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250 Mountain View Members Prepare for Historic Outreach
Story by Angelina Dickson
Jordana Ashburn (right), Discover Bible School one-on-one field trainer, engages two Mountain View members in role playing for their upcoming participation in the conference’s mega outreach efforts.
Nearly 250 of the 1,000 active members of the Columbia Union’s smallest conference—Mountain View—recently attended Bible school training in Huttonsville, W.Va., led by Voice of Prophecy staff. The May 17-19 training was to prepare attendees to participate in the “Reach Appalachia” project, an historic outreach, which involves sending Discover Bible School invitations to the nearly 2 million people living in and around the Mountain View Conference.
“I am humbled by the dedication and work of the fine team helping us with this huge endeavor,” Larry Boggess, conference president, said during his opening remarks. He shared that for many years, he and several others have dreamed of spreading the gospel to every home in the Mountain View Conference. He was pleased to see that with help from the Voice of Prophecy they now have that chance. He added it was nice to see so many young people involved in the training from Mountain View and from Voice of Prophecy.
He also shared how God has been involved in this project from its inception. He knew that not everyone church members visited would want Bible studies, but he still wanted to leave them with a small gift. As he was pondering what that gift would be, he got a call from Rubén Ramos, assistant to the Columbia Union president. Pastor Ramos had nearly half a million copies of Steps to Christ and wanted to know if they needed any.
Boggess happily accepted and had three boxes for each of the conference’s 35 churches. Boggess also shared how he talked with Dan Jackson, president of the North American Division, who suggested that he give the Voice of Prophecy a call to get this project off the ground. Leaders of the Voice of Prophecy happily partnered with the small conference, and over the next year and a half, are investing $1 million, including manpower into the project.
During the training weekend, Kurt Johnson, director of the Discover Bible School for the Voice of Prophecy, brought in his team of trained professionals to prepare attendees for this project.
Johnson explained that during the Reach Appalachia project, they would send out three bulk mailings of 300,000 cards to West Virginia and parts of Maryland. The first mailing, he said, went out a week before they came to Huttonsville, and there had already been a response. He said within the first week, there were nearly 1,300 responses (with nearly 300 more the following week)! “I have been doing this as long as 16 years and the number of cards we’ve gotten back is the biggest response ever,” said Johnson. “God is already moving.”
The next two mailings are set to go out in October and January and will conclude with a graduation ceremony at the close of 2014. Mountain View members will play a critical part in reaching their neighbors. Over the weekend, they learned the ins and outs of online Bible school, setting up a correspondence Bible school and personal studies. “We are co-laborers with God” Johnson told Mountain View members referencing p. 146 of church co-founder Ellen G. White’s Christ Object Lessons. Instead of having confidence in self, Johnson encouraged students to let God lead in this project. “God can still have victory even in our weakness,” he said.
At the close of the training, members from each church received their enrollment cards, and each congregation prayed over the cards before heading back to their home churches to put what they learned into practice.
Boggess is still looking to raise $200,000 so he can put task workers in each district. “There is a great work ahead of us,” he says. “We need to be good stewards with what God has given us.”