“THE TOP ENGLISH-LANGUAGE BIBLE on Google Play and App Store was installed almost two million times, the highest amount ever recorded for March, according to Appfigures. Similarly, one of the UK’s largest online Christian bookstores, Eden, has seen physical Bible sales rise by 55 percent in April , while Google searches for ‘prayer’ and ‘Christianity’ have skyrocketed.”1
Unprecedented spiritual interest? Yes.2 Amazing Facts, a supporting media ministry of the Adventist church, reported explosive growth in Bible School enrollments in the past year, with more than double the usual number of enrollments by mail and nine times more online.3
Since world circumstances have thrown us into a new normal, we all have been forced to adjust, and God has led people to make full use of this upturn in religious interest. During this time of social distancing, people are finding new avenues for touching lives—and even teens and children are grabbing a part of the action.
Early after the pandemic broke, I chanced upon a social media post by a pastor’s wife. It showed a photo of her two children, along with the rest of the family, singing outside a window—the
window of someone they could no longer visit face-to-face. I loved how they had found a new way to spread joy to a senior citizen.
Around the same time, when many people needed groceries, a forward-thinking youth pastor in our area had the idea of meeting real needs by hosting a grocery drive-through on an academy campus. Adults and teens from area churches streamed onto the campus. Masks and gloves on, they stuffed hundreds of food bags with GLOW tracts before opening the gates to a long line of cars. Aside from helping 1,000 appreciative families, members from different area churches developed a sense of unity as they served side by side.
Something unusual happened when a group of student literature evangelists went door to door recently, wearing masks and staying six feet back from the door. A shy young girl was showing The
Great Controversy magabook when the man at the door saw one of the pictures and said, “Wait, is that Martin Luther?” It was indeed Luther. He went to get some money, presumably for the book, and returned with two stacks of $100 bills totaling $2,000—he wanted his whole community to have the chance to read a book that important!
Some years ago I received the best birthday present ever—one of my daughters was born on my birthday. This year we decided to celebrate our birthday by giving out 67 mini-gifts, that being the sum of our combined ages. Inspired by a friend who did this, I bought some gift cards for a fast-food chain and made packages using tiny zippered plastic bags. We filled them with a gift card, a small spiritual book, and a note about how this book would give hope. We stuffed other bags with a health GLOW tract, a little card with 3 John 2 on it, and a cough drop.
As we walked up to people who were out and about, we smiled and said, “Hi, it’s my birthday today, and I have a gift for you.” Everyone smiled back, wishing us a happy birthday. We left some of the bags on car windshields and gave out some at a gas station. Not one person refused our gifts.
A woman who was putting her toddler into her not-so-new-looking car was glad to receive the gift card and book and commended my daughter for what she was doing. A few minutes later she called
us back, as she was a new Christian and wanted to ask a question about prophecy. After we talked and prayed together, she asked how she could keep in touch, and we pointed her to the e-mail address on the little card in the bag.
This outreach turned out to be the highlight of our day, and we came back feeling so happy. Valentine’s Day, Christmas, and other holidays are easy times to give out little books, tracts, or even Bible verse cards related to that holiday’s theme.
As an alternative to trick-or-treating, we invited a few families for an outreach. Meeting at a park, we put the children’s GLOW tract “How Not to Be Scared” in small bags with a Bible verse card and a
yellow emoji bouncy ball. People were happy for us to give them to their kids. One man said, “I agree with what you’re doing.” Check out this new website that is chockablock full of outreach ideas for all ages: findingjoy4eternity.com.
KEEP IN TOUCH
What if you would rather do something from home, or if Sabbath afternoons seem long? GLOW posted the “GLOW Viral Challenge” a few months ago, and our whole family had fun doing it. What
does it look like?
(1) Choose the address of someone you don’t know by looking in a phone book or finding a random address in a map program on your phone. (2) Write a handwritten letter or card of encouragement to the person at that address. (3) Enclose three GLOW tracts or other literature. (4) Mail the letter and pray! (5) Challenge friends to do likewise. There may not be personal contact, but a whole lot of love is dispersed through a handwritten letter, evidenced by the fact that as soon as one of our neighbors heard we were doing this, he said he wanted one too.
It pays to keep in touch. Years ago the Lord gave Melissa* a chance to befriend Isabel,* who lived a roller-coaster life, but popped into church occasionally. During COVID-19 Isabel told Melissa that she really wanted to have Jesus in her life. Instead of conducting once-a-week traditional in-home Bible studies, which had rarely worked anyway due to Isabel’s erratic schedule, Melissa had the thought of getting two copies of the workbook 40 Days: Prayers and Devotions to Revive Your Experience With God, one for each of them.
They started to meet by phone at 7:00 on weekday mornings to discuss the short lessons and to pray together. Isabel grew spiritually, and they witnessed amazing answers to prayer. A few months later Isabel’s daughter and her whole family took their stand for Jesus and were baptized in their pool at home.
What about sharing on social media? Why not post devotional thoughts a few times a week, adding an attractive picture? Also, glowonline.org/digital provides an easy way to share GLOW digitally,
and tracts are available in many languages.
These stories barely begin to cover all the ideas for sharing the love of Jesus in a pandemic-shocked, spiritually starving world. But they inspire me and give glimpses of ways to share hope. Let’s take hold of the opportunities nearest us, making the most of this crisis—with Jesus.
*Not their real names.