Denver, Colorado … The upcoming Special Sabbath, April 4, which was designated for the Rocky Mountain Conference churches as a Day of Fasting and Prayer, received much attention during a weekly consultation of the RMC leadership team. Leaders of the various ministries shared the current needs and plans, which includes dedicated programs to different sections of the church. No changes were made to the closure dates of the offices and churches, though we expect such changes in the future.

Following the meeting, Ed Barnett, RMC president, shared the following message to church members and pastors ahead of the Fasting and Prayer Special Sabbath:

“Seventh-day Adventists are a people of hope. We are awaiting the return of Jesus, but we are a people who live our hope daily. Seeing the suffering around us resulting from the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic, and anxious about how it is affecting our churches, families, and communities, we recognize that all is in God’s hands. This needs to be recognized by each of us in prayer. A day of fasting and prayer is important for God’s people as it unites us in our supplication and desire for His strength to carry on until the day when there will be no more tears and death.

I am inviting all members of our RMC church to pray. Let us pray to recognize God’s guidance and grace. Let us lift to God prayers of gratitude about the way He has supported us in His mission. Let us pray for those who are hurting, for the families of those who have contracted the virus, and who have passed away. Let us pray that He wipes our tears, but that we do not lose faith and hope in His power to help us overcome fear, pain, and death. Let us pray for those on the front lines – the doctors, nurses, ambulance personnel, security people and decision makers.

But let us also offer our gratitude to the Lord who heals and sustains. We can share with you a story of answered prayer. We learned that one of our Denver pastors, Purasa Marpaung of the Rocky Mountain Indonesian church, contracted coronavirus. He wasn’t alone. About half of his congregation, perhaps as many as 35 church members, have coronavirus. Through God’s grace, he is out of the hospital, though still in quarantine and recovering.

He shared that it was like a miracle and an experience of answered prayers. His story includes a dream in which he saw a review of his life, his loving family, a black cloud and someone holding him tightly by his feet as if pulling him out of the cloud. ‘My cough and resulting pain were unbearable. At the hospital, they put me on a ventilator and it helped me breathe. But it was Jesus who pulled me through. I was out of this black cloud,’ he shared with us. Pastor Purasa also said that he recognizes ‘fellowship with Jesus Christ in his experience and dedicates his ministry only to Him.”

We praise the Lord for Pastor Purasa’s recovery, and may we recognize that by keeping close to Jesus, amazing things happen. We need to pray for the Indonesian sisters and brothers who are still not out of the woods. Let us praise our Lord Jesus and present Him all who are suffering. Let us pray on behalf of each other, on behalf of our pastors, and all who are doing the Lord’s work.

Let us make the Sabbath hours on April 4 become a turning point in our full reliance on God’s love and grace toward us all.

We shall overcome. With Jesus.”

RMCNews; photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash