Our Purpose

You will see some crew members begin their training with a non-verbal contact. This technique is called "Saltin"', and is broken up into phases. Dedicating about a month to put each phase into operation works well. Observe that short-range goals were always set, so the "task-at-hand" never looked too large to deal with. And, when those little times of disappointment or failure did come, it was easy to encourage oneself by reflecting upon all the little victories won. ~~

Pace 0 - Turn-Around Tony

Strange” is not the word and “confused” doesn’t fit Tony either. You wouldn’t dare admit that in some deep way his ideas intrigued you. I suppose every generation has to have a Wrong-Way Corrigan or someone with only one oar in the water… But Tony was not exactly one to be laughed at. He’d add an extra pair of headlights on the BACK of his car just to keep the car following him on the ball. He always did think it’d be more challenging to play baseball with a football and bat, but again, that’s Tony.

Wednesday evening the church group had their regular think tank to dream up new ideas that might be fresh ways to attract folks into church to hear the sweet promises written in the blood of the cross. When Tony raised his hand to share his idea the pastor was sure it was a mistake to hand him the dry erase marker and point to the white board. Only a few times has Pastor Donaldson prayed harder than when Turn-Around Tony shared his ‘ideas’ with the group.

You just didn’t dare close Tony’s ideas out after he tells about the church bus that he got saved in. The motor didn’t work ‘cuz there wasn’t any. Ol’ #14 never moved from its spot on Jamison’s property. Tony and the kids painted big letters on the sides that said, “We Love Kids and Jesus Does Too!” Tony learned that if you can’t get young souls to church in town, you take the church to them. Little Nancy used her crayons and drew a bright red heart near the letters with a big first aid cross in the middle. If you asked her why she’ll put both hands on her 7 year old hips and say, “Well our old bus is savin’ people just like the first aid truck with the siren… so there!”

Well, Tony removes the cap from the marker and writes, “TRAKKIN’” in bold letters on the board, then turns to face his audience. Reaching in his shirt pocket he produces a church tract showing all sides of it to the group. He says, “Yes I know you all know what this is, but I want to show you what I think it’s REALLY for.”

Pastor shifts into his power praying mode nervous about what Turn-Around is going to say. “My heart tells me over and over that these little folded pieces of paper have tons more value than just leaving them on the restaurant table, under windshield wipers, or in pockets at the clothing store,” Tony begins. When you see below the tip of the iceberg into the more valuable purposes God has for these, you begin to understand what I call Trakkin’.”

With his marker he begins a list of the depths of Trakkin’ and explains each one. Several of the listeners started taking notes.

  1. Trakkin’ teaches me as I get dressed, to pack a few tracts even before I reach for purse, wallet, keys, or cell phone. It helps me get my priorities straight even before my first bite of toast.
  2. We all agree the most important item of communication each day is sharing the gospel. Well, this tract in my pocket reminds me each time I reach for my cell phone or pen.
  3. Trakkin’ is also being mindful of my actions and attitudes as I see the tract peeking at me through the day. Boy! It sure has made a difference in my driving.
  4. Sure we all prefer sharing the gospel from scripture but when we go we leave a tract that has the gospel plan in writing so others can review God’s incredible love in redemption.
  5. Tracts designed well contain a church map, schedule of services, and a picture to show that my pastor has the required number of eyes.” Pastor Donaldson revved up his prayin’.

Tony finished with, “And lastly, do you remember little Nancy who colored the heart and first aid cross on the bus? You should have seen her give people tracts at the fair. No one ever refused one. Last November Nancy began skipping and jumping in the presence of her Great Physician. She learned first hand she’d never need her wheel chair in heaven.”

Trakkin’ teaches you to carry the word with crayons, chairs with wheels, or broken busses.

Pace 1 - Salting Tracts

"I can't stand it anymore!” I hear the voice say in the phone receiver. I say, "Hi Nancy, it's nice you called. What can't you stand anymore?"

"Barb, the suspense is killing me. Tuesday when I was leaving your house, I happened to glance in the direction of your laundry room and, honest injun, I wasn't being nosey, but through the open door I saw the weirdest thing I ever expect to see....


Honestly Barb, how many people do you have go through your laundry room anyhow?"

"Nancy.... now Nancy, if you'll listen for a minute I can explain. You see, even though Timmy is ten, almost eleven, he already thinks I'm a little cuckoo. If you could have seen the look on his face the first time he opened his closet and realized I had put a tract in each shirt, he figured I had really flipped. He might think to leave it in the rest room at school, or he could fold it up and slip it through one of those air vent holes in the student lockers going down the hallway.

Well I'll tell you Nancy, I really think when Tim sticks his hand in that shirt pocket several times a day, he's just got to be reminded of his responsibility to witness. I've also been packing Leo's dinner pail with a tract right on top of his sandwich. One night at our supper sharing time, Leo told us how he dropped one of them in another guy's open dinner bucket during their lunch hour, and then watched from across the room, praying that the guy would read it. HE DID!

The guy also left the tract in his lunch box so no doubt his wife will read it when she repacks his lunch. Nancy, I can still here Pastor Robins saying Sunday that every saved person ought to be distributing tracts. But I didn't hear him say, 'Barb Reynolds... since you're in and around the house all day long, you're excused.... you don't have to give out our tracts'.”

Barb, I was just thinking while you were talking, that my Trina always has so much homework. I'll bet I could slip a few tracts in her books and she might use them as bookmarks, or for writing assignments or notes to her pals. She could even stick some in the library books she takes back. I'm telling you Barb, I wish there was a tract for Christian drivers about speeding. I'd tape one to Jerry's rearview mirror." "Nancy, can't you just imagine the look on Pastor's face if we told him we have to refill our tract racks more often than he does the ones in the church foyer?”

You can see these two families are in the first steps of the tract ministry, because no verbal contact is involved. I am sure Pastor Robins has taught his flock that good "trackers" should not be sloppy. Fold up that tract and slide it in that taco box, don't lay it on the shelf. At the clothing store, put them in pants pockets or socks, not out where they are easily seen.

The idea is to get the tract into the home. Ironic isn't it, that's where they start out -- in the home--in the homes of Christians that really believe in an Eternal Lake of Fire for those who have not trusted in the work of Calvary where God's Son gave His all for each of us. ~~

Pace 2 - Tract Passing

Timmy Reynolds saw the beginning steps of the mission taking shape. The clear and simple objective is to get the two captives to safety in an efficient and orderly manner. The best part, thought Tim, was the planning and preparation that went together first. He hurriedly jotted down the ingredients as the story unfolded:

1. Commitment - The S.W.A.T. Commander shakes his fist in front of him and tells the team, "We're going in there and get those two agents out no matter what!! Much of the mission will be under cover, but guys -- when we get in the open, we'll show those captors we know our job and how to do it!!"

2. Tactics - Everyone was briefed as to the plan and the part he and the others played in it. The tactics had been used with success in other missions. Slight alterations were planned and practiced in the event that changes were needed for mission completion.

3. Tools - Tim found it interesting that with only one exception, all the tools and weapons were old standbys. This choice of tools and the fact that the tactics had been time-proven procedures seemed to give the S.W.A.T. Team a great deal more courage.

In the story, one of the team members became surprised when the Team Commander started putting on his combat equipment. "Begging your pardon sir, but aren't you going to be back at headquarters?" "Lieutenant, when you're sticking your neck out, in the third phase of this mission, and you hear someone close by say, "LET'S GET 'EM! that'll be me right there beside you."

Tim quickly jotted down:

4. Leadership - Leader did not ask his men to do something he wouldn't do, and he was there to guide his men. Each team member had expressed his complete faith in the leadership which was the main reason why this group of men really worked well together.

So, Tim continued on with the story and didn't notice his dad, Leo Reynolds, walk into the den where his wife was trying to shorten some curtains. "Barbara, our son has been taking some notes about a story that has some striking parallels. TIM COME IN HERE AND BRING YOUR NOTES FOR THAT STORY!” He shouted.

When Tim came into the den, his dad was excitedly filling his wife in on the story. He continued with a lot of hand motions. "Suppose you changed the story to where the captives were the unsaved of this world. Our mission would then be to reach them with the Gospel of Salvation; that Jesus Christ, because of His power, could save them." "Dad, the first one is COMMITMENT."

"OK... Now Barb, if we are going to be effective and grow in this Tract Ministry, we are going to have to be committed to the work to be done. Do I honestly believe that the unsaved guy I work next to is destined to everlasting torment unless he trusts Christ as his Savior? Who am I kidding if I say, 'If I don't witness to him someone else will!'"

Barb was only half listening to Leo describe this "diamond" he had found. Barb's mind was already fitting together the next day's visit with her best friend, Nancy Gilton. Barb thought, "I can show Nancy that getting out in the open and being seen passing out tracts will not be scary, because we will be using techniques we've practiced, and that have worked well for others. We'll use a wholesome appearance, fresh breath, a smile and some well chosen tracts, whose message we understand. Nothing mystical about these tools..."

"Barb... Barbara, are you listening to me?" Leo asked, tapping her on the shoulder. "The best part of the whole thing, there are no surprises with God! He has control of every situation. If a person asks me a hard question about the bible, I can say, 'I like that question, what do you think about it? Then ask him if I can visit his home on Thursday and give him a good bible answer.'" "Leo, do you realize that God has placed the Tract Ministry in our hands, a task the angels aren't able to do?"

Tim moved over in front of the window and looked out. Only if you had been standing right next to him could you have heard, "Lord, I'm going to ask Darlene tomorrow to read this tract because it says some important things, things that I can't put into words, especially around her. Lord, I know You think she is special too, because You shed Your precious blood for her also."

Lord, I want to be on Your S.W.A.T. Team

S. Saints

W. Watching (for His soon return)

A. And

T. Tracking ~~

Pace 3 - Questions

“Answer the next question wrong and I'm dead! I can't believe it, so much hangs on how I respond...”

Trina Gilton was sitting on the ground, straight backed, with her eyes squinting, all primed to meet the final question head-on. Trina's dad, Jerry, came walking out the back door and spied his 14 year old daughter with her best friend. Both girls were sitting Indian fashion facing each other.

"What's up girls?" OH! Hi dad! Judy and I are practicing for our big History test coming up Friday. We made up a question game to help us, and I think I'm dead." The I-don't-understand look on Jerry's face, prompted Judy to explain. "Mr. Gilton, I get to ask Trina one more history question and if she's wrong, I get to hose her down for 2 whole minutes... and I can hardly wait!!"

A short time later....

"Supper's ready! Come set the table!" "My wife should have been an umpire with a voice like that," thought Jerry rounding the corner. With his first step into the kitchen, he saw wet hair... "Why, Trina, did it start raining outside?" "Dad, I don't need any more questions, and you can wipe that silly grin off your face." "Yessss mam!" Jerry said, as he saluted and got the syrup out of the refrigerator.

As the last waffle disappeared, Trina said, Actually, I don't mind when Judy asks a question I can't answer. It tells me what I need to go back and brush up on." Mrs. Gilton could have gotten a gold star when she popped in with, "Pastor told us in Teacher Training it's good to have sincere questions from your students -- it shows they are paying attention and indicates what areas you need to explain further.”

“Oh, and he also said, ‘a good teacher can sort-of put on the mind of the student and anticipate some of the questions and prepare for them in case they're asked.’"

Deep down, Jerry appreciated the topic of discussion, because he had wanted to witness to a buddy that he car-pooled with, but thought that he would drop dead if the guy asked a bible question that he couldn't answer. "You know," Jerry thought, "saying I don't know to a question really isn't all that bad, if I follow it with, 'I'll dig out the answer tonight and let you know tomorrow' .... By the way Jake, I have a couple of things jotted down here that I want to show you, and these I do know for sure."

Jerry's finger covered up the bottom of the note that said:

"The Roman Road --- Handle with prayer...."

Pace 4 - On the Job

Remember Leo? Yeah! Right, he's the one that kept finding a tract in his dinner pail on top of his egg sandwich (thanks to his wife). Well, he's had it up to here with the younger guys at the factory where he works. "Oh, this tee-shirt bill boarding is driving me up the walls," says Leo.

"You've got to figure that these guys' dressers must have a zillion drawers with tee-shirts packed in them saying thrilling clich├ęs like, "I cheated the cheat", or "I don't care what you think, Ma still loves me!" I mean they "talk" to you just like bumper stickers... I suppose they could even reveal things about the person wearing them.

Leo was just finishing a Reader's Digest short article about "Subliminal Advertising", when Tim came in the front door from school. The reason Leo knew it was his son, was because just after the door slammed shut, he heard, "Hi all you lucky people! I'm home!" As Leo peeked around his book to see if any glass was still in the door, he saw something that knocked his socks off.

Plastered across his son's chest were the words "He is coming soon! ARE YOU READY?" It wasn't the words that were the shocker, because Leo had trusted Christ as his Savior at the malt shop 23 years ago. He knew Jesus was coming soon and he WAS ready. (Leo was saved with a Tootie-Fruitie Float in one hand and a Killer-Diller Burger in the other hand, sitting across the booth from his best friend -- but that's a story for later.)

"Oh noooo," moans Leo, "first bill boarding at work, and now at home too! Next thing you know they'll be doing it at church." "Dad, I found it pays to advertise" said Tim. "Great shirt don't you think?" Well, Leo realized what you and I already know, the church is selling them... and at cost.

The following Saturday when Tim and Leo were at the church, mowing; Tim showed his dad the other shirts in the collection. Then Leo found what he was looking for, a button with bright red letters that said, "Have you met Him?" What Leo liked though, was the package of tracts with a picture of that same button. He couldn't get his wallet out fast enough to latch onto that comeback for bill-boarding. Leo put the pin on his shirt lapel, and checked a few of the tracts in the pack to make sure that the church address was on them. "Just wait until one of those guys at work stick their crazy tee-shirts in my face; I've got my comeback!"

Later, at home, as Leo and Tim were brushing the grass off their coveralls, Mrs. Reynolds came out to the garage, and spying the button right-off, she asked, "Have I met who, Honey?" Leo pulled out a tract with the picture of the button. "Here you go Barb, read this first and I'll be back and we can talk about it...."

Well, to a make a long story short, Monday morning Leo was almost late for work looking for his missing comeback button and matching tracts. A soft knock on Mimi's bedroom door before entering and Leo got another shocker. His 13 year old daughter had her blouse and skirt lying across the chair and, I'm not going to tell you what was pinned to her collar. Tell me, how long has it been since you've seen tears of joy on a grown man's face?

At work during lunch, Leo was relating all of the events I've just described to you, to a bunch of the guys. As they were walking with Leo back to their work stations, one of the guys says, "Ok, now are you going to finish the story? What did it say? Have I met who!"


You had better plan right now what you will say and do,because a hungry soul might not wait for you to run home to get your button and handful of tracts. ~~

Pace 5 - Prison Visitation

"Thelma, we're in a fix and I don't know how we'll get out of it this time," Frank began rehearsing in his mind. He often spoke to himself as though he was talking to his wife, sort of listening to the words and how they'd sound as he finished cleaning the gigantic lens. With a firm grip on the knob of the little door, Frank stepped out onto the balcony and surveyed his small island. Most would think Frank, Thelma and their little island to be very unimportant; except for the lighthouse that stood tall and proud.

By the way, Frank and Thelma are aunt and uncle to Tim Reynolds. Frank was proud to have this important responsibility though it was quite lonely; except for his precious Thelma and the ship that brought provisions twice a year. "That was a good supper, hon", Frank said as he cleared the table.

The radio was turned on while Thelma picked up both Bibles and the couple settled each in his favorite easy chair. For the next hour the little house connected to the side of the lighthouse was filled with comforting Christian melodies and then a soul stirring message by their favorite radio pastor, Rick Danison.

Even before they raised their heads and opened their eyes (taking part in the closing benediction), Thelma knew what she'd see.... "Frank, you're still disturbed about it, aren't you?"

"Thelma, we're in a fix, and I don't know how we'll get out of it. I believe it’s true that God's Word says we're supposed to go to the highways and byways and speak to the lost about their salvation. And that's the problem!! I believe God meant that for everybody; us too! How are we going to speak to anyone?”

“We've talked to Jake and Lyle while they were unloading provisions last April, but somehow that just doesn't seem enough." Trying to somehow ease his inward pain, Thelma piped in with, "But didn't pastor also say that God always provides a way - and sometimes more to carry out his great commission?"

Although his life wasn't cluttered with many of the frivolous cares we have, Frank's feeling of being trapped on this little island and not being able to share the Gospel, weighed heavy on him. So often, he'd climb the circular stairway to the top of the lighthouse and make his way out onto the balcony and slowly walk around it for long periods of time.

Saturday was a lot like that. Or was it Friday? Oh! Who cares? In a prison all days are the same. Aimless step after aimless step around the little balcony, Thelma's words kept coming to mind... "God always provides a way -- and sometimes more - to carry out His great commission.” “God always provides a way.” "God always...." "God always"...

That day Frank's eyes scanned the scene, at least all that wasn't under water, wishing the answer to his troubled heart would leap out of the ground to meet him. Like so many times before, his eyes would ask the flower beds over there, or how about the little dingy; no answer. No answer. Just beyond the only bush on the prison; I mean island, the trash dump could barely be seen. Bags, boxes, cans, paper and ~

And WHAT?! Frank's heart leaped within him! THAT'S IT! THELMA! THELMA THAT'S THE ANSWER! He thought he sprained a finger trying to get the little door open before racing down the circular steps inside the lighthouse. THELMA! THELMA, HE GAVE US THE ANSWER!

It made no sense to Thelma when, between deep breaths, Frank told her to get the washtub and many sheets of typewriter paper, before he ran to the trash pile mumbling something.

Almost an hour and a half later, two excited people leaned against the whitewashed tower and gazed at a row of twenty seven sparkling clean catsup bottles; their tops in a pile.

The sun hadn't set more than thirty minutes before Thelma read the note, rolled it up, and put in the last catsup bottle. Frank, sitting on a nearby boulder, watched twenty six bottles bobbing in the waves not far from shore. He was talking to Someone, though he knew Thelma was too far away to hear.

'Case you have some catsup bottles not being used, you'll want to know what one of the notes said:

Dear friend,
I'd like to introduce you to Someone Who can open any prison and set you free. Bridging a gap of geography, judgment, or barriers of man's sin and its consequences. Christ's hand of forgiveness reaches to where you are right now and shows the scarred palm of love that holds tight forevermore.
Trust His shed blood and know the eternal freedom we enjoy... ~~