How can we not celebrate yet another year with a significant increase (34%) in our visits to our outreach website? Seeing a total of 180,000 visits which resulted in 366,500 page views is super exciting.
For the past year and a half, I have been making many changes to the website’s layout to make it more engaging, and it was rewarding to see my work pay off; to see that on average during the last year, people spent 120% more time per visit than in the years past.
As I look at all the data and rejoice over the year’s results, I find myself thinking “Lord, who are the people behind those numbers?”
I look at the data analytics and struggle to find an answer to this ever-nagging question. And yet there is a place in this intricate and enigmatic virtual world that does provide me with a glimpse into the people behind the numbers.
Social media is the place where we come to know some of our readers. For example, Demis became a follower of our social media in early 2019. His sister joined a few weeks later. Several months down the line, he sent me the following message:
“Good evening. Could you let me know how I can become a Seventh-day Adventist? Thanks.”
During the week that followed, Demis and I exchanged messages in order to put him in touch with an Adventist member living near him. Two weeks later, Demis was baptized! Over the course of the next three months, three more people from his extended family also joined the family of Christ in the Adventist churches nearest to them.
Demis and his family face a lot of pressure in their small community because of their commitment to Christ. Yet, the little band of believers in that remote location of Greece daily leans on the faithfulness of our Father and shares what God has done in their lives.
Leni is another follower of our social media. She likes and shares all my posts about God’s faithfulness. She has been undergoing some treatments for long-term health issues, and she sent me a message asking to pray for her. During the following days, I shared with her several promises that point to God’s faithfulness. This is the message that waited for me one morning: “I can live with certainty because God is faithful! I will write this in the book you sent me . . . [Revelation of Jesus by David Lackey]. This is God’s answer to me as I wait for the biopsy results . . . it is astounding and inspiring! The Spirit of God led you to upload this post . . . Good night my SISTER!”
A man named Andreas sent me a message sharing how God came to him in a dream. He asked if I could send him a Bible in the modern Greek language that he can get to know the God who visited him. I sent him a New Testament along with a note of encouragement. I noticed that his mailing address was a regional prison. Several weeks later, I found yet another message from him: “I received the New Testament you sent me and have started reading it. I have reached page 32 and feel like I have received 32 blessings already. I am sure God has a future for me. May God bless you always.”
Yes, God has beautiful plans for Andreas’ future. Just as He has wonderful plans for Mario who asked us to pray for a failing relationship with a woman he wanted to marry. After we exchanged some messages, Mario wrote, “Thank you for your counsel. I will follow it and pray to Jesus every night. I will also try to focus on the brighter side of life.”
Zizi is a long-term follower who orders our Christian calendars and books for her whole family spread across Greece. She pops in for a virtual visit now and then and asks us to pray for her or give her some godly counsel.
Over the last year, Thanos regularly sends me encouraging notes. Just the other day as we were grieving the loss of Yannis’ uncle, Thanos messaged, “Good morning, Lina. Just wondering how you are doing. You know, you guys have a special place in my heart. What a blessing it is to know you are family . . . to me, you are my family now.”
Now and then, we receive a message that really lifts our hearts in praise for the impact the web ministry has on the people. A message like this one: “What you are doing online can be accomplished only by the enlightenment of the Holy Spirit. Well done. It is my hope that all your work continues to be blessed and be a blessing.”
It is a great blessing to see our prayers answered as we exchange messages with people who are depressed, desperate and discouraged: “. . . you are right. Satan always tries to throw us down . . . to make us feel worthless and without value so that we continue in hopeless groping in the dark. This morning I fell . . . I can see it now. It is the love of God that lifts us up. In Him we are complete. Thank you Lina for your understanding and your care.”
What Google analytics cannot tell me about the people behind the increasing visit numbers, the messages we receive on Social Media do. These messages I’ve shared and many more like them tell me there are a lot of people groping in the dark, looking for hope and love.
Technology has not changed the fact that the only in Christ can the desires of a human soul be fulfilled.