While attending Adventist Community Services meetings in 2017 in Gladstone, Oregon, presenters distributed a small tract titled A Love Letter From Jesus. If we were interested in getting a supply of them to hand out in our community, we were told to sign and address the card that came with the tract. My wife, Yvonne, and I did this, assuming we would receive a small package containing a few tracts.
Instead, about three weeks later a mail carrier placed a box about the size of a small moving/packing box on our porch. Not having the slightest idea what it could be, I found that I could barely pick it up because it was so heavy. I brought the box inside and opened it. It was full of packets of the Love Letter tracts. We couldn’t believe that we had been sent so many—about 5,000 individual tracts!
What were we going to do with so many? Yvonne and I prayed about it and decided to “donate” them to our church. We told the pastor, the literature ministries leader, and the congregation about the tracts and encouraged them to each take a packet of them and begin passing them out.
Two years later, in August 2019, my wife and I moved to a retirement “village” in Gresham, Oregon. Before we moved, I looked inside the box of Love Letter tracts and saw that it was still about two-thirds full. I decided to take 10 packets of the tract, a total of 1,000, with us to our new apartment. I placed them on the bookshelf in the bedroom. For the next year I would look at those Love Letter tracts and pray, “What do You want us to do with these?”
In July 2019 my son, who owns a small construction company, got so busy with work that he needed additional help. I volunteered to lend a hand and put in about 30 hours. In return, he gave me $500.
Hmmm, what should I do with this money? I wondered. I first tithed it and then decided to dedicate the rest to God. When I prayed and asked God for guidance, almost instantly I heard a “voice” that said, “Mail the Love Letter tracts to the apartments in your area [there are hundreds of them], and begin with the ones right behind you.”
I smiled. I had heard that “voice” before, and it had led me and my two young sons to Walla Walla College, and then to Miles City, Montana, where I taught school for one year and met and married my current wife of 54 years. With her two sons and my two sons, we moved back to College Place, and I completed my degree in business and accounting. So I wasn’t going to ignore that “voice.”
It took time to determine the best way to distribute the tracts. We ended up walking around the apartments nearest to us and writing down their addresses. It wasn’t difficult to come up with 1,000 individual apartment addresses. Often there were 100 to 200 addresses per apartment complex.
We started with the apartments immediately behind us. Along with the Love Letter tracts, we included a card inviting them to study Bible lessons. We also included a short message introducing ourselves, saying how much we have personally enjoyed the Love Letter, and inviting them to sign up for the Bible lessons. We offered a free Bible if they did not have one, and we also offered to pray for any requests they might have. We provided an email address—one designated just for this outreach—as a way of contacting us.
Then we prayed.
About two weeks later we received a very cautious-sounding email from a person named Sarah.* She wanted to know more and also requested a Bible. Sarah, a young woman, lives in the apartments right behind us. Since this was pre-COVID, we were able to deliver the Bible to her in person.
When Sarah received the Bible, she hugged it tightly, and the happiness in her eyes nearly brought tears to mine. We encouraged her to prayerfully read it and to sign up for the Bible lessons. We had prayer with her and left. We were soon mailing her two lessons (we use the lessons from It Is Written and Voice of Prophecy) the first of every month. At the time, we were unable to study with her in person because of COVID.
We purchased an additional 4,000 tracts, and by the beginning of 2022 we’d mailed our 5,000th Love Letter. So far we’ve received 13 responses that we know of. If a person signs up directly online with It Is Written or Voice of Prophecy to study the lessons, we’re unable to determine whether it’s a result of a Love Letter. We’re personally mailing two lessons every month to 11 people. One person has asked for prayer.
After sending about a third of the lessons to an individual, we then mail them a copy of Steps to Christ. About two thirds of the way through we send them a copy of The Desire of Ages. With the final lessons we send The Great Controversy. Four of the 11 people have almost completed the lessons.
One woman who is completing the Bible studies recently emailed us the following note: “I just wanted you to know how appreciative I am for the Bible study lessons. They are so wonderful and are helping me a lot. They’re helping me to understand more about Jesus, and I’m trying to have a relationship with Him by reading the Word more. . . . Thank you so much. I look forward to the lessons. Keep them coming, please.”
We praise God for working on her heart!
We recently prayed, “Lord, if You want us to continue with these mailings, You’ll need to supply the dollars to do so above and beyond our income and small savings.” (My wife and I are in our early 80s, living on Social Security.) It costs about $1,000 for each 1,000 tracts mailed. So, because of donations and stimulus checks, and by accepting occasional small jobs, we haven’t used any of “our money” for the first 5,000 tracts. We have since bought another 5,000, so we’re now waiting to see how God supplies the money to mail them.
We realize that this is a very small outreach project, and a pastor once told us that this isn’t a very effective way to reach people. That may be true, but seeds are being planted, and some are being watered. Also, these mailings are going almost exclusively to apartments and condos that usually don’t allow solicitation and are not easily accessible for other forms of outreach. Above all, it’s being done for the praise, honor, and glory of our Lord.
If you feel called to start an outreach like this, or something similar, I encourage you to pray about it. God will certainly answer your prayers.
Jesus is coming soon. Just imagine how many people could be reached if this small outreach spread across North America. Even with “small” outreach initiatives, many souls can come to know the love of Jesus.
To learn more about the Love Letters ministry, email [email protected].
* Not her real name.