Outreach: Signs of Hope

My wife, Joy, and I were on our way to visit what was left of a very nice family. The two teenage sons had very dedicated parents who wanted the best for them, so they encouraged them to join Light America Youth Challenge last summer. The teens were deployed to New York City to be part of a group of 40 students who were doing home visitation, felt needs surveys, enrolling people in Bible studies, sharing Christian books, and praying with people. This was a real learning experience, and they both received modest scholarships.

However, a couple of weeks ago their dad awoke in the night coughing up blood. The ambulance was called, and he was rushed from one hospital to another. He received the best help the medical system could provide. Nevertheless, he passed away a few days later.

When the news reached us, we could hardly believe the report. We tried to call the family, but no one answered and their answering machine was full. We determined to go visit this broken family to let them know that we cared.

As we were driving down the interstate, one of the young men returned our call. I pulled to the side of the road and stopped the car, so Joy and I could talk and not be distracted. We talked with him a little and then with his mother. She suggested that Sunday would be a better time for us to visit and was pleased when we asked if we could pray over the phone.

Poor Timing?

Suddenly a car with bright lights came racing up behind us! Blue and red lights were flashing. We wondered what we had done wrong. The police officer asked if we needed help. I explained that I was a pastor and that we were on our way to visit some friends whose dad had just passed away. However, as we were driving, the son had returned our call. So we had pulled over to talk on the phone. 

The officer asked what church we go to. I answered and offered him a copy of the new book for sharing, Signs of Hope. He gladly accepted the book and his tone changed. He said he was sorry about the death of our friend. He told us that he comes from a long line of police officers and doesn’t have much trust in people or what they say. He paused and then reached into our vehicle and shook our hands. He said, “God bless you.” He thanked us again for the book and returned to his car.

Signs of Hope, by Alejandro Bullon, helps people prepare to meet Christ in peace. This book is a good choice for members wanting to fulfill the goals of community outreach.

We Still Wonder

  • Why had we received our young friend’s phone call after getting on the interstate? 
  • Why had we stopped to talk on the phone? 
  • Why did our paths cross with that police officer?  

We thought: God must really want people to have this book! He even impressed a police officer to stop us in order to get a copy!

The Spirit of Prophecy says, “Our literature is to be distributed everywhere. The truth is to be sown beside all waters; for we know not which will prosper, this, or that. In our erring judgment we may think it unwise to give literature to the very ones who would accept the truth the most readily. We know not what may be the results of giving away a leaflet [or book] containing present truth” (Colporteur Ministry, pp. 4, 5).

More hands are needed to share publications that will help people (even police officers) prepare for Jesus’ soon return.

Dale Thomas
© 2014 General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists