November 22, 2012


Red and brown leaves crackle as my feet pound my familiar canvassing stride down the street. My fingers curl automatically into a fist and my knuckles beat seven rapid knocks on the first door (I-have-some-thing-good-for-you.) My smile widens into a normal canvassing grin. Everything is normal. This is a work that has become more normal to me than anything else in my life. But today nothing feels normal.

What am I doing here? Are the people going to be mad when someone shows up on their doorstep trying to sell them something on Thanksgiving? What will they say?

A strange tension grips my heart and my usually chill and relaxed canvass feels awkward and tight. I sound to myself like a frightened little girl awaiting punishment. I talk faith for the brand, new canvasser shadowing me. I laugh and tell her how to carry her God's Answers in between her Peace and Great Controversy so the spiral-bound cookbook doesn't damage it. I tell her to skip the houses facing the other street, and do the ones that face her street. If the house faces diagonal to the corner, it belongs to the street the mailbox is on. I hope she can't sense my fear.

An hour passes, during which a girl misunderstands me and brings back only $6 to cover two books, and, after a prayer for extra donations to cover it, a guy just down the street gives a crisp, one-hundred dollar bill. At least the Lord is answering prayer like usual!

I get moved to apartments where I knock fifty identical black doors and speak to less than a dozen people. My mind still battles the crippling fear. I'm scared to talk to them.. My mind envisions the pearl-decked woman who rolled her eyes and sighed heavily as she shut her door not-so-gently and returned to her Thanksgiving dinner. Maybe I shouldn't be bothering them? Maybe I shouldn't have made my team do this? Then, as my fist beats out the seven taps on yet another door, the thought comes out of nowhere like a bolt of lightening: What if they died tomorrow? What if this was their last chance? Wouldn't you canvass your heart out? Don't forget what you're toting there, my girl.. You're not the Rainbow-vac guy, nor are you a scared Girl Scout with cookies. You're the emergency responder rushing to do CPR before its too late. Make no apologies.

My hand freezes in midair. I stand in shock for a moment as the door opens. Then my brain jolts into gear and I beam at the puzzled woman behind the door with a new smile.
"Hi, my name's Beth. I'm with a group of students..."

New enthusiasm urges me on, filling my voice with eagerness and passion.

I AM NOT ASHAMED of this gospel.

Forgive me, Father...

Hours later as I count a stack of money thicker than usual the happy chatter of my team tells me that they, too, have discovered that canvassing on Thanksgiving is absolutely, incredibly amazing! There weren't even as many rejections as usual! It's just that everybody used the "this is Thanksgiving" rejection instead of fishing for more creative ones.

A man whose wife was spending this Thanksgiving in the hospital on the edge of her life was deeply touched by a simple prayer, and a little girl hugged a My Friend Jesus to her chest with a shy smile.

Best Thanksgiving ever.


  1. Aw, Beth, only a fellow canvasser can understand the tears of joy and conviction that this blog post brought to my eyes today. :') It's so awesome how God works. Even though canvassing isn't my life calling, I always get excited hearing the stories of people like you. :) And the lesson goes for all of us - why be ashamed to share Jesus? Yeah, so people might look at us funny...who cares? The problem is that I do care, which means self isn't dead yet. Lord, help us...

    1. But a fellow canvasser can understand well... :) it is encouraging to me to know that the pre-Pentecost disciples cared what people thought of them too, and they were scared to witness too, and the same help that was given to them that made them bold to turn the world upside down is ready and available for this weak, trembling evangelist too.

  2. To be unashamed...oh if I could only remember that more...
    Thanks Beth... My prayers continue for you all. :)

  3. Beth, I am so happy. I am happy because you show Jesus to me. I am happy because you show Jesus to THEM. Over the last few years you've given me the privilege of watching you become more and more fruitful for the Master. Thank you.

    1. Thank you for being a catalyst. :)