Signs Reach New Readership
Washington’s Arlington Church has been placing Signs of the Times news boxes around their community for many years. They've usually placed the boxes where the church has an Adventist contact. For example, they place boxes near an Adventist-owned bicycle shop, near an Adventist-owned commercial building or at locations where they were invited. There has also been a box in front of the church. While some papers are distributed from these locations, the numbers haven't been high.
Those working with this literature ministry have often wondered if there was another opportunity they should try. Was there some place they had missed or some place they hadn't considered before?
Members began to look for box locations with no Adventist connection and even no spiritual connection. They looked for places that might reach a wider variety of readers.
As they looked, members noticed paper boxes in front of one of the local truck stops. Most boxes were empty, and in some cases the publisher was no longer in business, such as the Little Nickel paper. This particular truck stop caters to trucks that come from Canada to move goods from the port in Seattle. Many of the truckers, as well as the owner, have a connection to India and likely had no connection to or knowledge of Adventism.
At first, members were fearful to approach the owner to ask permission to distribute spiritual papers. They felt it might seem they were seeking to push the Adventist Church or Christianity where it wasn't wanted. However, after praying over the matter and waiting for an opportunity, members approached the owner and left a sample paper with them. The members were told that the truck stop owner would get back to them. The members left with a feeling of having been politely brushed off.
However, a week later the owner contacted the church and said it would be okay to replace one of the existing boxes. Meanwhile, the church had contacted the publisher of one of the empty boxes. The publisher told members they could remove and dispose of the old box. So now a new Signs box has replaced the empty Little Nickel box in front of the truck stop.
This new box is maintained with three issues of Signs of the Times papers and sometimes a couple assorted books or other papers. On average, more than five papers a week are taken from this box and as many as 15 have been taken in eight days. It seems as truckers are looking for something to read.
It is quite a privilege to provide informative and spiritual reading for these travelers. Members stamp the books and papers with a little note that says, “Compliments of the Arlington Seventh-day Adventist Church.” They feel God is blessing not only the truckers but their entire church.
And now the rest of the story. As members examined the Little Nickel box, they found it is nearly identical to the Signs box. Since they were supposed to dispose of the old box, one church member offered to clean and repaint the old box to match the Signs box, complete with the word "Signs" on the front. This will allow the church to place another box at another location for free.