Seattle Temple engages in neighborhood evangelism

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by Melani Hughes – 

About 12 of us assembled in the Seattle Temple Chapel recently, where a baby, a new mom, a retiree, and a few other corps people joined six cadets and their leader on spring assignment; we made a diverse group. In front of us were several long tables and pews packed with purple gift bags. Each bag contained: a Bible, a picture frame, a letter, and various invitations to upcoming corps community events.

Our mission: to give 300 families in the three blocks that surround our corps in the humble Greenwood neighborhood a free gift. We split into teams, received brief instructions, and then I read a passage of scripture to the group. This same passage had been a confirmation of God’s call to me just six months ago to give a year of my life as a missionary in this neighborhood. The Message version of Mark 6:6-9, 10-12 reads:

Jesus called the twelve to him, and sent them out in pairs. He gave them authority and power to deal with the evil opposition. He sent them off with these instructions:

“Don’t think you need a lot of extra equipment for this. You are the equipment. No special appeals for funds. Keep it simple…If you’re not welcomed, not listened to, quietly withdraw. Don’t make a scene. Shrug your shoulders and be on your way.” They were on the road. They preached with joyful urgency that life can be radically different; right and left they sent the demons packing; they brought wellness to the sick, anointing their bodies, healing their spirits.

So that’s what we attempted to do. We knocked, smiled, gave the gift, answered questions and if no one was home left the bags on the doorstep. The results were varied but exciting! Angry faces turned into smiles when the person at the door wasn’t soliciting, but there to give a free gift. A man contacted the ARC on the spot through one of our cell phones and made an appointment to fight his addiction to alcohol.

A family from the Philippines who had attended The Salvation Army years ago was excited to find our corps active in their own neighborhood now. Another family decided to attend our church service the following Sunday morning.

But most exciting of all was our contact with the “evil opposition.” Just minutes after we returned to the corps, a man burst through the front door, while we were still standing in the lobby.

“Who is responsible for putting this bag on my doorstep?” he demanded. I looked around the room waiting for someone to answer when I realized I was the one responsible—so I timidly piped up: “Actually, I guess that would be me.”

In a flurry of profanity he threw the bag down on the floor. “I don’t want this garbage!” He stormed out of the building, yelling about how no one could make him become a Christian. Our corps officer, Captain Rob Birks escorted him off the premises and told me later that I’d actually casually said to him, “Okay, Jesus loves you!” as he walked away.

Strangely, the Bible that had been in this angry man’s bag was missing….

For more information on the Seattle Temple Ministry: Mission Greenwood, please contact Melani Hughes at:



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