Members In Action: Stones Valley Foundation
Stones Valley Foundation* was never Roger Stone's original plan. In 1991, he had limited experience as a missionary when he gave an evangelistic series in India under the direction of Amazing Facts. Upon returning home to the United States, he asked the Lord to send him back to India to help start more churches. The Lord quickly answered that prayer.
Nine months later, Stone was back in India teaching the Adventist message to 30 Pentecostal pastors. All 30 pastors were baptized and joined the Adventist Church. He began going from one church to the next, holding evangelistic meetings and revealing overlooked and neglected biblical truths. During the first year, 14 churches joined the Adventist movement, and an orphanage was established that now serves 75 children. Another has since been opened for an additional 65 children.
Today—11 years later—there are 79 new Adventist congregations where formerly there were none.
The road has not always been easy for Stone. Communists control certain parts of India, and they don’t want Christians in their villages. They will allow one Christian church per village, believing that all Christians go to the same church. Whichever denomination establishes a church first is "the church" for that village. It has been Stone's goal to establish an Adventist church in each village. Eighteen have been established in communist villages so far, with six of them added just this year.
Recently, an entire church of 125 members in a communist area joined the Adventist Church. Pastor Lazarus, a retired pastor who works closely with Stone, requested prayer for rain so there would be enough water to baptize the new members. A hurricane dumped enough water to baptize all of them and more!
For seven years, Stone has held classes for non-Adventist pastors. One year, 60 out of 220 pastors who attended the classes embraced the Sabbath. The fledgling Adventist congregations cover a large area, and Stones Valley Voundation is responsible for the salaries of 26 pastors and 12 female Bible workers.
Death is potentially the price for anyone taking the gospel into many of the villages. The female Bible workers go in without their Bibles and speak only to other women. All the women know that death awaits them if their husbands find out they have accepted Jesus. Currently, there are about 30 villages with underground groups of believers.
A year and a half ago, Stones Valley Foundation started a television ministry. Stone had no experience in that area, either. But that didn't stop him.
"We have been flabbergasted by the terrific response of the viewers!" he says. "Our program is now reaching into 130 countries, as well as worldwide on the Internet. We're told that every phone call represents 10,000-20,000 people who are watching. The program speaker recently explained from the Bible which day is the Lord's day. Hundreds of pastors from other denominations called in, thanking the speaker for helping them correctly understand which day really is the Lord's day. One pastor with a church membership of 4,000 said he was basing his sermons on what he was learning from our program."
Stone continues with unmitigated excitement, "We get phone calls from Hindu temple prostitutes who have found Jesus by watching the programs and have changed their professions! We know of 12 or more non-Adventist seminaries that are recording our messages and playing them back for their students. People from India who have lived in the United States for many years are watching the messages in their mother tongue and finding Jesus, and then calling back to India, asking for literature! Lately, we have gotten a number of phone calls from Catholic priests who are thankful to be learning about the messages of Revelation. Muslim women who live in compounds and are never allowed to see a man they're not related to are calling in, asking questions and accepting Jesus. They always say, 'Please pray for me, but don’t ever try to contact me.' They would be killed if their husbands knew they had accepted Jesus and were praying to Him!" Stone has been told that some of the Muslim women pray all week asking Jesus to help their husbands and children sleep late on Fridays so they can watch the program.
Recently, a number of Lutheran pastors organized large meetings for hundreds of their members, inviting Adventist pastors to explain Revelation to them. The congregations requested sermons that were at least two hours long.
"There is still a terrific amount of work to be done," says Stone, "and things are beginning to close up in many parts of India, so we need to keep advancing while we can! There are still millions of honest-hearted souls in India who have never yet heard the name of Jesus! Our continued mission is to spread the name of Jesus as far and wide as the Lord allows and helps us to do! There are still thousands of starving children who would accept Jesus if we had places for them to live and learn! The street kids usually only get food every second or third day. They enjoy being with us, having good food, and having a place where they belong and are loved. These kids come in as Hindus, but within a month they are praying to Jesus and have accepted Him as their God!"
Roger Stone shared these stories during an ASI interview on the Adventist Mission stage at the General Conference Session in Atlanta.
*The words "orphanage" and "ministry" have negative connotations in India, so Stone used the term "foundation" instead.