Spending Valentine’s Day at a train station wouldn’t be an ideal date for most people but that’s exactly where a group of young people from Waitara Seventh-day Adventist Church (NSW) were, as they spent Valentine’s Day a little differently this year.
Starting on the Sunday morning of Valentine’s week, a small group from the church delivered 5000 flyers into letterboxes around their community. On the flyer was a simple invitation to join the church for worship on Saturday, as well as the Bible verses 1 Corinthians 13 and 1 John 4:8.
“We did something similar at Christmas and had some really exciting responses from people who received the invite in the mail and decide that they would come and visit the local church,” says Waitara youth leader Charissa Fong. “They say most people never go to church because no one ever invited them. We are praying that there will be someone out there who will be interested to come after receiving this warm invitation.”
Then on Tuesday (February 14), Valentine’s Day, the group handed out GLOW tracts with bright red hearts on them at Waitara and Hornsby train stations. From afternoon until evening, more than 1200 booklets were distributed to commuters in peak hour. The little tracts, titled, “A Life Saving Gift,” told a story, shared God’s love, and ultimately invited the reader to accept the new heart—life—that God offers to give.
“We found people were very happy to receive these tracts, and watched as they would put them into a back pocket, or a handbag, or read it straight away as they walked away,” says Charissa. “This was exciting to see, as these tracts are seeds for the Holy Spirit to water.
“I had one young man walk toward me but I wrote him off as not interested, judging by the look on his face. But when I held the booklet out to him, he took it, and walked into the station. Several minutes later, he came back and asked me if he could have another one for his friend! I think curiosity got the better of people as they saw the bright red heart on the tract and, after all, it was Valentine’s Day.”
Although many commuters took the booklets happily, one moment in particular stood out to Charissa.
"A tract about the love of God on a day when love is celebrated is the perfect way to reach out in an unobtrusive way to those around us."
“Where I was standing, there was also a florist trying to sell his roses to passers-by. When we got to the station, he received a tract and then we just stood side by side. But there were some quiet moments in between passing trains, and so we started to talk. I discovered he was a very educated man, helping his florist wife on Valentine’s Day, and a Christian. During the course of the afternoon, we talked about the second coming of Jesus, the book of Revelation and Creation. On all these subjects, he hadn’t really formulated any solid beliefs, so he would ask me what I thought, and I would tell him what the Bible said!
“It was a great conversation, and I’m confident that God will use this conversation to fuel some serious private study as he reflects on what we talked about. I plan on trying to connect with him again when I visit his wife’s shop.”
This Valentine’s Day, over 6000 people had the chance to know about God’s love thanks to the youth from Waitara Church, and Charissa says it would be great to see even more people jump on board with the idea next year.
“A tract about the love of God on a day when love is celebrated is the perfect way to reach out in an unobtrusive way to those around us,” she says. “We may never know, but the Holy Spirit will be able to work in the lives of people who would never have thought about God’s love, had we not given them an opportunity to read about it for themselves.”