Now Is the Time
Share It With the World
By Ted N. C. Wilson
On Sabbath, March 24, 2012, I had the wonderful privilege of working side by side with our brothers and sisters in Brazil, hand-delivering copies of The Great Hope (a portion of The Great Controversy) to the warm and gracious people of São Paulo.
Weeks of careful planning led up to this special event. Books were ordered, grids were plotted on maps of the entire city, and training was given. When distribution day arrived, everyone knew what to do and where to go. The results were astounding. In one day, by the grace of God, about 26 million copies of The Great Hope were distributed throughout South America—3 million in São Paulo itself.
But that’s just the beginning. Over the next two years church members in the South American Division have committed to distributing about 70 million copies of this powerful book across the continent. They are already seeing amazing results.
In the city of Juiz de Fora one Sabbath afternoon a Baptist man received a copy of The Great Hope. By Sunday evening he had read the entire book, visited the nearest Seventh-day Adventist church, and asked the pastor to be baptized! Imagine what would have happened if no one had given him the book.
A Unique Book
The distribution of The Great Hope by the South American Division is a prime example of the many world divisions that are planning, or have already begun, to distribute The Great Controversy in its classic or abridged versions. The devil did not want Ellen White to write The Great Controversy, and in fact tried to kill her as she was in the process of writing it. But she, through God’s power, persevered, and stated that this book, above all other books, is the one she wanted circulated the most.
Why is that? Because The Great Controversy graphically portrays the progress of God’s work from the beginning of the Christian church, down through our time and into the very last days before Christ’s coming. Clearly the devil does not want people to be alerted to how he works and to know the importance of the Word of God as our foundation for life. The Great Controversypowerfully portrays Satan’s diabolical efforts to draw attention away from the Word of God and the precious message of salvation that Christ offers to all of us.
The Great Controversy portrays Satan’s diabolical efforts to draw attention away from the precious message of salvation that Christ offers to all of us.
This book has been the source of countless conversion experiences, and that’s one of the most important reasons we need to share it. It is also one of the main reasons the devil doesn’t want it to get out.
Witch Doctor Converted
Even witch doctors have accepted Jesus Christ as their Savior after reading The Great Controversy. A few years ago a Seventh-day Adventist evangelist went to a small hillside village in northeast India to present the message of Christ to the people there. The local witch doctor was furious and repeatedly pronounced death threats on the Adventist pastor, who was praying for this man and visiting with him.
However, after five months the witch doctor became deathly ill. The evangelist visited him and explained that there was a battle raging between Christ’s angels and evil angels in his personal life, and left a copy of The Great Controversy with the witch doctor. One week later the evangelist returned and found that the man had not only read the book, but already changed his lifestyle. He was smiling and invited the evangelist to share a meal. They prayed together, and within a month the man began throwing away all of his witchcraft tools. The evangelist came regularly, studying the Bible with this dear man and his family, and they were all baptized into the Seventh-day Adventist Church. When the villagers came for healing, the former witch doctor shared with them the truths he had learned from reading The Great Controversy, and explained that he had accepted Jesus as his Savior.
My firm conviction is that there will be thousands and thousands of highly committed Christians who will become members through the Great Controversy Project and their contact with Seventh-day Adventist believers.
Strong Lay Support
Divisions around the world are supporting this project, and many in an extremely dynamic way. The church worldwide has committed to distributing approximately 175 million copies of various versions of The Great Controversy during 2012 and 2013. This is the work of the Holy Spirit! In addition, this project has caught the attention and excitement of local church members, who are strongly promoting the book.
In Nigeria 12 dedicated lay members decided to print enough copies of The Great Controversy to reach 10 percent of the Nigerian population, making their goal 16.7 million copies. This project came as a wonderful surprise to the West-Central Africa Division, as they had set 12 million books for their division goal.
A businessman in Indonesia volunteered to print a half million copies of the classic version ofThe Great Controversy in the Indonesian language (a cost of US$1.5 million), and challenged other businesspeople to sponsor more books. His challenge was immediately met by another lay couple who agreed to print an additional 20,000 copies for distribution in that country.
In the United States the 40-member church in Konnarock, Virginia, is impacting their area in a big way. Although most of the members are on small, fixed incomes, they are faithfully supporting the Great Controversy Project. Teaming up with two other Adventist churches in Wytheville and Marion, they have so far distributed nearly 48,000 copies of this life-changing book, and are hoping to eventually reach the entire state of Virginia.
When Catastrophe Becomes Opportunity
In Peru, one Adventist family had the special opportunity to share The Great Hope with millions of viewers during a live interview on national television. The Paredes family were on board the ship Costa Concordia when it ran aground on January 13, 2012.
To save their lives, the family jumped into the cold water, where they waited almost 40 minutes to be rescued. The father said that his family was able to stay calm in the midst of the crisis because of their hope in Jesus and His promises of eternal life. At the end of the interview Paredes used the opportunity to talk about The Great Hope and explained that the Seventh-day Adventist Church offers this book as a gift to people who want to learn more about God and His love for us.
This book contains contact information for requesting the complete classic edition of The Great Controversy, as well as Bible lessons and other materials.
An Opportunity for Everyone
Let me offer a special word of encouragement to those who would like to be part of this project, but aren’t sure how to go about it.
First, get some copies of The Great Controversy and have them close to you in the car or house. Keep one in your briefcase or somewhere near. Second, earnestly pray, “Lord, You told Ellen White that this book was to be circulated more than any other book. I’m an extension of that, but I don’t know whom I should give it to, or how it should be given. In the next 24 hours, open for me an opportunity to help someone to receive this book. I don’t know who or how—a family member? a neighbor? Just give me the opportunity and tell me to give it.”
Then believe that the Lord is going to open an opportunity. When you give it, give it with the most gracious love and concern for people you’ve ever had. The Lord will create the opportunity; this is His work. He’s responsible for opening these doors, so let’s be awake enough to see that the door is open.
As people around the world in every division go out to share these books, we ask that you pray that the Holy Spirit will block any effort on the part of the devil to keep people from reading it. The Great Controversy portrays the hand of God’s intervention to protect His church through the ages in such a remarkable way that readers cannot help being melted by God’s incredible proactive approach toward each of us, and the ultimate triumph of righteousness and truth.
The results from this project, through God’s direct blessing, are going to be phenomenal. And they ought to be. We are living in the critical period just before the final events that the book itself portrays, events that are grounded in the prophecies of Daniel and Revelation. How important it is for us to get this message out, and to believe it ourselves. Jesus is coming soon!
Ted N. C. Wilson is president of the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists.