Pella Tulip Time Gospel Outreach 2022: Day 3

Traveling down to Pella was even more tiring than the past two days. Last night I had some great sleep, but the pains and soreness of walking and standing was starting to set in. Worried that my knee was going to act up again, I was hoping that wherever I was I could be able to sit.

I was glad that my wife came with me, and Jami, a friend and prayer partner from church was meeting us there. I knew it was going to be a good day. It’s so much better to know that people you know from your fellowship are supporting you. Even though many evangelists belong to “Club Frustration,” and that we are all in this together, even though we are in separate places, it’s comforting to have people who you fellowship with you every week are there.

After the morning teaching session with Eddie Roman of Living Waters Ministry, we broke up into teams. I obviously took my wife and Jami along, but was surprised with the additional team member — the headline speaker, Dr. Robert Carter. We had some good conversation at the booth about evangelism, but he admitted that with his time with the other leaders he was unable to have a conversation with a stranger. I said, “That’s going to change today.” With a nervous smile, we prayed and went to get a bite to eat.

After lunch we started walking and they nervously asked where we were going. I responded, “We are going to take people’s pictures, and then give them a tract and try to engage in conversation.” I don’t think they really understood, but that’s ok. The weather was really getting nice, and warm; much different than what they forecasted earlier in the week.

We got to the edge of the canal and put my hands behind my back. They all looked at each other, but I said, “We are going to wait right here and wait for the fish to come.” I could imagine what they were thinking, but they trusted me. “Couples will come over and try to take pictures of themselves, but they are going to give me their phone and I will take their picture and start a conversation.” They laughed, but that’s exactly what was about to happen. Just then a couple came up and tried to get a picture.

“Would you like to get a picture together; I can take that for you?”

“Oh, that would be awesome; thank you.” Handing over their phone to me, I took a few shots and gave it back.

“Are you both from around here?” They replied that they were not, and so I gave them a pamphlet about Pella’s Christian Roots, the founding of the town, and an inspirational message on the back along with the website. After explaining it to them we talked for a minute and went our separate ways. Turning around, Dr. Carter smiled and I could tell he was thinking it can’t be that easy. But it is. I took some more pictures of different couples and families to solidify that this wasn’t just a one-and-done; that even when I was denied the phone all I had to do was joke, “I’m not very fast, and I know you’ll be able to catch me.” They would laugh and gladly hand it over. I even told them, “I’m a millionaire, I don’t need your phone,” and hand them a million dollar gospel tract.

I knew Dr. Carter was totally relaxed and wanted to try it. So he did. He did great. He never flinched, and walked up to the couples with grand confidence. He did it again, and again…each time more relaxed than the first. It was fun to watch, and elated for him. I walked up to the last time he tried this method to see how he was doing. He was overjoyed.

We left this couple and went back to the edge of the canal to talk.

I looked at him and asked, “Who told you that witnessing had to be difficult?” He paused, but I can see his wheels were spinning. I asked again, “Who told you evangelism had to be hard?” He didn’t say anything. “We are to be a blessing, not a burden. We are to be helpful, not harmful…right?” He nodded, and smiled even bigger.

I asked him, “Robert, what did we do here today?”

He thought about it for a moment and said, ‘We saw a problem and lent a helping hand. Then we gave them a tract or the gospel.’ I smiled, and he laughed out loud. It really was that easy. I had to hide tears building up in my eyes because I just saw a changed life right before my eyes. Not the life we as evangelists usually look for, but I believe these life changing moments are even more important. Why? Because this changed life will go and change other lives with the knowledge of the bible, and creation that he already knows. There is no learning curve.

My wife, Lisa really stepped out in faith as well trying out the picture taking evangelism method and seeing that it actually works. The people she talked with were Christians already, but it was awesome to see her out of her comfort zone and do it.

Honestly, it is too much to teach a person everything about evangelism in a weekend like this. It takes patience, determination, and much discipleship to get there. A person needs time to watch, try it out, mess up, and have victories. It takes time to learn a skill as well as well as to apply it. That’s why discipleship is so necessary in learning. You never get experience without doing something over and over again.

We decided to take some tracts and walk around the canal area. I had gotten into some conversations with a man who was sitting alone and some boys that were in an alley along the canal. Then take some other pictures in other places, just in time to watch one of our leaders, Brad, do some open air preaching.

After the last teaching session with Eddie Roman, it was time to say our goodbyes to all our friends until we meet again at the next outreach. It’s always a sad time, at least for me because we are all in this together, but alone in the places we fellowship and go to church. We all learned so much this weekend. The teaching from Dr. Carter, Eddie Roman, and guidance from Tony Ramsek are top notch. Dr. Carter thanked me several times that I helped him get out of his comfort zone and step out in faith. I can only lead, but it takes the individual to actually move and do what I suggest. I’m thankful for the leading of the Holy Spirit, and the faithfulness of him really wanting to grow. Praise God; what a great weekend.

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