José L. Campos
In July 2000, in Toronto, Canada,
a quinquennium of blessings began in the publishing
ministry when a new group of leaders in the world divisions took charge of this
work. Courageous men and women of God continue to go from house to house, with
prospectus in hand, to tell about the glorious salvation provided by our Lord
and Redeemer, Jesus Christ, and let people know that He will soon return in
glory and majesty in the clouds of heaven.
Seven goals have marked the course to follow
in this quinquennium: reeducate church members
regarding the work of this ministry; activate the canvassing programs in our
colleges and universities; develop future publishing leaders; establish new
training seminars; incorporate programs through the Internet; involve the whole
church in witnessing evangelism through the printed page; and promote a massive
distribution of the Spirit of Prophecy books.
Each division leader took their work
seriously, and soon we witnessed an enormous growth in each proposed goal. For
example, our literature evangelists increased from 28,000 to 42,000. Our book
distribution (books are true preaching pulpits) went from 6.5 million books in
2000 to 16.5 million. We now distribute these annually. It is worth mentioning
that the set of five books (the Conflict of the Ages Series), including The
Great Controversy, is being distributed in countries such as Russia, Ukraine,
These books and others on health, family matters, nutrition, and education are
being scattered throughout the continents of Africa, Europe, Australia, and the Americas. These books provide
messages of moral excellence, and family education and well-being for millions
of homes. They are spreading the basic concepts of the Adventist faith and
bringing hope, salvation, faith, and eternal life.
During this "Quinquennium
of Miracles," our army of literature evangelists visited more than 80
million homes, reaching some 320 million people with their books, Bibles,
magazines, tracts, and Bible courses. The canvassing program, with its personal
door-to-door witnessing ministry, reported more than US$350 million in sales; more than 73 million hours worked in home visitation; and
more than 54 million books distributed on religion, prophecy, faith, health,
family, education, and nutrition. Literature evangelists also delivered
magazines and free tracts totaling more than 25.5 million, besides signing up
some 11.5 million people for Bible courses (in much the same way someone signed
me up 48 years ago in my native country). They also gave 5 million Bibles
studies and brought to church untold millions of people, of whom 392,467 we
know about have already been baptized. This is roughly equivalent to the
population of the Bahamas,
or of Guadeloupe in the Caribbean, or Luxemburg in Europe.
The Seventh-day Adventist
Church has an excellent
evangelistic program through radio and television, but only the literature
evangelist army is capable of establishing the personal contact recommended by
our Lord Jesus. We feel a great gratitude to our God because He has given us
42,000 literature evangelists, yet the Mormons surpass us, with more than
70,000 young people visiting from door-to-door. And the Jehovah's Witnesses
claim the top place, with more than 90,000 visitors going from house to house.
For this reason, these last two religious groups surpass us in soul winning
Our publishing houses report more than half a
billion dollars spent in the production of educational, doctrinal, and
devotional books, as well as church magazines and periodicals. All of these
materials are excellent tools to nurture the church spiritually and to prepare
us for an encounter with our God.
During this quinquennium,
90 years after the death of Ellen G. White, 1,650,000 copies of the book Colporteur
Ministry were distributed all over the world in several languages. Our
literature evangelists have presented seminars in the churches in order to
teach our members the importance of our publications and the role they play in
the great task of preaching the gospel in the end-times.
We are counting on the inspiring army of
promising young people from our colleges and universities. At the present time
about 13,600 youth work each summer canvassing house to house, selling books
that preach our faith. At the same time, they also learn to witness, make
personal contacts, manage their finances, and train as preachers. They are the
future leaders of our church.
All the publishing leaders have done
evangelism with our literature evangelists, baptizing thousands of people who
have embraced our faith with joy in their hearts. I have personally had the
pleasure of participating in evangelistic meetings with our workers in Uganda, Kenya,
Jamaica, Portugal, Indonesia,
Dominican Republic, Philippines,
and other places. Soul winning is the reason for the existence of all the
departments and ministries of the church and especially the Publishing
We still face serious challenges that have
not been conquered, and we are ready to face them. India presents one of the biggest
challenges of our times--the evangelization of more than 1 billion people who
speak 15 different official languages. We print in only six. There are
challenges in China,
where there are more than 1.3 billion inhabitants; and in the Arab world, which
also has close to 1 billion inhabitants. They have not seen our precious
publications. We firmly believe that the Lord will not come until we have
finished our mission.
Our publishing houses need attention,
including modernization and adaptation to the realities we face in the times we
live in. The production of literature in multiple languages has become imperative.
We need more young leaders with a knowledge of
marketing science to promote and produce more and better books that can be sold
easily and quickly. We need writers capable of reaching secular minds, and
writers from other cultures.
Today being a literature evangelist means
many things--it means being a trained professional in sales, a brave
missionary, an educator comparable to a social worker, a health and family
counselor, and a Bible worker or a preacher. A literature evangelist needs to
be a public evangelist.
If you feel the Lord's call to occupy your
place in His army, do not hesitate to speak with your local publishing director
or your pastor and
manifest your desires.