When Paul Karmin set out hitchhiking to see the world in
the spring of 1977, he had no idea he would find heaven, instead.
He had just dropped out of college in total despair and failure.
Later that summer he was on his way to complete a drug deal in Kansas,
when the engine on his used Harley-Davidson motorcycle died in Chugwater,
Wyoming (population 187).
Realizing he was stuck, he abandoned the deal and ended up at the local
bus station. There he got a ticket home, but he also found a selection of
Chick tracts. He had nothing else to do so he read them.
One of the tracts was called This
Was Your Life. Born into a secular Jewish family, he had a very dim view
of Jesus and Christianity in general since he was aware of the historical
persecution of Jews by Catholic "Christians".
But the tract disturbed him enough that a seed was planted. Four
years later, when all seemed well and he was headed for medical school,
he realized something was missing. He had no hope.
But the message of that tract had persisted. He went to the local
bookstore and bought a Bible. It was an awkward moment for the young
Jew, asking, "where the Bibles are", but he was seeking for his Redeemer.
Before he had completed reading the book of Matthew, he was convinced
that the Jesus of the Bible was really the Messiah. He prayed and asked
Christ to forgive him of his sins and to be his Savior. He knew he had
found the answer to his emptiness and desolation.
But accepting Jesus would be costly. He knew that his relationship
with his Jewish family would never be the same. But the material
comforts he had grown up with had not provided peace to his soul.
He knew what choice he had to make and was gloriously saved.
Since then he has completed medical school, married, and has three
children. He works as the chief radiologist in a North Carolina
Veterans Administration hospital.
And he believes in gospel tracts. He is continually searching for more
and better ways to get tracts into the hands of the lost. So far, he
has given away over two million.
When he is not helping churches develop community-wide tract distribution
programs, he may be contacting a missionary on the other side of the
world. Dr. Karmin utilizes prayer letters and personal contacts
with missionaries in local churches to develop opportunities for
Typically he will speak with the missionary and learn exactly what
languages and tract titles would be most effective. Then the tracts
are custom ordered and shipped direct from Chick publications to the
brother on the field.
With his children, he has made tract passing a way of life. They
are careful to keep a supply of tracts handy on every trip to the store,
restaurant, or other family outing. One such shopping trip triggered an
They asked a store manager if they could hand out tracts outside
the door. Amazingly, he agreed if they would not obstruct traffic
or litter the parking lot. They had planned to do it every Saturday
for a couple of months, beginning in the fall of 1996.
The Lord kept the door open for almost four years! Even the store
employees participated, by returning discarded tracts to the Karmin
children for redistribution. The project ended only when a new manager
refused to allow it to continue. They estimate that just about everyone in
their county of 50,000 people has received at least one tract.
Currently Dr. Karmin and the members of Cornerstone Baptist Church
are involved in an intensive door-to-door distribution project
designed to deliver a packet of four tracts and a letter of invitation
to every house in Albemarle, North Carolina, a city of 15,000.
Dr. Karmin relates his gratitude to the Lord that, "someone cared
for my soul" and left tracts for him to find 23 years ago.