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, and Moldova. 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 worldwide.

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 Department.

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.

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