The Magabook student literature evangelism program began in the Iowa-Missouri Conference in the summer of 1996 at Hillcrest Adventist Elementary School in St. Louis, Missouri. Along the way conferences were encouraged to name their groups; thus we have the “Youth Alive—Alive to God in Christ Jesus” Magabook program. This summer will mark the 20th year this program has been encouraging our young people to spread God’s Word in cities, large and small, while allowing them to help pay for their Adventist education.
God has been faithful to us throughout the years, and this past summer was no exception! Not only did we have 21 young adults working in our Youth Alive program, but we also had more than 40 elementary-aged students participating in several of our elementary school programs around the conference. Students distributed more than 12,150 pieces of literature, and over $120,300 was received in donations, with the majority of that money going for scholarships. God is indeed working powerfully with and through our young people!
One of our Youth Alive students, Aaron Tan, recounts one of his favorite experiences from this past summer. He had finished working on his assigned street and, after radioing into the team leader, he was waiting at the corner to be picked up and moved to a new street. While waiting, he felt impressed to approach a house that had not been assigned to him. When nobody answered the door he began wondering why God had given him the inclination to turn aside and approach this house.
As he was leaving the porch, a man pulled up in his vehicle and asked if Aaron had just knocked on the door. When Aaron replied that he had, the man tried to explain that it was his wife’s house, and he was in the process of moving his stuff out and wouldn’t be staying long. Aaron assured him that he would not take much of his time, introduced himself, and began showing the man the books Aaron had in his hand. Immediately, the man expressed an interest and asked if he had any books that focused on Bible prophecy.
Surprised and grateful for the specific interest, Aaron handed the man a copy of The Great Controversy. He was beginning to see God’s plan unfolding and knew this book would be just what the man needed. As the gentleman leafed through the pages, he asked Aaron what religion he was. Suddenly, Aaron felt self-conscious. In recounting this experience, he described being tempted to mumble and rush through the name Seventh-day Adventist and just say that he was a Christian.
But God spoke to his heart and gave him the courage to slow down and clearly state that he was a Seventh-day Adventist Christian. The man seemed startled and surprised. “You’re kidding,” he said. “My sister, down in Texas, just became a Seventh-day Adventist!” Right then, Aaron knew that this was, indeed, a divine appointment. The man was thrilled and gave Aaron a donation for The Great Controversy, exclaiming that he was anxious to read it. Before he left, Aaron asked if he could pray with him. After they had prayed, the man thanked Aaron for stopping by and sharing the books with him.
What a beautiful reminder of the words of encouragement Jesus spoke in Matthew 10 as He was sending out the 12 disciples. In verses 31 and 32 (NASB), He says, “So do not fear; you are more valuable than many sparrows. Therefore everyone who confesses Me before men, I will also confess him before My Father who is in heaven.”
With these words, Jesus reminds us not to fear for our reputations, safety, well-being or finances. He empowers us to be bold for the sake of the gospel and to speak bravely of Him to those with whom we come in contact. I encourage you to seek out how Jesus could use you to “confess” Him to your family, friends, neighbors, and coworkers, and thank you for your continued support and prayers as we, summer after summer, challenge our young people with this high calling!
Charity Infante is the Iowa-Missouri Conference Magabook program director.