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5 Legendary Asian and Pacific Islander Seventh-day Adventists to Know


Editor’s note: May is Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Month in the United States. During this time, we celebrate five legendary Adventist members of the Asian and Pacific Islander communities.

4 and 5. David Yaoxi and Clara Ye Chi-sheng Lin

David and Clara Lin in Highland, California, in 1998 (photo from the Adventism in China Digital Image Repository).

Excerpted from the Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists.

In the fall of 1942, David was called to teach Chinese at Pacific Union College, a job that he resigned in 1943 and went to Honolulu to spend a year as a colporteur, setting a few new sales records. The thing that made him most proud was that in Hawaii, he gave Bible studies to a Japanese family and was able to win them to the Sabbath truth. In 1944, David returned to the west coast of United States and was called to prepare Chinese Bible correspondence lessons in conjunction with the church’s radio ministry, The Voice of Prophecy. David had to print the lesson by hand and had them duplicated by offset, because there was no Chinese type available. Even until today, these lessons have been used effectively by Adventist churches in Hong Kong, Taiwan, Southeast Asia, and other parts of the world where there are large Chinese settlements.

After the Second World War the church wished to restart the work in China. In November of 1945, China Division issued an invitation through the General Conference to David Lin to return to China to lead out in the radio ministry, which he accepted.

In April 1958, David Lin was arrested on a counterrevolutionary charge, and was imprisoned for 3 years. Subsequently in 1960, he was sentenced to 15 years and was sent to a water conservation project at the White Lake Farm, where he pushed wheelbarrows, operated a power winch, and served successively as X-ray technician, power-station switch operator, and tractor electrician on a State farm. On March 28, 1991, David Lin was fully exonerated by the Chinese Government.

Throughout the decade of Cultural Revolution from 1966 to 1976, especially during the early few years, Mrs. Clara Lin was the one who bore the brunt of the persecution. In one instance, for three consecutive months, the manager of the apartment building where they lived would lead a group of people to come to the Lin’s home early every Sabbath morning, took Clara Lin away trying to force her to sweep the street on Sabbath. When she refused to do it, they would physically beat her until she was black and blue, and then they would bring her back in the afternoon. They tried their very best to dissuade her from keeping the Sabbath. After she had recovered for a week, the next Sabbath they took her again. Once she passed out, they poured cold water on her head to wake her up. Week after week, it lasted for three months. Each time the family, particularly the children would pray for God’s intervention. When the apartment manager realized that he could not change Clara Lin’s mind, he returned one afternoon, completely changed his approached, and agreed to let Clara Lin to sweep the street after sunset on Sabbath. From that time onwards the time of extreme physical torture was over.

[In his 1993 biography, David Lin reflected on his imprisonment]:


In retrospect, I praise God for His providential care in making all things work out for the good of all concerned. First, the years of trial have revealed many flaws in my characters, stressing my need to overcome them. … Second, He who sees the end from the beginning put me in ‘cold storage’ to tie over the perilous years of the cultural Revolution

3. Tae-Hyun Choi

Portrait of Choi Tae Hyun taken in 1941 in Seoul when he was appointed president of Chosen Conference (photo courtesy of Sahmyook University Museum Archives).

Excerpted from the Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists.

In 1940, Japan, which had colonized Korea, planned the Pacific War, and sent American missionaries back to the United States. As a result, the Chosen Union Mission responsibilities in Korea were left with local Koreans. At this time, Pastor Tae-Hyun Choi was appointed Superintendent of the Chosen Union Mission. He led the Korean Adventist Church amid the Japanese occupation, and handed over the presidency position at the Thirteenth Chosen Union Mission Session to Pastor Oh Young-seop in January 1943.

After the general meeting on February 3, 1943, while the transfer of the conference presidency was in progress, he was falsely accused by a Japanese criminal and was imprisoned by the Jong-ro Police Station. There he was subjected to severe torture. He was transferred to Gyeongsung Sanitarium and hospital but died 10 hours later that day at 8:45 p.m.

The Korean Union Conference established a martyrdom memorial to commemorate Pastor Tae-Hyun Choi’s death as the first victim of the Chosun Adventist Church.

2. Kheroda Bose

The first person to be baptized as a Seventh-day Adventist in India.

Photo from Khorada by Gentry G. Lowry.

Excerpted from the Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists.

In 1896 when the Adventist missionary D. A. Robinson advertised his meetings in a nearby hall, Kheroda and a few other girls were allowed to attend but were warned against imbibing Adventist doctrines. Kheroda thrilled to hear about the Second Advent and absorbed all the teachings from the Bible. When she asked the Adventists whether they had any work for her, she was welcomed to teach at the school they were opening. The Baptists were reluctant to let Kheroda go, but eventually, they accompanied her to the Adventists and gave a “recommendation.” Thus, Kheroda joined Georgia Burrus in teaching at the first Adventist school. Elder Robinson continued to teach her about the Sabbath, the judgment, and many other truths from the Bible, and soon she was baptized into the Adventist Church.

When Dr. O. G. Place opened his treatment rooms, Kheroda trained as a nurse and joined the sanitarium at Esplanade Street in Calcutta. She continued working with Drs. Robert and Olive Ingersoll. When the sanitarium closed, she worked with Mrs. J. H. Reagan at the treatment rooms at 50 Park Street. After her retirement, she went house to house, visiting women shut in zenanas (zenana in India is part of a house for the seclusion of women). She attended the church in Calcutta as long as she could. Kheroda Bose passed away on February 22, 1948. A love for Jesus and a personal relationship with Him marked her witness throughout her life of service.

1. Sir Gibbs Salika

Current Chief Justice of Papua New Guinea and the country’s longest-serving judge.

Photo credit: Adventist News Service.

In 2018, Sir Gibbs Salika, a member of Hohola Adventist Church in Port Moresby, was named chief justice of Papua New Guinea (PNG). His appointment lasts 10 years. “Justice Salika is the longest-serving judge of the National and Supreme Courts and will be a strong and independent Chief Justice of Papua New Guinea,” said PNG Prime Minister Peter O’Neill. “I congratulate Justice Salika on his appointment and I am confident he will provide the sound leadership required of the Chief Justice.” In 2021, he recused himself from an appeal before the court to avoid the appearance of bias because one of the parties involved had approached his wife while she was shopping to have a cup of coffee and talk. Gibbs once stated, “A conscience is the voice in your head and that feeling in your heart that tells you if something is wrong or right even if no one is looking.”


Alexander Carpenter is the executive editor of Spectrum.

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