During the first few months of my experience in the publishing department as a colporteur evangelist, I became aware of the possibilities of combining the efforts of the colporteur evangelist with those of the preacher evangelist. When I am taking an order or delivering one the customer will often give expression to certain interests or questions he has regarding the Bible. The alert colporteur evangelist will note these interests, writing them on the guarantee receipt copy of that customer; and as a physician watches his patients, he will keep in touch with his prospects and recommend additional volumes that will deal with their known interests or questions.
Residential colporteur evangelists have opportunity to gather the names of hundreds of sincere individuals in any given territory. Preacher evangelists will find these interested individuals the finest prospects for evangelistic meetings. When W. J. Hackett entered a large city to conduct an evangelistic meeting where it had been my privilege to canvass, we went together to many of my former and current customers to introduce Evangelist Hackett and to announce the coming meeting. We also printed a card entitled "Community Bible Reading Course." When this card was presented to a customer it entitled him to become a member of one of several strategically located Bible classes in the city. These classes were held in the homes of some of my most friendly customers. Classes were conducted by the Bible instructors of the evangelistic group.
Results from this plan were excellent. Many of these people were baptized. It is my conviction that if our conference and mission presidents, with the preacher evangelist, would invite the colporteur evangelist in at the time of planning the campaign that is to be conducted in his city, and lay a burden upon the heart of that bookman to begin looking for keenly interested people for the coming meeting, he would cooperate and be of great value to the meeting. Let him know that his services are expected and appreciated. Then don't be afraid to give him just a little credit for his part when the work is all finished.
During evangelistic campaigns evangelists should look over the candidates for future colporteur evangelists. Godly, well-appearing, well- educated men are needed.
Following are a few examples of the fore going plan from the Far Eastern Division.
From Indonesia, A. Pasuhuk, president of the South Celebes Mission, writes:
"We sent a colporteur last year to Timor Island. After canvassing for two months he wrote that a Sabbath school had been raised up, and asked that the place be visited by the president of the mission as soon as possible. In the month of June last year I was privileged to visit the island and conduct public meetings for one month. Pressed with the need of other work, I had to return to the mission station. In the meantime our colporteur evangelist followed the interest through and gave instruction in regard to our fundamental beliefs to a few who were really interested in the truth. This he did besides his canvassing work. Then he wrote again stating that there were seven souls ready for baptism. In January, 1951, I had the privilege again of visiting this interesting island. Using a projector, I launched a spearhead effort in the city of Koepang. The average attendance was eight hundred people every night. It lasted ten days, after which those seven persons were baptized. This effort has awakened a great interest among the people, and our Sabbath school members are now increasing in number. Just recently another eleven have been baptized. The Sabbath school now has eighty members.
"Two young people from this island are attending our Indonesia Union Seminary, preparing them selves to bring the last message of salvation to their people.
"This faithful colporteur evangelist is going from one island to the other bringing the soul-saving message through the printed pages. Interest is being awakened everywhere, and the requests from the people are pouring in asking for workers to give them more Bible instruction. Timor and the adjacent islands are ripe now, and the harvest is ready to be gathered in before Jesus comes in the clouds of heaven. Our pressing need in Timor is for more workers like the colporteur evangelist."
From the Philippines, J. O. Bautista, president of the Central Luzon Mission, sends this word:
"Four colporteurs working in a certain village began some cottage meetings before they transferred to another territory. After they had left, the local evangelist continued with the meetings, and as a result ten were recently baptized in that place.
"An assistant publishing secretary accompanied a colporteur in delivering books in a remote village about eighteen kilometers from the town. They went through forests and up and down the hills. However, they were heartened to find the people ready with their money to pay for the books they had ordered.
"At noontime they arrived at the house of the head of the village. They were surprised to find that a large group of people had gathered together. Around the table were a number engaged in animated conversation. They were neither eating nor drinking. When asked what they were doing some one replied: 'We are studying from the books this man [pointing to the colporteur] sold us when he came here before. We are comparing the references, and we find that they are similar to the texts in the Bible. The messages in the books have touched our hearts. We are glad they have been brought to our place. But there are some things we do not under stand, and so we need you to explain them to us.'
"After dinner the assistant publishing secretary conducted a Bible study. When he was through they asked him to give them some more. They held a meeting for a big crowd in the evening. Before they left the place the people requested someone to come and teach them the truth. It is planned to send an evangelist into that region to care for this, big interest, and we hope that an abundant harvest of souls will be reaped there."
Wayne A. Martin, president of the Thailand Mission, says:
"I am grateful for the work of the colporteurs in Thailand, for it enables us to send the message to many remote parts of the country where our few regular pastors would never have the time or the opportunity to go. The colporteurs help to multiply the efforts of the pastor, and the pastor cultivates and harvests the seed sown by the colporteurs. Each is a complement to the other. If Jesus were on the earth today, He might well say, 'Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that He will send forth more colporteurs into His harvest.' "
Slightly over one year ago a colporteur evangelist was sent into north Siam, where he not only enjoyed large sales but enrolled many people in the Voice of Prophecy Bible Correspondence Course. The awakened interest grew so rapidly in the area of Chiengmai that a tabernacle is now being erected to open a full-scale evangelistic meeting.
Surely a closer coordination of effort between colporteur evangelists and preacher evangelists, will result in helping the colporteur evangelist maintain a deeper interest in his work, as well as in reaping a greater harvest of souls now and in the short time that remains before the return of Jesus.