“In the name of Jesus Christ we pray, amen.”
As Kathlyn concluded her prayer, my head was spinning. Never had I heard a prayer so truly spiritual come from someone only a couple years older than I. Nothing about this job has gone the way I pictured it. When my friends told me about literature evangelism (LE), I envisioned myself walking with my friends selling books. I accepted the job, but it took me only one worship to figure out I was in way over my head.
Because I was new, the first day I worked with a leader—meaning I didn’t actually do any work. The second day was much worse. Hopping into the sparkling white van decked out with LE stickers, I finished tying my new Sketchers and checked my bag again. Sighing nervously, I glanced at the others in the van. Half of them were to be my team for the next two days. I didn’t know any of them.
Closed shutters and locked doors greeted me the first few houses. By supper, I would have been happy to find cold, empty houses instead of the heated rejections I was facing. Doors creaked open warily only to be slammed in my face.
I counted myself blessed if no swearing assaulted me. By early afternoon, my peppy steps turned to plodding paces. This seemed more like torture than a summer job. I had met more rejection than I thought possible, but I had to keep going—for eight solid weeks.
Strength to Go On
As the days trudged by, my feet blossomed with blisters until I could barely walk. I knew I couldn’t make it on my own. I had realized a common theme to the worships and training sessions every morning. Joe, our boss, always pushed us to immerse ourselves in personal devotions. His constant refrain was, “A strong relationship with God is essential to this job. The only way you can have a strong relationship is if you spend time in His word daily.” What is he talking about? I had thought going to church, participating in Sabbath schools, vespers, and other church programs was enough. Apparently I was wrong.
Joe pushed daily devotions so much, and I was so miserable those first days, that I decided to follow his advice. At first, I was not sure where to start, so I just opened my Bible and started reading wherever my gaze landed— the love-at-first-sight approach. I started reading every morning, gaining strength from those precious words. Eventually, I learned to memorize verses, repeating them to myself, feeling energy pulsing through my capillaries from the promises I had locked in my brain earlier that day.
“Go out and tell them everything I tell you to say. Do not be afraid of them, or I will make you look foolish in front of them” (Jer. 1:17, NLT) were very motivating words for an inexperienced LE. Though these words were meant for the prophet Jeremiah, they seemed to fit my own experience, eerily echoing the encounters I still shudder to recall. The chapter ends positively, promising that even though some people may fight us, we will prevail because God will take care of us.
Isa. 40:29-31 promises that power and strength will be granted to the weak and the powerless. These verses became my mantra toward the end of the summer. Blisters, sunburn, and the heat of the day all combined to make my summer miserable, but remembering that I was assured strength to go on gave me the energy to make it through anything the world could throw at me.
One door opened to reveal a tall, well- muscled man, red in the face and breathing hard. “You have three seconds to get off my property before I set my dogs on you.” His fury was punctuated by the emphatic movements of his chest. Hearing the
thunderous barking of at least three dogs in the background, I smiled apologetically. “I’m so sorry for disturbing you, sir. I hope the rest of your day goes well.” Forcing myself not to sprint, I made my way on down the road.
Because of my morning devotions, I was no longer afraid of the people with whom I came in contact—or multiple rejections. I wasn’t afraid to share my spiritual experiences with total strangers. Even today, the strength I gain from spending time in His word allows me to keep going, both as a literature evangelist and in my daily life. “In the name of Jesus Christ, I go.”
Author Taylor Roberts is a sophomore language arts education major from Longmont, Colorado studying at Union College in Lincoln, Nebraska.