Roanoke, December 12, 2018
Dear Brethren around the world,
Warm Christian greetings with the following words of Inspiration: “Behold, I will send for many fishers, saith the Lord, and they shall fish them; and after will I send for many hunters, and they shall hunt them from every mountain, and from every hill, and out of the holes of the rocks.”.
We are grateful to the Lord for His many blessings bestowed upon His people around the world. Right now we have a very special reason to be thankful, and that is for the recent revival of one of the most important departments of God’s church—the canvassing work.
During our visits to many countries, we have been calling the attention of our leading brethren to the major role played by the work of distributing our literature through canvassing. We praise God because in several countries the brethren are responding positively to the need for a great revival of this essential work, and many decided to be part of those of whom the Bible says:
“How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace; that bringeth good tidings of good, that publisheth salvation; that saith unto Zion, Thy God reigneth!”.
Thanks to a resolution made at the 2015 GC delegation session, the Colporteur Department has a full-time director exclusively dedicated to this vital branch of the Lord’s work in these last days, being supported by six experienced colporteur directors from different countries, all focusing solely on the progress of the global evangelistic work through canvassing according to God’s plan. In the last couple of years, this group of brethren and others with them, have been experimenting with canvassing in diverse regions in order to find out whether this method of missionary work is outdated or inappropriate for rich or poor countries, as some have feared.
Thankfully, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, several leading brethren have taken on the challenge to organize canvassing projects in their respective regions and we are more than happy to report that each and every one of them was a total success—so much so that those same brethren, as well as the canvassers themselves, are asking for a repeat of the project in the same place.
Unfortunately, we cannot do it too many times in the same regions since we also want other parts of the world to experience the same tremendously rewarding success and joy as well.
As a result of the last three years of experimental canvassing in diverse places, and according to what the Spirit of Prophecy is strongly urging, we’ve come to the conclusion that this divinely appointed work is far from being outdated or inappropriate. It is, in fact, the opposite of that—it’s as relevant as ever!
In several Unions, canvassing leaders have been chosen, and with great enthusiasm, they are busily motivating our people—especially young people—to engage in this blessed endeavor.
The canvassing work has been the leading method of work in the Reform Movement for many years. Our early pioneers used it before this structure of organization even existed. New souls accepted the message—and groups, churches, Missions, and Fields came into existence through this great work done by dedicated canvassers one door at a time. Sanctuaries and institutions were erected with the money raised from the sale of our publications, and in some countries, the salaries of the first ministers were paid with money raised from canvassing. Aging canvassers from around the world have nostalgically shared the experience of the Reform Movement’s beginnings in their regions and lament today’s lack of interest in the very work that contributed so much to the progress of our denomination. In countries where this work used to be very strong, today it is very weak or even non-existent. In other countries, it has never even existed at all. Should we just invest in modern methods of evangelism and forget about canvassing altogether, deeming it outdated or inappropriate for rich or poor countries? That’s not what Mrs. Ellen G. White envisioned about the future!
Let’s consider what she was shown for the very end of earth’s history—our time:
“Hundreds and thousands were seen visiting families, and opening before them the Word of God. Hearts were convicted by the power of the Holy Spirit, and a spirit of genuine conversion was manifest. On every side doors were thrown open to the proclamation of the truth. The world seemed to be lightened with the heavenly influence.”—Testimonies For The Church, vol. 9, p. 126. (This was penned in 1909, in her very last series of testimonies for the church!)
“The publications sent forth from our printing houses are to prepare a people to meet God. . . .
“And in a large degree through our publishing houses is to be accomplished the work of that other angel who comes down from heaven with great power and who lightens the earth with his glory.”, 140 (1902).
“The canvassing work, properly conducted, is missionary work of the highest order, and it is as good and successful a method as can be employed for placing before the people the important truths for this time. The importance of the work of the ministry is unmistakable; this is one of God's means for enlightening the world.” Manual for Canvassers, p. 6.
“The lost sheep of God's fold are scattered in every place, and the work that should be done for them is being neglected. From the light given me, I know that where there is one canvasser in the field, there should be one hundred. Canvassers should be encouraged to take hold of this work, not to canvass for story-books, but to bring before the world the books containing truth essential for this time.” Ibid., p. 7.
Therefore, we call for the support of our leading brethren around the world to join hands in uplifting this project of reviving the canvassing work in all of our groups, churches, Missions, Fields, and Unions, to motivate as much as possible all our brethren—and especially young people—to be involved in this wonderful work.
We can testify personally that canvassing has had a powerful influence on our own spiritual lives. Our families were reached with the message by colporteurs, we dedicated some years to work full time in canvassing and encouraged our children to do this work, which they did.
The GC Colporteur Department has come up with a plan to dedicate the year 2019 to canvassing in all our Missions, Fields, Unions, and Regions. During this year, counting on your help, we are determined to initiate the canvassing work in countries where it never existed, to breathe new life into resuscitating it in countries where it has been abandoned and to reenergize it in countries where it has been dormant for many years.
The Canvassing project for 2019 will be titled “LIKE THE LEAVES OF AUTUMN” and you will have access to the strategic plan and other informational, instructional and advertising material online, which will be available soon.
Let’s think about it, pray about it, and work on it from now and on. We are sure that God’s blessing will be with those who will be involved in this marvelous work.
Being aware of our deficiencies in view of the grand work before us, we do not rely on mere human might or power—but on God’s Spirit, which will make every goal achievable. This is why we are also planning to hold a special Week of Prayer dedicated to the canvassing work. Please, reserve the week of June 21–30, 2019 for this purpose and let us join together in a day of fasting on Sabbath, June 29, 2019.
While our main source of power is not human strength, we know that God in His wisdom has entrusted to us the work of preaching the Gospel to the world—one door at a time.
“God cannot display the knowledge of His will and the wonders of His grace among the unbelieving world unless He has witnesses scattered all over the earth. It is His plan that those who are partakers of this great salvation through Jesus Christ should be His missionaries, bodies of light throughout the world, to be as signs to the people, living epistles, known and read of all men, their faith and works testifying to the near approach of the coming Saviour and showing that they have not received the grace of God in vain.”.
Please make yourself available to get involved in any way possible, to make this project, “LIKE THE LEAVES OF AUTUMN,” a success with long-lasting effects in preparation for Christ’s second coming.
For more information, please do not hesitate to contact the Colporteur Department directly at: email@example.com
Thank you—and prayers for great courage and success—from your brethren in Christ,
Davi Paes Silva, Adrian Finaru,
GC President GC Colporteur Department