Portland Women's Expo Gets Unexpected Vendor

June 20, 2016 | Cheri Corder

“I am shocked that you are here!” the woman exclaimed after seeing “Seventh-day Adventist” on the banner. “Shocked!”

The woman had just been offered a free copy of "Living a Long and Beautiful Life," a booklet on health adapted especially for women. The setting was a booth at the Portland Women’s Expo, which draws more than 10,000 women each year on the first Saturday of April.

At first, the woman had refused the book, but then, glancing at the banner, she saw “Oregon Seventh-day Adventist Women’s Ministries."

“I was raised a Seventh-day Adventist!” she said. “I went through all the schools … . I already know what is in that book. But … OK, I’ll take one.”

Passionate about getting Adventist literature into places where large crowds gather, a generous donor had contacted the North Pacific Union Conference about developing a small book on health that could be easily customized for trade shows. With a dozen professionals contributing to the content, the first edition was titled “Live to Be 101,” designed for motorcyclists and distributed at the motorcycle rally in Sturgis, S.D., last summer.

The second version of the book is the one distributed at the Portland Women’s Expo. To appeal to young women, the editor changed the title, cover and many of the pictures inside the book. The revised booklet included a new opening story along with an introduction and postscript for most of the chapters. The book covers topics like nutrition and exercise as well as emotional intelligence and includes, following the chapter on rest, a chapter about the Sabbath. At the back of the book are invitations for Discover Bible School, the Hope Channel and Bibleinfo.com.

“May I have another copy?” asked one woman sheepishly. “I’m making up a basket for my daughter and her husband to take on their honeymoon, and I’d like to include one of these books.”

“Of course,” came the answer. “We also have some New Testaments here. Would you like one of those?”

“Oh, yes!” Her eyes sparkled. “Ummm … could I have two? It would be nice if they each had their own … .”

Can you guess the response?

Money for the Bibles was donated by the North American Division women’s ministries, and money for the large banner was provided by the NPUC women’s ministries.

While a few women declined the booklet or even returned it, the overwhelming majority were delighted to get a copy. The whole thing was a bit of an experiment, to get a feel for what this event is like and what kind of ministry might be done at this event in the future. By the end of the day, 1,500 copies of the booklet, plus dozens of Bibles, had been distributed.

The booklets are now being used by a variety of Oregon Conference churches in their outreach efforts — as Mother’s Day gifts distributed door to door, in Adventist Community Service centers, at health fairs and more.