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Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Intense, Intentional Evangelism

I remember well the feelings that stirred within me before I left the familiarity of the Chapel to venture out onto the boards and approach strangers with the question, "We're from the Boardwalk Chapel, and we'd like to talk to you about Jesus.  May we sit here?" 

My devotion to Jesus motivated me, my love for those without hope inspired me, and my cowardice lifted my eyes heavenward to check for rainclouds.

I've felt that way many times since then as God has led me to speak boldly of my faith to people I've never met before.

Street evangelism is hard work, maybe the hardest there is.  Usually, the only time we approach strangers is when we're in need, or when a common need or tragedy unifies us.  Our common need is hope, hope for more than this material world offers.

And out of love for the children in Bella Vista, we approached them with an invitation to a week of VBS.  Mark and I, Julia and Joshua, Mauricio and Sandra, and a team from Brazil walked the hot streets of both sides of town on two different days of the week.

One of the young men from Brazil was dressed as a clown and offered balloons and candy to accompany the paper invitations. Two of the young guys enjoyed kicking a ball around and chatting futbol with each group of young boys we encountered.  It's summer time and the boys are just hanging around outside looking for something to do.

Evangelism is exhausting work
The work resulted in a bountiful harvest.  The VBS was well attended with more than 20 children from the community.  It grew each day as word spread.  I praised God to see the young boys who shyly sat and mouthed the words on the first day, singing with enthusiastic smiles on the last day.

The "cama elastica" or "trampoline" was the major attraction this week.  After energetic singing, a Bible story and craft, they lined up for a turn.  One girl was hesitant, so I offered to go with her.  I held her hands as we jumped.  Afterwards, she told me breathlessly, "We were flying!" 

She lives in a shelter constructed with wooden pallets and has a hard life, so I am filled with joy each time I see her smile in the safe haven of Iglesia Presbyteriana.  Even more, I desire to know that she and others in her barrio understand the gospel and are hidden in their Father's hands where no one can ever snatch them away.

Finding the Greatest Treasure
Sabrina and I were given the task of creating the backdrop

Sabrina picked out the chords to a VBS song
we sang in Hughson several years ago and translated it into Spanish. 
It became the theme song!

Mark manages the line for the trampoline

Carolina teaches a Bible lesson

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