OAC Bay Area – Thanksgiving 2019 Update
Hello all, and Happy Thanksgiving! It’s been a busy month, and as we enter the Christmas season our schedule promises to become busier and more challenging, with more opportunities to share Christ. I’ve shared some reports below that I hope will be encouraging, as well as some praises, and prayer requests for the upcoming season. Please support us in prayer, and financially if you are able. Thanks!
As I mentioned it my last update, my home church had a booth at our local Oktoberfest last month. It was an opportunity to encourage the congregation to reach their community not just with good works, but with the Good News. It turned out to be an amazing event!! We had rented a booth and were out there all day Saturday and Sunday. We had quite a few people from the church participate, as well as several of our pastors and elders. We used several means to draw people into conversations, including face painting for the kids, a “What’s the Meaning of Your Name” booklet, information on our free legal clinic (our head pastor is an attorney by training, and runs this with other local Christian lawyers) and a couple of survey questions on the identity and work of Jesus. There were so many good conversations I couldn’t possibly talk about them all, but I’ll highlight a few.
Rose and Martha, two Jehovah’s Witness ladies, came up to the booth and very aggressively argued for their views, which is a bit unusual. Generally JWs avoid this kind of conflict. I think I answered their questions well, although it was hard to get a word in at times. I invited them to talk more another time, and they said they would be willing to, which is rare. They also both took literature on the Trinity, which is VERY rare. Please pray that I hear back from them, and that we can talk soon.
Daniel came up shortly after Rose and Martha. At first, he refused to talk to me, but then came back after a while and was willing to listen. He said he also used to be a JW and was “trying to get reinstated”. This likely means he was disfellowshipped (kicked out for some reason), although he did not say so explicitly. If so, the conversation came at a key point when a push in the right direction might cause him to break free of the Watchtower’s teachings. Please pray he is able to do so.
Havisha and Raj are former Hindus. One now considers himself an atheist and the other an agnostic. One of our church elders initiated the conversation, and I joined in later. It was an amazingly good conversation, and I believe good seeds were planted. The Gospel was shared very clearly with both. Please pray it takes root in their hearts.
Finally, near the end of the second day I had a long conversation with Patrick. Patrick is an unapologetic atheist and had a number of challenging questions. However, he wasn’t angry or hostile, and listened to my answers carefully. It was an enjoyable conversation, and I really like it when non-believers make me think. At the end he not only said thank you for the talk but told me I needed to keep doing what I was doing, and that he wished more Christians were willing and able to have deeper conversations. That was a real encouragement to me and should be to you too. Study to show yourself approved and step out in faith. God will use you too!
We had another amazing Halloween outreach the Morgan Hill Safe Trick-or-Treat event. This was year two partnering with West Hills Community Church, who also sponsor and organize the kids Bible club I teach for. I updated my Halloween riddle sketch from last year (you can see the picture below), and once again it worked well. We shared the Gospel several dozen times, and once again had to take the riddle down before people stopped asking about it, even when most of the rest of the street was clear. There were also about a half-dozen folks who joined us in handing out tracts. It you were there, THANK YOU! This outreach was so good in 2018 and 19 that I’m already excited about next year, and how we can reach even more people.
I’m still doing a lot of outreach at local universities, and things have been going well. I’ve been using my Are You Ready cross a lot, as well as using survey questions, to start conversations. This seems to be one of the more effective ways to get students to stop and talk, though I use other methods too. I’ve posted several examples below. I think the key is developing questions that get people thinking. If the question is thought-provoking then people are more likely to stop and answer. Then all I have to do is ask why they answered how they answered and follow the flow of conversation to the Gospel. I would encourage you to try it if/when you are our sharing the Gospel. The questions can be easily used in one-on-one conversations in your daily life too, with very little modification. Try it out and let me know how it works!
I’ll be leaving in about a week for our yearly Open Air Campaigners Director’s Conference. This year we will be in Maine. It’s going to beautiful, and cold! My dad was born and raised in Maine, and I haven’t been there since I was a kid, so despite the weather it should be fun, and it’s always a blessing to spend time with the other directors.
I also have the possibility of joining OAC members from around the world for our international conference in Jamaica next May. I’d like to go, but I’m not sure if it will be possible yet. Please pray God gives me (and my family) wisdom in deciding what to decide regarding this trip.
Praise Reports and Prayer Requests
We’re praising God for continuing to bless our adult street ministry.
Our university outreach has been very good lately. I’d still like to partner with more campus clubs, so I can set up my literature and sketach board on the campus and reach more students more effectively. Pray God opens those doors.
Our regular kids club is going very well. I have two other kids ministry possibilities in the works. Pray God makes His will clear in this area.
Our monthly radio ministry continues to go well, and we’re talking about a Christmas episode. Pray for wisdom in planning and scheduling this.
I have four or five possible new church partnerships in the works. All seem excited about training and outreach possibilities. Please pray each of them works out, that they may lead to more ministry opportunities, and more support.
I have posted online several times about mall ministry (which is much easier in California), and have had a number of people, including a couple pastors, express interest in getting a mall ministry started in their area. I want to work on encouraging this kind of ministry more and am considering writing a short paper on the subject. Pray for God’s guidance in this.
I still working on fundraising and am praying that God increases our support in the new year, so the majority of my time can be spent on ministry.
Please pray for Becky, who’s continued support and hard work makes this ministry possible, and for our daughters Melody and Naomi.