Nearly 200 literature evangelists from across Jamaica, the English Caribbean islands, and the Netherlands Antilles met recently for the first joint Literature Evangelists Congress in Willemstad, Curaçao. The event was designed to strengthen the literature evangelism ministry by facilitating testimonies, sharing experiences, and learning new skills.
Themed “Cast Deeper,” the four-day congress, held August 21-24, 2019, is the first of its kind held jointly by three of the longest-established literature evangelism ministries among the English-speaking unions in the Inter-American Division (IAD), said Erwin González, publishing ministries director for the Adventist Church in IAD.
“It was very inspiring to see how dynamic and strong these unions are in their publishing ministry,” González said. “It is mainly because of the support from administrators and publishing ministries directors at every level of the church organization there.”
Adventist Church associate publishing director Stephen Apola challenged the literature evangelists to share the gospel not only with local citizens but also those who visit their countries.
“You get a lot of tourists coming here,” Apola said. “They come from countries that have difficulties in preaching the gospel, so why not preach to them here? The Caribbean still provides an allowance for the sharing of the gospel, whereas it is becoming more difficult to do the same in other parts of the world.”
Judith Smith, publishing ministries director for the Caribbean Union and one of the main organizers of the event, expressed her satisfaction with the fulfillment of this long-anticipated joint venture.
“This week is a fulfillment of many years of planning, as we seek to empower our directors and our literature evangelists to ‘Cast Deeper,’“ Smith said. “We realize that the literature evangelism work is, will be, and will continue to be God’s anointed means of meeting people … with the printed page. All of these individuals coming together is to give publishing that boost that is so necessary.”
Smith reported that the 240 active literature evangelists in the Caribbean Union made deliveries of books and literature valued at US$387,531 last year and are aiming to reach more by the end of this year.
“We are happy to be a part of this event, where our literature evangelists can continue to be motivated to be champions — because, with Christ, they are champions,” said Dudley Hosin, publishing ministries director for the Adventist Church in Jamaica.
Hosin reported that in the Jamaica Union church region, 287 enrolled literature evangelists sold approximately US$500,000 worth of literature, resulting in 386 baptisms. “We are happy to remind them of their high calling of being literature evangelists, to let them know that God is with them because they are doing a work that is second to none,” Hosin said.
For Lillieth Williams, one of 78 literature evangelists from Jamaica attending the Curaçao event, the congress was a wonderful, spirit-filled experience.
“I would not exchange [this experience] for anything else,” Williams said. “We have been motivated and inspired to go forth and continue to do this wonderful work. We have listened to so many presenters, who have shared with us so many experiences that they have had, and we have been motivated to continue this God-given work.”
“As a result of this congress, I am more committed to this ministry and want to use my time and resources to support this critical work in the Jamaica Union,” said Jamaica Union Conference president Everett Brown.
“The congress has been a source of inspiration for me. Not only is it a historic event — bringing two major English-speaking unions together, but the information that leadership and literature evangelists received has inspired and motivated us to ‘Cast Deeper,’ as the theme suggests, to recognize the value and importance of this ministry as we seek to share the love of Jesus Christ with men and women everywhere,” Brown said.
Local organizers sought to bring a more balanced perspective on the issue of literature evangelist’s sales versus the primary mission of winning souls.
“The reason we chose the topic ‘Cast Deeper’ is because the colporteur [or literature evangelist] sometimes is focused on the sale,” said Renisca Mutueel, publishing ministries director of the Curaçao Conference. “The literature evangelist is not just a book-seller, but he is a soul-winner. That’s why we used the term ‘Cast Deeper,’ because the literature evangelist has to cast deeper to go out, seek the soul,” she explained. “The sales that they get is the blessing that comes from going to look for the soul,” Mutueel explained.
Literature evangelists took time to distribute missionary books throughout communities in Curaçao. The congress was attended by leaders and presenters from Inter-America, North America, and South Africa.