My Ministry: Bendigo market stall

The little market stall that could.

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Fourteen years ago, Gillian Taylor was convinced of two things: first, she wanted to become a Seventh-day Adventist, and second, God was calling her to run a stall at her local Sunday markets, distributing Christian material. Gillian began attending the Bendigo Seventh-day Adventist Church (Vic), but didn’t think she knew enough to talk to strangers about the Bible. The market stall became a distant memory. Until, that is, she lived in South Africa for two years. While there, Gillian learned to share her faith, helping a group of people from her church who ran a market stall with literature. Upon her return to Australia, Gillian once again felt pressed to run a Sunday market stall.

One Sabbath, Gillian shared her strong conviction with Marilyn McIntyre, a fellow church member. Marilyn was surprised at Gillian’s call—she’d been thinking the same thing for some time—but felt she had too many other commitments.

But God didn’t give up. In July last year, Gillian and Marilyn paid for a stall at the local Sunday markets in Bendigo, purchased some books and DVDs, and gathered Try Jesus cards, old Signs of the Times magazines and GLOW tracts from their church.

“The stall has been operating every week since last July,” says Marilyn. “And although we put prices on most of the books and DVDs, we have probably only sold about $A200 worth of literature, which goes to replenishing our stock.”

The reason for the small income, however, is not due to a lack of interest.
“If we see that someone is browsing and seems a little interested, we’ll offer them a book or a DVD for free,” Marilyn says. “And they’ll usually take it home—I’m sure it’s because they see the price on the front and feel as though they’re getting a bargain!”

In this way, although Gillian and Marilyn may not have sold a lot, they’ve given away hundreds of books, DVDs and Adventist literature, and as a result, have hundreds of stories to tell.

“People have often commented that they felt drawn to our stall,” Marilyn says.

One young man stated emphatically to the women that he didn’t believe in God, but keeps returning and taking spiritual literature with him. Another fellow stall holder, a Wiccan, has built a relationship with Gillian and Marilyn, even taking books and allowing the women to pray for her.

One of the best moments, however, came a few weeks ago when the women noticed a $A10 DVD had been taken from their stall while they’d been occupied.

“We were so happy!” Marilyn says. “We praised God that someone wanted the DVD so much that they stole it. Our purpose is not to make money—it’s to sow seeds. And God is good to us. Just when we need it most, He provides donations for our stall.”

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