Rev. 14:6 tells us that the Three Angels Messages are to go to every nation, tribe, tongue, and people. After hearing these messages for the first time one of the first thoughts I had was “My people have got to hear this”. My people…the Hutterite people.
Scattered throughout the Northern Plains of America and across most of Canada there is a people group that isn’t known by most of the world. Hutterites (Anabaptist Christians much like the Amish and Mennonites) number over 50,000 and live in “colonies” where, for the most part, they try to stay separated from the outside world.
Generally they are known to be a peaceful people who try to stay out of the public eye and live their communal lifestyle separated from the world. I had grown up in one such colony in North Dakota. As a child it was always a pleasure to be able to go to town and “see” the world that was beyond the colony’s borders.
At a young age I rebelled against the strict religious lifestyle of my people and ended up running away from home at 17. After that came a 10-year circle of partying, drug addiction and many mistakes, one of which was neglecting my duties to be a husband to my wife and a father to my children. It took a series of miraculous circumstances to introduce me to Jesus, His Word and the Seventh-day Adventist Church (read Part 1 of this story).
Looking back I can say that my desire to share Jesus and His Word began after attending my first full evangelistic series. Once wasn’t enough, so I attended another one immediately after and then another one online. I was beyond excited about the Bible truth I was learning and couldn’t keep it to myself. I had to share.
One of the ways I stayed in contact with my Hutterite family was through a family group chat and also other Hutterite group chats on WhatsApp. It was there that I began to type out and share on different Bible topics. What started out as sharing with just a few family members began to grow. It went from 10, to 20, then 40, then 100. More and more Hutterites started joining the WhatsApp channel that I had simply called “Bible Study.” For many of these people this poses a great risk because in most communities private cell phones are not allowed, especially for the women.
It wasn’t long before some of my Hutterite friends introduced other messaging platforms such as Telegram and Signal. After creating “Bible Study” channels there as well I would daily share the same messages across all the platforms. Now, almost a year later those numbers have grown to around 1,000 Hutterites studying Bible truth and receiving the everlasting gospel.
My local church became involved when a Hutterite youth pastor made an inquiry about a book he had found called “Desire of Ages.” He enjoyed it so much and was wanting to get copies of it for all the families of his community. I started by asking my church family for used copies of the book that we could send to this youth pastor. But instead of sending used books, a donation came in that was big enough to buy just enough brand new Conflict of the Ages sets for every single family in his community. This opened the door to expand from simply sharing words on a cell phone to sharing free hard resources such as Bibles, Bible Study Guides, tracts, and a wide variety of books.
As monetary donations to help cover shipping and expenses came in, I would offer books on the Bible Study group chat for free to all participants. This had a huge impact in several ways. First, it showed the Hutterites that there are people who genuinely care about them. Second, it impacted them in a special way—knowing people cared so much they were willing to spend time and money in order for them to get these books and Bible Study Guides.
This is huge because individuals don’t have any of their own money in the colony. Mailing the resources proved to be a challenge at times because all the mail for each colony gets passed through one hub. If the wrong person would see mail that seems to be coming from a ministry outside of the Hutterite faith, chances for it getting confiscated and destroyed are very high. This has happened more than once. Currently we are still shipping books and resources as donations become available not only in the United States but also Canada.
So what about that dreaded word…COVID. Actually this also turned out to be a blessing because as churches began to shut down and people were getting increasingly wary of public gatherings one of the changes our church family experienced was deciding to have our Wednesday night Bible study via conference call. This opened the door to then invite Hutterites to call in and participate as well, which they did. Calls started to come in from Hutterites in the state of Washington and all the way to Minnesota, and from Manitoba to British Columbia. During the past year, for one hour a week, we were able to completely cover the 28 fundamental beliefs and then switched to studying the book of Daniel. There are also about 20 Hutterites studying the Sabbath school quarterly.
A couple years ago when this dream of sharing Jesus with my people was first born I never would have imagined the progress that has happened since then. This outreach effort has also led several Hutterites to not only accept the message but get baptized and stay living in their communities as a light there. I do not know how God will lead in the future but I know He has a plan..after all, He did say that this message will go to every tribe, tongue and people.
That includes the Hutterite people of North America.
Christopher Hofer is a member of the Lehr Seventh-day Adventist Church in North Dakota.