Iowa State Fair 2021 – Arrival

It was Thursday morning, August 12th. The bustling crowd, people laughing, kids running around; the smell of deep fried food, animals, and corndogs cooking in the fryers; the sound of classic rock and talk radio walking past the WHO radio booth. All these sounds, smells, and senses hitting me as I walked into the Iowa State Fair for the first time since 2019. My heart started beating harder — not from nervousness as I headed to the Answers In Genesis (AiG) booth, but from excitement — excitement in catching up with my evangelist friends, engaging the people who come into the booth, and to meet the new people who come and want to be a part of this amazing ministry. 

I first started sharing my faith at the AiG booth in 2018. It was an amazing experience; also joined up with them in 2019. In 2020, the Iowa State Fair was cancelled because of the worldwide plandemic. But this wasn’t the first time I was at the booth. The booth holds a very special memory for me, and one that literally changed my life forever. 

The first time I came to the booth was in 2003. I was new to Iowa, engaged to my now wife, and living with my friend and his family starting a new life in Iowa. The prior year we all went to the fair, and had a blast, but missed much of it and couldn’t see everything in one day. This certain time, I decided to start in places that I didn’t see. My first stop was indoors at the Varied Industries Building. At this time the both was run by the General Association of Regular Baptist Churches (GARBC). AiG would later take it over in 2016. But it was at this booth in 2003 that I heard the gospel for the first time. 

I remember him as a man about 35-45 years old. There wasn’t anything special about him, but he really took the time to show me things in the bible. For some reason I couldn’t understand him — like someone put their fingers in my ears. He was very patient with me and shared the gospel, some bible verses with me, but no matter what, I couldn’t get it. He even gave me this tract, which I have to this day. 

I wish I could have gotten his name and phone number. The stories I could tell of how my life changed over the years with that one conversation I had 18 years ago. 

But when I got to the fair this year, I was talking with a new booth-worker who told me he was talking with a man who ran the booth the same time I heard the gospel in 2003; that he works just a few booths down the day I arrived this year. So I took my tract I received all those years later and went to talk with him. 

I introduced myself and told him my story. I recognized him right away, and thanked him for working all those years and leading the booth. Even though he was not the man I talked to, he took my information down and said he would at least try to find who it could have been. It was a touching moment for both of us; we even shed tears, and the other guys working his booth got choked up as well. It was a great reminder to the both of us that you just never know who you will impact when sharing your faith. We may never even get the entire gospel out, or go as planned. But God can use even our faithfulness of getting His Word in the hands of lost sinners. 

This was the exact encouragement I needed to fire me up to start my ten days sharing Jesus at the AiG booth. I was more motivated than ever, and looked forward to see what the Lord has in store. 

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