By Rena Lee as told to Josiah Wold
I paused in front of the door as I waited for a response to my knock. As usual, no one came. I turned to leave, when I heard voices coming from the back yard. I peered down the driveway and saw three people conversing with each other. I hesitated, and wondered, “Should I interrupt them or not? Maybe theyʼll think I am rude for intruding into their backyard.”
I whispered a short prayer and marched up to them. After canvassing one of them, he smiled at me and said, “I read the Bible.” When I heard his accent I realized that he was Portuguese and wondered how much he understood of my little spiel.
I decided to take a different approach and asked, “What church do you go to?” In broken English he replied, “I used to go to an evangelical church.” He then returned the same question to me, and I responded, “I am personally a Seventh-day Adventist Christian, have you heard of them?” Even though he smiled, his expression seemed to tell me that he hadnʼt.
He decided to take control of the conversation and asked me, “Why is it that so many Christians go to church on Sunday instead of Saturday?”
His question surprised me. In my head different things I had learned began to flash into my mind. I then shared with him about the change of the Sabbath and why Sunday is not the true day of worship. After I finished, he nodded his head in agreement and said, “You know.”
He continued by saying, “I used to go to church on Sunday, but as I studied my Bible I realized it said Sabbath was the seventh-day. When I asked my pastor why we go to church on Sunday, do you know what he said?” I shrugged in response. “He said it was because Jesus rose on Sunday.” The man slowly shook his head and said adamantly, “In Genesis and Revelation it says the seventh-day! I donʼt go to church anymore but I do study the Bible and listen to messageʼs on CD. I am looking for a church that keeps the seventh-day Sabbath.”
As we continued our conversation, he spoke about last day events and the Popeʼs claimed authority over the Bible. As I listened I thought to myself, “This man may not be Adventist, but he sure speaks like one!”
I slipped the Great Controversy into his hand and pointed out that it covered the same topics of which we had been speaking. His eyes glanced at the pages as he flipped through. “I canʼt read English very well, but I will try to read this, and I want to help you out.” He invited me into his house as he went to get the money. I stood there I asked him, “Could I see those CDʼs you were talking about?” He returned around the corner with his neatly organized CDʼs. “Here they are!” I looked at the them and saw a little logo in the corner that didnʼt surprise me at all. Three angels circling a globe. He then pulled out his worn Portuguese Bible, and flipped through its pages, I could see highlights and notes everywhere. I was truly humbled. I realized that even though I was an evangelist, this man was more dedicated to Bible study than I. This experience showed me that there are people out there who hunger and thirst for the truth, yet donʼt always know where to go.
While I was there that day, I tried to get his contact information for Bible studies but the language barrier hindered me from doing so. I just prayed that God would send him someone who spoke his own language.
A few weeks later, a young Brazilian Bible worker miraculously moved into our home. My leader, Josiah, remembered where the home was, and decided to introduce the Bible worker to my contact. Even though, the man wasnʼt there when we went. Bruno, the Bible worker, went back again after we returned to school.
I learned later that Bruno was able to start Bible studies with this man and his wife. In addition they began visiting the church, and a few weeks later were baptized! This story reminds us of the text where Jesus said, “And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd. ” John 10:16.
This experience last summer was one of the best gifts that God could have given me. Many times I had read and heard of stories like this, but never expected to have such an experience myself while canvassing. Yet after it happened, I was grateful to be able to be used as a tool for God and see His hand in every step.