February 21, 2014

​Atlantic Union Churches Lead in Massive Global Outreach

This is
a story about a guy who had never read a book in his whole life, and the couple
who sent him a 384-page volume about Bible prophecy.

book, of course, is The Great Controversy. Ellen White’s book is
part of a worldwide outreach movement that has gathered so much momentum in the
past three years that it has left some people stunned and surprised.

Atlantic gcGeneral
Conference vice president Delbert Baker remembers when his boss, GC president
Ted Wilson, asked him to lead an effort to share The Great Controversy.
They decided to set an ambitious goal of sharing 50 million copies of the book
worldwide by the end of 2013. “Then Elder Wilson mentioned in a meeting that
his personal prayer goal for the project was 100 million,” recalls Baker. “We
were still trying to wrap our arms around the 50 million number!”

says that what happened next was a small miracle. “Hundreds of thousands of
Adventists sacrificed to distribute the book to their friends,” Among them were
Stan and Andrea Kotlow who live in Maine, close to the Canadian border. Both
had joined the church in large part because of The Great Controversy,
and when they heard about the project, they wanted to get involved. “We’re not
good sharing door to door,” says Stan. “But we thought this was something we
could do.”

arranged with the Review and Herald Publishing Association in Hagerstown,
Maryland, to send the book to several thousand homes in their area.” It would
have been too much for them to afford, except for an act of providence in their
own backyard. The wild blueberry bushes on their property brought forth a huge
harvest that raised more than $6,000. They earmarked the windfall for outreach.

why Phil McVicar in nearby Alexander, Maine, got a copy of The Great
in his mailbox. “We couldn’t figure out where the book
came from or why we got it,” he says.

is the kind of guy who loves the outdoors more than sitting in a chair reading.
“I never read a complete book until I was 55 years old,” he admits. But God had
been preparing him. Involvement with Amway had prompted him to start reading
motivational books. Soon, he actually enjoyed reading.

After The
Great Controversy
had sat in his bathroom for about a year, McVicar
felt God working on his heart. “I’ve got to get up a little earlier to read
this book,” he said to himself. He determined he would read two or three pages
a day. Then it became five pages a day. Then more. He was fascinated and noticed
how it seemed to fit with Bible preaching that he had heard on an early-morning
program called Amazing Facts.

the church he attended with his wife, Vicki, left them empty. “The preacher
would tell us what we wanted to hear, not what we needed to know,” says Phil.
“I never learned how to get into the Bible or even how to navigate it,” adds

of the Sabbath truth, the McVicars just showed up one Sabbath morning at the Calais church. They were
welcomed and immediately felt at home. The pastor, Arnet Mathers, answered all
their questions directly from the Bible. In September 2011, Mathers and the
McVicars waded into the chilly waters of Howard Lake for the baptism.

in Northern New England have been leaders in the Great Controversy Project,
working with the Review and Herald to mail a quarter million copies of the book
to local zip codes. Worldwide, enthusiasm for the project had resulted in
almost tripling Ted Wilson’s original goal. “We had a thanksgiving service at
the GC in October when we reported that a total of 142 million copies have been
shared around the globe,” says Baker. “I have not found a record of any
denomination handing out this many books in a two-year period. This has been an
extremely blessed project.”

Peckham works in corporate communication at the Review and Herald Publishing