We had another incredible evening at the local County Fair. We weren’t sure what to expect yesterday (Thursday) evening because there were a number of rain showers that were moving into the area as evening approached. We usually arrive at the Fair between 5:30 and 6:00, and sure enough, it started to rain at our house about 5:00!
We have been trusting the weather to the Lord, and while we know hot and humid will make people more thirty, rainy and cooler will hopefully give more time to share with each person that stops by. (and that turned out to be somewhat the case: even though we gave out less sodas and water, we still had a lot of opportunities to share one-on-one or even one with several)
We setup the awning while it continued to sprinkle, and were encouraged to see quite a few people were at the Fair. Thursday evening was wristband night at the Carnival: for $15 you could buy a wristband which would let you ride as many rides as you wanted to. Since we were right across from the Carnival, we had a good amount of traffic by, and to, the booth, despite the cooler temperatures and the rain sprinkles.
As I’ve been doing the other evenings I would stand just in front of the booth and make balloon animals and hats for children. It’s been a great tool for attracting attention and bringing more people to the booth.
By about 8:30 the rain had stopped and the setting sun was visible. Throughout the evening I believe we gave out between 200 and 300 sodas or waters. About 500 tracts were probably given out. We’ve had to work a bit harder at having a variety of tracts available in our work apron pockets as some of the people have stopped by each evening of the Fair. Instead of simply handing them a tract with the soda, we’ll ask: Did you get one of these yet? If they say “yes”, the natural question is “did you read it?” And we’re then able to hand them a different tract and perhaps discuss the previous tract (if they read it).
Because traffic by the booth was a bit slower Thursday evening, we stayed a little later than we have the other evening. One thing we have noticed is the way the crowd changes as the evening gets later: less and less young children with their parents and more teenagers.
As the carnival was shutting down, the rest of the family took down the awning and began transporting the coolers to the loading zone, while I kept making some balloons. Normally, the teenagers weren’t as interested in balloons, but for some reason a group of them showed up as I had been finishing a balloon for a younger child and they all wanted one.
I spent the next forty-five minutes (from about 10:30 to 11:15) making balloons and sharing the gospel with a number of teenagers. It was incredible how open they were. In sharing about heaven and hell and the quick test one can take to know where they will go (the “good person” test) with one group of young people (I think there were about 5 at that time), they all acknowledged breaking God’s Commandments (in particular, we talked about lying, stealing, and taking God’s name in vain) and that they were headed for hell. With one girl, you could see the Spirit was truly convicting her heart especially based on the questions she was asking. I shared the Gospel with them, as well as a number of very detailed tracts (which they promised to read).
One of the young people (this was a different group of five or six that were also open) shared that she had tried to commit suicide awhile back, that her father was in jail for drugs, and her mother lived in another state. A teenage boy shared how his friend had died about a month earlier. A number of the young people said they would stop back by our booth on Friday night for a soda and to talk some more.
We’ve been thanking the Lord for the opportunities He has given to share and for putting this outreach idea on Nathan’s heart (just think of all the past years that we weren’t seeking to share at and of all the Fairs across the nation that have no one on-site to share the Gospel!). Although it is not a particularly pleasant project: the expense, the logistics of cooling and transporting so much soda/water, the hassle of setting up and tearing down each evening, the drive time, the hot and muggy weather, and, on top of that, the way people choose to dress. The younger children in our family have been staying at home these evenings, while Dad, Nathan, Melanie, Sarah, Joseph, John, and myself are at the Fair.
We’re looking forward to this evening (Friday). It will be VERY hot and muggy (humidity is about 60%, and the temperature is expected to be in the upper 90’s), and we’re expecting the largest crowd yet (considering it rained on Thursday, and that Friday night is a popular night anyways). Please remember us in prayer.
PS – We are still planning on getting a “full booth” photo that shows our setup. We’ll try for that shot tonight.