Last weekend, Sarah, Nickie, and I were so encouraged by all that happened in Seattle at the Missions Fest. The first day started out with the “Friday Field Trip.” This is an event to encourage young people to be missionary-minded. It was so excited to see the 640+ kids flooding into the church.
Energy filled the air as the young people began finding the rooms for the workshops they wanted to attend – a hard decision, because there were almost fifty workshops, with topics such as “How to Use the Wordless Book,” “Use Illustrations to Share the Gospel,” “How to Share the Gospel with Your Atheist Friends” and so on. I wish every city in the US could have a conference like this!
Just as Paul went into the market place in Athens and shared with those who happened to be there (Acts 17) so we told the kids that when believers go out to parks or malls to share the gospel, the Lord arranges conversations! We shared several examples of this. We explained to them that they actually have many advantages in witnessing while they are young. For example, people are less intimidated by them. Additionally, people will see strong contrast between them and young people in the world. They can begin practicing talking with unbelievers about the gospel now while they’re young, and by the time they are older they will have a lot of experience.
Seattle is in great need for more laborers. We pray that the Lord works in the hearts of these kids and makes them into zealous voices for Him!
We were also asked to teach a session entitled “The Mall a Mission Field.” =) It was fun to hear their questions afterward: “How do I witness to a strong atheist?” “What do I say to a friend who just doesn’t think it’s important?”
After I shared with the kids how being a friend to the “unpopular” and “hurting” children gives us an opportunity to share Jesus with them, the girl on the left came up afterward and told me how she had done just that with a friend she knew, and it gave her an opportunity to share the gospel. We need to pray for more laborers to the harvest that take action as she did!
Heather (right) is the main one who coordinates the “Friday Field Trip.” I was encouraged and challenged by her zeal for serving God and her heart to share the gospel with everyone she comes into contact with from neighbors to the UPS man.
After the “Friday Field Trip,” the main conference began Friday evening. One of my favorite parts of the conference was getting to know the other exhibitors / speakers there. (Pictured above is the New Tribes Missions booth.)
For example, during lunch, I began talking with the Arabic couple at my table and they told me about the difficult persecution they experienced in central Asia before escaping their country. It was so awesome to hear how the Lord had worked in their lives and is still working in their people group. I realized that I was sitting with modern day heroes and I wished I would have had time to ask them many more questions!
There were actually many “modern-day heroes” at this conference – many men and women who had spent decades laboring on the mission field. There were also many who were interested in going on the mission field. It was so refreshing to be surrounded by people who are living with their focus on eternity!
The church was filled with believers from many different denominations and cultures, brought together with joy under the banner of missions. It was a very sweet atmosphere. The “WHY” of missions wasn’t the focus, because that was already a “given.” The focal point was more on the “where?” and “how?” of missions. I noticed how much joy I sensed among everyone, and I think that was because these people were focused on serving God and not on themselves.
In the afternoon on Saturday, Sarah and I were asked to be part of a session that discussed the importance of BOTH word + deed ministry. The first ten minutes of the session was a 10 minute video by Tim Keller. Then Sarah and I shared some testimonies on witnessing. The session concluded with a panel with two main speakers from the conference: Jeff Lilley and Paul Watson, who both lead urban missions here in the US. (Questions were texted in from the audience.)
I was challenged by Jeff and Paul’s perspective and answers. Jeff mentioned how when you start helping a person in need, you better be prepared because it is going to get messy. He mentioned how “it’s going to consume your day.” They referenced the story of the good Samaritan. It made me think “How many of us think we are a good Christian and would do what the good Samaritan did, when in reality we do exactly what the priest and Levite did and look the other way?” Sure, maybe the situations we encounter are a little less extreme, and every case certainly requires wisdom, but let’s pray that we don’t miss the opportunities God puts in our path!
We stayed in the home of Paul and Sandy Blauert, who started the Seattle Missions Fest nine years ago. While others retire and spend their time on themselves, Paul and Sandy instead give their time to organizing and running the largest free Missions Fest in the country. =) They were such a blessing and encouragement to us!!
“And let our people learn to devote themselves to good works, so as to help cases of urgent need, and not be unfruitful (Titus 3:14).”
“And he said to them, ‘Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation…’ (Mark 16:15)”