The staff at Home Health Education Service (HHES) burned the mortgage on their building on December 5, 2022, less than three years after acquiring the property. The HHES staff, as well as Georgia-Cumberland Conference administration, staff, and special guests, gathered together for worship and a celebration of this milestone. The celebration also included honoring the HHES treasurer, Jim Wilson, who is retiring in February 2023 after 22 years of service.
HHES has served as an operational hub for literature evangelists (LE’s) across the Southern Union since 1957. Originally operated by the Southern Union and based at the Union headquarters just outside Atlanta, Ga., it has been owned and operated by the Georgia-Cumberland Conference since 2014. In 2020, the Conference bought the new property in Dalton, Ga. The 15-year mortgage was paid off in just two years and seven months. While Georgia-Cumberland operates HHES, it also serves the Carolina, Gulf States, and Kentucky-Tennessee conferences.
“It’s a more central, organized place to help LE’s with their business,” says Tim Leffew, Georgia-Cumberland Conference publishing director. “It allows all the conferences to work together to do the jobs that they’d otherwise have to do separately. And, it allows us to make larger purchases of materials and keep our costs down.”
The HHES building itself houses the inventory sold. The office personnel oversees the daily operation, which includes billing, shipping, treasury, and customer service. The warehouse is stacked high with inventory ready to be used for the Kingdom of God.
“It used to be that literature evangelists had to carry and deliver all their books and buy the inventory. Now that’s all done for them, and they just send their orders in and everything is taken care of from there,” says Leffew.
Ed Wright, former Conference president, shared a worship thought about the story of George King, who pioneered what is now known as literature evangelism. King struggled with preaching before finding his gift in sharing with people one-on-one in their homes. His work in literature evangelism has led to so many accepting the Seventh-day Adventist message.
“Praise God for a man who was convinced of God’s calling,” says Wright. “Praise God for every one of us who has heard God’s voice and struggled to know what to do with that. And, praise God for dedicated literature evangelists down through the years that have been the vanguards of this message. This is a ministry that is deeply embedded in our shared message.”
“The Conference supports what we believe to be an important last-day ministry,” says Leffew. “People today wonder, ‘Do people even still read books?’ or ‘Why do we print books when we have satellite and radio and the internet?’ and we believe there is a reason for it. In the end-times when we are no longer popular, they can shut down radio stations and close our hospitals, but it’s impossible to repossess millions and millions of books. The books will still stand as a witness in the home when we have no other way of reaching people. I’m never discouraged when I go into a home and I see the book just sitting on the shelf, because I know its day will come.”
Wright and Leffew both referred to Isaiah 55:11, which says, “So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth; It shall not return to Me void, But it shall accomplish what I please, and it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it.” Literature evangelism is a ministry whose impact is greater than we will ever know. HHES serves literature evangelists, who are on the front line of sharing the Seventh-day Adventist message in communities across the Southern Union.
Georgia-Cumberland | January 2023