It's been a pretty sweet weekend so far. The park outreach yesterday went amazingly well and was a real faith booster for me. We split into five cars and went to various parks to share the gospel and invite people to nearby churches (all the churches we'd visited plus the one we went to today). The park we visited was in a somewhat nicer old suburb that reminded me of south Minneapolis and Richfield; it was huge, but mostly taken up by a deserted disc golf course and finding people was slightly difficult. Fellow project-goer Anna and I paired up based on everyone picking a number from 1 to 10 (my idea for eliminating indecision) and walked around for a while looking for people to talk to.
Our first attempt at talking to a couple was unsuccessful; after that we met two older guys and went through the Soularium survey with them like last weekend. We had a decent conversation and Anna quickly ran through the Knowing God Personally booklet (which is a guide to going through the basic gospel) with them before giving them each one; they were both from church backgrounds and hopefully it was helpful to them.
But the best was yet to come. We saw a group of older guys fishing in a rather scummy pond. Thinking they were too busy we were about to walk away, when one of them, Dante, stopped us asking what was in our binder (Soularium). We happily showed him and went through the survey; after this I somehow managed to transition to going through the KGP with him, after which he prayed to accept (or possibly re-devote his life to) Christ!! No sooner had we finished with this and were preparing to walk away when another fisherman (Willie) asked to see the books, so we redid Soularium with him after which Anna went through the KGP with him and he also prayed to accept Christ! Meanwhile everyone else was catching fish and pond scum (and a snapping turtle at one point) and hopefully listening.
Until two or so weeks ago it had been one of my life goals to lead someone to Christ. I'm glad God taught me that trusting and obeying Him is more important than what I accomplish, because I would definitely give the credit for what happened at the pond to God. I was basically just along for the ride trying to listen to his questions and explain things clearly. I'm amazed how calm I somehow was considering how exciting it was! I also thought it was kind of cool how it was fishermen we talked to, considering Jesus' first disciples.
After this we returned to the car and decided to call it a day well spent. The plan for after the outreach was to get takeout lunch and bring it to Lincoln Park to eat. Luckily we decided to eat at McDonald's; right as we were reaching the park it started pouring in all of 30 seconds in true Milwaukee fashion, so we headed back to COAH to debrief.
We had great fellowship and basically just chilled until all the groups were back. As we debriefed, I was astounded to hear that nearly every group had a story as amazing as ours! One pair talked to a 75-year-old man for an hour and a half; others heard inspirational stories or saw people (even kids) accept Christ. I'm proud to be the one to gather all these stories and let others know! After that I played Plants vs. Zombies for a while to relax (great game; check it out on Steam) before watching O Brother, Where Art Thou? (I received a shiny office key so I always have access to our media equipment)
This morning we met up to walk to Broken Chain worship center (it's pretty close). It's situated in a small building across the street from a huge Catholic church, which makes it seem even smaller, but the surprisingly roomy first floor is almost entirely occupied by an impromptu sanctuary. The service was full of surprises; great gospel music set to recorded accompaniment (I think the live musicians were on vacation or something), prayer time for peoples' struggles in the middle of the sermon, even interpretive dances about God's power to set us free. The sermon, on God guiding the Israelites out of Egypt, had a lot of stuff God has been teaching me about trusting His path and plan for us; it was great to hear it from someone else. It was a powerful, Spirit-filled service and possibly my favorite one yet.
Today we don't have much else planned, mostly just a meeting to plan our ministry at New Beginnings this week. We have six and a half hours(!) to spend with the kids each day, and we're not entirely sure what to do yet. Pray that God would show us the way, soothe nerves, and reach the kids at NBAP this week through us; also for Willie, Dante, and everyone else we talked to yesterday. And praise the Lord, for He is good!
Composed ~12:45 PM, Sunday July 11th
The Wicked Problems of Jails and Prisons
6 hours ago