Jack Phillips, It is Written Bible Worker Coordinator (right) interviews Riel Sarno from Richmond Church, who reports that more than 90 Bible study requests have been made as a result of their small congregation conducting door-to-door evangelism. | Photo credit: Christa McConnell Photography
Three hundred people attended a special kickoff rally held Saturday, February 22 at the Glendale Seventh-day Adventist Church, featuring John Bradshaw, world evangelist and speaker/director for the It Is Written (IIW) television program.
Concurrently, a Hispanic rally was held at Indianapolis Central Hispanic Church with Pastor Robert Costa, world evangelist and speaker/director with Escrito Está television program.
At the Glendale rally, Jack Phillips, IIW Bible Worker coordinator spoke with a few of his newly trained Bible workers and questioned them how the door-to-door campaigns were going and how people responded.
Riel Sarno from Richmond Church reported more than 90 Bible study requests have been made, and more are coming in. Richmond is a small church of 80 members; consistently each Sabbath 20 of them knock on doors in the community. The church also placed an ad on Facebook, inviting people to register for the It is Written Bible study. From that ad, 65 more requests have come in. Some of those requests have come from beyond the Indiana state line. “The Ignite fire is spreading from Indiana to Ohio!” exclaimed Phillips. Sarno, an emergency room physician, remarked, “I was amazed there is that hunger and it’s like they have been looking for this for a long time.”
Shelby Clark of Glendale Church shared what happened when she knocked on a particular door. The woman who answered invited them in. Before Shelby even told her why she was there, the woman said she was looking for someone to study the Bible. As they spoke, the woman revealed that she was raised in a Muslim home; however, her parents sent her to a Christian school to understand how to convert Christians to become Muslims. Phillips responded, “The plan seemed to have backfired!” Shelby announced that the story doesn’t end there: “Now the woman’s husband wants to study the Bible with us!”
Rita Paunganua of Glendale told the story of having started Bible studies with a stranger that has become like family. Rita had gone to the home several times, but no one answered. This time, they found a gentleman in the backyard who was thrilled to receive the Bible lessons, even wanting to pay for them. As they spoke, they all discovered the meeting was orchestrated by God. “The man kept saying that it was amazing that God would send someone to pray with him on the day before his wife would go into surgery,” said Rita. Since then they have visited the family and Rita has formed a special bond with wife. "We are like sisters now," she said.
Phillips said in a later interview that there are 560 Bible studies on-going in Central Indiana and that number is expected to jump because workers are following up on hundreds of leads. “When we have paid workers, they can only do so much, but when we have volunteers it increases [the effort], it's so much more and makes the Christian experience even better,” said Phillips.
Plans for state events leading up to the General Conference Session this summer were announced. These include simultaneous evangelism meetings in April and May 2020, as well as a free health clinic April 8-10, Your Best Pathway to Health, where hundreds of volunteer doctors, nurses, and health practitioners will set up in Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis to serve those in need of medical, dental and vision services.
Colleen Kelly, Communication and marketing specialist, Indiana Conference, with Herald staff