Most members of the Lake Union Conference of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in the United States have probably never heard of the Dekalb County Free Fall Fair, but for several members of the Indiana Conference, they experienced a week of witness like no other.
Alexander Media Inc., a not-for-profit media entity in Auburn, Indiana, participated in the county fair in Auburn from September 27 to October 2, 2021. The fair draws more than 100,000 attendees annually, and this year was no exception.
After Alexander Media provided an insurance certificate for US$1 million, a booth was assigned down the street from the county courthouse amid vendors selling cotton candy, elephant ears, caramel apples, doughnuts, and grilled chicken. Occupying a 10-by-20-foot (3-by-6-meter) space in one of the highest foot-traffic areas of the fair, the tent highlighted several radio and TV networks.
WGLL 1570 AM and Channel 26 were on display in the booth so visitors could see the plethora of programs airing in the local area. In a landscape full of various methods for consuming video content, 1570 AM and TV 26 are uniquely positioned to reach a large number of viewers via conventional over-the-air means, without requiring any subscriptions or specialized equipment. As people stopped by the booth and learned about the station’s availability and programming, the reception was largely positive.
Christopher Alexander, who oversees technical operations at the station’s facilities, said that in the wake of the pandemic and uncertainty of the prior year, they found many people hungry for the Word of God. “They were excited to learn that there is a Christian television and radio station that’s freely available in their local community,” Alexander said. “We also found that there are a lot of people, especially parents of young children, who are looking for wholesome, family-oriented programming, and TV 26 fills that need quite well.”
Flyers were circulated highlighting 3ABN and the other channels available in the area. Materials for distribution were provided by Remnant Publishing, 3ABN, Fort Wayne Adventist church, and the Body of Christ church. Rhona Alexander recruited and directed volunteers from nearby Adventist churches (Angola, Wolcottville, and Fort Wayne) to distribute literature and promote the station to fairgoers. Volunteers from these churches were also on hand to interact, share, and pray with visitors on-site.
David and Sonja DeRose shared material on upcoming health seminars while his presentations aired on the television located in the booth. “His willingness to speak to individuals and interact with young families was exemplary as he became the embodiment of the right arm of the message,” Alexander noted.
John Treat, an elder at the Fort Wayne Seventh-day Adventist Church, who shared material, enrolled Bible students, prayed for residents, and shared Bible texts, said he was excited about the vast opportunities for sharing Christ. “This is evangelism on steroids,” Treat said.
Jeff and Mary Squires, also of the Fort Wayne church, were witnesses pressed into service donating and distributing thousands of pieces of literature on health, Steps to Christ books, and children's storybooks, as well as providing Bible study enrollment sheets. More than 100 people signed up for the Amazing Facts Bible Study course via mail, and others took copies of the Amazing Facts Bible Study Guides that were available as an introduction to get them started.
“I considered it a lot of fun and very exciting to meet and interact with the people and encourage them to read the literature we were handing out,” Mary Squires said. “We really enjoyed helping people prepare for the soon return of Jesus.”
Citizens, attorneys, firefighters, city councilors, the local sheriff, the county commissioner, Auburn mayor Michael Ley, and even the Dekalb County fair queen stopped by the booth. They were impacted by Adventist Media and the volunteers’ outreach, Adventist volunteers said.