Little Magazine

Big mission

Lori Futcher
Little Magazine

The two boys in the shopping cart ahead of me at the Target checkout line were bored and restless. Looking for something to capture their interest, one of the boys leaned out of the cart, trying to grab the out-of-reach magazines that lined the way to the cashier. “Magazine, magazine!” the school-aged boys chanted as Mom, looking frazzled, tried to hurry the checkout process.

The good news was that a children’s magazine editor was in line right behind them. Then serving as the editor of Guide, I knew the boys would instantly be calmed by the colorful pictures and quick reads. I could imagine their mom thanking me with relief in her eyes and the family reading the magazine together later that evening, perhaps even having a conversion experience.

The bad news was that I didn’t have a copy of the magazine with me. The positive scene I had just envisioned would remain in my imagination.

After that incident I stuffed a couple Guide magazines in the back pocket of my large purse. But I never again experienced another scenario like the one I’d witnessed at Target. Soon the magazines got ratty, and during one of my purse cleanouts I threw them out.

But after a recent conversation with Linda and Virgil Heinrich, members of the Bowdle Seventh-day Adventist Church in South Dakota, I’ve restocked my purse.

“I was just reading last week that we are supposed to be minute men,” says Virgil. “That means you should be ready in a minute to witness—or sooner than that.”

“The opportunity comes, and the time is gone,” adds Linda. That’s why she and Virgil always carry literature with them.

The couple work on a native reservation, where they enjoy passing out Our Little Friend and Guide magazines to the children, sometimes even stopping to read the stories out loud to their young friends. Though distributing Guide is only a small part of this couple’s outreach efforts, they have found it to be a successful one, with the magazine winding up in hands that might otherwise throw traditional literature away.

And, as the couple has discovered, Guide reaches more than just children. After including these magazines in a shipment to a local women’s prison, the Heinrichs were serving at a soup kitchen. They had some Guide magazines they were handing out, and one of the women coming through line exclaimed that she recognized the publication! This woman enjoyed reading the magazines so much that she couldn’t wait for another one to be available to read. As a result of reading these magazines, she gave her life to Christ.

Hearing this prompted the Heinrichs to increase their Guide distribution within the women’s prisons. They ordered 6,000 copies of the magazine and then went about the overwhelming task of removing all the staples so the publication would be allowed. That’s 12,000 staples they removed by hand! What motivates them? The hope that even one more person might have their life changed. “I like the Guide,” Linda says, “because it tells a child—or anybody—how you can bring the Lord into your life, and He will help you in your daily life. It helps you to know God is alive, and He’s working among the people.”

Lori Futcher

Lori Futcher ([email protected]) is working on her M.F.A. in creative nonfiction and does freelance writing and voice-over work from her home in Nampa, Idaho.