During this time of the COVID-19 pandemic, literature evangelists (LEs) face unusual challenges. But it is also a time of unusual opportunities. When it would seem that some doors are closing, it has proven to be a time when many hearts are opening. Each literature evangelist in our region has been counseled to follow the local ordinances where they live regarding COVID-19 protocol. As they have done so, they have found God is still able to work and open hearts. Keeping with social distancing practices, here are recent experiences from several LEs in the Southern Union Conference.
The Right Timing
Many of Tad Stauffer’s presentations are made on the porch of the house in order to remain at a safe distance. Most of his interests for his contacts were initiated by working three or four county fairs, and then visiting the 1,400-1,500 names obtained throughout the year. He recently followed up on one of these interests.
When Stauffer knocked on the door, a woman answered, but did not open the door. Instead, she lowered the glass of the storm door and talked to him through the screen. She explained that she was self-isolated because her husband had the coronavirus and was getting treatment. As Stauffer offered to come back later, he went to his car to get a Magabook entitled, Fighting Disease with Foods. He set it on the porch and offered to have a word of prayer for the woman and her husband. As he did, tears flowed down the woman’s face. When he was finished she declared, “God sent you just at the right time.”
Photos, Videos, and Zoom!
We have encouraged the literature evangelists to reconnect by phone with the thousands of people who purchased books in the past. Spiritual encouragement is the intent behind the phone call, and prayer is offered with families for their needs and protection. It is amazing how this opens hearts when their doors are closed to other visits.
Yvonne Pondexter, a Literature Evangelist in the Atlanta, Georgia, area, recently took up this method. She said, “I felt impressed that even though in my area I did not feel I could go door to door, I still needed to reach people for Jesus.” In search of finding various ways to reach her potential customers to view the books, Pondexter sent pictures or a short video she created. She has also presented the books via Zoom conference calls. Most of all, Pondexter continued to fervently pray. She was amazed how God opened hearts and impressed people with the need for the printed page. “In just a day and a half, more than $1,000 of truth-filled literature was ordered and relationships were redeveloped.”
Off the Book Shelf
In this day when people are not able to socialize in their regular ways, the printed page stands out as a witnessing tool. Many of the books that people have purchased in the past are now coming off the shelf as people seek to understand the times in which we live.
The woman who mailed in a card just a few weeks ago asking for information about health books, watched closely as Literature Evangelist, Patti Morris, showed her the materials. Suddenly, she interrupted with a question, “Are these Seventh-day Adventist books?”
“Yes, they are,” Morris replied.
“Well, about 20 years ago a person came to my home and I purchased a set of books called the Bible Reference Library by Ellen G. White.” The woman continued, “That woman was inspired. I loved the artwork, and the message was so beautiful. I found out those books were Seventh-day Adventist. And it is strange, but for the last few weeks I have been thinking I need to find out more about Adventists because maybe I need to become one. So I prayed, ‘Lord help me to find a Seventh-day Adventist.’”
“Today is your divine appointment,” Morris exclaimed. “I am an Adventist.”
God is still in control. Doors open and close, but God has His timing for reaching open hearts. And He is looking for people who want to be His messengers in these exciting last days!
— Keith Reid is associate publishing director for the Southern Union Conference, and Tim Leffew is publishing director for Georgia-Cumberland Conference.