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Brooklyn Seventh-day Adventist Community Outreach Program 

Marva Peterson was window shopping in her East Flatbush neighborhood when she bumped into a group of people handing out fresh fruits and vegetables – for free, no strings attached.  As she accepted the gift, one of them invited her to join their bible class that would be meeting that very evening.  This providential encounter turned into a journey of much spiritual awakening.

She would later discover that this was an outreach program which distributes four hundred pounds of food to people within the surrounding community each week.  Even before the door opens at 5:30pm Thursday evenings, there is a line of people waiting outside the bustling Church Avenue storefront to make sure they receive whatever seasonal provisions are available that week.  Carrots, potatoes, string beans, plantains, onions, bananas are some of the staples distributed to more than one hundred families each week.  But this food program is only a small part of a growing ministry which is not only feeding families but also changing people’s lives for good. 

This ministry began in 2004, when Brooklyn Seventh-day Adventist church’s community services leader, Albert Hutchinson read an Adventist Review article written by North American Division president, Don Schneider.  The article challenged church members and leaders to invite one billion people from around the world to study the bible.  “As I was reading, I was asking myself, ‘What can I do to make this plan a success’?” says Hutchinson.  Before long, he felt impressed to start a website, endtimeministry.org, which could potentially reach millions worldwide, and help sow the seeds of God’s love and His soon-return.  This auspicious project would give birth to End-time Ministries.

After the website was in place, Personal Ministries leader, Anston Roberts joined Bro. Hutchinson in the ministry, and a plan soon followed to start distributing literature on a regular basis.  They contacted various publishers such as Pacific Press and Remnant Publications for materials, and to date, have distributed some 15,000 books and magazines.

Then in March 2006, they met community leader, Bernice Parris.  “God has a way of using individuals for His ministry,” says Hutchinson.  It was a pivotal meeting that launched the ministry into a larger arena, as she introduced them to one of the partner agencies for the international Christian organization, Feed the Children.  She also put them in touch with a partner agency for the city’s food bank, and they became a major source of fruits and vegetables. 

Then as that food program took root, God opened up another avenue for further expansion of their territory.  Each Friday morning when most are enjoying a deep sleep, Hutchinson and Roberts are already up at 3:00am, heading to a warehouse some 40 miles away in Long Island to collect donated bread.  After loading dozens of bread, in all varieties, into their van, they drive back to Brooklyn as the work day for many is just beginning.  The bread is then freely distributed at four Brooklyn locations: Saturdays at 1260 Ocean Avenue from 3pm – 4pm; and Sundays at three venues: 4015 Church Avenue from 10:30am – 12noon; the corner of Ocean Avenue and Avenue O from 11:30am – 12noon; and the corner of New Lots Avenue and Mother Gaston Boulevard from 12noon – 1pm.

Apart from delivering the physical bread, these two missionaries are sharing last-day messages, and bringing deliverance to many in this lost and dying world.  Today, Roberts conducts a vibrant bible class, using the Amazing Facts lessons as a guide.  “We’re using Christ’s method of mixing service with witness,” says Roberts. “He mixed with the people, He identified their needs, and then He bid them, ‘Come follow Me.’”

 Each week, almost two dozen non-Adventists pack into the space that once housed a travel business (the Universal Airlines awning is still out front.)  Many are regulars who have been coming for many months - like Marva Peterson.  Marva’s life has changed radically since her encounter last summer.  Up to that point, she had been attending a Catholic church most Sundays, and seeking God earnestly.  The bible class opened up her eyes to truths she didn’t know – one of them being God’s holy Sabbath day.  “The days of the week start on Sunday, so if you count it you see that the seventh day is Saturday,” says the 57-year-old certified nursing assistant.  She is currently attending the Brooklyn church and plans to join the nine other people who were baptized as a direct result of this ministry.  

Little did Hutchinson and Roberts know the church initiative, “Sow One Billion” would continue to ripple and reap tremendous blessings in their own community three years later.   “Many individuals are gaining knowledge of the love of God, and about His true church, the remnant church,” says Hutchinson.  “I am very happy I am a member of this church, with this message, and therefore I just can’t sit still.

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