Finishing Strong - Final Program Update 2020
We’ll watch and we’ll pray, with our lamps trimmed and burning;
We’ll work and we’ll wait till the Master’s returning;
We’ll sing and rejoice, every omen discerning
But we know not the hour.
We’ve come to the end of our first 10-week canvassing program. It’s been a trip with many busy moments for the team, but it’s safe to say it’s been a real blessing for all.
We spent our last full week of canvassing in the Craigieburn area filled with prayer. We prayed that we may see 20 Great Controversy’s out one day, we saw 31. The next day we prayed for 40, we saw 43. On our last full day of canvassing, we prayed for 50, and God answered our prayer with an incredible 79 Great Controversy’s out! Prayer truly is powerful!
That weekend was spent at AYC where we were able to see many young people with a passion for God’s work. We heard messages from the many speakers there inspiring us to fully surrender every inch of our lives to God and to live more boldly for Him. The Eastward team also held a booth there sharing our books and sharing music and canvassing videos.
Our final week together was a time of rest and relaxation for the team. We canvassed two afternoons on Monday and Tuesday in the Warburton and Healesville area, and spent some time out in nature together swimming at the Sequoia Forest. An exciting project we were working on was learning 12 of our favourite hymns that we sing as a team to record for a future music CD. We drove back out to Craigieburn church on Sabbath to take the service and share with the congregation the testimonies from the work we did in their area, and then back to Warburton church for an afternoon concert where we sang the songs we had been practicing all week.
It’s always a bittersweet time when we come to the end of our programs after spending so much time together as a team and family. Looking back on our time together, I can’t help but feel blessed for being able to be a part of a team filled with young people who are working together for the Lord. Seeing the amount of books, and hearing the many divine appointments from the past 10-weeks makes me more excited for what heaven will bring.
Be inspired by a few extra testimonies from our final two weeks together!
27 young canvassers out on the doors on our last full day canvassing!
Andy put me on a block where there were two strips of houses, with a lane in the middle where there were the garages of the homes.
So, while I was canvassing around there, I met a boy who was probably about 16. He just started telling me all this overwhelming stuff. He had a court case the very next day where he was up against one of his previous girlfriends. He’s just moved from his dad’s place to stay with his mum. When he was with his dad, he didn’t care what he got up to, so now he’s staying with his mum. He was also struggling with depression from what he’s been through.
I showed him what we were doing, he didn’t open any of the books I was showing him. But he told me he and his current girlfriend are Christians. He explained how he used to go to church and his background in that. I just spoke with them for a while and was encouraging them.
“Can I pray with you for your court case tomorrow,” I asked him.
“Yeah, yeah definitely!” He answered, he looked so happy when I asked.
I prayed with them and finished up. After I had left, I realised I had forgotten to survey him. I was feeling guilty, I was thinking of what I should have done differently.
So, I went back and rang the doorbell, and it sounded through the house, but no one answered. I was feeling sad, but I continued on.
“No, I need to try one more time,” I thought, the regret hadn’t left me.
So, I went back again and knocked. No one came. I left a flier to the Craigieburn Seventh-Day Adventist church because the girlfriend had asked after I prayed with them what church I attended, so I hoped God would bless the little flier and remind them of our chat and prayer.
I continued canvassing around the block, and I continued to feel the conviction upon my heart that I may have neglected to do my duty, so, I stopped and prayed that God would make up for my deficiency.
After praying, I took a few more steps and looked down the lane, and one of the garages were open and there were two people inside.
It was them!
They were out the back giving their dog a wash.
“I’m so glad I met you two before,” I told them, “I forgot to do a survey with you.”
They were interested in so many things on the survey. They signed up for, healthy cooking demonstrations, stop smoking seminars, depression and anxiety recovery programs, prophecy seminars and Bible studies!
I’m really glad because I had just prayed and then took a few more steps and they were right there! It was a real answer to prayer!
Book stats from the past 10 weeks
- 927 Wholesome Homemade
- 919 The Great Controversy (Including 432 small editions)
- 411 Peace Above the Storm
- 196 Health and Peace
- 114 Lessons of Love
- 5052 Path to Peace
At the end of the program, we've seen 2361 magabooks go out on the doors, with 1649 of them being message books.
I was canvassing with Fayisa and we were doing businesses. We had already had a pretty good morning; we’d gotten lots of books out.
We came up to one business that did temporary accommodation for those who don’t currently have a home. As soon as we entered the business a man comes up to see us.
“Hi, my name’s MaryAnne and this is my friend Fayisa,” I said.
“Stop right there,” he said, “are you guys Seventh-day Adventists?”
“Yes! How did you know?”
“The Holy Spirit,” he answered, “I could just feel it.”
We were about to canvass him, but he had to go see a client first, so we waited for him to finish. We showed him all the books, and he was interested in all of them.
He especially wanted Wholesome Homemade because he wanted to lose weight and Peace Above the Storm for his wife.
He went and grabbed a donation for those two books, but it was more than enough to cover the other books as well. I told him this and showed him all the books again.
He ended up getting The Great Controversy, Health and Peace, Lessons of Love and a music DVD.
“What you’re doing is really great,” he told us at the end, “I’m going to be praying for you.”
It was really nice.
On the first door this morning I met a country man. He was really laid back, he listened to everything I said and wanted Wholesome Homemade and The Great Controversy. I showed him the survey, and when he saw ‘prophecy seminars’ he started opening up to me.
“I’ve done Bible studies with a few different religions in the past,” he told me, “I just haven’t found any answers. They don’t sit right with me.”
I spent some time trying to answer his questions. We talked about the origin of sin, and what God’s plan for us is.
It was interesting, when I would give him an answer, he didn’t have anything else to say, he seemed to be really thinking on it.
“I really want to encourage you to keep searching it out for yourself,” I told him, “there’s more people out there like myself who just want to help you and bring you to Christ.”
I ended up praying with him. The Lord impressed me just to pray that he finds his way back to the church.
We’ve got his contact now as well; he was interested in the stop smoking programs.
Hopefully he can continue his walk with Christ, and one day we might see him again on that sea of glass.
Praise the Lord.
The canvassing team in Maryborough with Pr Marius
I came up to a lady’s door, she was from Zimbabwe. I showed her Wholesome Homemade and Peace Above the Storm.
“I’m not actually from here,” she told me, “I’m from Queensland.”
“I am too!”
I showed her all the books, and she loved them all. We started talking a little bit, she’s a Christian. I pulled out the survey for her.
“Can I put my Queensland address here,” she asked me.
“Yeah that’s fine,” I answered.
She ticked correspondence Bible studies and kid’s programs. It was a great experience!
Enjoying the messages at AYC
I was at the last door of a retirement village I was in, and I was just feeling really happy, I was singing. A lady opened the door.
“You’re smiling!” she said as soon as she saw me.
“I’m feeling pretty good!” I tell her.
She invited me inside. She was about 90 years old, she had no walker and she seemed to be doing really well.
“Wait,” she said, “is this religious?”
“The books are religious,” I explained, “they’ve been a huge blessing in my life and I just want to share that. I’ve got a healthy cookbook as well.”
When I sat down with her, I found out she was a talker. She began to tell me her life story. She was sharing with me along the lines of religion, she told me she’s not into religion at all. Her daughter is into the mystic side of things. She’s had two husbands. Her last husband passed away, but she still misses him, and her daughter keeps telling her she’s going to see him again. She felt a bit confused about that, but she was finding comfort in it. I kept it in my mind to maybe bring it up again later with her.
She had her time of sharing, and then I had an opportunity. So, I shared with her a couple of the books, and then I shared what God’s done in my life, just by reading through His word and trying to apply it to my life and how He’s changed so many things. She was just listening intently while I was speaking.
She shared with me how she watches a big singing group every Sunday.
“I just love singing hymns,” she told me.
“Would you like to sing a hymn together?” I asked.
She said yes, and I asked her what her favourite hymn was. She couldn’t choose one, so I asked her if she knew How Great Thou Art. We sang that together; I’ve never had anything like that before, I can’t even describe it. She was singing, and her voice was wavery and teary, but it was beautiful, you could really feel God was right there.
After I showed her The Great Controversy, it was amazing, she was open to the book. I showed her the last couple of chapters, I also shared God’s word, and the hope we have as Adventists.
“Jesus is coming soon, and God has provided everything we need to be prepared,” I was sharing with her, “I want you to be prepared as well.”
She got money out of her purse and she bought Wholesome Homemade and The Great Controversy.
“I’ve gained such a blessing!” she told me.
It was an awesome experience! Praise God for that!
Book in the hand
Serah and I were doing businesses together. We were both kind of nervous because we had forgotten how to canvass a business, and for some reason we had also forgotten to pray. So, we went to the first business and canvassed badly.
“That was a really bad canvass,” I told her after we came out of the shop. She agreed so we decided to change the canvass a bit.
We went to the next business, but again it didn’t work.
“We need to pray,” we both thought when we came out of the business. So, we stood in front of the next store and we prayed, and also asked Andy to pray for us as well.
We went into the next business and the lady inside bought Wholesome Homemade and also got a small Great Controversy. At the next door as well we got something else; it just continued like this until we reached a pizza store.
We passed the store, looked inside and thought it looked too busy, so we continued to the next store.
“Let’s go back,” I said to Serah after the next store was closed, “we have nothing to lose even if they look busy.”
We went inside and showed one of the men The Great Controversy, but he told us he couldn’t decide because he wasn’t the boss. So, we asked for a donation. One of the workers went to get a donation from his car.
“You can take anything you want from the fridge for free,” the other worker told us while we were waiting for the man to come back with a donation, “do you guys want a pizza?”
“Ah, I mean, I guess, are you sure?” I said.
“Yeah, I’ll start making one for you right now,” he said.
When the other worker came in with a donation, he wanted The Great Controversy, so he bought the big book, and we gave the man making us the pizza a small copy of the same book.
Praise God! It was a testament that prayers really work wonders!
The team (from left to right):
Top row: Geoffrey, Michael, Joshua, Andy, Tim, Matthew, Bailey, Jylan, Emmanuel
Bottom row: Kasey, Kayla, Julie, Melissa, MaryAnne, Gladys, Abby, Georgia. Grace, Serah, Kellie, Jessica, Rachael
With a brand new year ahead of us, and each of us going our seperate ways, it's exciting to think about the different ways we're going to be working for our Master. Although we may not be together canvassing anymore, please continue to pray for these young people as they go back and minister at home.