For the past two summers, I have had the opportunity to work with YouthRush in the Salinas area. Just south of Salinas we have the “101 Corridor,” we have been able to enter areas such as Chular, Soledad, Gonzales, King City, Greenfield, and many others. Although there is very little to no Adventist presence here, it is evident that God’s Spirit has been working on many hearts.
The particular experience I would like to share occurred in the Greenfield area, and transpired over a course of two years. In the summer of 2012, we met Carmen – a pastor’s wife at Mt. Zion Church of Greenfield, a local Pentecostal congregation. She discovered we were Seventh Day Adventist, and excitedly told us that she and her husband had previously purchased books from YouthRush students, including The Great Controversy, Steps to Christ, and the Final Events DVD by Doug Batchelor. She proceeded to purchase more materials “for use at [her] church,” and mentioned that they were currently teaching their members how to cook healthful vegetarian food. We prayed together, and left.
Fast-forward to summer 2013. I was driving through Greenfield, and saw a church sign for “Mt. Zion Church of Greenfield.” Interestingly enough, I noticed that their church services were not held on the typical Sunday, but on Saturday morning at 10a.m. I immediately thought of Carmen. As soon as was possible, I went to her home. When she opened the door, she didn’t recognize me at first. I reminded her that I had met her last summer. Her eyes lit up, and she immediately invited me into her home. The first thing she did was to turn on her television. I was surprised to see 3ABN Latino playing over the screen.
We continued to dialogue, specifically about health. When she mentioned that “the servant of the Lord, Ellen White, was very inspired with the health message!,” I was shocked. We then began to discuss more deeply topics such as the Law of God and the Sabbath. Carmen mentioned that they often try to “share Jesus and the law in our surrounding communities.” As I left, she bought several children’s books to use for their church congregation.
I thought the story would end here, but this last Sabbath, one of my friends decided to attend Carmen’s church. As she talked to the members, she discovered several of them read Ellen White’s writings, and were fully persuaded on the Sabbath and the health message. Although they still hold to some of their previous ideologies, I hold full confidence that the Lord will continue to lead them to the truth.
As compelling as this story is, it was not an isolated incident. There were several other families in Greenfield (unassociated to the Mt. Zion church) who had previously purchased The Great Controversy, and still others who were keeping the Sabbath.
To me, this story is a testimony of God’s leading – even in an areas we perceive as having little to no progress. He is using the printed page and media to reach countless people in these exact areas.
Oh, and another interesting miracle in this story of Carmen? I was relating the testimony to elder George Bronson of the Salinas SDA Church, and he told me that the 3ABN signal broadcasted from Salinas does not reach as far as Greenfield. Praise God.
“And the word of God increased; and the number of the disciples multiplied, in Jerusalem greatly; and a great company of the priests were obedient to the faith.” -Acts 6:7