Noel Duffy of Adelaide has been on the road and footpaths for longer than 10 years. During his regular reports by phone, he has often told me, "I know Jesus is with me" and "I do not wish to leave my work undone."
His work has certainly sown the gospel seed across Australia. Noel, church pastors and members have seen the Holy Spirit's watering and harvest by the number of people who have attended church, requested Bible Studies and been baptised.
This lone volunteer trackman has carefully kept records of the streets and roads he has covered. Noel has delivered to every home in hundreds of towns and rural centres. He has delivered literature about the everlasting gospel and biblical truths in all mainland Australian states. He obtains the literature from churches, which is often discovered in cupboards, conference offices and the Adventist Media Centre. Generally, he parks his car and caravan at churches. Church pastors and members have helped pay his expenses but he has contributed a lot from his aged pension. The decade-long ministry has been a labour of love for Jesus.
Noel has also shared his faith with many people in every place he delivers literature. He loves to tell of the second coming of Jesus and has had some marvellous responses. Many stated they "have been praying to understand the Bible," "I have been looking for the church that believes all of the Bible" or "This Signs of the Times magazine has given me some thinking to do." No matter how tired or footweary this senior citizen is, he is always in church on Sabbath. "The Signs man"--as he has been called--often preaches the sermon or reports on his frontline evangelism.
The literature man has had his difficulties along the long roads and never-ending footpaths, including being admitted to hospital more than once and told to "take it easy." He has also had dramas with cars, dogs and storms. He has gained capacity to cope with the unexpected from reading the Bible, prayer and songs that he believes God gives him.
One of Noel's favourite experiences happened in Mount Isa. While delivering literature, he met a little girl standing by the letterbox. He greeted her and gave her a "Try Jesus" card. She looked at the faces of Jesus and said she did not know Jesus. He told her about Him, telling her He is coming again. She then went inside the home with the card and other literature
Three days later, Noel came across a man washing his car and gave him some papers. When he went into the house, a small girl came out to the car.
"Hello," Noel said. "We have met before." "Yes," she replied, "you are the man who told me that Jesus is coming again and I could meet my baby brother who died." Noel concluded this delightful story with, "When I am in the heavenly kingdom, I will be looking for the little girl with her baby brother in her arms." Noel has reached his goal of two million homes but his wish is "to keep going until Jesus comes." He also hopes and prays that many more people will sponsor and distribute magazines and tracts. There are many opportunities, such as while travelling, at work, school or universities, or in the neighbourhood.
How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news of peace and salvation, the news that the God of Israel reigns! Isaiah 52:7.
Desmond B Hills is a retired pastor and church administrator, who continues to work as a volunteer marketing consultant for Signs of the Times magazine. He lives beside Lake Macquarie in New South Wales.