Inside Story: The Newspaper Ad

Alexei scanned the classified ads of his local newspaper in Siberia, Russia.

Image © Jeff Preston from

Image © Jeff Preston from

He wanted to be sure that his ad for home improvements was attractive and his prices competitive. His eyes fell on the religious section of classified ads. The ads there offered to tell people’s fortunes or read their palms. So many ads for Satan, and not one for Christ, Alexei thought. He grabbed a paper and scribbled the words, “I will tell you about Christ,” and he added his telephone number. The next day he placed the ad in the paper.

His phone began ringing. Most callers had their own advertisements in the paper and wanted to know what Alexei would tell people about Christ. Some wanted to argue theology. Alexei wondered whether his advertisement would reach anyone who was searching for God.

The phone rang again, and Alexei offered a cheerful “Hello.”

“I want to know about Christ,” a weathered voice said. The men spoke for several minutes, then the caller invited Alexei to visit him.

An elderly man answered Alexei’s knock. The two men talked several minutes, and then the older man said, “I’m old, and I’m not well. I want to know about God while I have time.” Alexei opened his Bible and read several verses about God. Then they watched an evangelistic video. For 10 days the two studied God’s Word together. Alexei’s new friend is eager to learn more.

Normally Alexei doesn’t answer his phone on Sabbath because most calls are about work. But recently he received several calls from the same person on Sabbath. Maybe it’s an emergency, Alexei thought. He answered the phone.

“Are you a Christian?” a young man asked. Alexi answered his question. “I’m Vitaly,” the caller said. “I just got out of prison, and I need to talk to you.”

The two met, and Vitaly told Alexei that while he was in prison, an Adventist woman had sent him The Great Controversy. He had read it and wanted to know more about God. Then he found Alexei’s newspaper advertisement.

Vitaly now attends the Adventist church and is eager to know God personally. “I know that Alexei’s advertisement was God calling me,” Vitaly says.

Alexei now knows that God called him to place that ad in the paper. “People are searching for spiritual insight; I want to introduce them to Jesus.”

God uses simple things to draw people to Him. Our prayers and our mission offerings strengthen God’s work around the world. Our own ministry strengthens God’s work at home. What ministry has God given you?

Alexei continues sharing his faith in Krasnoyarsk, Russia, where part of a recent Thirteenth Sabbath Offering is helping to build a new church for a growing congregation.

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