Port Augusta - Week 3 Canvassing Report
Our team of eight left 167 full size message books with residents of Port Augusta, Whyalla, and Stirling North. Wherever possible we shared Path to Peace (Steps to Christ) - 537 copies in total.
- 75 The Great Controversy (including 17 small copies)
- 50 Health and Peace
- 46 Peace Above the Storm
- 13 Lessons of Love
Friday afternoon, October 20, found our two vans and one trailer again packed with supplies, suitcases, and people headed for Port Augusta. Half of the team had another great morning canvassing in Port Lincoln, while the others packed up, cooked, and cleaned. We said goodbye to our new friend, Pr Mark, and headed on our way.
Three and a half hours went past pleasantly. We arrived in Port Augusta to meet a kind, lovely family who opened their home to us. There was just enough time to squeeze in showers, unpack at the tiny church, finish odd jobs, and then welcome in the Sabbath.
In church the next morning we helped out with music, shared testimonies, and facilitated Sabbath School. The boys all had a short story snippet to read during the service (Nathan Tasker preached on the history of 1844 and early Adventists). Afterwards we mingled and got to know the people there. The small church group promised to pray for us and were keen about our canvassing work.
We had a wonderful time of fellowship afterwards with the Taskers and some of their friends — over lunch and the afternoon. "Iron sharpeneth iron" (Proverbs 27:17) is how I think of that afternoon. Many encouraging ideas were thrown around as to the most effective ways of sharing with those who don't know God; very relevant to our work.
For sunset most of us couldn't resist a hike up Devil's Peak, a beautiful way to end the Sabbath :)
Sunday found us sleeping in, catching up on jobs, and then heading off for another hike at Wilpena Pound, a nearby mountain range. Those of us who went were refreshed by the scenery, fresh air, exercise, and conversations had on the way up St Mary Peak.
Nathan Tasker preaching about 1844 and the Great Disappointment for early Adventists. Just in time for the 173rd anniversary on Sunday, October 22! Port Augusta Seventh-day Adventist Church.
Monday morning we canvassed around the church, then travelled a little further away after lunch. Sales were fairly slow. Little did we think that we'd have our highest day for books later on in the week, in the same area.
The team also spent a day in Whyalla (not too far away) which was a big blessing with many divine appointments!
On Wednesday, back in Port Augusta, we had an epic day. Books just wouldn't stop going out! In the afternoon Andy was canvassing a car park in town. The Taskers told us that night how their friend, newly Adventist from a Morman background, had seen Andy in the car park. She stopped with her two young boys and prayed for us! They'd seen us at church on Sabbath and were reminded to pray when they saw Andy...
This lady had been struggling to believe that God answered her prayers. The Taskers told her about having our highest day, and seeing how her prayer benefited our work helped to strengthen her faith. Prayer really works!
The Tasker children, Steven and Hannah, saw two of us canvassing across from their house and came out to talk. They ended up visiting a few houses with us. The next afternoon they came out again for a few hours and enjoyed the experience of joining in with the team :)
We sadly said our goodbyes on Thursday night after sharing testimonies and praising God for His goodness at the Tasker's place. Following more canvassing on Friday morning, the team packed and drove off towards a new adventure working around the Yorke Peninsula!
He liked to talk a lot and didn't let me talk much! I met this guy in the afternoon. The Great Controversy stood out to him as he looked through all the books. He was a healer and reckoned he could heal through your mind. The man compared his methods to Reiki and other spiritual healing practices.
"You're talking a lot about spiritual things, but do you believe in God?" I asked him.
"Yeah!" he said. "I definitely believe in God and talk with him all the time."
He told me about this new cure for cancer and a crystal map he'd brought in from the United States. The guy was holding all the books while he spoke, so I asked which ones interested him the most.
"My intuition is telling me to get this Controversy book," he said.
I prayed while he went to find money. If he brought back more than $20 I could leave one of the other books!
"Intuition told me that I needed to give you $25," he explained, coming back.
I explained how I'd just prayed to God about leaving more books for a larger donation. He was excited, and said it was really cool that I talked with God as well. The man took The Great Controversy and Peace Above the Storm for $25.
I walked away from the experience really grateful that he took the books, but thoughtful too. Do I listen to God enough?
Stephen [young boy from a local Adventist family] and I canvassed together this afternoon. We came to a set of units. I canvassed a woman the cookbook and she wasn't interested; doesn't cook.
She flipped through Health and Peace for a while. As soon as I showed Peace Above the Storm, saying it brings you closer to God, she handed me back Health and Peace and grabbed Peace.
"I think this is more my style," she said.
The lady recently made a decision to come back to God after marrying her husband and drifting away from God. That decision was a year and a half ago - and going well. She'd been trying churches; most recently attending the Morman church. Her issue was the fact that they weren't doing Bible studies.
"I want more of that," she told me in reference to Bible study.
This woman took Lessons of Love and Peace Above the Storm. Then I completed my first survey and she signed up for Bible studies too!
Counting donations after our last morning canvassing in Port Augusta.
This morning I had a long conversation with a guy; didn't think he'd even open the door at first!
He was interested in the cookbook. I showed him the other books and learnt he was Lutheran, so I started chatting about Martin Luther and the Protestant church. We had quite a good conversation. The man wasn't interested in Wholesome Homemade for himself, but he had $20 and wanted to get the book for some relatives.
He also talked about The Great Controversy, yet I don't think he read much. I asked him if he had any more money for the GC. He reached into his pocket and handed me a lot of coins. This guy doesn't attend church any more because during the week, church members are normal people who just put on their church suit on the weekend. He still checks up on his sick and elderly neighbours.
We were agreeing on a lot of points. I gave him a Path to Peace in addition to Wholesome Homemade and The Great Controversy he'd already taken.
The lady was in her mid-20s and staying at someone else's place. I showed her Wholesome Homemade and Peace Above the Storm, then asked her if she had a religious background.
"Not really," she said, adding that she was gay.
I think she believed that there is a God though. She donated $25 and I was able to leave her both books - Wholesome Homemade and Peace Above the Storm.
Giant mural under Joy Baluch AM Bridge, connecting Port Augusta to Port Augusta West.
I had some really good chats and conversations with people in the carpark and was able to challenge people on things.
Two pairs of German tourists were travelling around Australia. I didn't get to talk to the first couple for very long. Tim came to pick me up in the afternoon but I decided to stay on carparks. Afterwards, I met the second pair of Germans.
The couple was really friendly and had all the time in the world just chilling near their van. Deep thinkers. Easy to chat with. The girl, Louisa, was more open to God and things like that. The guy had good questions about God which I was able to answer.
"Believing in God is reasonable and something you'd want to do," I told him.
"Yeah, that makes sense," he said. "I've never heard it like that before."
Louisa had just gone vegan so they were really keen on the cookbook even though they were travelling around. I made them a deal: I'd leave Wholesome Homemade and they'd promise to read The Great Controversy.
I preached to them for a fair while, watching to see if they were losing interest, but no - they were interested the whole time.
Thinking of van life on the road, I told them about our friends in Port Augusta who'd be more than happy to have them over for showers. The couple were going to be around the area for a while.
"We have a lot of driving and thinking to do," the man told me. He really thanked me and said it'd been a pleasure to talk. It'd been their first decent conversation in Australia.
I had three blocks to do, weaving in and out. I ran out of houses on my third block. The only building left was a kindergarten. I don't really like businesses!
Okay God - I'll do it, I thought.
A lady opened the kindergarten gate. She was on her lunch break and invited me inside. We talked for a bit and I showed her Health and Peace, then Peace Above the Storm. She looked through them, then asked how much for both Peace Above the Storm and Wholesome Homemade.
"I don't think the kindy can afford it," she said at first.
"What about yourself, personally?" I asked.
She started getting into the idea and went to check how much cash she had. When the lady came back with $25 I told her it'd cover the books.
"I really need Peace," she told me. As I walked out the door she said, "Peace be to you!"
"Peace be to you," I said back to her in reply.
Matthew and Tim waiting for sunset on St Mary Peak, Wilpena Pound
There were two people home on my first block...
A young lady, Ashleigh, was coming out to smoke when I walked up to her door. She lit up and smoked while I showed the books. Ashleigh told me she had no religious background. While we were talking, an air conditioning service guy dropped round to check something out and interrupted us. Some people are a bit ashamed to talk about religion, but not this lady; she was asking me different questions as the guy walked past, and was happy to listen - which was really great!
I outlined the plan of salvation to her. Everything that God has done for us: Why the Gospel is good news, and why Jesus had to die.
"Isn't that mean, God sending his Son to die?" she asked me.
I explained everything to her which was really cool. At this point Ashleigh's baby inside woke up so she brought the little girl out. Right at the start of our conversation she told me that I'd got the wrong sibling because her brother would be into all the books. She'd tried to call him but he didn't pick up.
"Do you think you'd read Peace Above the Storm?" I queried, after she'd brought out the baby.
"Oh, why not - what have you got to lose?" she replied.
Ashleigh went on to tell me more about her brother. He was a hippy, did drugs, but believed in God.
"Do you think your brother would read The Great Controversy?" I asked.
She reckoned he would and took the GC in addition to Peace Above the Storm. I asked for a donation to cover costs and she gave me a bag of gold coins - about $12 worth. Then, I told her I'd come back with a Digma DVD.
An hour later I dropped back.
"I've just called my brother - he's home now," Ashleigh explained. "Just two streets up. He has a van with painting all over it."
I headed straight over to her brother's place and introduced myself.
"Do you want a bong or something?" the guy asked. His first question - and he had one in his hands.
"No, I'm good thanks mate," I said.
We had a great chat about heaps of things, including Creation and evolution. I explained about talking with his sister. Ashleigh had already visited to drop the books at his place (Peace Above the Storm and The Great Controversy). I left on a really good note. He was just a year older than me.
This afternoon I worked a little stretch of houses. Nobody came out when I knocked on the door, but a guy came from around the back to settle his barking dogs down. He was looking over the fence.
"Hello!" I said.
I canvassed Wholesome Homemade. He really liked cooking. Then I canvassed the reading books and he loved them too! First of all though I asked what he liked to read.
"Anything, and my Bible too," he said.
The guy was really interested in the reading books but didn't have money. He was on a pension - and money was coming tomorrow. He couldn't work because of bladder cancer.
I ended up leaving The Great Controversy for free. Five minutes later, I radioed Andy because I thought the man really needed a Health and Peace to get his body back in shape. Andy told me to give him a Path to Peace as well.
Back I went! He was overjoyed to get two more books - Health and Peace and Path to Peace. The man gave me a handful of coins - maybe about $4 - because he felt bad just taking the books. The Great Controversy and its Bible prophecy was especially exciting for him.
"Thank you," he couldn't stop saying.
As I left he was looking through the books.