Inside Story: Desperate for a Mission Story

By Andrew McChesney

Gina Wahlen was excited to visit a house church in a country where Christians face persecution for their faithfulness to God. She had arrived to collect mission stories for Adventist Mission.

The house church turned out to be a former home on the ground floor of an apartment building. The apartment had been gutted and turned into a church with a main sanctuary on one side and a small room on the other. Gina began interviewing people in the small side room with an interpreter.

Gina Whalen

The people were earnest and kind. But they didn’t seem to have any special stories, speaking instead about the technical aspects of a house church.

As time passed, Gina grew desperate. This was the only place where she had planned to collect stories in the country. “Dear Lord, please help me to find someone who has an inspiring story,” she prayed. “I don’t know how to find anyone because I don’t speak the language, and I don’t think that the interpreter can help. So, Lord, would You please send someone?”

Soon afterward, a woman stepped into the room. Gina felt impressed to speak with her and struck up a conversation through the interpreter.

“Have you been coming to this church for long?” Gina asked.

No, the woman hadn’t. She had been coming for only a few months.

Gina asked how she had learned about Seventh-day Adventists.

The woman said she had been walking with her children to the market on a Saturday. As they walked along the sidewalk, two neatly dressed men approached.

“The seventh day is the Sabbath,” said one.

“To learn more, look on the internet,” said the other. Then the men kept walking.

The woman went home and searched online. Somehow, she found a series of Adventist presentations by a U.S. evangelist that had been dubbed into her language. She watched many programs and was greatly blessed.

Then, she somehow found the house church. She showed up, prepared for baptism, and was baptized shortly before Gina’s arrival. “I was amazed when I heard her story and was so delighted that God answered my prayer in such a beautiful way,” Gina said.

Gina Wahlen served as Mission quarterlies editor at Adventist Mission for three years. Currently, she works as editor and project manager for the Office of the General Conference President. The house church featured in this mission story illustrates Mission Objective No. 2 of the Seventh-day Adventist Church’s “I Will Go” strategic plan, “To strengthen and diversify Adventist outreach in large cities, across the 10/40 Window, among unreached and under-reached people groups, and to non-Christian religions.” Read more: IWillGo2020[dot]org.