Priest River Preparedness Expo Proves a Different Type of Evangelism
On Sunday, March 19, the Newport (Wash.) Church hosted its second Preparedness Expo in Priest River, Idaho. This free community outreach event teamed the Newport Church with 20 community vendors, eight of whom were Adventist. It was held at the Priest River Junior High School, utilizing the gymnasium, library and 500-seat auditorium.
The emphasis of this expo was on education. Twelve seminars were presented throughout the day on topics such as gardening, food preservation, wild edibles, off-grid living, emergency communications, disaster preparedness, natural remedies and spiritual preparation. There were also classes on emergency suturing, with more than 40 participants.
The vendors had items relevant to the preparedness lifestyle: books and DVDs on preparedness topics, multiple methods of natural remedies, essential pantry items, medical emergency kits, water pumps and purification, raised garden beds, contracting, real estate, freeze dried food, and more.
It was evident providing a community service of this type was appreciated in this area, as we had more than 900 people in attendance. Nearly half of these people filled out registration cards with their contact information and a survey of topics they would be interested in learning more about. The most popular responses (more than 200 each) were emergency preparation, wilderness survival, alternative energy, gardening, food preservation and natural remedies. Also indicated were CPR/first aid, hydrotherapy, diabetes reversal, depression recovery and child training.
Especially encouraging to us were those who indicated interests in Bible prophecy (40), Bible studies in the home (23) and Bible studies online (17). In addition, our free literature table staff handed out more than 300 items, including Bible study guides, The Great Controversy and a book about the faith of Desmond Doss, among many others.
This was a great opportunity to connect with the local community in practical ways, on topics they are interested in, and to find out what future outreach events they would be likely to come to. Over the past year we have had classes at a community event center on gardening, natural remedies, food preservation, Dinner With a Doctor, and more. Each of these events have had more than 100 attendees. Our goal is to make friends with and meet the needs of the people of our area opening the way for more spiritual topics and discussions.
Members of the Newport Church believe they have met a need within their community, made friends along the way and also generated multiple Bible study interests. They ask for prayers that the Lord will continue to bless their efforts. They want to keep an open mind to new methods for reaching the community and to present opportunities for the Holy Spirit to work.
Ellen White recognized the value of this type of evangelism: “With almost impatient eagerness the angels wait for our co-operation, for man must be the channel to communicate with man. And when we give ourselves to Christ in whole-hearted devotion, angels rejoice that they may speak through our voices to reveal God’s love” (Desire of Ages, p. 297).