A Weekend This Summer
It was so hot! Our spotlights only increased our discomfort. This was the third puppet show that day after sharing in an Atlanta nursing home and then traveling south of Atlanta to a church in Griffin. Now, we were back in Atlanta at Rock of Ages. It had been a long and wonderful day. We had already seen five children come to faith in Christ and more blessings were yet to come.
As Linda gave the invitation, one little boy prayed to receive Christ. His enthusiasm was incredible! He came running up to Linda, and said, “I just invited Jesus into my heart, now what do I do?”. A friend sat and explained how he could grow in Christ and gave him a Bible.
Then, he jumped up and ran over to Ben Wilkinson, who towered over him, smiled and exclaimed, “I’m a new man!” This young boy came to a wonderful saving faith in Jesus Christ and he knew it.
Earlier that day, we worked with Ken Belton and the wonderful people at New Jerusalem in Griffin. As the time approached for the puppet show to begin, there were only three children waiting.
We knew that there were many kids in the neighborhood that could come if we could just get the message to them. Linda and Ken stood out on the side of the road and held up a sign that said “Free Puppet Show” and called out to cars that drove past. The boys and I set up the portable PA system and used the church sign as a makeshift stage.
Cars began to pull over. Within fifteen minutes, we had more than 50 people to watch the program. God is so good!
Sunday morning, we finished our weekend at Wheatstreet Baptist Church in downtown Atlanta. Praise the Lord for this special weekend.
As we arrived, double chainlink fences, fifteen to eighteen feet high topped with razor wire greeted us. Security Guards met us at the main gate and searched the van and the trailer before we could enter. Even as we unloaded our equipment, doors were locked behind us each time we carried a piece of equipment in or out of the building.
None of us will ever forget the visit to the Charles Hickey School, a youth detention facility in Baltimore, Md. We are so grateful to the staff who allowed us to present the Gospel to about 75 young men. They responded well and many asked for a Bible. We gave away all that we had and were pleased to be able to satisfy every request.
We all love the adventure of the road and really enjoy all the different places that we get to see. We are especially grateful for the friends that we meet along the way. Our thanks to John and Li Maier for hosting us during our two week stay in Baltimore. Teenagers are always hungry and they fed us very well.
During our visit, we were blessed to present the Gospel to 1,200 people. We shared in Presbyterian, Lutheran, Baptist and non-denominational churches, in the city, in the suburbs, and on the street. Everywhere we went, we saw children, adults and teenagers respond to the claims of Christ on their lives.
Some of the places that we stand are very difficult. Your prayers are essential for spiritual warfare and physical protection. After we finished the puppet show we discovered that they had tried to steal our trailer. It now is padlocked to the van to prevent its disappearance.
While at this inner-city congregation, we saw God powerfully answer our prayers. They expected forty to fifty children and the Lord sent 152 children plus adults. While Linda was just starting to give the invitation, three young men got up and started to leave. It has been our experience that if several leave, they will all start to drift out. Linda silently prayed and asked God to give her wisdom. Then, she pointed at the boys and said, “Sit down boys. We are going to talk to God who made you. We are going to pray!!” Praise God! They sat down. That night, more than fifteen kids indicated that they had come to faith in Christ.
!!Urgent Prayer Request!!
Baja, Mexico 1996
We are planning a two week trip next spring to Los Barrilles, Mexico to work with Fernando and Vicki Cruz. We will train them in using puppets and chalk talks for street evangelism and we will leave them with a stage and curtains, puppets and a portable PA system.
We have written the puppet scripts in English and Fernando is now translating them into Spanish. These scripts will be recorded in our home this winter by Mexican nationals.
We are thrilled to be able to work with these special friends and seek to better equip them to share Christ in the Baja.
We need your prayers and financial support for the following items as we prepare for this trip:
…..Fernando to finish the translation and for the mail to get them to us.
…..Locating exciting voice actors and scheduling the recording session as we coordinate my work schedule and the voice actors schedule.
…..Financial Support…We need at least $4,000 by mid-February to commit to the trip. Of that amount, we have already received $1,500.
…..My work schedule, I have received approval for three weeks leave at the end of May, but I need a final decision from my employer by mid-February to guarantee my request for leave. This comes just prior to the Olympics in Atlanta, where my office will be very busy with the equestrian events.
God has really stretched us this year! Six years ago, we would present one or two puppet shows in a weekend and usually in the same location. Many times this year, we have presented as many as 4 or 5 puppet shows, each at a different location.
Don’t let anyone fool you into believing that people are no longer interested in the Gospel. There is still a world beyond our windows that is scared, hungry, and desperate to hear about Jesus Christ. Everywhere we go, we see children, teenagers and adults come to faith in Christ as His Holy Spirit convicted them of their need for Jesus.
God’s provision has been so evident to us as we traveled. Your prayers are mighty in our behalf. Even though the van is 20 years old with over 260,000 miles on it, it still took us to four states in the spring, eight states this summer, and five states during four weekends this fall.
Prayer and Praise
…..Wonderful opportunities to share in a variety of churches including Baptist, Presbyterian, Methodist, Church of God, Lutheran, Non- Denominational, and others.
…..Two opportunities to work with Child Evangelism Fellowship.
One of these found us in a Sam’s parking lot when a severe thunderstorm arrived. It came up suddenly with heavy rain that soaked us. Also, high winds lifted me up in the air as I tried to hold the tent down and flipped our puppet containers end over end across the parking lot.
The news later said that the gusts had been from 45 to 60 miles/hour. We weren’t surprised to hear their report. Thank you for praying.
…..A terrific time was had at Smoky Mountain Church Camp sharing with inner city kids from Nashville, Tennessee again this summer.
…..We were thrilled to take eight young men to Western Carolina University for PEF’s Family Evangelism Conference last July. While there, we had the joy of sharing three times.
…..Sharing at a children’s tent crusade in Calhoun, Ga was another special treat as we saw five children confess Jesus as their Savior.
…..More opportunities to go into the inner city and public schools.
…..A chance to visit with dear missionary friends on furlough: Pat and Faith Hansen, serving with OMF in Japan and Jim and Coti Tate, serving with MTW in Ecuador. They have all been so helpful during our travels with the puppet ministry and we treasure their friendship.
…..We are now having structural problems with our van. The frame has cracked twice and two doors have cracked hinges that will require welding In addition, last month we replaced the torque converter and part of the front end.
Praise the Lord with us for our vehicle’s long life and continue in prayer for God’s timing in replacing our van. Perhaps, your church has a van that they no longer use, but would like to see it used in ministry. If so, please keep us in mind.
….A wonderful gift of a trailer from Doug and Lydia Moesta. We had outgrown our old trailer and we Praise the Lord for their generosity.
…..Jeremy Snow is in his freshman year at Covenant College and he continues to travel with us as a vital team member.
…..Aaron Rapier is a sophomore in high school and enjoys playing basketball during his spare time.
…..Josh and Matt are preparing to graduate in the spring and plan to attend the University of Tennessee in Chattanooga in the Fall.
All four are committed to continue the ministry of sharing and teaching others how they can be more effective in sharing His love. Please pray for them as they continue to juggle school and ministry travel.