"The printed page is now the key to accomplishing Mark 16:15 (the great commission)
in many countries of the world," writes veteran Missionary Milton Martin. Martin
acknowledges that there are many methods of evangelism and that each field must be
approached with prayer for God's specific plan.
When Martin arrived in Mexico in 1961, he prayed for God to show him what tool
would be most effective. "God showed me the printed page as the key to fulfilling
that verse in Mexico," recalls Martin.
Now, decades later, he remembers how it worked. Coupons and post cards were
inserted into gospel tracts, which were distributed in every way they could
think of. Entire towns were covered door-to-door.
"Anywhere great crowds gathered — parades, fairs, market-days, special
events — were taken advantage of to the utmost. For example, when the pope
came to Mexico in 1980, 550 thousand tracts were distributed," Martin says.
Tracts were thrown from cars and dropped out of airplanes over isolated towns,
villages and ranches. What were the results? "For many years, one written
response was received in the mail for every 120 tracts distributed. The response
grew to 14,000 returned coupons or cards a year," he says.
Meanwhile, Martin's success inspired use of the strategy in other countries.
He has statistics showing that: in Central America, one response came back for
every 70 tracts; in Indonesia, one per 30; in 1993, in Chile, one in 26.
Martin remembers how they had to scramble to respond to
the cards and coupons. A Gospel of John and a 12-lesson correspondence course
was sent in reply. When the lessons were returned, they were graded and returned
with a New Testament and a lesson course on the Gospel of Mark.
Many reported committing their lives to Christ during the lessons. "In fact,
at one time in Mexico, there was an average of 10 a day writing saying they had
trusted Christ as a result of the tracts and the courses," Martin recalls.
This method of applying the great commission entirely changed their approach to
missionary work. Requests began to flood in inviting Martin to come and start a
mission or church. When the people invite the missionary to come, from the very
start the new congregation feels it is their mission and more quickly take
responsibility for it.
This is much more efficient than the traditional way of a missionary settling in
a single place and spending years building a congregation of believers that
primarily looked to the missionary for everything. Martin says that this method
more accurately reflects the New Testament pattern of missions work.
"The future of the expansion of Gospel work in a country depends on national
laborers," Martin has found. Heavy saturation with gospel tracts find the
ones who are interested, the correspondence courses train local leaders who
can then carry on the ministry.
Martin reports that, "In some countries, 80 percent of those presently coming to
Christ is through the printed page. The work of a missionary is threefold: 'every
creature' evangelism, training national leaders, and establishing something that
will remain until Christ returns, a New Testament church.
"Mass distribution of gospel literature, with a plan of follow-up, can be used
by the missionary to do most of his work correctly," Martin concludes.
Martin is now involved in supplying several tons of literature at a time to
missionaries throughout Latin America.
If you wish to know more about his ministry, write to him at: PO Box 3565,
Temple, TX 76505.