Connecting Columbia Union Seventh-day Adventists

Seventh-day Adventist Dog

By Andrew McChesney, Adventist Mission

All the villagers races to the airstrip, singing and dancing, when American pilot Gary Roberts landing at Suminka, a remote village in the Indonesian province of Papua.

It had taken 10 years to cut down the trees by hand to clear the way for an airstrip at their mountainous village, and Gary’s mission plane was the first to land. This was a big event.

As Gary stepped out of the plane, the crowd grew silent. The singing and dancing stopped.

“Is this a Seventh-day Adventist plane?” a man asked.

He saw the three angels’ logo on the airplane’s tail.

Gary was surprised. He hadn’t expected people in Suminka, a village previously accessible only by a long trek by foot, to have heard about the Seventh-day Adventist Church.

The people soon told him that many of them kept the Sabbath. The reason, they said, was because of an “Adventist dog.”


The story started several years earlier, just across the border in Papua New Guinea, when an Adventist pastor, Moses, and a lay pastor, Darius, had the same dream on the same night.

In the morning, one said, “I had a dream last night.”

The other said, “I did, too, but I didn’t want to tell you.”

They both had seen an angel in the dream, and the angel said, “Go to Suminka.”

A few days later, the two men set off on the three-day hike to the village.

Upon arrival they announced that evangelistic meetings would be held every evening for a week under a tree on the far side of the village. But on the day of the rst meeting, Moses fell ill with malaria.

He was terribly sick, and the locals predicted he would die.

“But if he gets better, then we will listen to him at the meeting,” they said.

All day Moses was sick. But at 5 p.m., he suddenly felt better. He took a bath and preached. Afterward, he felt very ill again.

This happened all week; he was sick until 5 p.m., then recovered, took a bath, preached and nally sank back into bed. At the meetings, he told people about the Sabbath and cautioned against eating unclean meat, such as pork. (Wild pigs are a popular dish in the Papua mountains.)

When the week ended, Moses made an appeal. No one came forward.

Moses and Darius returned home deeply disappointed. They wondered why they had the dream without any positive results.


Back at Suminka, life resumed as normal—until Saturday morning. The village’s best hunting dog, Dolby, got up and headed down the trail. Its owner and others thought it was onto something, so they followed. The dog went to the tree where the missionary had spoken and sat down.

The villagers thought it strange.

The next Saturday and the next, the same thing occurred. Refusing to hunt on Saturdays, instead the dog would get up, walk over to the tree and sit down.

The villagers also noticed the dog stopped eating pork. It refused to hunt for wild pigs and other unclean animals.

“Dolby has become a Seventh-day Adventist,” one villager said.

“If he worships on Sabbath, we should too,” said another.

Many villagers began to keep the Sabbath and stopped eating unclean foods.

Gary Roberts, the mission pilot, was excited when he heard the story, and he later called Moses. The pastor was some distance away from Suminka, so he contacted Darius and told him to plan on spending a year in the village, teaching the people about Bible truths.

Today, about half of the village of 200 adults and children worship on Sabbath, and 21 people have already been baptized.

Dolby continues to shun unclean food. As a result, the people say he is a very healthy dog.

Read more mission stories daily at Churches in the Columbia Union can receive a complimentary subscription to Adventist Mission’s two magazines with weekly mission stories— Mission and Children’s Mission— by contacting Rebecca Hilde at or calling (800) 545-2449 or (208) 465-2527.

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