For decades, Seventh-day Adventists around the world have sold Christian literature door-to-door as a means of supporting their missionary work and, in many cases, their education. But how do these literature evangelists—also known as colporteurs—reach prospective customers during a global pandemic lockdown?
In 2018, long before the novel coronavirus and COVID-19 disease grabbed the world’s headlines and kept tens of millions behind closed doors, students and experts at church-owned Montemorelos University in Mexico began work to create an online sales portal, called Emprendum, these literature evangelists could utilize. Once the pandemic hit, the online option was more than a convenience: it became a lifeline.
Book sales are vital for many Montemorelos students: these literature evangelists work during summer vacation and on weekends during the school year, selling more than 60,000 Adventist books to nearly one million families throughout 500 cities in Mexico. Their profits go toward their tuition. Sales and earnings are processed through the Montemorelos University and GEMA Editores of Mexico, one of the Inter-American Division’s two publishing houses.
“God Led Us” With Emprendum
“I believe that God led us [with this project],” said Carlos Gastelum, Emprendum program director. “Even though we did not visualize a pandemic situation like this, God, in His providence, led us to start this project and complete it to be utilized in these circumstances.”
Pastor Ervin González, publishing ministries director for the church in Inter-America, said Emprendum is a first-of-its-kind platform for student colporters conceived and created in the IAD. González has been part of the process of leading and working with the five regional unions and Adventist universities in Mexico, as well as GEMA editors, from its genesis.