This month, for the first time in recent history, every conference in Australia and New Zealand united to distribute Hope for Troubled Times, a missional sharing book written by Adventist evangelist Pastor Mark Finley.
Conferences and local churches had the option of distributing the book at any time during the month of May or specifically handing it out on May 15, which was designated as Impact Day. Fifty-five thousand copies of the book were preordered at a bulk price and printed especially for this occasion. The churches and conferences soon ran out of books to hand out and requested a second print run of 18,000 books.
“We chose to organise Impact Day/Month because we believe in Total Member Involvement—that every member of the Adventist Church can get involved in sharing Jesus,” said Brenton Lowe, Literature Ministry coordinator for Australia and New Zealand.
“I was privileged to join Hillview Seventh-day Adventist Church (northern NSW) in their distribution, organised by their local church literature champion. It was wonderful to see families involved together in intergenerational mission. There was joy on the children’s faces as they realised how easy it was to share hope by giving this book to others!”
Hillview was just one of many churches across Australia and New Zealand which organised special programs to distribute Hope for Troubled Times.
According to reports received from conferences, 59 churches in the South Queensland Conference (SQC) and 33 churches in the Western Australian Conference were involved in distribution.
“It’s exciting to be able to work together in mission with our Literature Ministry and local churches across South Queensland to speak and share such a timely message of hope into our community,” said SQC Personal Ministries director Pastor Greg Pratt. “The simplicity and relevant cover of Hope for Troubled Times also made it attractive and easy to share with friends and neighbours.”
“Some churches had a book table in which members were encouraged to take a handful of books and share them with friends and neighbours during the week. Other churches handed out books and invited people to vegetarian cooking classes,” said Mr Lowe.
“In the North New Zealand Conference, the New Plymouth, Palmerston North and Whanau churches handed out around 450 books and have made Sabbath afternoon canvassing a regular part of their church program.”
He notes that some churches missed out on the opportunity to be part of the movement this year but will have the chance to do so in the future. There are already plans to make Impact Day/Month an annual event, focusing on a different sharing book each year.
Meeting someone special
Joining the distribution organised by Hillview Adventist Church, Mr Lowe visited a few homes along with his son Daniel and Hillview church member Marty Stafford. “I believe that when challenging times happen, God has someone special for us to meet if we are faithful in continuing with His plans,” he said.
After handing out several books, the trio decided to head back to church for a debrief and closing Sabbath.
“As we started driving off, I felt impressed that we should do one more house. Marty stopped, and we soon knew why.”
Daniel handed the book to a lady at the house, offering it as a gift. “We started chatting with the lady about life, before Marty asked if she would like to come to church. She paused and said she was raised Baptist and Anglican and would like to go to the Adventist church but didn’t know anyone.”
She continued telling them how her car came back from a service with the radio tuned into Faith FM. “Then when she was home, she was listening to the secular radio station when miraculously, it changed to Faith FM,” said Mr Lowe.
Enjoying what she was hearing, she wanted to connect with the Adventist church.
“She saw our visit as another of God’s leading in her life. After we prayed together, we left, promising to keep in touch as she requested.”