Welcome Anytime

This story written by Destinie Candis, a Compassion Boston Bible Worker.

This week, as I was going to door-to-door (with little success), I met a woman named Nadeg. The first thing she asked after we told her who we were and what we were doing was if we were Adventist. We told her yes, and then she began telling us how she used to go to one of the Haitian churches in the area with her grandmother when she was a child, but she chuckled as she told us she could never understand what was going on because she doesn’t speak Creole. We continued our conversation for a while and she ended by telling us we were welcome to knock on her door anytime. She accepted lesson one, and we made an appointment to come back next Tuesday.

A Growing Group

This story written by Destinie Candis, a Compassion Boston Bible Worker.

This past week, I was fortunate to give lesson six in the study series to a Haitian family I study with.

Over the past few weeks, our small little group has grown. I received the original response card from the literature evangelists in the area, which only listed one person’s name. After our initial visit to Kerline, we were delighted to find that she was willing to sit down with us the very next week. Another Bible worker and I went to the appointment and were greeted by Kerline, her son Kevin, her mother, and her sister-in-law Esther, who were all waiting on the porch with chairs set out for us.

As we began chatting, we discovered that Kerline is not proficient in English. So for study number one, we heavily relied on her son to translate for us, and prayed for the gift of tongues. For the next lesson, I made sure to invite Creole speaking lay workers, and since then, things have progressed smoothly.

A few weeks ago, Kerline went to Haiti to attend a funeral, and the rest of the family stayed and decided to continue studies. When Kerline returned, we would catch her up separately. During the time of her absence, both Kerline’s and Esther’s daughters began to sit in on the studies with us and participate.

As I mentioned, this past week we studied lesson six, which is covers the Law. During the lesson, everyone was engaged, and a friend of the family even stopped by and listened to the lesson in its entirety. I can proudly say this was the best lesson so far in terms of reception, understanding, and delivery. At the end, everyone made a decision to surrender to Jesus and keep His commandments! Please keep the family in prayer, as we soon approach the lesson on the Sabbath.

What Happens in Four Weeks

This story written by Destinie Candis, a Compassion Boston Bible Worker.

This week, I was able to reconnect with a contact I had not been able to find for four weeks. It was the end of the day, and my lay worker and I decided to make one more stop. By the time we reached her door, the sun had already faded under the horizon. I half-heartedly rang the doorbell to the second floor, and at this point, the lay-worker stood right in front of the window where Mirelle’s stairs were located.

“What are doing?” I asked, to which she replied, “I know she’s in there, so I’m just going to stand here to make sure she sees us.”

To me, this was a level of boldness I sometimes have to remind myself to show. We stood on the porch for about a minute and nothing happened, so I pressed the bell again. We waited a few more seconds until, finally, Mirelle’s face greeted us through the window. 

She walked to the door and I asked if she remembered me; she did. Then, she proceeded to tell me about what had been happening in her family. Her husband had been in the hospital twice with a virus that affected his memory, her mother had been sick, and her father was flown from Haiti to Florida to have brain surgery. After she told us all she had been going through, my natural response was to offer prayer. Just as we were about to begin praying at the door, she said we should come up and see her husband, mother, and sister. While we talked with her family, she continued cleaning the house, and when she finished we sang songs and prayed together in a circle. When we finished, her husband had a wide grin on his face. Pointing it out, Mirelle said, “He likes you all.”

She and her family were very grateful for the visit. To me, this is what Bible work is. We may not always get the study, but if we’re able to win people’s hearts with simple tasks like having conversations and prayer, this is Christ's method.

On the origin of evil

This story written by Destinie Candis, a Compassion Boston Bible Worker.

This week I had the great privilege of studying with Armando, a man who had been waiting for weeks to receive the lessons. This is our third study, and he is on fire. The past couple of times we’ve gone, he hasn’t filled out the lessons, but his memory is sharp and we quiz him on what we’ve previously studied. This week we studied the origin of evil and his eyes and facial expressions were filled with awe as we unfolded truths, as he realized God did not create a devil, and that even in allowing Satan to continue living on Earth, He was showing His love.

Those are the best moments for me—when someone “gets it.” When the love of God is understood, in spite of the presence of evil. He understood that God gives us all a choice, and it’s awesome for me to hear him make choices for Jesus during and at the end of every lesson.

Lessons of Patience and Persistence

This story written by Destinie Candis, a Compassion Boston Bible Worker.

This past week, I found a blessing in what was a bummer. On Thursday, I went to my group study with a Haitian family to find that my original point of contact was not feeling well, and other members of the family were out of the house. So, with a little sadness in our hearts, my lay worker/translator and I went to follow up on other leads. The first door we knocked on I have visited countless times, and this time we still did not find our contact at home. But while we were walking around in this little neighborhood, I discovered something about my lay worker, Jean: he knew literally everyone we passed and introduced me to them. Jean became an even more valuable asset to the team because in his line of work as a translator at a local hospital, he meets a lot of people. Because of him, a language barrier with the community has been broken.

Before we left the territory, I visited one more of my lead cards. Weeks ago, I found her and was able to give her lesson number one. During the short visit at the door, she was very excited about the studies and even went and got her work schedule to make sure she would be home when we came to give her lesson number two. However, when we went back she was not there. Over the course of about three weeks, I must have gone by 10 or 15 times to see if she was home, all to no avail. But this night—this night, during the time I was supposed to be giving a study—was different. I walked up to the door, rang her bell to the second floor as I usually did, and looked up at her window. Nothing happened. A second time I rang the bell and a few seconds of silence passed. Just as Jean and I were about to walk away, the second floor window sprang open. We greeted each other and I asked if she remembered me, she said yes and that she was coming down. Once we were face-to-face, she told me about how crazy her schedule has been, but that she is still very interested in the studies. She told me how she was raised in church, but fell away once she got older, and how she desires a better relationship with God. We ended the visit with her telling me she does not have to work this coming Monday or Thursday, so we were able to set up a sit-down Bible study for Thursday afternoon.

I love the lessons of patience and persistence God has taught me in this situation. Before Thursday I was contemplating whether or not I should keep trying to find her as often as I had. Should I focus my attention elsewhere?—or, should I give the card to another Bible worker? But God had a completely different plan, as He usually does.

Eagerly Awaiting

This story written by Destinie Candis, a Compassion Boston Bible Worker.

This week I met two people who had been eagerly awaiting our visit. 

Paul was our last stop on Tuesday night and a new lead card. We walked up to his apartment building and pressed the buzzer. I was halfway expecting to not find him home, but then a voice came over the intercom and I explained who I was and who I was looking for. He didn’t hesitate to tell us that he was Paul, and with a giddiness to his voice he said “Really? Come on up!” In the elevator on the way up, we prayed; and as we stepped out, we were greeted by a man who had been waiting in the hallway.

The first thing Paul said was, “This is something! I’ve been praying for God to send me someone to help me understand the Bible. And you guys show up.” Paul spent almost an hour telling us about his family and his life, and how much God is blessing him despite the troubles he’s having. At the end of the visit, we prayed with him, and set up an appointment for a sit-down study the following Tuesday.

The next day, I made what I believe was the tenth visit to Armando. For three weeks I had been trying to find him home. So I pressed the doorbell once again, and to my surprise, a woman answered the door. My heart leapt a little higher in my body as I went through our introduction. I asked if Armando was home and she went back in to send him to the door. After I told him who we were and what we had come to bring him, his faced dropped into a look of relief and disbelief. He said, “I’ve been waiting for these to come. I sent that card in so long ago.”

He explained that he had been staying in Everett because his house needed some repairs. Then, to our surprise, he said he had gone on the It Is Written website and done part of the first lesson. At this point, Richard pulled out an It is Written card to tell Armando about the daily devotional, and Armando said—pointing to John Bradshaw’s picture—“That's the guy I’ve been watching! I like him.” Before we left, we prayed with him and set up an appointment for us to come back. 

The Guy Charging his Phone

This story by Destinie Candis, a Compassion Boston Bible Worker.

Last week while following up leads, we met a guy who was charging his phone outside one of the units. We asked if the people who lived in the apartment were home, and he said he didn’t know.

This week, when we returned, he was outside charging his phone again. We struck up a conversation with him, and he asked what we were doing. We told him we were a part of an organization called It Is Written that was involved in getting people into the Bible and giving Bible studies. He said, “That’s what’s up.” Karen then asked him if he would like a study. He declined, and we went again to see if the lead was home.

The lead was not home, so we made our way back around the corner. While we were still near the door of our lead, I felt compelled to offer the guy charging his phone a GLOW tract. After I gave it to him, he opened it up and looked at it as we were walking away. I don’t know if he read the whole thing, but I hope a seed was planted, and maybe next week we will be able to converse with him again.

Listening in the Small Things

This story by Destinie Candis, a Compassion Boston Bible Worker.

Today Karen and I went to follow up on a lead in an apartment in Roxbury. We rang the buzzer of the number listed on the card. The first time it seemed as if the door clicked, so Karen pulled, but to no avail. A second time she rang the buzzer, and for a while we stood there with static coming through the speaker. This time I pulled the door because, again, it sounded as if it clicked. And yet again, the door was stiff. At this point, the static had suddenly stopped, then something told me to pull the door again. This time it worked. Someone called down from the very top of the building, and we huffed our way up four flights of stairs as quickly as we could. The woman who greeted us chuckled and said she thought she was going to receive a booklet or something in the mail. By the end of the visit we had set an appointment for the next drop-off and given her a second study for her granddaughter, who was in the apartment with her. The Lord is teaching me to listen to Him even in small things.

A Stronger Hope

This story written by Destinie Candis, a Compassion Boston Bible Worker.

As Christian and I approached the address listed on the lead card, my pace slowed when I realized the contact lived in an apartment building. From experience, apartments are notoriously difficult for a Bible worker to get into. By the time we reached the door I had whispered a choppy prayer to the effect of, “Lord, please let Denise be home and receptive.”

I reached out and pulled the handle to the outside door, and to my relief it was unlocked. We went into the small receiving room and found the button that corresponded with the number on the card, and Christian gave it a long press. No answer.

Again he pressed the button—this time short and quick—and the voice of a child came through the speaker asking who it was. I said, “My name is Destinie and I'm from It is Written. I’m responding to a request sent in by Denise.” There was no response for a few seconds, but then with the electronic sound of a game show buzzer, the secondary door was opened to us.

As we made our way up the steps to the apartment, my heart began to leap with excitement because the experience was morphing into something better than what I thought it would be. When we turned the corner to her floor, the head of an older child, a teenage boy, was hanging out of the door in expectancy of our arrival. I told him again who I was, and he asked us to wait for his mother to come to the door. A few moments later, she emerged and I went through my introduction with her and placed the Daniel 2 study guide in her hand. When I told her about the impact it had on my life, and emphasized the amount of value it had to me, I saw her eyes widen a little and she was intrigued. We made an appointment for me to drop off the next lesson the following week. 

While I left Denise with a wonderful study, God left me with a stronger hope and trust in Him, that He is in control of our situations no matter what past experiences may have brought us.