ESPAÑOLA, N.M. – On a sunny, yet chilly Sabbath afternoon this past spring, my family and I were heading home after the church service. Although we were tired and hungry, we opted to take the longer route home that would take us through the beautiful San Juan mountains and through a small town called Peñasco. What I did not know is that God had a divine appointment for us on that alternate route.
While driving through Peñasco, my wife witnessed a man falling from his electric scooter outside his home. We quickly turned the car around to help the man who was still on the ground struggling to recover.
After helping the man, I learned his name was Michael Garcia. We had a wonderful conversation and agreed to meet again and hopefully have the opportunity to share the Gospel with him and his family.
As I drove home, I began to realize how God had directed us on that path. I believe God guided each decision that led us to Michael, the same way He led Philip to the Ethiopian eunuch in Acts 8:26-39.
I continued to think of that as I made my way to the Española Valley Bilingual Seventh-day Adventist Church that same afternoon. While holding a meeting about our next outreach event, it became very clear to me that in order to have success in this event, the Spirit of the Lord would have to guide the process the way He had directed me earlier. That afternoon the church approved an outreach activity that moved us away from the usual practice of going door-to-door to hand out literature or offer Bible studies. We started the Española “book challenge,” which consists of a few simple steps.
1. Members, together with their families, pray and ask God to bring to mind a person that would be blessed to receive a book from a collection of Christ-centered books provided by the church. The books cover different topics such as health and prophecy, as well as spiritual encouragement and emotional well-being.
2. The members pray for the person receiving the book and dedicate the book with a personal, thoughtful and encouraging thought.
3. On a designated Sabbath, the books are distributed throughout the day and only on that day.
4. After distributing the books, the church family gathers for a praise and thanksgiving service.
So far, this activity has encouraged members to be intentional with sharing the gospel with those they know and has motivated many who typically do not engage in outreach. We have also seen many people rejoice because someone is thinking of them.
I am not pretending to think that this is an innovative or revolutionary evangelistic method, it is not. It is simple. However, when I look at God’s Word, it also presents simple yet powerful methods for us to reach others. God is calling His church to mobilize and do something, anything for His cause. As long as we are guided by His grace and Spirit, He will lead us to souls that are thirsting for the good news of a Savior who died, was resurrected and is coming soon to save them.
I have no doubt that as a result of this book challenge, we will soon start to witness lives changing because we are allowing God to lead us. I give all the glory and honor to God because His Spirit is the only one that can lead us to the Michaels of this world. May the Lord bless you and may He encourage you to start your own book challenge, or do something simple and intentional to share His love.
Jerry Pinzon, Pastor