email@example.com 12916 Los Terrazos Boulevard
Website: propheticum.com Edinburg, TX 78541
January 21, 2018
Dearly beloved family and friends, we pray for you a healthy, happy, and godly growth in the Lord this year and forever.
When I started this letter on January 7, I thought it would be just a brief S.O.S., due to extreme tiredness after a lingering illness that dragged on for more than a whole month. But there is so much we want to thank the Lord for because of His abundant and continued blessings that this Ria’s Corner is not really shorter than its predecessors.
I was still very sick, but thanked God that the day after Christmas we quietly celebrated our sixty-third wedding anniversary. We have been happily married for longer than some of our readers have been alive.
Great news is that God has wonderfully provided us with a new webmaster, Br. Doug Platt. If you look on propheticum.com, under “What’s New,” you will see some of his work. Please keep on praying for his predecessor, Michael Scheifler, whose health did not permit him to continue. We thank him for the great job he so cheerfully did for many years, as well as his contribution to Edwin’s The Truth About 666 and the Story of the Great Apostasy. His own excellent website is Biblelight.com.
We also thank the Lord for now having in our possession the completed text of Cristo y Anticristo en la Profecía y la Historia, the Spanish translation of Christ and Antichrist in Prophecy and History. This book has quite a story behind it. Edwin finished and published it in 2001, receiving his first copy in the intensive care unit of the McAllen hospital after being admitted with congestive heart failure. Most of the cost had been defrayed by what we saved from our stipend during 1995 and 1996 at Inchon, South Korea, where we had taught English and Bible at an SDA language institute, plus part of our South African pension for that year. In 2013, Edwin published a revised edition. The funding was provided by a precious lover of the book, though not a member of our Church. The Spanish translation was recently done by a friend in Cuba. He transmitted the text to Edwin, who reformatted and sent it on to Dr. Byron Villacorta, a research scientist, originally from El Salvador, who lives and works in Australia. Over a period of a few months, he carefully scrutinized and edited the book, each of its 453 pages. This material, recrossing the Pacific Ocean piecemeal, came back to Edwin, who incorporated it in a master copy. How could he do it? He can read Spanish, even though he does not speak it well. The next step will be printing it, as God leads.
Publishing our message in this language is a big deal. Why? Spanish, the official language of twenty-six countries, has 437 million mother tongue speakers, more than English with its 375 million. Even more impressive are the SDA statistics. We have some 4.8 million believers whose native tongue is Spanish, about four times as many as those who speak English as their first language. Also fascinating is that in Brazil we have about 1.2 million Portuguese-speaking members. Although they prefer their own tongue, most of them study Spanish as a second language. In its written form, it is closely related to Portuguese. That is, the potential SDA readership of Cristo y Anticristo en la Profecía y la Historia is close to 6 million.
You will be happy to hear that the notes to Edwin’s long epic poem in Esperanto, La Konflikto de la Epokoj (The Conflict of the Ages), have at last been completed. He worked intermittently on this masterpiece of 400 pages for almost sixty years, from 1959 to 2017, though its actual composition took up about five years. Poetry does not make money, and poetry in Esperanto may seem a double waste of time, as some of our friends—who obviously have no music in their souls—have given us to understand. Yet we pray some Esperanto lovers of poetry will be in the Kingdom because of that huge piece of work. Don’t you?
Without this International Language, we could not have come to America, nor would you have ever known about us. In 1985, we were at the Amsterdam station in the Netherlands. Edwin had gone inside to buy our train tickets to Rotterdam, where the headquarters of the International Esperanto Association are located. I stood with our luggage outside and met a lady from Sacramento, California, who I discovered was a Seventh-day Adventist. We exchanged addresses. When I was back in South Africa, we corresponded and I obtained a contact that led to our son’s marriage to an American citizen. This opened the way for us to come here as well, which happened in 1994. Two years later, an Esperanto contact also brought us to Texas, where Edwin finished most of his five books on prophecy and obtained funding for them.
You may also find it interesting that when he was visiting Rome during 1985 Edwin was interviewed in Esperanto on the pope’s own radio at the Vatican, about his Adventism!
Recently just before some bad stuff could happen around us, God several times manifested His protection from danger to strengthen my faith. One incident was a branch from a dead Hackberry tree in our yard that fell just behind me. If it had hit me, I could have been killed or maimed. A day later we had a blowout in a parking lot, instead of on the highway. I realized anew that without continuous protection from on high we could be killed or injured any moment.
On the health front, at least part of the news is very good. My spinal fusion seems to have been a success. Unfortunately I have also suffered more or less continually for a month from respiratory problems. Often when I tended to feel low, especially at night, I would listen to a wonderful CD of Christian music, The Timeless Theme, by Josie Burgoyne singing twelve beautiful songs. The first of them is “My Life is in Your Hands” and the second “Jesus Is All the World to Me,” which Edwin likes very much. Josie’s South African father, whom we knew, also had a beautiful voice. A limited number of these CDs are still available for a mere $10.00, plus shipping and handling from firstname.lastname@example.org.
The first Sabbath of this year, our dear Mission Hope pastor and head elder came to pray and anoint me in accordance with the instructions of James 5. We hoped for instant healing, but know God always answers as is best.
Recently, to make me feel better, I reread one of those wonderful books on prayer by Roger Morneau. You have probably seen some of those. Another book that greatly impressed me was The Pavel Goia Story, subtitled One Miracle After Another, by Greg Budd. Pavel Goia is a pastor from Rumania whose lectures can be listened to on the web. It amazes me how many wonderful Adventists that nation has produced. We also read the inspiring book by missionary to Peru, Pastor Siegfried Neuendorff, who wrote Make Me a Blessing. The money from the sale of this book goes to work in Peru. He was happy to chat with Edwin in German from near Loma Linda, where he is now retired but still working as assistant pastor to the German congregation in that area. He has become another precious friend to us, because, as you may remember, our son in California is married to a Peruvian.
When we had to calculate our Texas Sales Tax recently it came as a horrible shock that during the whole past year we sold, somehow, only $50.50 worth of books in this huge state as compared to $1000 a few years ago! We could not sit at churches with the books after Sabbath at our local churches anymore, due to advancing age. But it is clear we will need to advertise more, though this is rather more expensive than we can afford. The small adverts we tried in our SWU Record brought not even one sale! Fortunately we sold more to a few self-supporting ministries and you, individually, which kept the wolf from the door. Thank you so much, especially since we are not a non-profit, and by supporting us you do not benefit financially at Income Tax time. There are a few kind friends who warehouse books for us in other parts of the USA and even sell some from time to time. God will bless you richly. We also have a pastor friend in Canada who ordered and paid for complete sets of gift books to important denominational workers.
Recently we heard from a few people in various countries overseas where worldliness and ecumenism are eating out the vitals of God’s church that Edwin’s books form the basis of their writing/lecturing, though Historicism has with contempt been put on the same dusty old shelf as preaching the Three Angels’ Messages. This news is health and strength to our old bones! One academic from Puerto Rico is using Edwin’s books for his Ph.D. studies at a non-Adventist University. A prisoner in California praising the 666 book caused special joy as well. We look forward to staying in touch with him, because there are apparently also a few Adventists in jail. Why, we do not know.
Please give us feedback when you have read and enjoyed any of Edwin’s material. You have no idea how energized that makes him feel. Recently a precious local sister told him how she enjoyed reading it on her flight to Africa, and left it with the head elder of a church in Ethiopia. Imagine our delight!
Pray for patience and wisdom until the Lord shows us how to publish the Esperanto and Spanish books. Regarding Cristo y Anticristo, Edwin is inclined to self-publish again, based on donations and other income, since that has worked for us in the past. To this end, he has already set aside the first $100.00, because the kitty is empty!
Looking back, however, we remember with amazement how God gave, mostly in smallish donations, a total of $11,000 in 2011 for the first edition of The Truth About 666 in just five weeks! So we are placing our needs at His feet and will not presume to give Him a shopping list. We want Him to lead for the best way to get these books to the people who need them so badly. According to our Dr. Villacorta, there is nothing like them in Spanish.
We lovingly cherish each one of you as a most precious jewel, part of our giant world-wide prayer chain that we often pray for, and whose prayers for us we treasure. Still others have become inseparable like the warp and woof of beautiful weaving, which I used to do in my previous life in South Africa. As I think about you, the joy you have brought into our lives, as well as the troubles you experience which are common to all humans because Satan has studied how he could hurt us most. I pray for you often individually in my daily walk, or the quiet hours of the night when sleep is difficult, that you will be richly blessed, sustained, protected, and enabled. Just thinking about you and knowing that you also love and pray for us creates happy endorphins that go through the body to hasten its healing. We received so many messages, visits, get-well and Christmas cards and letters this year, that our big pottery dish is full. From this we pull out names to pray for. Some are suffering from horrible afflictions like cancer, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, genetic defects, lung and skeletal problems, not to mention those whose loved ones are addicted to destructive substances or in harsh marriages. Others suffer fire, flood, extreme heat, cold, drought, mudslides, war, bad government, or poverty. Because of a long drought, Cape Town in South Africa with its four million inhabitants will run out of water on April 21. Just thinking about all these calamities is enough to stun and drive one crazy, except as we have the privilege of interceding for and holding the sufferers up for God’s loving hands and heart.
Please check our website, though e-mail is still first choice for those in their eighties, like us. Some friends cannot even afford e-mail, so to them I have to send this as snail mail.
Edwin and I pray that the Lord will help us to remain standing in the breach, even if on our knees, because that now seems most comfortable and that we will remain small in our own eyes, faithful and thankful. We are in contact with many missionaries and mission causes especially also in the 10/40 window. They, too, must get to know our beautiful Jesus. We long for the seal of the living God and sigh and cry for the abominations done in the land and man’s iniquitous inhumanity toward man.
Please pray for us and ask God how you can help us proceed with the books now in the works, and advice for instance on moving the books out of our home and into that of your
friends. Also hold up our hands as we work and pray for you, precious friends, and loved ones. Many have such massive and heartbreaking needs in many parts of the world. It is by His mercies that we are not consumed. Great is His faithfulness and His mercies new every morning. I must remember than when I am weak, then I am strong, as Paul found.
We love you and long to give you a big hug, one size fits most.
Ria (and Edwin) de Kock