Bible Worker Stories

I Wish...

This story by Karen Matambo, a Compassion Boston Bible Worker.

“Can you tell what her spiritual gift is?” I would ask a church member on their first visit with Maddy.*

“Hmm … hospitality.”

“See, Maddy? Every time we come to your home, you make sure we’re comfortable and offer us something to drink.” Maddy would just blush.

Well, on this particular visit, the regular lay-worker couldn’t make it, so Evelyne (who had spent most of the day with me) offered to come.

This wasn’t the only change. When we were about to pray, in rushed Maddy’s eight-year old son Lou,* with his little New Testament Bible.

“I want to study too!” he exhaled.

Oh, on this lesson? Lord, he’s too young! I thought. Lou had only joined us on one lesson in the past. Now, we were going to study “The Mark of the Beast.”

I thought to change the lesson to something tame. Oh, too late. Sister Evelyne already had her lesson book out and she’s ready. Okay Lord, would You please take over?

“Let’s pray.”

By God’s grace, the lesson flowed smoothly, but you won’t believe who was answering all the questions and even contributing profound comments. Yes, Lou himself. We were all amazed at how God gave this young boy such deep understanding of His truth. Better yet, at points when his mom may have hesitated to move, God used His young servant Lou to give her confidence in choosing the truth.

“What’s next week’s lesson? … Mom, can I join in again?”

All of us were beaming with joy and we left assured of God’s protection over His faithful ones.

The following week we studied about “The United States in Prophecy” and Lou was there ready with his Bible. This time he could find verses without any help and he recalled almost everything we studied the week before.

“What’s God’s seal for His people?” I asked.

“It’s … oh, I remember this. It starts with an S ...” Lou began.

“The Sabbath!” His mom—equally excited—jumped in with the answer.

What a joy to watch this family rattle their brains over Bible truths and rejoice at their findings.

To really help us understand the magnitude of what God was doing for Lou, Maddy explained that he was born weighing only one pound. The doctors said he would develop slowly physically and mentally, but she did not believe them. Now he was not only fully grown for his age, but understanding the deep truths of the Bible with ease! He is her miracle child from God.

When the lesson ended, we all stood around the small breakfast table, just as the three Hebrew boys stood, choosing to stand with Christ no matter the consequence.

“I wish Bible study was everyday,” Lou reflected as he fell back in his chair.

 

*Names changed.

From Baptism to Discipling

This story by Karen Matambo, a Compassion Boston Bible Worker

David is his name. Leading up to his baptism, it was clear that he is an exceptional student of the Bible. After we studied a topic, he would review our lesson and study deeper into the history behind it. One time after studying Daniel 2, he read the entire book of Daniel! Oh, and then he went to the library and found books on King Nebuchadnezzar and the sanctuary.

At the Revelation Today seminar, David made the decision to be baptized and he was introduced to the Conflict of the Ages series. Now, only a month after his baptism, he’s read The Great Controversy, The Desire of Ages, and is currently studying Patriarchs and Prophets along with his Bible. 

On Tuesday, Jack asked David to lead the small group next week. David was surprised, but Jack who had closely watched his progress knew he was ready. 

Thankfully, David said yes. “I’m just trusting the Holy Spirit will help me lead, Karen. Because I really need Him to.”

David is an inspiration to me. After watching his testimony, I know I have no right to say I’m too young in my walk, I’m too shy (he himself is a quiet man), or I’m not learned enough. 
If God can use David, a one month old Christian, He can use anyone.

Visiting

This story by Jack Phillips, the It Is Written Bible Work Program Director for Compassion Boston.

This week I went out to visit a few of the attendees from the Revelation Today meetings. I had a list of people that I wanted to make sure and see. I started with a person who had some questions and fears about what this means for her life and those who raised her. Then my Bible work partner Karen and I moved on to other visits.

We stopped in and saw a few others who were just so excited to see someone honor them by coming to their home. They expressed the great joy they have been getting from the meetings. Karen had met one gentleman, Daniel*, while attending the funeral of one of Crystal’s Bible studies. Daniel had recognized Karen as a Seventh-day Adventist—he “could just tell.” He said that his mother was an Adventist and had left him a Bible and a hymnal when she passed away. He was interested in studying the Bible with Karen. He is so excited about the messages he is hearing and desires to make this a major part of his life. 

Then we went to see a couple more people before heading to the church location for that night’s meeting. Jerry* was so excited that we came by. He talked about the message on death we had heard the night before. He told me that he had been going to the library and reading books about the spirit and life after death and trying to understand. He said that for the first time he understands and is no longer confused. He said he no longer needs to search in that garbage anymore. He was so happy to hear about sleep. It made him feel comfortable and gave him a peace he has been longing for.

I was so excited to hear this response; I don’t hear it that quick very often. Though, I felt the same way when I heard it the first time. It went against everything I had ever heard or experienced, but it was such a relief.

God is moving in the hearts of so many here in the Boston area. I look forward to seeing Daniel and Jerry being baptized—and even more than that—to seeing them in the Kingdom.

*Names changed.

Lost and Found

This story written by Marie Paule Louidor, a Compassion Boston Bible Worker.

When I entered the apartment building for the first time, God was ready to demonstrate how He cares about every detail of our lives.

I was passing out Revelation Today invitation flyers to the apartments in the building when an unidentified phone call interrupted me.  It was a woman’s voice saying:  “Hi Marie, you dropped an important card inside my apartment. Where are you right now?”

I replied that I was not sure about losing any card because I only had the flyers, a pad of paper, and a pen in my hands, and that I didn’t enter her apartment.

She insisted:  “This card wasn’t there until you came. I found it on the floor behind the front door. Please come back to get it Marie. It’s a good thing that you wrote your name and cell phone on the invitation flyer.”  

When I stared at the plastic card that the young lady handed me, I stopped breathing for a moment. Then I warmly thanked her and literally ran to my car with the card held tight in my hand.  I grabbed my phone and called my friend.  Now it was my turn saying:  “Hi Landie, how are you? You’ve lost an important card, inside a random apartment. Where are you right now?  Please come and get it.”

Landie was in total shock and praise. She has lost her wallet some time ago while distributing some Adventist brochures at the T station in the same neighborhood where I was passing out the Revelation Today flyers. As she verified day after day, nobody had turned the wallet into the T “lost and found” service. Her fervent prayer was for God to help her find this specific card; there would be a $500 fee to replace it otherwise. Our Lord heard her cry, and answered her prayer.

If God cared enough to help Landie find her lost card, how much more does He care about the lost people in our city, in our neighborhood, in our family.  God wants to use you and me to find them.

“For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.” Luke 19:10

God gives such importance to people that He sent His Son to die on the cross so that people could be saved.

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16

If God used me to find and bring the lost card to my friend, how much more does He want to use us to find and bring Him lost people? One of the greatest joys we can experience as Christians is to to bring someone to Christ. Just imagine! You and I, we can be instruments of God for the salvation of others.

“Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will send you out to fish for people.” Mat 4:19

The Unexpected

This story by Jeffrey Walker, a Compassion Boston Bible Worker.

It’s often said in Bible Work that those you expect to follow-through and attend a seminar won’t, and those you don’t expect much from will be the ones who are the strongest attendees. One gentleman that I didn’t initially expect much from has proven to be a real champion of attendance. He has attended most of the nights and has assured me that he intends to make it to all the remaining meetings. As I’ve provided transportation for John,* we’ve gotten to know a bit about each other’s lives and have enjoyed some good conversations. I’m hopeful that as John—who is already a Christian—continues to enjoy the series he will lean on the Everlasting Arms to determine what God’s will is for him.

*Name changed.

An Old Friend

This story written by Craig Kavanaugh, a Compassion Boston Bible Worker.

Preparations were especially hectic in the final week prior to the start of the Revelation Today seminar: handing out flyers, canvassing, conducting surveys, making visits, reaching out by phone and email, and especially much prayer. As I reviewed my contacts lists, so many names kept pricking at my heart, including Jane.*

I had met Jane more than 4 years ago as part of my ministry to the homeless population here in the city of Boston. In particular, we minister at the Woods-Mullen Shelter on Mass. Ave. near Boston Medical Center. A small group of dedicated volunteers from various Seventh-day Adventist churches in the area have united to serve over 200 meals every Monday evening, cleaning up the kitchen and dining area afterwards, and then offering a Bible study to any who wish to join us. Many precious souls have been reached for Christ through these humble efforts.

One shelter resident who regularly attended our earliest studies was Jane, a dear sister in Christ who always had a pleasant smile and good word to share. Jane loves to study God’s word, and her presence helped give encouragement to both other residents and volunteers alike.

After perhaps a year or so—praise God—Jane was able to obtain subsidized housing assistance and found an apartment in the South End, just several blocks from the shelter. We stayed in touch with Jane, and she invited us to come to her new home and continue to share Bible lessons. These studies were always well-received and a delight to undertake.

Later though, Jane’s schedule changed, as did mine, and we had to put the studies on hold for a time. Then, Jane’s phone number changed, leading to a loss of contact. Yet I kept Jane in prayer, knowing that the Lord was leading in her life.

Then, as the Revelation Today series approached, I began praying for her more earnestly, hoping that she might be contacted somehow to invite her to attend. Without a number though, re-establishing contact proved challenging. I wondered if she still lived at the same location, and thought to visit sometime last week to try to reconnect. However, as my week’s activities were especially strained for time, it turned out that I did not connect with her. Yet I continued to pray for Jane daily.

Then, the Lord revealed His mighty hand. On opening night, Friday, October 7, at the Boston Temple, the very first visitor to walk through the door was Jane. My face lit up and my heart leaped for joy with praise for God on my lips. After a warm embrace and a brief conversation to catch up, I asked Jane how she came to attend the series. She told me that she had found the It Is Written ministry online, and had submitted her contact information there. Brother Richard had been sent out to connect with her and restarted Bible studies again with her in the past year. Later, Brother Tom and his wife took over studies with Jane.

Equally amazing, a few weeks prior to the start of the series, Sister Karen had asked me to accompany her on a medical missionary visit to meet one of her study contacts, Sam,* who was struggling with certain health challenges and needed some counsel on natural health remedies. The meeting went well, and Sam purposed in his heart to make changes in his diet and lifestyle as he seeks to cooperate with God in gaining true healing. I rejoiced to uplift God's special health message for these last days. As it turns out, Sam is Jane's biological brother.

I truly marvel and stand in awe to witness how God is leading this family into all Truth through His Holy Spirit. Our God is indeed too wonderful for me! (Psalm 139:6)

*Name changed.

Learning to Read and Pray

This story by Crystal Phillips, a Compassion Boston Bible Worker.

Last week, I started studying with Isabelle. (I previously told the story about how I went to her back door.) When I got to her house, she told me, “I need you to teach me how to read the Bible” (specifically how to find the different books of the Bible), so I showed her how to use the index to look up the books until she got more familiar with it. Since she’s grown up Catholic, she hasn’t really read the Bible much.

Next, she told me, “I need you to teach me how to pray.” Being Catholic, she recites prayers from her prayer book. I told her that next time I came, we would do a study devoted to prayer and what that should/shouldn’t look like. After I prayed, she told me, “That was wonderful—I want to pray like you!”

Isabelle has a desire to talk to God and use her own words, something she’s never done before. Her enthusiasm is electric. It’s so rewarding to be able to help someone that is so excited and ready to grow closer to our Heavenly Father.

The Still Small Voice

This story by Karen Matambo, a Compassion Boston Bible Worker.

All this time I’ve had no doubt that the Lord is leading John.* I remember I was nervous because we were about to study about baptism, when out of his mouth came the words, “God has really been talking to me about having a fresh start, so I’m really thinking about getting baptized.” Right there and then, the nerves left me, because the Lord had gone ahead of me and prepared the way.

Many occasions like this have taken place as glimpses of God’s power in John’s life. And this time was no different—but the devil had to have his say also. 

“Karen, did you call me?”

“No, sister Evelyne, I didn’t. Is everything okay?” I responded.

“Well, my phone has been acting strangely all day and I thought maybe you had tried to call and couldn’t get through.”

Evelyne is a church member who goes with me when I study with John. It turned out her phone was acting like it had an alter ego, talking non-stop, but not permitting her access to any functions. (Technology ...) It’s a good thing she had another phone on hand. When we met, I turned the phone off and we headed to John’s. 

“The buzzer doesn’t seem to be ringing,” I reported with concern. 

“Try calling him,” came Evelyne’s response. Before I could call, I noticed a resident coming to the door to pick up a delivery order and she let us in. Praise God!

We got on the elevator with the same resident. She pressed 5 and we pressed 3, headed to the third floor. The elevator arrived at our floor, but the door wouldn’t open. Frantically, the resident rapidly pressed the “door open” button and muttered some Spanish words under her breath. 
I turned to sister Evelyne and quietly told her, “It’s the devil trying to stop us from getting to John’s apartment. Please pray.” Quietly we prayed in our hearts while the resident pressed the button. 

The elevator continued to the fifth floor, and we got off here and walked back down to the third floor. Praise God we made it to John’s apartment. Already I knew this was a key study for John. 

“Oh, Karen, I’m not too good today. I meant to call you earlier to cancel today, but I forgot,” was the response we got at the door from a clearly tired John. Attack number three. “Come on in.”

We sat with John and conversed a little. Pretty soon we found out the devil had been attacking him all week leading up to this lesson. Regardless of the attacks, when we told John about the buzzer and elevator, John also saw the works of the devil and was all the more determined to fight. So we began the lesson. 

“You know Karen, the Holy Spirit has really been talking to me about leaving my church.”

Wow, Holy Spirit, was my thought as I glanced down at our lesson that day—which was about God calling His people out of Babylon. It was an emotional lesson, friends, as tears rolled down John’s face, who now realized that he’d been lied to most of his life. With holy boldness he now spoke as one called out to stand with God, and as a missionary being sent to warn those who are still in spiritual Babylon.

Only God could put such a holy burden on John’s heart. John said, “Yup, that still small voice is telling me that this is the truth, and I just want to warn others.” He asked for a copy of the Great Controversy to share with his church bishop so that he can know what John’s learning, too. 

With the Holy Spirit sending out missionaries like John, I have no doubt in my mind that this gospel will reach all the world. 

Needless to say, when we left, not only was the elevator working, but it seems so was the buzzer. We were reminded that “no weapons formed against [us] shall prosper,” Isaiah 54:17.

*Name changed.

Right On Time

This story written by Karen Matambo, a Compassion Boston Bible Worker.

Many of us have experienced being in the right place at the right time by God’s grace. 
I often desire to meet with Bible study contacts that have now transitioned to studying with church members, but I don’t always have a chance to meet with them because of conflicting schedules. Well, this week I had a few minutes before my first Bible study and decided to stop and see Jane* whose home was on the way.

“Karen! I was just praying telling God that I’d really like to see you and here you are!” I can’t tell you how good it felt to know that I was an answer to Jane’s prayer. With a good start to both our days, we prayed to thank God for bringing us together and went our separate ways.

Cory* had a rough week. Satan seemed to poke him from every direction, even using his friends against him. We reminded him that because he’s entered this journey with Christ, Satan is not pleased and will try everything he can to stop him.

Next, we studied about peace that can withstand the storms of life and when we left, he shared, “The moment I saw you at my door, I had peace. Thank you for coming.”

Dear friends, God wants to make us all answers to someone’s prayer. Will you partner with God today and allow Him to send you where He wants you to go?

*Names changed.

The Back Door

This story written by Crystal Phillips, a Compassion Boston Bible Worker.

Monday, I was going door to door in an area where the townhouses are so intermingled that it’s hard to determine front doors from back doors. I wasn’t having much success when I knocked on one particular door. A woman answered the door, and when she opened it to tell me that she didn’t want to do my survey, her cat ran out the door. I knew that I had to chase the cat because it was partially my fault that it escaped. I was able to get the cat and give it back to it’s owner. She was so grateful that she invited me in and told me that she’d do my survey. I was able to get her to open up and she told me all about her upbringing and her journey coming from El Salvador to the States. She is Catholic and showed me her prayer books. We were really hitting it off. She said that she wanted to study her Bible more and signed up to study together. She asked me how I came to knock on her door and I told her that I was just going door to door knocking. She said “I ask, because you came to my back door and the only people who come to that door are my kids.” I told her that I was so glad that she opened it today. I got her address and told her that I would come to the front door next time. She told me, “That’s okay—you can come to that door again.” I was so glad that I went door to door that day.