May 3, 2014

​Pacific Union Members Part Of Massive Global Outreach

Every movie star, pop singer,
record producer, and millionaire in Malibu, Calif., just got a copy of The
Great Controversy
. The small Malibu Adventist church has jumped into the worldwide
movement to distribute copies of The Great Controversy and The
Great Hope
, an abridged version of the The Great Controversy.

Delbert Baker, General Conference
vice president, remembers how GC President Ted Wilson asked him to lead an
effort to share The Great Controversy. They decided to set a goal
of sharing 50 million copies of the book. “Then Elder Wilson shared with us at
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.” Baker says that what happened next was a small miracle. “Hundreds of
thousands of Adventists sacrificed to distribute the book to their friends,” he

In October 2013, the GC held a
service to praise God that a total of 142 million copies have been shared. “I
have not found a record of any denomination handing out these many books in a
two-year period,” says Baker. “This has been an extremely blessed project.”

When Judith Miranda, a member of
the Malibu church, heard about The Great Controversy Project, she thought it
would be a good way to reach the residents of their wealthy community, many of
whom have gated properties that lock out visitors. She worked with the Review
and Herald Publishing Association and found she could send books to everyone in
the seaside town for $10,000. “So I said, ‘I know what we’ll do. We’ll make a
thermometer,’” recalls Miranda. “’We’ll fill in red marks for every $2,000 that
we raise.’”

One Sabbath morning, a resident of
Malibu walked into the church and saw the new thermometer, which didn’t yet
have one red mark. “What are you trying to do?” she asked. When Miranda
explained the project, the woman wrote a check for the full amount.

Mike Gamblin, who coordinates outreach
mailings at the Review and Herald, says that the publishing company has sent
out 2.2 million copies of the book. In some cases, churches sponsor the
mailings. But many times it is an individual church member with a heart for

 Leona Findley shared copies of The Great Controversy with her neighbors in her suburban community along with persimmon cookies. [Photo by Sarah Maren Photographers]Leona Findley is one of those. She
has lived in the same Sacramento suburb for 60 years and feels close to her
neighbors. “When I see them, I tell them I pray for them and I love them,” she
says. When she heard about The Great Controversy Project, she thought, this is what
I ought to do for my neighbors. She had a little money tucked away for an
emergency, so she called the Review and Herald to place an order. Then she
baked some persimmon drop cookies. Each neighbor got a personal visit,
home-baked cookies, and a book. The visits went well, and now two of her
long-time neighbors are taking Bible studies and attending the Carmichael

The Puna church in Hawaii also sent
the book to their neighbors. But they have kept expanding their neighborhood
until they had sent books to 15,000 homes. “We’re a very humble house of God
with 50 members,” says church clerk Ann Thompson. “But the people want to do
God’s work.” In their area of the Big Island, homes are separated and often
gated. Thompson says the church saw a mailing as the best way to share the
Adventist message.

“You see the Spirit moving on
people’s hearts. We got a cashier’s check for $5,000. We don’t even know who
gave it," says Thompson. “We think a lot of our work here may be planting
seeds. We trust in God. It is His work. We plant the seeds and leave it to

Meanwhile, back in Malibu, Judith
Miranda and other members of her church are checking on the seeds. On Sabbath
afternoons, they go from house to house and ask, “Did you get the book?”

“I can’t wait to ring the street
bell — not the door bell — the street bell,” says Miranda, referring to gated
driveways in Malibu. “When you ask, ‘How did you like the book?’ that’s where
it’s mind-blowing. The testimonies are tremendous.”

She was amused by one man who said,
“I made it to chapter six. I have a double Ph.D. and the woman who wrote this
is so highly educated, I can hardly understand it.”

Knocking on a stranger's door, which frightens many people,
seems to energize Miranda. She tells about the time she got an unusual prayer
request. She and her friends from church had come to the last house they
planned to visit that day. They asked if there was any reason the family wanted
prayer. “Well, I’m up for an Oscar tonight,” the man said. “You could pray that
I win.”

“Okay,” said Miranda who drew the family together in a circle
and prayed.

After going home later that evening, Miranda flipped on the
television. On the screen was the same man accepting an Oscar for best sound