2022 Holiday Stroll Outreach Review

November 19, 2022 marked the 30th annual Marshalltown Holiday stroll where we set up tables outside Stepping Stones Christian Bookstore to give away tracts, treats, and the Trinity. If you were to ask those who went to the event to describe it in one word, I guarantee the answer would be, “cold.” Brutally cold if I were to be honest. The temperature ranged from 14 degrees to a high of 17 degrees Fahrenheit. I made the decision the day before to call off the help from where I fellowship because of the potential gelid temperatures and I’m glad I did. With no room inside the store to warm up, it would have been a miserable outreach experience, and possibly dangerous especially for those who have never done street evangelism before in temperatures like this.

I asked my neighbor, Bob, if he wanted to join me, and was blessed that he did. Paul, who runs the event every year and his wife, Mary, showed up earlier and started setting up the hot cocoa that we gave to patrons coming to warm up inside the store. Bob and I finished setting up outside. It seemed to take forever to get the lanterns lit, not to mention the propane heater which couldn’t really be felt anyway.

With everything set up, people started to show up promptly around 4pm, and trickled in until the parade which started right on time at 5pm. We passed out a handful of tracts, along with candy canes and chocolate. I love the tracts that Paul buys for these events. Some of my favorites are: Tis the Season, There’s No Christmas Without Christ, and The Greatest Gift, which the image changes when you tilt the card. Another favorite we gave out was this one which broke down John 3:16 in a way that unbelievers could understand the gospel.

We had several good conversations even through the frigid temperatures. I appreciate Bob’s boldness and direct approach to stepping out in faith, even if it meant reading tracts to people. I met with one gentleman, Marc, right outside the booth. He claimed to know Christ, but then when I asked him if he kept the 10 Commandments, he said yes, but not perfectly. We went through some of them, and he still wasn’t truly convinced of his wickedness towards a holy God. I brought up his need for a blood sacrifice, and that’s when he got really interested, describing the sin offering and the transfer of sin to the animal; that Jesus is that blood sacrifice and his need to place his hand of faith on the forehead of the Lamb of God in order to receive forgiveness and cleansing of sin. After I was done speaking he said that a friend of his is a pastor of a nearby church and has been wanting him to come. He said, “Tomorrow I just may pay him a visit. I never heard it like this before. I have questions now. Thank you.” He took a gospel tract and I gave him the booklet, “Why Christianity?

Last year we had better weather, and hopefully this time next year I will be ready to take a team up and do what we were planning on doing: sharing Christ with the lost and encouraging fellow believers to go into all the world and preach the gospel.

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