Canvassing During Communist Times

Stories December 20, 2018

My dad, Jan Loder, liked to use his work as a means for sharing Signs of the Times magazines. Whether he worked as an electrical controller or sales representative, he always found a way to talk to others about his Savior and give them a copy of Signs of the Times.

When he worked as a sales representative selling paintings from 1963 to 1970, he very inconspicuously added how we are created in the image of God. From the business aspect of his work, he often pivoted to a spiritual application. And since he lived in a predominantly atheistic community, many people were astonished to hear him speak about his faith in a living God with such conviction. The Communist regime, however, didn’t care for such faith-sharing.

In many cases Signs of the Times magazines were offered to loyal members of the Communist Party. These people glanced through the content and wasted no time in going to city hall to report it, where a pile of magazines continued to grow and grow.

The Adventist pastor was contacted. Then the leadership of the conference was contacted, also, about their “literature evangelist.” The brethren then asked my dad to be less enthusiastic about the magazine distribution.

The Communist Party even contacted the head of the department where my dad worked and asked him to get my dad in order. His boss simply replied: “Mr. Loder is among our finest workers. We won’t give him any problems.”

When the Communist regime collapsed and literature evangelism was reintroduced openly in our country, he joined the ministry full-time and became a hero of faith. My dad had many memories from working with our publications as a young man. He remembered how he had worked in the Catholic villages and was even chased around with a scythe on one occasion! Still, God protected him. Until the very end of his life he stayed faithful to God’s calling and worked with Adventist literature.

In 2007, when I was transferred to the church district in Bohumin, located in the north-central part of Czechoslovakia, I was warmly welcomed by a church member in a wheelchair one Sabbath morning.

As she greeted me she quickly pulled me aside and began to tell me a story: “One day a young woman rang the doorbell at our house. She offered us a Bible and other very special literature, which we purchased. She also arranged for us to receive Bible studies. Because of that visit, my entire family accepted the great Advent hope that Jesus is coming back soon. That hope has filled my life. One day I won’t be dependent on a wheelchair. I’ll be able to walk and even run. I have this hope because that young woman, your mother, came to visit us and offered us life-changing books!” Yes, my mother was a literature evangelist as well!

Jaromir Loder is a pastor in the Bohemian Conference in the Czech Republic.