Handshake Creates Opportunity

by Kathy Marson

Richard Kurtz, outreach coordinator in Milton with his new found friend. (photographer, Lloyd Perrin)

Milton, Ore., Wash., January 8, 2014  -  Richard Kurtz, Milton Church (Milton-Freewater, Ore.) outreach coordinator, was visiting a friend in the hospital. On his way out, he noticed a security officer walking down the hall toward him. He felt impressed to shake his hand so he stuck out his hand and with a smile said, "How are you doing?"

The officer returned the handshake and after some conversation asked Kurtz what he did. Kurtz answered, “I share with people about Jesus, and I am an outreach coordinator for my church.”

“Wow, this is an answer to prayer,” said the officer. “I have been looking for someone to enhance my walk with God. I feel there is something missing.” He mentioned that he was in Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and in recovery but felt drawn to dig deeper. He wanted to learn to share his new discoveries with others.

Kurtz invited him to attend a community church planned in Yantis Park in Milton-Freewater in three weeks. “I'll be there," the officer promised. And he was.

The church service consisted of testimonies and a talk, "All About Jesus." After the service he spoke to Kurtz and said, “This is what I was looking for. I want to witness about Jesus and get to know Him more.” So they made arrangements to meet the following Monday to discuss what he could do to share Jesus.

“The officer was a Lutheran [and] wanted to know if he could witness door to door like I do since we weren't in the same church,” explains Kurtz. “I told him it’s not a problem, but as we discussed how I did door-to-door approaches, I stated that perhaps he should familiarize himself with the studies we hand out to others, so when we give the studies we can be on the same page.”

The officer agreed that the plan made sense. So Kurtz gave him a set of In His Word studies. They have been studying these for several weeks. In one of the sessions, they came upon the Sabbath issue. The officer said he was upset because he had been taught Sunday was the Sabbath.

He wondered how ministers could so blatantly tell him otherwise. The officer now understands the seventh-day Sabbath is the true day of worship. “He has been attending church, and he is really excited about sharing his new found faith with others,” reports Kurtz. “He wants to join the Seventh-day Adventist Church. And all as a result of sticking out your hand to others to say 'hi.' God is awesome.”