“Youth Rush has changed my life completely,” says Emilie Carr, a high school senior from Yakima, Wash., who was participating in her first summer of the annual student colporteur program in Upper Columbia Conference (UCC). “I now understand how important our lives are to God, and as His followers we need to bring others to Him as well.” She and the 17 other young people shared nearly 1.3 million pages of Bible-based literature with people throughout the conference territory.
One of those people was Dan, from Richland, Wash. “He looked like some guy from Duck Dynasty,” admits Joseph Talavera. “I showed him the cookbook first, and after showing The Great Controversy he said he really wasn’t interested.” After giving up quickly, Talavera kept going down the street. Before he could cross the street, Dan came out and called him back, asking again what The Great Controversy was about.
After a short explanation, Dan was disappointed. “I thought it was by Ellen G. White,” he said. To his delight, Talavera told him that it was.
“He told me that his family has been a Sabbath-keeping family for 10 years now but are not Seventh-day Adventist," Talavera explains. "He had seen The Great Controversy on TV and had been wanting to read it.” Dan’s opportunity found him that day, as he gave a donation for it as well as the book Messiah.
This summer, about 650 copies of The Great Controversy were distributed, along with more than 700 Christ’s Object Lessons and nearly 3,000 copies of Steps to Christ. In all, more than 13,000 books were left in the 90,000-plus homes visited by Youth Rush students. More than $105,000 was donated, providing more than $70,000 in outside funding for Adventist education.*
These youth also generated interests for Bible studies, VBS programs, health courses and Revelation seminars. “I found that you really need a strong connection with God doing this work,” says Theron King, a student from the Walla Walla, Wash., area.
Kiley Johnson, from Lenore, Idaho, echoed that idea. “This summer I learned to really put my trust in God,” she says. “Whenever I felt like I couldn’t do it on my own anymore, I would start praying. I found that God would give me strength.”
While canvassing in Kennewick, Wash., Betty Crawford met an elderly lady also with the name Betty. In the course of their conversation, the older Betty mentioned that she and a friend had been studying the Bible together and couldn’t make any sense of the book of Revelation. “These DVDs and books will help you unlock the mysteries of prophecy,” responded the younger Betty, as she shared the Theodicy DVD, Daniel Chronicles DVD and The Great Controversy. The older lady gave a donation for the materials and shared her desire to attend a prophecy seminar.
During his third summer as a student in UCC Youth Rush, Michael Ghillarducci has experienced God’s working in many ways. When asked about his favorite story from this summer, he responded. “A Muslim lady who donated for a Great Controversy and Daniel Chronicles DVD.”
Melina Maniscalco, from Hayden, Idaho, joined Youth Rush for her fourth summer and her third as one of the team leaders. “I have seen God working through the students in the way they respond to spiritual conversation and speak up in spiritual situations," she says.
This summer, God has worked powerfully through the young people who dedicated their summer to reaching the world through the printed page. They have seen why Ellen White shared in Colporteur Ministry, “If there is one work more important than another, it is that of getting our publications before the public, thus leading them to search the scriptures” (p. 7). Whether young or old, student or professional, we can all do something to reach the lost by sharing literature with those we meet.
*For final statistics and more stories, visit uccsda.org/youthrush/report.