By: Eunice Braidman
It was one of those days when the books felt heavier than usual, when the sun felt hotter than normal, and when the idea of simply sitting down anywhere to rest was almost irresistible. The second month of canvassing was going by quickly and the project in London would soon be coming to its close. Most of us were plain worn out by this time, and we felt its effect more acutely in the afternoon when our stomachs were full from lunch and the sun was highest in the sky. Indeed, one would have to admit that this was when it was the hardest to put all of one’s heart into canvassing, especially if you had sold nothing all day and discouragement threatened to overtake you.
My canvassing partner had gone into the first house on his side of the street and was deeply engaged in conversation. Unsure of whether I should continue alone without telling him anything, I decided to stand at the corner of the street for a few minutes and wait to see if he would be finished soon while also take the opportunity to rest a bit. About fifteen minutes passed by before I realized that my partner wasn’t going to be coming out of that house any time soon. I fought the urge to simply find a place to sit and continue waiting—it was a tempting proposition. However, after a few moments of slight hesitation, I decided with determination that I wouldn’t let the Enemy prevail by giving in to my feeling of fatigue. I couldn’t afford to sit around and waste time—time during which precious souls could receive truth! With a quick but fervent plea to God to give me renewed courage and energy to do His work, I firmly grasped the books and directed my steps towards the next house on my side of the street. It took effort, and I did have to force myself to take the first steps, but I knew I was doing the right thing.
I had finished several houses but had either gotten no replies or people who weren’t interested, but I kept on. I realized that my tiredness had gone away and I felt I was putting everything I had into my canvass. I smiled often and put all the enthusiasm I could muster into presenting the books while spewing out words that not even I could understand where they were coming from, especially considering my usual shyness! This realization that God was answering my prayer and was helping me made me excited beyond words and I felt so happy and thankful despite still not having made any sales. It wasn’t long, however, until it all paid off, and my joy climaxed when I finally sold my first book that day—a God’s Answers to Your Questions. It couldn’t have been more than half an hour later when I sold my second book. I remember at that point I stopped to thank God over and over for hearing and answering my prayer in such a wonderful way. Not only had he given me the strength I needed but he had also rewarded me by allowing me to make those two sales when I was feeling almost hopeless. It was one of those moments when I could truly feel God’s presence and power.
It had been nearly two hours since my partner had gone into that house, but there was still no sign of him. I had finished my entire side of the street and had even completed his side. All of our assigned territory was done, except for a building of flats which was situated at the very end of the street. I had purposely left it for the end in hopes that my partner would be finished by then and would canvass it with me. For some strange reason, I always felt a sense of fear and panic when it came to canvassing flats—but even more so if I was alone. Something about them seemed foreboding, especially this one. However, I pushed those feelings aside and decided I would take a step of faith and face my fears. With decided steps I walked towards it and paused to stare up at its looming form. It was about five or six stories high and seemed quite unwelcoming. It was a dark, plain cement structure with small windows and a littered yard. If truth must be told, it looked a place where only rough, poor people would live. I had no idea what to expect when I knocked on the doors, but I had already decided. I prayed another prayer—perhaps the most fervent one that day. I specifically asked the Lord to be merciful and give me someone kind at the door (something that didn’t happen all that often) because He knew and understood that it wasn’t easy for me. I repeated that prayer several times as I huffed and puffed up the stairs all the way to the fifth floor to begin from the top down. I reached my first door. I glanced around and felt a slight sense of fear and claustrophobia in that small and dark porch space that separated the two doors which faced each other. I took a deep breath and knocked firmly on one of the doors, momentarily freezing when I heard footsteps approaching the door. To my surprise and relief, a sweet, young African American woman with a friendly smile stood before me. Before I had said much, she glanced at the ID pinned to my shirt and exclaimed excitedly, “Are you an Adventist?! So am I!” To make a long story short, that led to a friendly chat in her living room, the sale of another book, and her visit to our health seminar that weekend. This is one of my favorite experiences which is dearest to my heart because I have never felt my prayers answered so perfectly. It touched my heart in an inexplicable way to see how God indeed does listen to our pleas. I never would have expected to meet such a nice person at that door, and much less an Adventist! I know without a shadow of a doubt that God was rewarding me for trusting in Him in spite of my fears, unworthy though I am. May His name forever be praised!
[But] verily God hath heard [me]; he hath attended to the voice of my prayer. Blessed [be] God, which hath not turned away my prayer, nor his mercy from me. Psalm 66:19-20