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Adventist Mission

The Policeman's Dream

When Pastor Norman Hurlow and his team started praying for a way their church could minister to the community, little did they know that the answer would come through a policeman’s dream.

When Pastor Norman Hurlow and his team started praying for a way their church could minister to the community, little did they know that the answer would come through a policeman’s dream.

The Papatoetoe Seventh-day Adventist Community Church (PAPSDA) in South Auckland, New Zealand, provided many opportunities for its members to be involved in ministry. But now they were about to embark into a totally new venture.

The Dream

Down at the local police station, the officers were looking for effective crime-prevention strategies. They were seeing a lot of people coming into the holding cells at the jail, having been arrested on misdemeanors. Then a few months later, they would see these same individuals back again, being charged with much more serious crimes. As the police officers saw this pattern repeating more often, they asked themselves, “What if we could intercept these people the first time they come in?”

As they talked about it, the senior sergeant came up with an idea—what if we placed something in the cells that the first-time offenders could read? Something interesting, inspiring, and something that would encourage them to change their ways before it became too difficult.

Thus the idea of the Crime 2 Christ magazine came into being. The magazine would feature stories of well-known criminals who had given their lives to Christ. The sergeant knew, however, that the police department didn’t have enough human or financial resources to turn the idea into reality, so he hoped to partner with a local church.

Adventists to “Birth” the Project

Then one night the sergeant had a dream. In his dream he saw a pregnant woman with the words “Seventh-day Adventist” written above her. Suddenly, he awoke and wrote down what he’d seen before going back to sleep.

The following morning the sergeant shared his unusual dream, stating that the Seventh-day Adventist Church would be the one to give birth to this project. Another police officer spoke up: “I’m an Adventist, and I know a church that would be interested in helping—the Papatoetoe church!”

So the sergeant met with Pastor Hurlow. The pastor assured him that the church was very interested in partnering with the police in this community outreach project. He also explained that while the church could help with such things as layout and design, there weren’t enough financial means to support the project in a monetary way. But they would certainly pray about it.

“God Sent Me Here”

The following day a woman came to the police precinct saying that she wanted to talk with the senior sergeant. The officer was amazed as the woman said, “God sent me here. I don’t know why, but tell me what you are doing in the community.”

The sergeant shared the “Crime 2 Christ” magazine idea with her, and she said, “Now I know why God has sent me here to talk with you. We’d like to donate some money. I’ll go pray and talk to some people. Then we’ll get back with you.”

Meanwhile, the sergeant told Pastor Hurlow and his team at PAPSDA about the woman, and together they prayed that God would move the hearts of the people to give. A few days later the woman returned, telling the sergeant that she had $10,000 for the project. The police officers and Papatoetoe church leaders were delighted! This was enough to produce the first issue of the magazine, featuring stories of three people who went from a life of crime to a life of Christ—a professional rugby player who plays for a national team in New Zealand; Amos, a founding member of a huge gang called “The Head Hunters”; and a woman who went from abuse and crime, to Christ.

“More Than We Needed”

After the magazine was launched in May 2015, the same woman told the sergeant and the Adventist pastor that she had more money available for the next issue. “This was a real affirmation for the team of God’s leading and guiding of the process,” said Pastor Hurlow. “We didn’t even need to ask, but at the right time we had more than we even needed.

“When the police first came and spoke about this idea, it was a no-brainer,” Pastor Hurlow said. “This is where we sensed the spirit leading and guiding in our focus. Without even asking, this initiative came knocking and asked, Will you champion this?”

The Papatoetoe church’s graphic designer did the design for the new magazine. In addition, Pastor Hurlow is responsible for connecting and providing a network of local churches. “We vet them, and make sure that they have the effective resources,” he explains.

One of the goals for the Crime 2 Christ magazine is to go national. “By May [2015] we’d already received requests from police stations all over the country. They all wanted this magazine,” said Pastor Hurlow.

And there’s already been at least seven baptisms as a direct result of people reading the Crime 2 Christ magazine.

“This is a real first in a secular country, where the government has agreed to partner with local churches to have this magazine in holding cells,” Pastor Hurlow said. “We’d love for prayers to continue.”