In 1955, a volunteer from a church in West London went door-to-door in Watford, handing out cards offering free Bible studies. An individual took a Voice of Prophecy card. At some point (no one knows when) he must have thought, ‘I can use this to fix the vibration in that panel at the back of my piano!’
He folded the card several times, making a thick wedge. Then he removed a screw from the vibrating panel, inserted the folded card between the panel and the piano, and replaced the screw, running it right through the card.
Twenty-five years later, in 1980, the piano was sold to a local woman.
She played the piano for several months and then called a piano tuner to come to her home to tune the instrument. In the course of his work, the piano tuner removed the panel, noticing the folded-up card used as a wedge between the panel and the back of the piano. He unfolded the card, laid it on top of the piano, and completed his work.
After he left, the new owner saw the card lying on her piano. Although the card had been folded repeatedly and had a hole through it, she was still able to read it. She decided she would like to take advantage of the Bible lessons the card offered. Despite not knowing how long the card had been wedged in the piano panel, she decided to write and see what would happen. She wrote a note to the Voice of Prophecy Bible school in Watford, enclosed the damaged card and posted it.
Story adapted from Kurt Johnson’s book Just a Scrap of Paper (Pacific Press Publishing Association, 2013).
A few days later, the first Bible lesson arrived by post! The lady and her daughter studied the lessons. Time passed by, and both mother and daughter were so inspired by what they had learnt that they chose to be baptised and become members of the local church.
Mike Stickland, director of the Voice of Prophecy (known as the Adventist Discovery Centre since 1998), said as he shared the story, ‘I still have that folded, damaged card in my files at the Bible school. In fact, I often carry it to show it to our ADC volunteers and encourage them to be faithful in distributing Bible school enrolment cards. Even when no results are immediately apparent, you never know what will happen at some point!’
The ADC ministry is still vibrant!
The old VOP cards (and, believe it or not, some are still coming in) have been replaced by the ADC flyers. Featuring our 20 courses including the FreeBible programme (www.freebible.uk) and other resources, the flyers are now available to everyone for free. They can personalised with the contact details of your local church or community project as explained in full here https://adventistdiscoverycentre.org/2023-new-adc-flyers/
The ongoing process of distributing the flyers (over 100,000 printed to date) gives every volunteer the opportunity to write the first line of yet another amazing piano story.
You may wonder, ‘But does that still work?’
We’ve all heard that online beats printed advertising by a long way. And we are using Google advertising and other means and channels to share our resources in the online environment.
However, talking about printed materials, according to a study as many as 79% of recipients keep the leaflets that they receive or at least share them with a friend.
As many as 78% of consumers glance at the messages included in the flyers that are posted through their door, and a total of 23% read them thoroughly. Not only are flyers effective at engaging your target audience, but they’re also proven to drive interests and trigger further interaction.
A short reflection
Please reflect for a moment on a Bible text found in the Gospel of John.
Jesus is praying in the garden, focusing on the circle of apostles. He knows His departure is going to take place soon and they are not yet ready. Furthermore, He foresees what will happen not only in the coming decades, but even beyond the apostolic generation. Having just prayed for the apostles, He now emphasises,
‘My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message.’(John 17:20, NIV)
‘Those who will believe in me through their message.’ Amazing! Two thousand years ago Jesus prayed for those who brought the Gospel message to our generation. For that folded piece of paper in an old piano.
Isn’t it time for you to fulfil Jesus’ prayer once more?
Reading in the classic book Steps to Christ, by Ellen G. White, it says:
‘No sooner does one come to Christ than there is born in his heart a desire to make known to others what a precious friend he has found in Jesus. The saving and sanctifying truth cannot be shut up in his heart.’
Maybe you cannot cross the oceans, maybe you cannot speak like angels or preach like Paul (remember SDA Hymnal #359), but there is something you can do. It can be as simple as sharing an ADC flyer with a friend. Feel free to contact us for a variety of free ADC resources.
— ‘I found this course very enjoyable and spiritual and fulfilling of my needs.’ (Tina-Louise)
— ‘Thank you for accompanying me during the courses and for your encouraging feedback. I have really enjoyed the courses and they have helped me a lot. I made positive lifestyle changes as I went along and reviewed things.’ (Julia)
— ‘I’ve learned a lot through this course. My eyes have been opened.’ (David)
— ‘I feel I’ve started a long journey towards understanding my faith.’ (Stephen)