The day was cloudy and rainy in Mankato, Minnesota, as Joseph Olivier walked through the businesses talking to people. Olivier is a theology student at Andrews University and has committed the last two summers to walking door to door sharing Christian literature, making friends and learning life skills.

As he walked, he met a man who had just begun to pump gas. When Olivier asked him how his day was going, the man was surprised. He proceeded to tell Olivier how he had just been stopped by the police, he was homeless and was living in his small truck, and how his wife had left him. He told how his dad had just had a heart attack, and his 18-year-old daughter was pregnant.

The man began to sob. He spoke of how he wanted to run away and shared how he sometimes thought about taking his own life. Olivier encouraged him, sharing how the Lord is close to us in a special way when we are in these moments.

Olivier told of his darkest moments, and how Jesus reached out to him in a special way and reminded him of His love. As Olivier told the man more of his story, the man smiled.

Near the end, the man spoke of how the Lord has sent people his way when he wanted to give up, and was encouraged as he saw the Lord had sent Olivier to him that day. Olivier encouraged him and left him with Promise of Peace (Desire of Ages).

“I praise the Lord for experiences like these because we see how the Holy Spirit is able to use us in a special way to minister to others at just the right time,” related Olivier.

More than 30,000 students like Olivier spend their summer vacations in the U.S. and abroad engaging in door-to-door ministry. Olivier’s testimony is just one of the many from the 19 students who joined the Minnesota program this last summer. Here’s how others described their experience.

Canvassing has reinforced in my mind that the aim in life is to share Jesus. All other pursuits are simply tools toward this goal. Analyze your priorities and goals, place your focus where you want it to be and carry that focus into every aspect of your life.

Mercy Pickle

The canvassing journey has blessed me in ways beyond description. It has given me an opportunity to see God work in a way He could not work otherwise. It gives you the chance to see what it’s like to take the yoke of Christ and go forward in service with Him.

Maboshe Makesa

Canvassing has helped me strengthen my spiritual muscles. It has helped me trust in the promises of God, despite my feelings.

Andy Simons

It is amazing to think that many of these people couldn’t have been reached in any other way. The harvest is truly plentiful, but the laborers are few. The benefits students gain in joining programs like these are abundant.

Learn more about Minnesota Conference’s literature evangelism program and how you can become involved at

Darrell Conway is literature evangelism coordinator for the Minnesota Conference.