Why Not Try This? – Evange-oween

Every month Pacific Press Publishing sends our Ministerial Department various children’s Sabbath School items. They don’t send a lot, just one Primary Treasure, Our Little Friend, or Junior Guide. We don’t use them in my department so I never know what to do with them. I hate throwing them away because I feel like someone out there could use them. But who would I give them to?

Most Christians don’t like Halloween. The reasons are obvious; devilish costumes, horror movies, infatuation with the dead, etc. Last Halloween, my family, and a lot of friends I know, hid away in our house with the porch lights turned off. Did I miss a good witnessing opportunity by trying to ignore this holiday that has become increasingly popular over the years. I think I did.

Linda LaMunyon, a friend of mine, did something different (see story below). From her story, I’ve already decided to start saving all the children’s Sabbath School Quarterlies I can find for next year because I now know what to do with them. What can you do? Ask your children’s ministry leaders if they have any extra children’s materials, my church had a lot and they were more than willing to share.

Here is Linda’s story:

Halloween – A Day I Despised

Growing up I loved Halloween. Various years I dressed up as a princess, a clown, even a raisin from the tune, “I Heard it Through the Grapevine”…remember?? In our nightly transformations, we kids scoured the neighborhoods in hot pursuit of candy. By the end of the night each kid had amassed a paper grocery sack filled to the brim.

Fast forward ten years. I became a Seventh-day Adventist. I learned about the origins of Halloween and the evils of the night. Soon a strong belief concerning Halloween became lodged in my brain: Any association with trick-or-treating was heresy to me. My only option: Hunker down with lights off and hope no one came to the door. Each year my despise for the holiday intensified. After talking to several young adult church friends about Halloween, we realized that we all shared the same feelings and behavior of hunkering down and wishing “Satan’s holiday” away.

While working at North Pacific Union Conference (NPUC), I became acquainted with Dan Serns, who was serving as NPUC Ministerial Director. He was well-known for his day-to-day stories of reaching people for Christ and unique ideas for ministry. One day he shared his family’s ministry on Halloween. He asked “What other opportunity do you have where people come right to your doorstep, wanting something?” He challenged us to not only give them something they want, but need. He shared how his family passes out Christian tracts each year. The idea of putting thoughts of God into young minds on Halloween, “Satan’s day,” seemed radical, and fun!

Chris Remembers a Tract as a Trick-or-Treater

Chris, my husband, grew up in a non Christian home and distinctly remembers a nice Adventist family living in his neighborhood. For Halloween, they gave him a Christian tract. His first reaction was hesitation. Later at home, he looked into his candy bag. When he saw the tract he became curious. He remembers sitting down and reading it from cover to cover.

He also remembers his childhood thoughts on the homes that chose not to participate in Halloween. He thought it wasn’t American because all participated in Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter, etc. Surely, he concluded, they couldn’t be Christians since they weren’t giving.

Our First Evangelistic Halloween

By hunkering down to avoid “Satan’s holiday,” were we inadvertently making a bad impression about Christianity to the little ones? Chris came to the realization, “To let evil prevail, just let a whole lot of good people do nothing.”

This past Halloween, 2011, we decided to put into action Dan’s idea. Chris laughs recalling how he had the nervous jitters. He figured no one would even come to the door as he had never given out candy since living there over ten years.

However, soon the doorbell rang and kids started pouring onto our doorstep. When the kids saw the hearty fistful of “the good candy,” they smiled. When they saw the colorful rolled up Amazing Facts tract their eyes lit up. We commonly heard “Oh wow!” and “Dad, look at what I got!”, “Wow, thanks!… What is it?!?” To that, I would answer “It is a cool magazine.” Then they would yell out “Hey, I got a cool magazine!” We wondered if they might throw the tracts into our yard. After the night was over, our yard was clean. We made sure to give them lots of candy with the tracts!

Kristina Lopez, also from NPUC, agreed to pass out tracts this year too. She shared how her husband, Eder, was always grumpy each Halloween. That night, his sour mood melted into excitement at meeting the kids and handing out tracts. She said he finally felt free to be happy on Halloween. He now looks forward to next year with the anticipation of reaching young souls and having fun doing it!

Next year we plan to give out evangelistic brochures for our church’s annual fall prophecy seminar and Sabbath School Primary tracts for the youngest trick-or-treaters. Our Church Bible worker loves the idea to encourage all church members to pass them out at Halloween next year.

Reflection

Matthew 5:14-16 states: “You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.”

We should not hunker down and “put our lamp under a bowl” because its “Satan’s holiday.” Rather because its “Satan’s holiday,” we should be shining our light more than ever to everyone we can!

Linda LaMunyon

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