Newsletter – Winter 1997
This summer we saw hundreds of men, women, teenagers, boys, and girls respond to the Gospel. God opened doors to share in Tennessee, Florida, New York, Pennsylvania, Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, Washington D.C., and across Georgia.
We shared in schools, churches, summer camps, and a Bible Conference, in the inner-city, at a youth detention facility, and on the streets. As we witnessed this response to the Gospel, we saw first hand people’s great hunger to know Christ. Many have told us that people are simply not interested in Jesus and do not respond to evangelistic outreaches. This is a lie of satan. Everywhere we traveled, we saw people eagerly confess Christ as Savior.
In Baltimore’s inner-city, we saw a young boy raise his hand, indicating that he trusted Jesus as Savior. His friend pulled his hand down and told him that he didn’t want to do that. That young believer resisted his friend’s temptation, thrust his hand up, and said, “Yes, I do.”
At a youth prison, we gave an invitation and heard one young man’s voice clearly, sweetly, calling on Jesus to save him, in front of 60 of his peers.
A young boy was surrounded by 50 of his peers at a camp. As the invitation was given, he got down on his knees and prayed out loud to receive Christ as Savior.
People want to hear about Jesus. Who have you told today? God gives us the privilege of sharing his Son. Let’s do it!
Our deepest thanks to all of the churches, groups, and individuals that we worked with this summer. The great number that helped us, keeps us from individually listing each in the newsletter.
Surely, yours is an eternal reward.
THE BOWERY RESCUE MISSION
When we think of this incredible place, we give glory to God. Our arrival in New York City was exciting and fearful. I was the first to give into this sin, as I worried about the safety of our equipment and parking.
The rest of the team soon followed my lead, convinced that puppets and chalk would never work in this situation. After all, we would be sharing with street wise grown men.
Our fears grew big and we felt inadequate. We began to pray, God agreed with us that we were inadequate, but reminded that He was not.
The men of the mission responded to the puppets with enthusiasm, clapping and laughter. They were incredible! As they lived out their new life in Christ, they encouraged us and challenged us to love Jesus more.
Our ministry schedule stretches us and shows us our Father’s love. In one and one half days, we presented three worship services, two street outreach programs, a devotional, worked in the kitchen, visited Little Italy, China Town, and the statue of Liberty. We had such a great time!
Please pray for the leader, Pastor George Ibach and all the dear brothers who live and work there.
What an incredible time we had in Baltimore! Deepest thanks to John and Li Maier, who hosted a very busy puppet team for three weeks! Their commitment to the Gospel enabled us to tell so many that there is hope in Christ. While there, we worked with CEF, numerous churches, a community center, troubled youth, and the guys even attended Promise Keepers in Washington D.C. Praise God!
Twice this summer, we worked under very big tents!
The first tent was set up in Williamsport, Pennsylvania, by a Christian fellowship called “The Door”, to reach an inner-city area for Jesus. We were encouraged by their enthusiasm to present the Gospel to people that most forget. Special thanks to dear friends John and Sharon Firth who made this adventure possible.
A second time, we worked in Atlanta with Ken and Ivy Belton, Ben Wilkerson, and the Synod of the City.
On Stewart Avenue, Club Niki, a strip club, set up a tent with several young women standing out front. They were drawing a bigger crowd than we, but God is still God.
That day we saw children, mothers, and even a grown man come to faith in Jesus. Later in the week, others came. Some of these are now participating as families in the life of the church with Ken and Ivy.
Pray for Jeremy Southerland as he attends college at Southern Tech and works with Ken as youth director of Resurrection Assembly.
While sharing during the 1996 Olympics, we worked with a wonderful man named John Moxen from Murlough House, above Belfast. We were invited to come to Northern Ireland this summer. In addition to sharing on the streets and beaches, we will be allowed to go into the public schools and share Christ. More, we will be training the first ever Irish Christian puppet team.
A few weeks ago, John and Jo visited us at our home while they were speaking about their work across the United States.
We were thrilled to hear how God is moving. One story that he told showed each one of us the tremendous impact that street ministry has in Northern Ireland.
Three little girls attended a VBS on the beach that John’s team led. They were on vacation, visiting from their home in Belfast. Their IRA father was in prison for murder. The family was Roman Catholic. When the girls had to leave early, John promised to send them the prizes that he would hand out at the end of the week.
For a year and a half, He sent them Bible tapes and Gospel literature. He knew that this was his opportunity to reach a usually unreachable area for Christ.
When they returned to the beach, the mother told them how their house had been fire bombed. One daughter had died as a result of the burns that she had received.
While in the hospital, she begged her mother to tell her about Jesus. Using the materials that John had sent, she shared Christ with her dying daughter. With tears in her eyes, she thanked John that her daughter had accepted Jesus as Savior.
This is the kind of work that we have an opportunity to be a part of in Ireland. We can share and better equip the Irish Christians to share.
Please pray for the necessary support for this trip. We will need $6000 to cover the cost of tickets and equipment, to provide a stage, curtains, puppets, chalk and balloons as a gift for the Irish Christians.
For their part, they will house us and feed us for 3 weeks. Working together, we will plant a Christian Irish puppet team. John told us that he had been praying for this very thing for 10 years. Help us answer his prayer!
Every city has an inner city, an area where “nice” people don’t go. Our home town is no exception. Located in the North Georgia Mountains, our church became convicted that we needed to tell everyone about Jesus.
After having two puppet shows in different areas of town, we asked everyone to join us at our church for a third show and a cookout.
The entire church participated, walking the streets to invite people, and sharing the Gospel using balloons and gospel bracelets. Our advertising efforts even included a parade, complete with the worship band on a float. The children in our church carried scripture banners and made the bracelets that we used. A lot of training and planning went into this outreach, with students from Covenant and UTC participating.
We wanted everyone, not just the puppet team, to have stories to tell about how they saw God answer prayer. Sunday night, we watched people come together from all over Lafayette. As some played basket ball, ate hot-dogs and listened to live music, we saw children kneeling across the yard, praying to receive Christ.
We finished the afternoon with a puppet show. God is so good!
WHAT WE WILL
REMEMBER ABOUT THE
SUMMER OF ’98…
….Praise God for protection. A man narrowly missed as he slashed at Josh with a knife while in New York City.
….Mike driving and pulling our trailer through Times Square at 10:30 on a Friday night, surrounded by an ocean of cabs and limos with loud horns.
….The men of the Bowery Rescue Mission in New York City singing “Amazing Grace” for us.
….Always, you never forget the faces of the children.
….An awesome time at the PEF Family Evangelism Conference, hearing about how God moving around the world.
….Sharing at Smoky Mountain Church Camp again this summer with inner-city kids from Nashville…
….Working with the wonderful people of Camp Hope as they reach kids in difficult situations. Special thanks to Danny McGill for his long held belief that young people can impact the world for Christ.
….Setting up a puppet show in Doug Graulich’s front yard in Atlanta and watching as cars even stopped on the street to listen.
….Maryville Evangelical Church in Maryville, Tennessee, as they took their Sunday night service to a local housing project for the summer.
….Scheduling our first puppet show from contacts received from our web page. Clinton, SC.
….A little boy in Philadelphia who urged his friends to listen as Aaron told them about Jesus. He said, “This is important!”
….Working in Philadelphia with good friends Mark and Karen Grasso. We shared at a YMCA, on the streets, and in the front yard of a church, using tracts in a huge variety of languages.