Jeff and Charletta Doerr have always lived in and around the small village of Vergennes, Illinois, and their solid family values and work ethic have served them well as they raised their three children. Jeff has worked for many years for the Illinois Department of Transportation and for his family’s auction business, started by his father over 50 years ago. Jeff has owned it for the past 15 years, and conducts a vast variety of auctions, including real estate; on-sight auctions, consisting of antiques, estates, business liquidation; as well as a weekly consignment auction. (When asked what he does with his spare time, he says he likes to farm!)
Charletta, on the other hand, has enjoyed her days as a mother, and now a grandmother. She says her greatest delight is babysitting her two adorable grandchildren. This delightful couple has always attended church—Jeff was raised in the Methodist and Charletta in the Baptist faith—but when they married, they began attending both churches.
But throughout her life Charletta felt something was always stirring inside her. “It seemed like I always would come up with questions that the pastors couldn’t answer to my satisfaction,” she says. “It also seemed like the church services were changing quite a bit. Sermons were growing shorter and shorter, and there was more and more music, but I wasn’t comfortable with some of it because it seemed like it was so much like pop music.” But one thing bothered her more than anything else. “I began to notice that nobody brought their Bibles to church anymore,” she says, “and that upset me a lot!”
A few years ago they began remodeling their home, and as they added to the roofline, their satellite dish had to come down.
That started me thinking,” Charletta says. “I was noticing the negative effects of satellite television on my children, and I really didn’t want them watching all that trash. Regular TV was bad enough, but it seemed like now we had more junk than ever! My kids were never allowed to watch horror movies or anything dealing with witchcraft. I think the Lord just kept laying things on my heart, and He directed me, because when the satellite dish came down, I saw my opportunity, and I put my foot down. I just knew I didn’t want this stuff in my house anymore!”
Jeff says that the children didn’t like losing all the extra channels much, but he supported his wife’s decision by putting up only a TV antenna for local stations. Little did they know how much this decision would affect their lives!
Jeff says, “I’m an early to bed and early to rise kind of guy, but Charletta would stay up later, and she was the one that found 3ABN on a local station. I remember she started talking about it when we took our walks in the evening. She was telling me about things in the book of Revelation, and all sorts of other crazy stuff, and I’d never heard any of it before. I actually got a little concerned about it, so I stayed up with her a few times to see it for myself.”
What Jeff and Charletta were hearing was the preaching of Pastor Lyle Albrecht, an evangelist whose program, Revelation Insights, has helped many thousands of people to better understand the prophecies of Daniel and Revelation.
“Our preachers would tell us, ‘Don’t worry about Revelation. Don’t study that!’ ” Charletta says. “But what I was hearing and seeing on 3ABN got my attention. I noticed that the presenters were dressed very conservatively and appropriately, and that they didn’t wear diamonds and jewelry. They even had modest hairstyles. Most of the evangelists we’d come across on TV over the years left a bad taste in our mouths, but this was a totally different atmosphere. They made the Bible super simple, and it all fit together. The more I was learning, the more I wanted to learn, so I got my Bible, and I’d sit there with my highlighter, looking up the texts.
”Finally, after six months or so, Charletta began to feel increasingly uncomfortable worshipping on Sundays. “I had no clue that Saturday was the true day of worship, and it was such a shock when I realized that. The evangelists on 3ABN showed me text after text in the Bible— it was impossible to deny that God wanted me to worship on Sabbath—the seventh day of the week. The Ten Commandments were plainly telling me that!
Now I felt that every time I heard a Bible text in church, it seemed to be taken out of context. All my life I just figured that since I wasn’t educated in theology, the Bible was something I couldn’t really understand. But now I did understand it, and I felt so uncomfortable sitting there I finally told Jeff that I couldn’t keep going to church on the wrong day of the week.”
“It was definitely upsetting,” Jeff admits. “I was trying to be understanding, but the first few times I went to church by myself I was upset and frustrated. Here I was in the church we’d attended for all these years, and now it’s not good enough for her? But the Lord gives us things in a time when we can handle it. I had more of an open mind than I did six months before. The Bible explains itself, if we read it through. The more Charletta and I studied this subject, the clearer it became that we should worship the Lord on the Sabbath, just like Jesus did.
“After several months of this, I finally got on the computer and e-mailed 3ABN asking for a list of Seventh-day Adventist churches in our area. I got back a nice note from Grace Yost in the Pastoral Ministries Department, inviting me to come to her church in Thompsonville.” After trying some churches that were closer, Jeff and Charletta began attending the Thompsonville Seventh-day Adventist Church. The first thing they say they noticed was that the sermons were very different from the ones they were accustomed to. “We’d listen and then we’d drive home, and the whole time we’d be discussing what we’d heard during the worship service,” Jeff says.
“And what I noticed was that they all had their Bibles and read along with the pastor,” Charletta adds. “I also noticed that they were modest in their dress, and that they kept the Sabbath holy. We had been in the habit of going out to restaurants to eat after the Sunday service, but now we noticed that Seventhday Adventists chose not to do this.”
Although their family was initially disapproving of their newfound beliefs, they have seen how Jeff and Charletta’s lives have changed. One of the more difficult things for them to accept, though, was the closing of the family auction business on Sabbath. Jeff says that although Saturdays were not the busiest days for auctions, it was always considered a good workday. “But since I’ve closed on Sabbath, it’s never hurt our business,” he adds. “In fact, it’s stronger than ever!”
“We study the Bible more than ever now, and we want to change according to the Bible,” Charletta adds.
“The Bible is our manual for life,” Jeff interjects. “Like with and Trust Services everything we buy, we get an owner’s manual. God is our Creator, and He gave us His Word to live by. It scares me that so many people in church never even open their Bibles!
”Charletta then explains herself this way, “I’m a big fan of puzzles. I love to put them together. But through the years, the things I heard quoted from the Bible didn’t all fit together. Now I realize why they didn’t. I needed to read the Bible texts in their context. This is it. Today it all clicks together.”
October 1, 2005, was a high day for the Doerrs. They had decided to be baptized together and join the Seventhday Adventist Church. That weekend they descended into the baptismal tank in front of the Worship Center audience during our 3ABN Fall Camp Meeting, as well as in front of our cameras! As potential millions of viewers around the world watched, they took their stand for Jesus and for the truth they had discovered in the Bible. They asked Him to forgive their sins, and they joined the body of Christ.
“Since then, a lot of people have come up to us and said, ‘I saw you baptized on 3ABN,’ ” Jeff comments, noting that he believes there are thousands of his neighbors who secretly watch 3ABN. “I guess our baptism was more of a witness than we thought! I think there are many who are afraid to stand out from the crowd, because it’s difficult to leave the church you were raised in or have such strong ties to. But as we stand on God’s promises we experience an incredible peace. We read our Bible more than ever, and we look forward to worshipping the Lord every Sabbath. We live for Jesus and we walk closely with our Lord.”
Charletta sums it up well when she says, “I hope and pray that somehow many will be fortunate enough to come across 3ABN, get out their Bibles, and see for themselves what the truth really is.”