April 2, 2011

A day in the life...


Ola, Arkansas. A little place in the middle of nowhere not boasting much money, talent, or class, but truly rich in warmth, friendliness and generosity.
Our mission here? Yet another canvassing program. There’s only 10 of us, and we’ve battled sickness some, but by God’s grace we’ve been privileged to be the recipients of blessings beyond what any of us could have asked or even thought.
This is program number 16 for me now… that represents four years in this work. Four years ago I grudgingly joined a three-week canvassing program planning to “get my experience with LE” and call it good. Little did I know that my life would never be the same again. I never could have dreamed that from that time at no point would I go longer than 6 weeks between canvassing programs. I never could have dreamed that this shy, introverted girl could learn to make strangers into friends within moments of meeting them, consider it normal to pray with a cashier at a checkout counter, or speak freely about the love of Christ with a sneering young person. I never would have imagined that I would come to love the work so much that I would hardly even notice bitterly cold weather, hot sweat, or drippy rain. I never could have dreamed how much sin, laziness, and selfishness would be revealed in my heart–nor the grace that would be poured out for me. I never would have dreamed that I would begin my experience with a love for the mission of the work, lose that mission gradually and come to hate the work, and then by God’s grace rediscover the joy and beauty of service once again. No, I couldn’t have known (and it’s good that I didn’t) but I’ll eternally be grateful to the God who knew this ministry would save my soul.
I often think about what a privilege it is to be involved in a work where miracles are so frequent that they almost seem ordinary and commonplace. I wish I could let you sit beside me for just one day and watch them happen, but since I can’t I’ll try to capture the highlights of a day in the life of a canvassing leader.
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H_ has her first book out within moments of entering the first business on her street, but the rest of the team seems to be off to a slower start. That’s ok. Not having to deliver books for a few minutes gives me an opportunity to get myself organized and plan which streets I will take the team to next. It will be a good day. We have been averaging 50-60 books before lunch as a team here in Russellville, which is above average for a team of 8. But considering that those were rainy days which slowed us down a little bit, today I have higher expectations. I envision 80 books before lunch and smile thinking of how happy and encouraged the team will be.

To my surprise, nobody calls for books.

Nobody.

Finally H_ calls for a health book.

Then B_ calls for an umbrella. An umbrella? What?! Sure enough, raindrops begin to spatter my windshield.

My heart sinks.

Another rainy day, Lord? EVERY day I’ve led this week has been a rainy day. It takes sooo much more energy to keep the team positive and happy when they are cold and wet. I’m out of energy anyway…I’ve been sick…I don’t want to deal with this. Please, Lord.

I pull into a parking lot and rest my head on the steering wheel.

Forgive me, Lord. How can I pretend to know better than infinite Wisdom? Thank You for the rain. Thank You for the energy and positivity You are providing whether I feel it or not. This day is Yours. Do with it as You see fit. I don’t need 80 books before lunch to keep me happy when You make me happy…

My phone vibrates. It’s D_. He’s ready for pickup, and he needs 12 books!!
D_? Really? D_? D_ who so often goes the entire day without selling 12 books, has sold 12 on his first street?

Thank you Jesus.

After moving D_, A_, He_ and L_, I deliver H_’s health book to her in the courthouse. The next half-hour, I am busy delivering umbrellas, working a business with a discouraged student, clarifying directions. Then H_ calls. She’s still in the courthouse, she’s sold all her books, found R_ (also in the courthouse) took half of his books, and is nearly finished selling all of those… Could I please bring her some bread?

I walk into the courthouse carrying about 10 books, H_ greets me with “Oh, I’m so glad to see  you, I want to take two of these up to a woman on the top floor who gave me $40 dollars but I only had 2 books to give her for it.” She continues telling me experience after experience that she has had in the offices of that courthouse as she restocks her bag with books. Just at that moment, the elevator door opens, and the very woman who had made the $40 donation steps out. H_ grins, “Oh! Here! You can have these two as well!” The woman enthusiastically thanks her, and then walks out the door for her lunch break… Thank You, Lord for perfect timing. H_ and R_ walk out to the van with me (having finished the courthouse) praising God for 19 books in just that one building.

Having dropped H_ and R_ on their next street, I steered the van toward D_, expecting him to be nearly finished with his street. Sure enough, he calls me a minute before I arrive to pick him up in the now pouring rain. Ducking into the van, he dryly remarks, “I think I need a couple books.” Sure enough, he needs 9. He’s at 21 books now.

I drop him off, deliver 7 to L_, 5 to H_, 2 to B_, several to He_... the books are going out thick and fast, my brain fuzzes and I lose track. Thankfully, Lo_ is with me in the van keeping me organized. As I begin picking up the team for lunch, she says, “You know, we have 73 now…”

I take one shift of canvassers to Taco Bell, and continue picking up the rest of the team. By the time I find the last person,  our van total of books is 79.

Tears sting the back of my eyes. I don’t deserve to be the recipient of blessings like this, Lord. I let you down this morning. I trusted myself, but You forgave that, and more than made up for the slow start. You are so faithful.

The rain is still falling as we hit the streets again after lunch, but hearts are singing in spite of the cold. Books continue to go out. D_ gets several more, L_ has beautiful experiences with people who want to study the Bible later, H_ sells Spanish books even though she only knows a few phrases in Spanish. But B_ is struggling. A bad experience has left a sour taste in his mouth, the rain has chilled him to the bone, and everything about his demeanor shouts that he would rather be doing anything than knocking doors right now. A_ gets a few books out too, but in comparison to her typical 30 book average she is having a difficult day as well. Her smile stays genuine however, as the rain continues to fall.

Before I know it, hours have already passed. D_ passes his previous high record, and I begin telling the team to pray for him to end the day with 35. Up until now, that was an unheard of achievement for him. But now, he just needs 6 more…

Lo_ and I begin passing out dry socks for wet, cold feet. We offer them to He_ but she declines, “No, I don’t really want socks, but can I have some books?” Lo_ and I laugh, and give her the 6 books she needs.
B_  hasn’t gotten any books out for the last hour. Lo_ offers a specific prayer for him. Within 10 minutes, he calls for 2 health books.

We’re in the last hour of the day now, which is often also the busiest hour of the day. Power hour. Lo_ and I are busy just delivering books and trying to keep people working. We move D_ to his last street. He just needs 5 more books now to meet his goal. He has 15 minutes, and 6 doors left between him and B_. We’re over 140 now…

Lo_ prays for B_ to get a message book… 4 of his 5 books today have been health books… We’re still praying for those 5 books for D_ too…

I pick up A_ and then B_. Sure enough, he needs a message book! He has had a beautiful experience with a lady who needed a Peace Above the Storm. He has finished the last houses between him and D_, but D_ is kneeling down showing the books to a sweet, older lady on her front porch, so I pick up B_ and drive away to get L_. As we wait for L_ to finish his last door, D_ calls to tell us that he has finished and he needs 3 books.


Thank you, Lord. If it’s Your will for those last two books to go out through him tonight, please help him to find someone else to talk to…

L_ finishes, and we drive over one block to get D_. He is standing in a driveway, talking with a woman in a truck that just pulled in. She buys a God’s Answers to Your Questions. Ironically, she lives in the very house with the woman who bought the Peace from B_. D_ only needs one more book now…we have the donations to cover it, so I send him and B_ back with a He Taught Love for the two ladies. They eagerly accept it. B_’s attitude is transformed. He is touched that God would use him to open the way for D_ to reach his goal.

Precious, faithful Father…. Thank You for the miracles…

4 comments:

  1. Wow... That's all I can say... That's God...

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  2. What an awe-inspiring story! That is God. I've read of amazing colporteur stories from decades ago, but I love that God is the same today too. He works miracles.

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  3. He does! He's so incredibly faithful...

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