In planning for the work of the year 1942, we felt that the times demanded that we undertake something larger than we had heretofore undertaken in giving the message to the people of our territory. We felt that we must in some way plan to reach the many thousands who, up to this present time, have had little opportunity to become acquainted with our faith and message.
We felt that literature must have a large part in accomplishing this, no matter what method we followed. We had 267,000 copies of a little tract printed, entitled, "A Very Sick World—A Very Sure Remedy." Our churches and isolated members have responded wonderfully in circulating this, so that almost the entire edition has now been circulated throughout our field. From all over our field we are receiving inquiries asking for further information and for free literature offered at the close of the article.
From an experiment we tried out last year in the field of journalism, we felt that it would be possible to get our message into the various newspapers in our field in such a way as to acquaint many thousands of people with the truths we hold. This, too, was made a part of our "Message Advance" program. We prepared a series of twenty-one sermons dealing with the outstanding features of our message, each article occupying about a quarter page of newspaper space. These articles were prepared under the general heading, "Back to the Bible."
After we had prepared this series of sermons, and put them in proper form, we began to visit the newspaper editors of our conference to see what arrangements could be made for the publication of this series of articles. We made it plain to each editor that these articles set forth the views of Seventh-day Adventists as concerns Bible prophecy, and the events that are occurring at the present time. We called attention to the fact that the world is very much interested in just such information at the present time, and had with us excellent recommendations from two editors who published this series of articles last year. By these we were able to convince other editors that we had information that would be accepted and appreciated by the public. We made no attempt at any time to hide the true nature of the material in the articles.
Because of the nature of the material we had prepared, and the benefit we felt we were rendering to the public, we asked the editors of these papers for a very large concession in rates for the publishing of this series of articles. In our conference, the series is now being published in eleven different newspapers, the circulation of which ranges from one thousand to thirty thousand copies a week. The combined weekly circulation of the papers carrying our articles now is around one hundred thousand.
At the close of the articles, we invite those who are interested to write to us for further information, and also direct their attention to the Voice of Prophecy radio program each Sunday evening. In every mail we are receiving letters and cards from persons who are reading the newspaper articles. To all such we furnish the series of tracts which has recently been published, and thus put them in touch with our Free Bible Correspondence Radio School.
By the methods described, we are actually reaching between one third and one half of the entire population of our conference this year. We have every reason to believe that by this means many thousands of people this year will be convinced of the message as we teach it. Already we know of a number who are taking Bible studies as a result of the interest that has thus been created. This method of work is preparing the way for the greatest evangelistic reaping that has ever been carried forward in our field.
Our workers will naturally be interested in the cost of this program. We made our people acquainted with our plan, and asked them for the largest single offering that had ever been requested from this, a poor conference. We named $2,500 as the sum needed to carry forward the project in a strong way. Our members have responded so wholeheartedly to our appeal that we believe every dollar we requested will come into our treasury, and perhaps even more. Our members are thrilled with what has been accomplished through the efforts put forth.
We are using only such papers as will give us large concessions in price. These concessions range from fifty to seventy-five per cent off the regular church advertising rate. Our series of articles requires about 640 column inches of space for publication. They appear on the church page once a week. Our total average cost up to the present time is about one third of the regular church advertising rate for the space we are using. We are employing four of the very best papers printed in our conference territory, besides a number of the local county papers.
We believe that the plans we have put into operation this year have done more to strengthen and extend the work in our field than anything else we have ever undertaken. Our church members have been working and giving as never before. The wide publicity given to our faith and message in this manner will surely usher in a new day for Arkansas-Louisiana. We feel confident that we are reaching the largest number of people by this means that we have ever reached in the history of our conference. This undertaking has put new life and energy into our members throughout the whole field, and many are becoming interested in our message who had but little interest in it before.