What an amazing week it turned out to be. We ended the week feeling a bit drained, yet praising the Lord for the strength He provided us throughout the week and Sunday was truly a wonderful day of worship and rest.
Friday night and Saturday were much busier and seemed to blur together somewhat. We ended up staying quite late Friday night, but the Carnival was open late as well. Saturday morning most of us went to the Mission and were there until mid-afternoon. Sarah went with Nathan and Melanie out to the Fair around lunch time but things were very quiet until the evening. We joined them around 6:00p.m.
The temperature Friday evening was much more moderate (especially once the sun had set). Saturday was quite warm, but nothing like Wednesday.
We probably gave out about 750 sodas/waters Friday evening, and a similar quantity on Saturday. It became even harder to hand out “new” tracts to people that had been by a number of times during the week but it was good as we recognized them to have more opportunities to share one-on-one. In fact, I felt that Friday and Saturday were the best nights for one-on-one sharing.
I kept doing balloons each night and did hundreds of additional balloons. Nathan helped with pumping them up and tying some of them to give my fingertips a break (and speed things up!). It can be a challenge to keep rolling along quickly when you have a group of 5~10 children (and their parents) waiting for balloons. But, the parents (and children) that were waiting for balloon provided good opportunities for conversations.
I can recall several instances of being able to share with people about their salvation. One teenage boy started by asking about dinosaurs in the Bible, and after we talked about that we moved onto salvation. He seemed typical of so many we spoke with: he admitted that he didn’t truly know the Lord (despite having prayed a prayer when he was younger and occasionally attending church). We talked about the missing part of salvation in his life: repentance (not only feeling badly about sin and confessing it, but turning from it); and how the Bible never says to “accept Jesus” but to repent and believe on Jesus. He hadn’t given control of his life to Jesus. You could see the Spirit working in his heart. I gave him a Gospel of John at the end of our conversation.
Friday night I enjoyed an opportunity to talk with a “goth” couple. They had walked by the booth a number of times throughout the week and refused the offer of free soda’s. Finally, late Friday night, when I offered them a balloon they stopped and said “sure.” Turns out the girl had young twin sisters and was interested in two identical balloons for them – and they accepted sodas and tracts while they were there.
We haven’t figured out the totals for the week, but I would guess about 2,000~2,500 sodas/waters, perhaps 4,000 gospel tracts, and likely had opportunity to share individually with several hundred people.
We believe that one of the biggest keys to the Lord’s blessing throughout the week was the fact that we were not affiliated with any church, and that we were not “bankrolled” by a church advertising/evangelism budget. Quite a few people asked us what church we were with, and we’d say we were just a family that had a desire to share the gospel. People were genuinely surprised that we would invest in such a project without having as a goal the building of a church’s membership roll.
As a final example of how the Lord so tremendously blessed during the week, I would love to share an amazing story, but am limited because this isn’t an anonymous blog. Suffice it to say, it was a perfect example of how the Holy Spirit works in hearts. A young person that had been watching us closely throughout the week, at one point came up to one of us and was asking questions about salvation, and sharing how the Lord had been working in their heart! They had been broken by what they heard and observed.
And now here are the promised photos!
Jesse, Mary, and Anna stamped thousands of tracts with the FamiliesForJesus.com web site address:
Here is Dad, Nathan, Melanie, Sarah, John, and myself at our booth
(Joseph took the picture):
Here is our booth from the back. We had a table at the back for stacking tracts and Bibles, and would resupply our aprons from there. We used Home Depot aprons for this year, but if we do a Fair outreach again we’ll cover up the Home Depot logo 🙂 We put the coolers on little plastic patio furniture stands. You can see the carnival in the background:
Here I am making a balloon bumble bee and talking with a young fellow:
Here is a series of photos showing John giving out a tract. If you look closely (it’s a bit hard to tell since the sun was on the two pieces of paper right then), you’ll notice that in the first photo the John has asked the boy which piece looked larger, and he is pointing to the blue one (on the left). In the second photo, John has swapped the tracts around and now the pink one appears larger. The third photo shows John explaining that they are gospel tracts (the writing is on the back side) and he’s giving them the tracts. Notice the young boy on the far right with the big smile. The pink/blue tracts came from Ray Comfort’s Ministry (LivingWaters.com):
(more information about the “million dollar bill” and the “good person test” coming up next)…
Jesse, Mary, and Anna were a key part to the fair last week. They stamped thousands of tracts with the FamiliesforJesus.com website. Thank you for investing all those hours, Jesse, Mary, and Anna. You guys did an incredible job!
Friday night was another successful night at the fair. As the nights progressed, we recognized quite a few people who came back each night to get something cold to drink. We worked at giving them a new tract and asking them if they had read the one we had given them the night before.
One girl in particular called me her friend. I had taken a minute to go across the “path” to take pictures of our booth when I saw her. We chatted for a few minutes. She professes to be a Christian. I was able to take it further and talk to her and her friend about purity. They seemed quite amazed that I was twenty-four and had never been on a date. Dad said he could see the conviction on their faces. I was very excited to be able to share with them.
I think probably the most heart-wrenching thing for me was Friday night. We were getting ready to leave, and several were still witnessing. John was talking to a preacher’s son (mid-teens). Suddenly, I heard a noise, and I turned around. The guy had thrown down his soda, which exploded, and he angrily walked off. I can still see his figure walking off into the dark night. My heart ached. Here he was, a pastor’s child but not saved. Obviously he was feeling too convicted and left. I couldn’t keep the tears back as I looked at the exploded Pepsi can, the stark reminder of this young man’s turmoil.
Saturday morning, Dad, Christopher, Joseph, and John went to the City Union Mission in inner downtown Kansas City where the guys have a church service once-a-month and hand out homemade cookies (thanks Mom, Anna, Jesse, and Mary for making them Friday night!). I went with Nathan and Melanie to the fair. It was very hot but quiet Saturday afternoon. I saw Jesus’ purpose. A girl in a booth near us, came over to talk to Melanie and I about spiritual things. Since it was so quiet, we were able to spend quite awhile talking to her. It was obvious the girl was feeling very convicted! I pray she will accept Jesus as her Lord and Savior. Saturday early evening, Dad and the boys joined us. The fair traffic picked up, and we gave out tons of sodas and tracts!
Only when we’re in Heaven will reveal the effects of this last week! It was incredible!
“So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.”(Isaiah 55:11).
Only for Jesus,
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.
We love to hear feedback from families who are using the Managers of Their Chores book and ChorePack system. I thought I’d share two VERY cute comments we received.
(The ChorePacks are like a mobile To Do list for children. Here is a photo of a Chorepack being worn by Jesse):
Comment #1: “Just wanted to share that this weekend our 5 year old dd happen to see a person with a badge id type clip and said so happily ‘look he is wearing a ChorePack!’ Our whole family just had the happiest hearts and biggest smiles! Thanks again! Shana :o)”
Comment #2: “My 22 month old wanted me to clip one on his diaper so he could be like his big sisters.”
Only for Jesus,
The Lord tremendously blessed us once again at the Fair yesterday evening. Close to 600 sodas or waters were given out. The van’s temperature gauge showed 104 degree’s as we arrived at the Fair (and the sun was still shining!). However, the heat is a blessing as it results in people being more thirsty.
Last night was the parade night. We could see a portion of the parade from where we were located. We are still grateful for our location, as almost everyone had to walk past us to get to the parade area, and then had to walk back past us when the parade was over. During the parade, the booth was a bit slow. As soon as it was over, we were absolutely mobbed.
We gave out close to 1,000 tracts, and had opportunities to talk with a number of people one-on-one. We are praying that the Holy Spirit will be working in hearts as people take the tracts home and read them later.
Included are some photos from the booth. We’ll try to get a photo of the entire booth at some point this evening.
In Christ Jesus,
Dad, taking drink orders.
John, handing a million dollar bill to a man.
Sarah, waiting to help someone.
Nathan, going through the “Good Person” test.