Here my group's ( Stacey, Kelly, Mary and I) experience from yesterday...
The initial start was slightly awkward. People were more scarce, and we weren't sure exactly how to start a conversation with someone. So, God led us to someone who wanted to have a conversation with us! We ran across a young man, part of a group of " anti-scientology" radical types. Dressed to be anonymous, with mask, and clothing covered in fake blood!
We walked past him trying to figure out what they were about, and Kelly suggested that we go talk to him. It happened to be the exact moment his group left him, and he was by himself. Kelly took a pamphlet from him, and I started inquiring about what they were doing, about, were they with the scientology church... against it, etc. They were not with any organization, and were not really condemning the scientologist beliefs, but the abuse that stemmed from their teachings. I started asking more on this young man's personal beliefs, What would happen if he died right then? What was on the other side? His answer was that we just died, and that's it. I showed him how creation was evidence of a Creator, just as a building, or painting was evidence of a builder/painter. We talked about if there was a God, who was perfect, holy, and just- would his standard be higher? We discussed the law briefly, and he did admit that if it was based on that he would not be going to heaven. An encouragement came when one of his buddies came to try and pull him away from us, and he declined, wanting to continue our conversation! He said he had been raised christian, but drifted away from it as he got older-and considered himself Agnostic. He had a lot of questions about the people who "weren't raised in christian families" or were across the world, and never heard the name of Christ. In his opinion math and physics were the only absolutes, and God was just not something we can be sure about. We talked to this young man for awhile, and even though we could only see his eyes, the conviction in them was incredible! We ended the conversation encouraging him to seek the truth, to even look in to Creation-science. Stacey gave him a Cahill book, and he thanked us for talking with him. I felt this was an absolute divine appointment, my thoughts keep going back to him. Pray for this un-named young man, that the Spirit would compel his heart to seek the truth.
I think that pumped us up to start handing out more tracts. It was harder to get the people walking by, but people in lines, or sitting down/standing still... took them eagerly. Our next conversation came when Stacey approached three young african american people, Marina & her boyfriend Jamal, and a friend who was hesitant to tell his name. Stacey did a good-person survey with Marina, while the other to listened. Again, they saw they'd be condemned, but initially said they didn't really care if they went to hell. I gave a description of heaven vs hell, if they were real places- and they seemed to change their minds. Stacey explained to them what Christ did for them, so they didn't have to go to hell. Marina's mouth was stopped, and her expression seemed broken by the end of the conversation. We reminded them that 150,000 people died each day, and this was something they should seriously talk about. Please pray that they do!
For the next hour or so we handed out a lot of tracts. I thought the obama millions or the regular millions would go really well, but I actually had a very hard time handing them out. Stacey was giving Christmas cash out left and right, and I soon found that those were going out much better.
Kelly started a conversation with a 27 year old woman, named Sandra Bloom, who was homeless. Kelly was a great example of how to "relate & create" that connection before going into the gospel. Sandra is a professing christian, who knew she was saved by faith through grace, and not by anything she could do. She was in a very difficult financial spot, and her family, which consisted of 12 other siblings, could not afford to take care of her. She had a well put together resume she was trying to give out, earnestly seeking employment. We left her with quite a bit of snacks we had on us, and promised her we'd be in prayer for her.
Kelly stopped to talk with to other's on the streets, Michael and Leroy. They were given Naughty or Nice tracts and we asked if they thought they were good people. Both of these men were hard to have conversations with, due to the massive traffic. We encouraged them to read the tracts, and left them with the last bit of snacks we had. Be in prayer for this men, especially Leroy, who told Kelly he was a very good person and was sure he'd see her in heaven.
We handed out tracts for a while longer, and Stacey did a good person survey with a woman sitting alone on a bench ( whose name I can't recall) They looked like old pals and the conversation went so casually. This woman came from a catholic background, and thought if her good out weight her bad, she'd go to heaven. Stacey went through the entire survey/ gospel message with her, despite a few distractions. Even though the woman had just gone through the law, and seen how she failed God's standard of good, she assured Stacey again if her "good out-weight her bad...." Stacey had to remind her of what they had just talked about, that it was a gift, and there was nothing she can do to earn salvation. She left her with a Cahill book.
Our last conversation came when Stacey felt led to go talk with a group of young teenagers. Katie, Katya, Tom, and Rob.
Stacey started off with a survey approach, the two girls, being raised in catholic school, did not seem incredibly pleased with us, throwing out comments about being reconciled through sacraments, God loving unconditionally,and other catholic teachings. Coming from a Catholic background myself, I found myself ' jumping in' to the conversation, quoting scriptures to them, explaining the law, and grace vs works. We had to do several courtroom analogies, to help them better visualize a criminal before a judge, for them to finally agree they had broken the law, would be held accountable, and would go to hell. The two boys were very convicted, especially Tom, who seemed to be answering all of our questions. Stacey gave them a Cahill book also. Be in prayer for this group of young people!
I personally found it much more challenging than a booth, not in a discouraging way, but in something I need to be more active in doing. I trust that God led us to exactly who he wanted us to talk with, and that he can work powerfully through the many, many tracts that were given out!
To Him be all the glory!
We continue going to the mall just about every week, just haven't been reporting. Here are some prayer requests.
Last week 10/07/09:
(Here is the VHS tape and the man who started it all back in 1998! Or should I say it was all started for the love of the Lord, but this man Ray Comfort is what sparked a fire in me to reach the lost.)
Several of us from Good Messengers Ministries of Northwest Indiana went to our sister ministries Evangelism Conference on July 24-26, 2009. Those who attended were, Sue Raven, Carol O'leary, Brett Burbage, Hugh Harper, Jen Van Der Weide and Doug Van Der Weide. The conference took place at Bethesda Baptist Church in Brownsburg, In. ( http://www.ebethesda.org/ ). Over 100 churches, and ministry organizations were represented at this conference. The guest speakers for this conference were Ray Comfort and Mark Spence from Living Waters Publications / Way of the Master. Ray spoke 4 times at the conference on..."How to get on Fire for God, How to Overcome Fear, The Atheist's Six Sense, and the Battle for the Lost. " Mark Spence spoke twice on..."The Lost Moral Dilemma, and 5 Effective Ways to Reach the Lost." I can not expound on all that we learned during the speeches but I will tell you that a lot of this information will flow into upcoming Way of the Master Evangelism courses being taught by us.
There were many, many testimonies on how this teaching has impacted people and how they use the law in witnessing. I was fortunate enough to be able to share a short 10 min testimony of how I was introduced to "Hell's Best Kept Secret," and how for the past 11 yrs God has been building Good Messengers Ministries in Northwest Indiana. I was also able to share how God put this ministry together and what God has done through this ministry over the past year.
There were many display tables present such as "Living Waters Publications (www.livingwaters.com) , The Board the Movie, One Million Tracts (www.onemilliontracts.com) and Good Messengers of Indy. Many books, tracts, literature and DVD's were available. I will say that A LOT of people were talking about a small booklet written by Jon Speed called, "Evangelism in the New Testament." The booklet is Very inexpensive... around $3.50 http://shop.onemilliontracts.com/product.sc?categoryId=16&productId=105 and is a short read...around 41pgs but it is PACKED with information and is a VERY encouraging book. I would recommend that anyone who has a passion for the lost must read this short booklet!!!
During one of several of the breaks they showed "The Board Movie" which is a wonderful Gospel Presentation. This movie is now going to be picked up by TBN Network and put on public television for national broadcast! Please be in prayer because they are also working on the sequel. Jen was very excited to be able to talk to all of the cast members in person. http://www.boardmovie.com/ I was also encouraged to talk to one of the directors during lunch, and to voice my opion about the "decisional prayer" that is presented at the end of the film. Only to find out that in the newer releases this "decisional prayer" will be removed. That was the only thing holding me back from ordering copies of this movie to hand out to non-believers.
During lunch we were able to get to know Wayne Davies who is about to start Good Messengers Ministries of Fort Wayne Indiana (www.good-messengers.com). Please be in prayer for him and this New Ministry. We were able to share "war stories" with him and hopefully able to get him started in the right direction! We are very encouraged at how God is opening so many doors.
After the conference on Sat. there were several who went out witnessing at Allstate 40 race and in downtown Indy, and also again early Sunday morning.
Mark Spence preached Sunday morning at Bethesda Baptist Church (where the conference was held), and Ray Comfort preached at E. 91st Christian Church (http://www.east91st.org/). Jen and I met some old friends (Paul & Darleen Theaker & family) at the East 91st street church to hear Ray preach. I thought my church was big (we attend Bethel Church www.bethelweb.org), but found out there are some VERY LARGE churches in the country. Ray did a wonderful job of presenting the gospel and also encouraging Christians to step out of their comfort zone to witness. They had three service (we went to the second) and they sold out of his material in the first service!
One thing that was the most encouraging was to be in a room filled with people who have the same passion for the Lost and also for the preservation of the Biblical Gospel message. We met people from Indiana, Illinois, Ohio, Kentucky, Atlanta, Michigan, and Florida. I even remember one older lady (in her late 60s) found out about the conference, and signed up. She went out at purchased a GPS and drove by herself to attend. Nothing was going to stop her from attending that conference. She has such a passion, and AGE means NOTHING when it comes to sharing Christ!!! It was also encouraging to know that most of us have the same struggles such as we come from non-evangelising churches. Sadly , very few churches are evangelisic in the biblical sense, or in any sense at all. I believe this is why there are so many parachurch ministries such as us, and we really shouldn't exist. But God is sovereignly raised up parachurch ministries to meet the needs of equipping Christians to share Christ Biblically. God has also kept a remnant of believers all around the country who have a passion for "contact evangelism," and who are not only teaching it but putting it into practice!
All I can say about this weekend is that, "Iron-Sharpens-Iron" and you better look out because my blade is SHARP!!!
Until the Nets are Full,
Doug Van Der Weide
Good Messengers Ministries of Northwest Indiana participated in two Fests back-to-back…Dyer, IN Freedom Fest ( June 25-28 ) & Cedar Lake, IN Fest (July 2-5). Both Fests ran 4 days and ran 10-12hrs per day. We bought and gave away New Testament Bibles, "One Heart Beat Away" books by Mark Cahill, many booklets from Answers in Genesis and RBC ministries, as well as some pretty cool tracts. There were many people who were hungry and eager for this stuff. Also, the Children’s Hunger Fund donated over 1,000 bottles of Gatorade to hand out and it helped us to compel people to participate.
Most importantly we took hundreds through the "Good Person Test":http://goodmessengers.org/handouts/evangelismsurveyinside2.doc At each event we have done we learn what does and doesn’t work.
Pictures from both of these events can be viewed at:
DYER FREEDOM FEST:
We had many good conversations about the Gospel at the Dyer Fest ( June 25-28 ) . Often individuals would come to the tent just to get a FREE Gatorade® but after taking the "Good Person Test" they were so convicted that and appreciated what we had to tell them that they often forgot about the FREE cold drink (and it was HOT outside). One person in particular was a young teen who had just lost his mother from cancer. Tracts and Gatorade were even given to the carnival workers. Many, many, many conversations like this took place at this event. We saw a large amount of people had a Catholic background that based their salvation on the fact that they would go to purgatory and work things out then. Most people were gracious and thankful for what we had presented to them.
There were many "seekers" that were on the pursuit of "the truth" and to these we gave Mark Cahill books to. One such person was a Muslim whom we witnessed to and was interested in learning more. He said that God gives light and that it was his responsibility to meditate on the light that he was given. He was very thankful for the book. We also gave him a booklet from RBC ministries that explained how he could be sure he was "Accepted by God". He knew that God was merciful AND just and was interested in learning how He could be both of these while at the same time forgiving him of his sins.
At about 3pm on Sunday, a woman came by with her little girl (probably about 6 years old). The woman was drunk and could hardly talk without slurring her words. She came to our booth and we ministered to her. The person sharing with her was a drunkard when God got a hold of them and was able to testify how God can save her not only from the penalty of her sins but from the bondage of her sins. She was moved to tears and wanted just that. She was eager to take booklets about "Addiction" as well as tracts and a NT. Due to the ever-present celebrity deaths (Michael Jackson, Farrah Fawcett, Ed McMahon, and Billy Mays) we were able to use these as springboards to talk about life and death. We also had a couple that drove over to Michael Jackson's birth home in Gary, IN. and started handing out O'bama bills (wish we had the new Michael Bills...they weren't out yet... (Purchase them at: http://www.livingwaters.com/index.php?page=shop.product_details&category_id=8&flypage=flypage.tpl&product_id=389&option=com_virtuemart&Itemid=199 )After reviewing the event we noticed that some people would skirt our booth because of the "Prayer Station" banner…so we changed things up at the next event (the following weekend)….
CEDAR LAKE FEST:
When it came to the next weekend, which was the Cedar Lake Fest (July 2-5), we changed the Booth to a "Good Person Test Booth" with HUGE results. We had a little over 500 surveys printed and only 117 were left which means in this 4 day event we went through 383 "Good Person Tests" (gospel messages), and often we shared the gospel with multiples of people. Everyone and anyone was taken through the gospel…local police and even the Cedar Lake Fest mascot "Boomer" (a firework) was given the Good Person Test (http://goodmessengers.org/prayerstation/cedarlake/cedarlakefest38.JPG). Again, carnival workers were given Gatorade® and tracts. A couple from our group also put "Parking Ticket" tracts (http://www.customtractsource.com/Parking-Ticket_p_68.html) on cars but were told by local law enforcement not to do that anymore. We had to remove around 50 tracts but several hundred were already placed on cars. (Tract Tip: When using this tract make sure to place it on the passenger's side of the windshield. Many local laws restrict you from placing this tract (flyer) on the drivers side of the windshield. If you have any questions make sure to check your local city and state laws before using this tract.) There were many serious conversations and reports of people broken before the Lord. There were also many Atheists and Agnostics who struggled with what we were presenting. We had two gentlemen (at different times) that had just been released from the Lake County Jail (both still had their wrist bands on). One of the unique things is we had three groups of people who had never been told what Jesus was all about…they had heard of the name Jesus (and were familiar with His relationship to church), but were unfamiliar with what and who He is! It is AMAZING that there are people in American that don’t even know who Christ is? We often think of those who haven’t heard about Jesus to be in other countries…but NOT in American. We also offered a FREE Gatorade® (donated by Children’s Hunger Fund) to anyone who completed the Good Person Test. We had 36 cases for the Cedar Lake Fest and 8 cases were left. We gave away FREE Bibles, Cahill Books, RBC & Answers in Genesis booklets, literature and fun gospel tracts. We also gave away FREE stuffed animals to children. Often Christians are portrayed as wanting something, or pushing their church and we had the desire share Christ and to give back. In no way did we push any particular church or even our organization. Often at these events we just told people how we are a bunch of Christians from different churches who get together to share the gospel message of Jesus Christ. Most people were impressed and respected our honesty and they opened up their hearts even more.
Please Pray For:
The list of those to pray for is too HUGE to even display, but God knows who these people are. Please pray that the ground that was plowed and the seed that was planted would be watered by our Lord, and that these people would see their need for a Savior. Please pray for the following people listed above and the small amount of people listed below (please note we could not post everyone)...
Cody- Dad is in jail (became saved in jail). Dad is also working on son.
Debra- claimed to be Christian but just confesses sin, believes in purgatory.
Mark/Cathy- really thinking about life & death and Christ.
Heather- STRONG atheist w/ three daughters. Believes Bible is bunch of bunk, and that Christianity is a hoax.
Ashley/Shawn- Disabled teens. Shawns mom told him he is going to heaven because he is disabled.
Amilio- Talked to his sister (Spanish) at Uncle Johns Flea Market. This is an answered prayer Amilio became saved! We have been praying for him. He is very sick on dialisis.
Mike & Sarah- Agnostic/Atheist believes Bible is NOT true, written by man, and that Heaven and Hell are NOT real.
Jerod, Josh and Mike- never went to church. Heard of 10 Commandments couldn't name one of them. Heard of Jesus but didn't know who HE is?
Amanda- VERY broken by the law and you could see the Holy Spirit working within her. She was brought to tears.
Terry / Vicki - sick of catholic church, always looking for money. Very interested in what we were presenting.
TJ- young boy who never heard of Jesus or 10 Commandments
Randy/Lesslie- Believes in God but not ready to give life over to Jesus, and also not sure that God would send anyone to Hell.
Savanah- VERY convicted. Could tell her heart was broken and she is ready for the Lord.
These are just a sample of the conversations we had in two weekends. Who knows how much seed was planted for our Lord? Please pray for the unknowns not listed as well.
Those who participated in these two events include:
Rolando & Annette Patino (Sofia), Brett & Jen Burbage, Sheryl & Gary Sprague, Pastor Mike Matiscik, Pastor Tim & Patty Rezak, Doug & Jennifer Van Der Weide (Zack, Sarah, Allison), Mel Huitsing, Carol O’Leary, Sue Raven, Mary & Jon Dykstra, Sarah Masters, Rose Topp, Jessica Gorecki, Hugh Harper, Courtney Synder, Karen Tiemens, Jason & Jessica Peak, Lynn & Katlyen Beilfuss, Mark & Rachel Gaertner, Carol Webb, Carl & Jean Rinkovsky, Christi Cadence (and grandaughter), Dave & Teresa Hasty, and Pam Robertson.
Until the Nets are Full,
Doug Van Der Weide
CROWN POINT "CORN ROAST"
Carol O'Leary & Dianne Morrison went to the Crown Point, Indiana "Corn Roast" to witness. Here is there report...
"We were only at the Corn Roast from 4:30 to 6pm. There were not a lot of people at that time. We tried to concentrate on putting tracts into as many hands as we could, since we knew we would have to cut it short and leave earlier than planned, because bad weather was moving in. Walked around the court house twice and went through the corn roast area numerous times. Would have loved to stay longer to pass out more tracts and have more time for the opportunity to actually talk to people. I handed out the "Freedom Cash" million dollar, and Dianne passed out "Star Wars" million dollar to teens/preteens, and she asked them if they would "like to check out their 'dark side'". They were great tracts that caught peoples attention, and every person we handed a tract to gladly took one except for one person. We told people to be sure to read the back, and that they were a "gospel tract". It was interesting to watch some of the people stop and take time to read the back after we walked away! Pray that those who received tracts will read them, and their hearts and minds would be opened to God's saving grace. It was a good first event for us "newbies" to street witnessing to pass out tracts at, after having recently completed your 9 week spring "Way Of The Master" course! "
Good Messengers Ministries went to Uncle Johns Flea Market on 5/30 and 5/31 from 5am-4pm
Those who attended were: Zack Van Der Weide, Doug Van Der Weide, Mel Huitsing, John Dykstra, Mary Dykstra, Rose Topp, Lynn Beilfuss, Carol O'leary, Sue Raven, Carol Webb, Shelly Crannor, Lindsey Cranor, Mary, Dawn Czuba, Bill Harper, Annette Patino, Rolando Patino, Brigette Deel, Jessica Gorecki and Maxine Evans.
Pictures from this event can be found at: http://www.goodmessengers.org/prayerstation.htm
We were in a VERY dark place and I believe we let our light shine. 1st day started off very hard as Zack and I began to set up you could feel the tension around us from the other vendors. They also began to talk about us behind our backs. I guess no mater where we go we are not always going to be welcomed with open arms. Many coversations took place on the first day and I believe just about everyone at Uncle Johns was at least offered a gospel tract...even the displaying vendors. The above staff in attendance did a fantastic job. Day 2 (Sunday 5/31) by far was the best day. All the spots in the flea market was sold out in fact they had to send vendors away. The projected attendance was around 1,500 people and they stated that they received around 2,500-2,700 people on Sunday. We were able to go through many, many, many gospel presentations using "The Good Person Test." We also ran completely out of Mark Cahill books, and went through thousands of tracts plus a good amount of english and spanish tracts and bibles. The list of people to pray for would be too large topost all of them but some of the stories are listed below. I am very proud of the group and for their courage in witnessing at this event. This has been by far our most productive event where the gospel was presented, tracts were handed out and many, many people were being prayed for.
Please take a moment and pray for the following people... Tracy (16yrs old) possibly going to jail because she ran thru a stop light and killed someone without insurance, Jim Thornberry strugglin with Christianity and God (received a Cahill book). Rose Topp talked to an unknown man for a LONG time who is stuggling with God and that the Bible is true, Pat who is a believer but is worried about her grandkids, Amilo who lives in Mexico and is sick on dialisis (sister didn't speak english...used translator), Ken who took Good person test was very convicted (has Cahill book and Bible), Dale confused about Jesus Christ and was convicted of the Law on his heart, Jim also convicted of the law when he took Good Person test.Carol O'Leary and Sue Raven had a conversation with a vendor named Louie who does not have a personal relationship with Jesus (they gave him Cahill's book), Carol and Sue also had a long conversation with Manu who is a muslim...Manu believes we are trusting in a false book and gospel and that we are bound for hell, Jessica Gorecki had a very interesting conversation with a young man named Jesse who was abused at home...he was convicted by the law and later brought his brother back and Zack VanDer Weide shared the gospel with him as well. Mike & Linda..mike has catholic background and doesn't believe God will send anyone to hell and that this is hell...linda (his wife) who has a baptist background wants Mike to know the Lord...mike was very hard-hearted, Bob who is struggling with addiction, Harold Web who is a retired (40yrs) evanglist pastor who has health issues, Myda & family (Catholic) believes they can earn their way to heaven, James & Richard these two men had me take them through the Good Person test come to find out they are Christians (confirmed through repentance and faith) who were playing with me...I convicted them to go out and share their faith with others, Felix young man whom the law broke and I believe may have went home to get right with the Lord...you could see the holy spirit convict him of his sins and I believe he realized that he needs Jesus for salvation, Awman & Arwa (children: Raed, Reema, Husam) who spoke Arabic and are Christians...they have a goal to reach Muslims for Christ and may be working with us to translate www.GotOurTract.com site into the Arabic language. Please also pray for Jose & Maria, Arturo, Andres, Maya, Liz, Donny & Jeremiah, Donna, Betty and LeRoy, Hazel, Larry, Jean, Calvin and Wanda, Lucy and Andrea.
This is just a short list of all the wonderful conversations we had with people over the weekend.
Until the Nets are Full,
Doug Van Der Weide