Silver Spring, Maryland, United States …. [ANN Staff]

Coordinators for Sow 1 Billion–the Seventh-day Adventist Church’s effort to distribute 1 billion invitations to study the Bible–are reporting an extraordinary response in the initial stages of this global effort.

In South America, a quarter of a million Adventists are currently involved in distributing Bible study invitations, according to regional Sow 1 Billion coordinator Osmar Reis. He reports that in Planalto, Central Brazil, pairs of lay people are working house-to-house delivering Sow 1 Billion invitations. Almost 400 Bible studies have been requested so far through these efforts.

Since September, the South American Sow 1 Billion Web site has received almost 1,500 requests for online Bible studies, and a further 1,000 have requested prayer.

In Taiwan, where the region’s 4,000 Adventists have set a goal of distributing 8 million Bible study invitations, almost half a million invitations have been distributed since September, and 380 people have responded. Michael Ryan, director of Global Mission, says that if this response rate continues, there will be more people taking Bible lessons than there are members in this territory.

On the first Sabbath of November on the Caribbean island of Grenada, all church members joined together to distribute Sow 1 Billion invitations. Across the island, they handed out 60,000 brochures in one afternoon. The entire membership of 10,100 was divided into bands and assigned territories, and they visited almost every home on the island.

In North America, distribution of 25 million Sow 1 Billion invitations will begin in early 2004.

The preliminary response to Sow 1 Billion has been “remarkable,” says Bettina Krause, special assistant to the world church president for Global Initiatives. “We’re praying that this is just a foretaste of what we will see around the world as distribution of these Bible study invitations begins in earnest next year.”

Krause cautions, though, that the challenge of following up on Bible study requests should not be underestimated. “Many divisions have been preparing their Bible Correspondence Schools since early 2003, and have been printing extra Bible lessons,” she says. “But the massive scale of Sow 1 Billion means that, in many areas, it is lay people who will be on the frontlines of response.” She says that starting a local church Bible study ministry, or becoming involved in an existing ministry, is one way that church members can play a crucial part in the Sow 1 Billion effort.

Each region of the world church has designed its own Sow 1 Billion brochures in various languages. More than 500 million of these small brochures have already been printed.

Copyright © 2003 Adventist News Network.

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