inactivity; an unhealthful diet high in salt, sugar, fat and processed foods; and drinking alcohol.
Reader 2: About 95 percent of NCDs are due to lifestyle choices. Our day-to-day decisions, what we do, what we eat, have a huge impact on our health.
Reader 1: Of course, Seventh-day Adventists have been aware of these health laws for more than a century, thanks to the inspired writings of Ellen White. However, knowing what’s good for us and putting it into practice are often two different things!
Reader 2: Pastor Luke Narabe [na-RAW-bee], president of the Fiji Mission, says that embracing a healthful lifestyle challenge is important to him as a leader, and he wants to be a good role model. “We are emphasizing healthy lifestyles for our ministers, too,” he says. “God has given this church a special health message, and it’s an opening wedge.”
Reader 1: Working with the health department of the South Pacific Division, the Fiji Mission health department offered a week-long “Health Promoting Church Initiative” training program to all ministers and elders throughout the mission.
Reader 2: Special training, workshops, and food demonstrations took place, educating all toward a more healthful lifestyle.
Reader 1: “We invited the government to come and observe,” said Pastor Narabe, “to see the strategy that is being put in place to fight NCDs—food, exercise, and so on, and we gave each participant a big folder packed with materials showing leaders what they can do to ensure that their local church is involved with this program to impact their community.
Reader 2: Government representatives told the Fiji Mission presidentthat “there is no other organization that has a solution for our health crisis. But we know that the Seventh-day Adventists have a very special message—you have the solution to the NCD crisis!”
Reader 1: And during a large congress of religious leaders held in the capital city of Suva, it was acknowledged that “there is no other church that has been blessed with the message of health like the Seventh-day Adventists.”
Reader 2: In light of strong receptivity to the health message, the Adventist church in Fiji has already successfully conducted numerous health expos, vegetarian cooking classes, food demonstrations, and more.
Reader 2: “We want to do as much as we can now to help the people of Fiji,” says Pastor Narabe, “because we know that time is short, with people dying at a younger age, from NCDs. We want them to come to Jesus.”
Narrator: Today we have the opportunity to support the mission of our brothers and sisters in Fiji through the Thirteenth Sabbath Offering. A portion of this offering will be used to construct a wellness center in Suva. This center of influence will have a special kitchen for food demonstrations and cooking classes. During the lunch hour, guests will find healthful food available—either to eat there or take-away. There will be a small gym for exercise classes. Health programs will be offered, and a counseling room and prayer room will be available. Ministry will be taking place at the center every day, impacting the community. “We believe,” says Pastor Narabe, “that the wellness center will be one of the tools that the church will use, by God’s grace, to reach out to some of the most difficult groups of people to reach. We thank the world church for their support.”
Reader 1: The country of New Zealand is known as one of the most pristinely beautiful places on earth. Once known as “God’s country,” this land down-under is becoming increasingly secularized with four out of ten New Zealanders now declaring themselves “non-religious.”
Reader 2: But in a land where people don’t like strangers knocking on their doors, God has opened a window for the Seventh-day Adventist message to be broadcast into the majority of living rooms, 24/7, bringing hope into every home.
Reader 1: “Opportunity to broadcast on a satellite platform is very limited,” says Dr. Brad Kemp, president of the New Zealand Pacific Union Conference. “There were no spaces left, then we were offered one. The cost was marginally more, but with greater reach, so we took it. The DTH (satellite platform) will reach more than 2 million homes out of 4.5 million in the country. We have the potential coverage of 69 percent of all homes. We’ll also cover 11 major regional centers with free-to-air broadcasting.”
Reader 2: With the key message of “Bringing Hope to Every Home,” the new Adventist television station will offer full-message programming that looks at wholistic life, encouraging viewers to “Live more. Love more. Learn more.”
Reader 1: As much as possible, local people will be producing the television programs. “When people hear their own accent they want to watch,” says Dr. Kemp. “The edge is local content—that sets us apart from other religious broadcasters. The [Thirteenth Sabbath] offering is going to be so helpful to us, as it will provide funds for producing local content.”
Reader 2:The station will have 168 hours of content to fill each week. Plans are already in place to produce contextually relevant material that will appeal to a New Zealand secular audience. In addition, programs will also be shared with many of the South Pacific islands.
Reader 1: But this isn’t just about television. “We need to have an end-to-end process,” explains Dr. Kemp.
Reader 2: All of the programs will be connected to free offers on the website. Intuitive software will bring the viewer and ministry together, and strategic plans are in place that will connect people through media to the local church.
Reader 1: Dr. Kemp says, “We believe strongly that to get into the homes of people, we’ve got to use media. We have a real opportunity to impact New Zealand in a way that we’ve never been able to before. That will be coupled with our churches becoming centers of influence. I don’t think that door is going to be open forever. Let’s move while we have the opportunity.”
Reader 2: Thank you for giving generously to the Thirteenth Sabbath Offering, helping to provide important local programming to reach people through Hope Channel New Zealand.
Narrator: Throughout the islands of the South Pacific children and youth are some of the most active members of the church. Sabbath School, AY meetings, Adventurers, and Pathfinders are some of the many activities in which they are involved. Frequently, however, these groups have nowhere to meet except under a tree or the open sky. When it rains, their meetings must be canceled. Today we have a wonderful opportunity to provide funding for 28 children’s discipleship centers—also known as “lamb shelters.” These sturdy structures will provide space and shelter for the younger members of our church family in Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, and New Caledonia. Thank you for supporting mission by giving generously to the Thirteenth Sabbath Offering.