April 21, 2024

17 Years Later

Almir Marroni
Photo by Tom Hermans on Unsplash

While attending a literature evangelist convention in Brazil several years back, a colporteur approached me timidly and handed me a folded paper. When I opened it later, this is what it said:

“Pr. Marroni: As I heard you recount stories of literature evangelists working in different regions, I recognized the name of one of them whom I haven’t met yet, but who played a vital role in my spiritual life. I don’t know how, but a brochure titled ‘He Is the Way,’ with the address of Milton Geraldo Martins, literature evangelist in Nova Friburgoburgo, in the state of Rio de Janeiro, reached my hands in 1991, in the city of Pocinhos, Paraíba, where I lived.

“Through this brochure I became acquainted with the Adventist message. I kept the brochure for six years. In 1997 I received Bible studies by correspondence and was baptized in 1998. Then I sold my little cow, some sheep, and came alone to São Paulo. Three years later I discovered literature evangelism, and for almost six years now I have been a canvassing evangelist. Milton Martins doesn’t know that I am also a colporteur, but he knows that I am an Adventist. The only contact we had was 10 years ago when I wrote him to express my gratitude for that brochure.

“I would like to hear from Brother Milton how this brochure stamped with his address ended up in the interior of Paraíba state, a place located 2,000 miles away.

“I am grateful for this message that changed my life. If you ever meet Milton, tell him about me and thank him on my behalf. Please inform him that I am now His disciple.

“Josenildo Limeira Porto.”

What a testimony! Two things stand out to me in this story.

First is the unlimited geographical reach of the written Word. A brochure, magazine, or book can travel and reach people in places far distant from where we are. This is how the church expanded to all continents of the earth since the first Adventist publications began to circulate.

Brother Milton Martins, besides selling books and magazines, had the habit of freely sharing brochures and small books. Every donated piece of literature bore a stamp with his name and address.

The second interesting point is the length of time the message remained “incubated.” Josenildo received the brochure, and only seven years later he decided to dedicate his life to Jesus through baptism.

Seventeen years after Josenildo first received the brochure, he and Milton met for the first time when a media team brought them together to record their incredible story. Witnessing this encounter was like foreseeing the festive celestial gathering between those who shared the message of salvation in Christ and those who accepted Him as Savior. You and I can be used by God to multiply stories like Josenildo’s. Sharing the hope of eternal life is the greatest and most significant mission of a Christian. Let’s all be messengers of hope.