This past Friday night, I was blessed to accept an invitation to head down to Cuyahoga Falls and attend a Italian festival outreach with a dear brother, Ricky Gantz. I went and picked him up and was encouraged to see some younger believers, Rachel, Dannae and John, also joining us, with a desire to serve the Lord through evangelism. We all had great fellowship during our drive, getting to know one another and sharing what the Lord has been showing us in scripture and how the Lord saved us.
Once we got there and walked to the location of the festival, we were greeted with very large crowds and more believers, Beth Morris and her family, Brad and Ryan Valka, Anthony Silvestro and some new brothers we met tonight as well as Mark Archer and his son.
All of us were engaged in evangelism to some capacity and many tracts were distributed to folks as they passed through where we had setup at the entrance of the festival. Many one to one conversations were had and the Gospel was shared and proclaimed during these conversations. We also had some open air preaching while people passed by during our time there by Ricky, Anthony and Beth.
There were a few conversations that I was able to be part of that especially stood out. It started out once we got there, I handed three tracts to people passing by and greeted them and wished them well as they took them and disappeared into the crowd. Then, just a few minutes, all three of them returned back to me and encouraged me greatly! They started off thanking me for having such a clear Gospel message on the tract and said that they don’t normally see tracts that have a concise message and calling people to repentance. Praise the Lord! They were speaking of the new tracts that UCJ put together and they thanked me and the others for our boldness. By then, Ricky had already started open air preaching and they commented on how great it was to hear the real Gospel going forth! Again, they thanked and encouraged me and went on their way.
One other conversation that stuck with me was with a young man named Michael, who was dressed almost like a woman, wearing make-up and heckling Ricky, who was preaching. As he walked by, he shouted back, “I’m an atheist!” I was able to catch up with him and ask him some questions and about his claim of atheism and than proceeded to read Romans 1 to him. The woman who was with him, Renee, listened intently while I read and then shared the gospel with him, pointing out he is not really an atheist but an agnostic. I pleaded with both of them, but he continued to mock and laugh at me, while she listened. He was filled with much pride. I gave them both tracts and pleaded with them to repent and trust Christ and they went away.
The last conversation that really stuck with me was one with Dante. Dante was there at the festival with his young daughter, whom he was taking out of her stroller, and presumably, his wife or mother of his child with him, when I came. As I sat by him, I noticed he was listening to Ricky preach. I handed him a tract and he asked what it was and I told him it was a Gospel tract and he thanked me for it and for Ricky being out here. I asked him if he had a religious background and he said he did have a religious upbringing but when I asked him if he knew how to get to Heaven or if he was going there, he shook his head and said, “no sir, I don’t”. His face was very sincere, and he listened with great intent as I shared the Gospel with him and called him to repentance. He understood his sin separated him from God and that God’s standard was perfection and that it left him helpless, deserving hell for his sins against a perfect, holy God. He then also seemed to understand that he needed a savior if he were to get out of this situation, since he was unable to save himself. As we talked, we spoke about how there was no amount of good works that could be done to receive salvation or a place in Heaven. As I continued to give him the Gospel, we talked for a little while longer. He did not have a Bible, so I gave him one and then asked if I could pray with him and he agreed, I prayed the Lord would open his eyes and ears, and soften his heart, so that he might cry out to God in repentance and be granted that which leads to the knowledge of truth. He thanked me many times throughout the conversation and as he left he said, “this happened for a reason” – meaning he and I speaking that evening. I left him with my phone number and email address. Please pray for Dante, that God would grip him tightly and draw him to Himself and save him and that Dante would cry out to God and confess his sins and repent and believe in Jesus Christ.
Saints, be encouraged by these few conversations that I mentioned and the many more that were not recorded here. Be encouraged by these gatherings of brothers and sisters in Christ. Many different churches were united and were out proclaiming boldly as ambassadors in Christ – whether it was through open air preaching, handing tracts, engaging in conversations, sitting back and praying for those engaged in conversations, or those hearing the Gospel and scripture read in the public. Be encouraged to “go and share the Gospel to a lost and dying world.” Do please join me in prayer for Dante, Michael and Renee, as mentioned here, and all those whom we came in contact with and that had the Word of God sowed in their hearts. Pray that God might save some and that God would get all the glory.
Ben Adams became a team member of United in Christ Jesus in 2015. He has a heart burdened for evangelism. He also directs a ministry called DiG Outreach (DiG = Death is Gain) which is a community of Christian gamers who come together to share their love for the Lord and for gaming. His ministry reaches out to groups of people who are hiding behind High Definition TV’s, XBox 360’s and PS3’s and let them know the truth of the gospel. Ben has been a long-time friend and encouragement to UCJ. He is a devoted husband to his wife, Leah and father of two sons, Gabe and Noah. They reside in Cleveland, Ohio.