Millions of Books Shared in One-Day Outreach
Before the start of a massive March 24 evangelistic outreach in São Paulo, Brazil’s largest city, Ted N. C. Wilson, General Conference president, had encouraging words: “Everyone can be part of God’s remnant church.”
SHARING HOPE: Adventist world church president Ted Wilson poses with a group of volunteers holding copies of The Great Hope, a sharing book based on church cofounder Ellen G. White’s classic, The Great Controversy. Wilson participated in a March 24 distribution of 4 million copies of the book in São PauloSpeaking to a congregation of 2,000 at the São Paulo Adventist University Center (UNASP) Church—with another 5,000 to 6,000 viewing a broadcast at other locations—Wilson said he planned to join thousands of church members that day in distributing what turned out to be 4 million copies of The Great Hope, an outreach book based on The Great Controversy, by Ellen G. White, a pioneering cofounder of the Seventh-day Adventist movement. A total of 25 million books are to be distributed throughout the South American Division in one day, he noted.
Officials in the South American Divisionemphasized that the March 24 effort is not an isolated venture. The following Sabbath, March 31, was a “friendship day” in which neighbors were invited to participate in an Adventist worship service and lunch with Adventist families. The goal of the “Impact Hope” campaign is to inspire Seventh-day Adventists in the South American Division to live a lifestyle of personal evangelism.
For his part, Wilson lauded the division’s massive one-day literature outreach, and said other world church divisions could benefit from similar programs.
“The beauty of all this is that it motivated the entire church on every socioeconomic level to participate in distributing the book to loved ones, friends, neighbors, and others,” Wilson wrote later in an e-mail message. “It got the church out into the community to meet the people, and the Holy Spirit blessed the efforts enormously. . . . It has shown that a single-event approach, along with every other personal outreach activity and local church outreach, can be a huge rallying point to galvanize God’s people for witnessing and missionary work. Divisions and unions around the world need to use this approach to bring church members together in something that is far bigger and grander than anything we could do individually.”
Along with a burgeoning Adventist medical missionary outreach in the region, Wilson said literature distribution is a key means by which megacities such as São Paulo, with a municipal population of 11.3 million (and an additional 8 million in the surrounding metropolitan area) are to be reached. The city will also be one of 12 host cities when Brazil welcomes the 2014 FIFA World Cup soccer championships.
“The world church has committed itself to distribute 175 million copies of The Great Hope and the larger version [The Great Controversy] this year and next year,” Wilson told the congregation.
Wilson added, “God uses His Word to change people’s lives. He uses books like this [The Great Hope] to change peoples’ lives.”
That change was evident in the life and testimony of Sheyla Guimarães, a homemaker from the city of Mineiros do Tietê, about 140 miles (225 kilometers) from the city. Her video testimony was played during the worship service, and described the story of a spiritual seeker who was dissatisfied. In October 2011 Guimarães’s daughter found a copy of The Great Hope in the family’s mailbox. She “devoured” the book, and said she found answers that were not provided in other churches. Today she’s a Seventh-day Adventist.
Guimarães and her daughter came to the platform and were greeted by Wilson and other church leaders. She told Wilson and the congregation how happy she was to be a part of the family of God.
—Mark A. Kellner, news editor