Canvassing Road Trip: Northam to Port Lincoln
Week 1 - the trip so far
Albany to Northam, WA
The Tarago and trailer were fully loaded when we drove out of Albany, WA - the location for D'Sozo Camp WA 2017. Camp had run from October 1-8. Blessings from throughout the time were easy to list! God kept rainy weather and sickness at bay, and convicted many youth to seek a more meaningful, active experience with Him.
We drove 5 hours or 450 km to Northam (east of Perth) after camp finished on the 8th. Living in Northam were a family who'd attended D'Sozo Camp. They invited us to stay with them and canvass around town for a few days. Some on the team made the most of a home base and good internet to catch up with study commitments.
Our team canvassed for 7 hours over a few days, leaving 29 large message books and 97 small Steps to Christ with the locals!
East to Port Lincoln, SA
Early Thursday morning (3 AM to be exact) we departed for Port Lincoln, South Australia - 18 hours or 1,800 km away. This route took us through Coolgardie, once the third largest town in Western Australia during the 1890s gold rush. Further east, we stopped to investigate Cocklebiddy Cave on the Nullarbor Plain. The distant noise of ocean waves helped us fall asleep that night; our camp site was just off the highway but within a couple of kilometres from the ocean.
Another pre-dawn start saw us arrive in Ceduna late Friday morning to spend a couple of hours canvassing around the town. Our team was on the road again at lunchtime. 400 km away, Port Lincoln held the promise of hot showers and a (church) roof over our heads. By 5:30 PM Friday another quick drive across half of Australia was complete!
Everybody enjoyed showers at a leisure centre in Port Lincoln before heading over to Pr Mark Wilson's place. Pr Mark and his wife Sue gave us a warm welcome and delicious dinner. We opened Sabbath together.
Next morning during Sabbath School, the team briefly explained Eastward Missions' work and shared canvassing testimonies from earlier in the week. That afternoon we visited Whalers Way to explore some of South Australia's amazing coastline. As Job 26:10 says, "He hath compassed the waters with bounds, until the day and night come to an end." Sabbath was a restful finish to a busy week...
I was on my first street for the day and met a little boy who opened the door. His older, high school age brother came to the door too. Okay, I thought, let's do a quick canvass here. I showed them Wholesome Homemade. They both loved cooking because their dad did a lot of cooking.
The teenage boy said he liked reading Harry Potter and Egyptian history and all this other stuff. I canvassed him The Great Controversy and he was so interested! We actually talked a fair bit about history.
"This is going to help with my assignments," he said.
He had no money for a donation and I didn't have a small give away copy of The Great Controversy. Knowing God would provide, I left him with our full size Great Controversy. This teenager was hugging the book before I left and said he'd definitely read it.
This afternoon I met a man named Ivan. I canvassed Wholesome Homemade, moved onto Health and Peace then asked what he liked to read.
"The Bible," he said.
I pull out Lessons of Love.
"This book goes through the parables of Jesus," I tell him. "Have you read the parables before?"
Ivan explained how some of the parables were hard for him to understand. He was quite excited - hugging the book!
Money was a problem but I was happy to leave Lessons of Love with him. He was going to start reading it straight away. We chatted for ages and had an encouraging conversation about Christianity and reading the Bible.
I canvassed one guy on Wholesome Homemade.
"Oh, I don't really need any of this kind of thing, so I'll just give a donation," he said.
He didn't find any cash after looking so couldn't make a donation. I kept going to the next door.
The next man was kind of interested in the cookbook, but decided just to make a small donation instead. He went inside then came out again.
"How much was that cookbook again?"
I told him from $20-30. He gave me $20 and took Wholesome Homemade and a Path to Peace. I walked away from his house. Right away, the guy from the previous door called me over.
"My wife just came back with some money so here's $20 for the cookbook!" he exclaimed.
I gave him another Wholesome Homemade and Path to Peace. After that I was totally out of cookbooks.
I was canvassing today with Matt and arrived at the last house on our road. We knocked twice and called out once but nobody answered. We were about to leave but decided to knock again and yell a little louder.
Soon after we saw a lady slowly coming to the door. She poked her head around, saw us, and got a massive fright! The lady told us that criminals were out to get her because she writes journals on criminal gang activity.
As soon as she'd recovered from the fright I canvassed her on Wholesome Homemade.
"I'm too old for that," she told us.
I moved into reading books and showed Peace Above the Storm, explaining how it deals with finding freedom from worry, guilt and fear. That book triggered almost half an hour of conversation. She first told us about her life, then we began talking about the entertainment industry: Movies, music, and how media influences kids today. Speaking about entertainment we flowed into spiritualism - and I introduced the most relevant book.
"The Great Controversy will give you more information about what we've talked about," I said.
Our door contact kept on talking though! I brought her back to the Great Controversy and offered to leave it with her if money was a problem. The lady said she didn't really want to take the book off us.
I decided to push harder. The encounter and conversation with this lady seemed like a divine appointment to me...
"I think God brought us to your door today," I explained.
"Are you sure?" she asked. "I'll only take the book if I can pay you."
She ducked inside and came back with $15 from her purse, then took The Great Controversy from our hands.
This was exciting because I'd been talking about responsibility towards God and how everything started; the origin of sin and evil! The lady was in her late fifties or early sixties.
I was working a row of units, doing random doors here and there as people come out to see who was knocking. Dogs were barking pretty loudly. One guy came to his door and said I could meet his dog, Misty. I showed him The Great Controversy.
"I've read that book," he said. "I used to be a Seventh-day Adventist!"
"What happened?" I wanted to find out.
"Sit down. Can you sit next to me on the step? I've got to talk with you about this."
He was obviously really hurting about something.
"I don't normally open the door to anyone," he told me. "For some reason something made me open it today and come out to talk. I can just see a glow in you. God is in you!"
The man proceeded to tell me his story of leaving the church. It was messy. His marriage had broken up.
"Are you happy with all that?" I asked him.
"I'm okay with where I'm at now. I would've told you to go away before but I wanted to talk with you. I knew I needed to. I'm going to tell you to go away now - but come back in the morning. Bring some of your friends."
"Sure," I said. I hadn't been quite sure of what to say but was sitting there trying to empathise with him.
The man hesitantly took a Path to Peace. I prayed with him at the end of our conversation. He reckons he still believes, loves and trusts God - but not an organisation or church.
The next morning, Julie, Tim and myself spent about an hour with him and Misty. We went through practical things that might help with addictions he was struggling with. He was very grateful for our encouragement to keep seeking God and believing in the power of prayer. Having already met the local pastor we offered to pass on his details for a catch up. The man agreed to "give him a try."
Praise God for the Holy Spirit's work on his heart the day before in bringing him to the door...