December 16, 2015

When a Student Prayed With a Weeping Office Worker

, Pacific Union Recorder

Rhidge Garcia, a student literature evangelist for Youth Rush, was contacting local businesses in southern California when he noticed a man sitting in a hallway.

He seemed to be crying, so Garcia put down his books and asked what was wrong.

“I don’t want to be bothered right now,” the man said, not unkindly.

Garcia persisted.

Finally, the man explained that he was about to send an e-mail to his workplace, asking for a loan. By asking for this loan he would be risking his job, his marriage — and possibly his whole way of life, he said.Ingrid Vergara sharing literature at a home in Los Angeles. (Susan Perez / Recorder)

“Sir, when times like these come, I believe that prayer is the answer,” Garcia said.

The man, who later described himself as of Jewish heritage, agreed and said he prayed often.

After a short prayer with Garcia, the man sent the e-mail to his boss.

Minutes later, the man’s computer alerted him that a new e-mail had arrived. The man expressed surprise as he read the response. His loan had been approved.

Garcia was among 67 students who spent their summer talking to people in their homes or workplaces as part of the Youth Rush literature evangelism program in the Seventh-day Adventist Church’s Southern California Conference. Their goal: to meet the holistic needs of people through Jesus-centered literature and to connect those who showed interest with a nearby Adventist community. The young adults sold about 37,000 books, raising $285,000 to pay for their school and college tuition.

Scores of young people participated in Youth Rush summer programs in various parts of the United States, returning to their fall classes not only with tuition funds but also with stories of God’s providential leading.

Read about Youth Rush participants in Washington who nearly gave up on a man with a bushy beard

“Repeatedly, literature evangelists see that ‘people don’t care what we have or what we know, unless we show them just how much we care,’” said Heidi Carpenter, director of the Southern California Conference’s literature evangelism department, citing Ellen G. White’s Ministry of Healing, p. 143.

In southern California, the Jewish man thanked Garcia and they both offered prayers of gratitude. The man could not believe that God had answered his prayer so quickly.

He said he wasn’t even supposed to have been there in the hallway near his office suite when Garcia passed by. He had been at home first but couldn’t focus, so he had gone to his office to find some quiet.

Once in his office suite, he had felt so overwhelmed about the loan dilemma that he stepped out into the hallway so co-workers wouldn’t see him crying. Then he had encountered Garcia.

At the end of their conversation, the man asked if he could purchase some of Garcia’s books and took copies of The Desire of Ages and The Great Controversy, both by Ellen White.

Garcia assured him that the books would help answer many questions that he had, including several that he had expressed about spiritualism during their short conversation. Recently the man had had some unexplainable supernatural experiences in his home.

Adventist youth rush california Dec15 3

Meanwhile, another Youth Rush participant, Aleesha Groth, had good reason to be excited about getting involved last summer because she was able to reach out to people in the same way she had come to Jesus.

Groth’s story started in summer 2014 when Southern California Conference Youth Rush leader Brielle Anderson knocked on her door and shared the book The Desire of Ages. Groth told Anderson that she had many prayer requests, and Anderson helped her pray for each one.

To Groth’s surprise, her first prayer, for a stable job, was answered within 24 hours.

She immediately signed up for Bible studies, and she and Anderson remained connected throughout the year.

Groth said God kept answering her prayers in a wonderful way, so she decided to sign up for Youth Rush in summer 2015. She joined a team led by Anderson, who told her: “You are just as much an answer to my prayer as I was to yours. I had asked God to be able to plant a seed and watch it grow in the life of someone I met at a door.”

Groth has since been baptized and now attends an Adventist church in Michigan.