Leaves of Hope, Healing, and Home

by David Asscherick  |  December 7, 2012

Emily Bronte, in her poem Fall, Leaves, Fall, writes:

Every leaf speaks bliss to me

Fluttering from the autumn tree. 

Here in Oregon, as I write this, autumn has come and (nearly) gone. Leaves are aground wherever one looks––golden yellow, ochre red, and a million hues besides. Each one tells a story, a tale of what was, and of what will yet be.

They are tales of present death, but of promised life. In their own uniquely colorful way, each announces that death now reigns, but life–spring!–is yet coming. Though not before winter’s cold night.

For me, this autumn in particular, saw my thoughts turning to… Light Bearers, the ministry I’m privileged and honored to be a part of. Why so?

Chiefly, the iconic phrase from the pen of Ellen White, repeated in various statements, “scattered like the leaves of autumn.” Here are three favorites:

“Publications must be multiplied, and scattered like the leaves of autumn. These silent messengers are enlightening and molding the minds of thousands in every country and in every clime” (Review and Herald, Nov. 21, 1878).

“Let the publications containing Bible truth be scattered like the leaves of autumn. Lift Him up, the Savior of souls, lift Him up higher and still higher” (In Heavenly Places, p. 323).

“Unvarnished truth must be spoken in leaflets and pamphlets, and these must be scattered like the leaves of autumn” (Testimonies for the Church, vol. 9,p. 230).

Ellen White’s vision was clear and committed along these lines. She knew then what we also know now, that people can read themselves into the truth, and into a deepening relationship with Him who is the truth. That truth-filled literature can evangelize, disciple, counsel, comfort, pastor, mobilize, and admonish.

But there’s more.

Literature, to put it funnily, is skinnier than most evangelists and pastors, and is able to go places where people just can’t go. It can slide under a door or beneath a windshield wiper, for example.

So there’s two important points here, literature’s effectiveness and literature’s accessibility. Ellen White well understood this, and she wanted others to understand it. Thus her phrase “scattered like the leaves of autumn.” The picture is compellingly beautiful in its simplicity. It speaks of volume and even of randomness. Here where I live, for example, the leaves can be so thick so as to blanket the ground, making the underlying grass invisible. That’s a lot of leaves! In her own places of residence, Maine and Michigan come to mind, the autumn leaves are similarly prolific. Ellen White understood the force of the metaphor, and used it repeatedly and intentionally.

These tracts, by the millions, like the roots and branches of an enormous vine connect us to them, and them to us, and Christ to us all.

We here at Light Bearers understand the force and beauty of the metaphor. We are unswervingly committed to seeing her vision become a reality. This last year, 2012, we saw nearly 25 million pieces of gospel literature leave our presses. The year before, nearly 30 million. Since Light Bearers’ inception, 25 years ago, more than a half a billion.

Half a billion.

You know what that sounds like?

The leaves of autumn.

Sometimes I find myself just wandering around the publishing house. The smell of the ink, the roar of the press, the cacophony of the folding machine, the looming stacks of enormous paper rolls, it is beautiful, in a noisy, smelly, and mechanical way. It is a sanctuary of sorts. I love running my hands over the impossibly large stacks of printed, but not yet folded, tracts. As I do so, my mind inevitably races to places and faces far afield. Angola. Mozambique. Guatemala. Philippines. Albania. Russia. Peru. And so many more.

My hands touch the same paper that other hands will touch and hold and cherish. I think of the ones who will read these pages. My heart goes to places that my body may never see. These tracts, by the millions, like the roots and branches of an enormous vine connect us to them, and them to us, and Christ to us all.

Each tract, containing “unvarnished truth”, has a tale to tell. Likes the leaves of autumn, which tell of spring to come, and of the promised passing of winter’s death, this paper tells of Jesus Christ and His message of truth. They bring hope to places where hope is often in short supply. They bring life to places where death is apparently king. They bring joy to places where sorrows are multiplied. They bring healing to places where wounds are deep. They bring the promise of home to places where orphans abound.

They bring Jesus.

Every leaf speaks bliss to me

Fluttering from the autumn tree.

God, O God, prosper this, Thy work.

David Asscherick Speaker
Light Bearers
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  • AMEN!

  • David, may I use some of this post on an audio recording about literature distribution? You can reply to: annie@thegospelnet.org

  • Jennifer Schwirzer

    David it’s a beautiful piece. I’m not eating my heart out. I’m praising God from my heart.

  • Mabel Butcher

    Hence the reason why we called our ministry Autumnleaves… 🙂

  • SN

    A beautiful piece of writing. Praise God your tracts are reaching other countries and preaching the ever lasting gospel. God is love.

  • Valerie Trimmer

    The ink in my veins is genetic. My family and I worked for many years at Pacific Press. It’s the Message. So worthy to labor for! God’s blessings to all who labor at Light Bearers. You’re in my prayers daily.

  • I share the joy of smelling fresh paper and ink, and books newly unwrapped! I love the fact that among new, fancy ways of communication, words on paper retain their power and efficacy. Perhaps this is the reason why Jesus left us with His Word, instead of a photograph or a video of Himself, and God gave us the most important literature – the Bible.

    Occasionally, I tease the idea that blogging is an extension of literature evangelism when we package the Adventist message either through life stories or written thoughts. Would you agree that we can (and should) write evangelistically via media like this blog? Blog posts can go viral worldwide quickly, and once we put resources online, many people can arrive (unexpectedly) to the page through search engines. Since search engines are more optimized for words than for images or videos, it becomes even more important that we put the Gospel in words. If we don’t write it, Google can’t find it.

  • So beautifully written! Inspiring words Pastor David.

  • Thanks Pastor David.

    The hymn that I feel my imagination accompanies this write is ‘Brightly Beams Our Fathers Mercy’

    Euangelion!