My name is Nathanael Gillis. I am a senior at Ouachita Hills Academy. I've attended Ouachita for four years. This year the Academy gave students the opportunity to go canvass every Sunday. Recently, I've been one of those few students that goes out canvassing in the area every Sunday, and it has had an impact on my life.
Through this work, Christ has shown me my character and how much I need Him. I remember the first few times I went canvassing from door-to-door, receiving so many rejections, thinking, “What is the value of this, how can anyone benefit from this? Who is benefiting from this?” But as I kept going, I realized how selfish I was, thinking only of myself, because even if somebody rejects me, there is still a seed planted in them that might spring up and grow. We will never know what our impact has been, until we get to heaven. So my mindset started to change.
One Sunday, I had a really good experience. I was out canvassing in the afternoon, and had just been rejuvenated from a little lunch break, so I was ready, or so I thought. I knocked on this door and two very intimidating men came out and kind of scared me. They looked at me with interesting faces. But I subdued my fear and started my canvass. To my surprise, they looked interested. One man, stepped out and told me, “Religion isn't really my cup of tea, it's because, you know, I've seen even a lot of pain and hurt in this world. I've seen Christians who don’t act like what they preach. I’m gay, and I’ve gotten so much persecution from Christians.” He asked me “Why is there so much pain and suffering if there's a God of love?” That's when I showed him The Great Controversy, chapter twenty-nine.
I was able to show him how the Christian church of the Middle Ages persecuted the people of God, and that just because people say they are Christians, it doesn't mean they are actually connected to Christ. Real Christianity is when you're actually connected to Christ, not just by your act or what you preach on a daily basis, but it's that one-on-one connection with Jesus. You should not base your religion on how somebody else acts. While I was talking, he seemed held back; then his friend came out and saw the books and exclaimed, “Whoa! That's what I've been telling you, man!”
Speaking to his friend, he said, “You need to let God back into your life.”
He started explaining that he was a Christian and that he'd been trying to convince his friend to become a Christian and to give God a chance. He said, “Look at these books, this is exactly what I’ve been telling you.” Then, he shared his testimony on how he had been thrown from a motorcycle that was going 80 miles an hour on the freeway. He survived and shared how God worked in his life. Basically he helped me canvass the unbelieving friend into getting two books. The friend, who was an atheist, got the Great Controversy and Habits that Heal. It was just a really great experience, and showed me how much God can use me if I'm willing to be used. That is one of the reasons why I like canvassing, I get to get out there. I get to talk with people, share my faith, and show what I have been learning in school. That is really something that will stay with me for the rest of my life.
Article by: Nathanael Gillis