On October 15, 2016, GAP hosted a ministry event unlike any other we do throughout the year. Sharing the Gospel and building relationships was still the purpose of the event but what set this event apart was our target audience. For the first time we were not focused upon ministering to families with children, although we did of course. Our focus was to share the gospel and build relationships with adults. The ministry event, called Fall Celebration, was held in the Weeksbury community with 111 local people in attendance, plus volunteer workers.
The afternoon was full of activities such as a corn hole tournament, a dessert bake-off contest, cakewalks, a pie eating contest, music, pumpkin painting, good food, and great fellowship. We also had several games and activities for children. The day allowed us to build many new, wonderful relationships and strengthen some old ones. It was filled with so much laughter and fun that the community continues to ask when we are going to have another one.
Nevaeh was a young girl who came to the event with her grandpa on the back of an ATV. She was shy and unwilling to leave her grandpa’s side, until the Christian illusionists began his presentation of the Gospel. After that, she was glued to Kathy the rest of the day. They played every game, painted pumpkins together, and even ate together. As Kathy built a relationship with Nevaeh, several of us were able to meet and spend time talking with her grandpa who really needed someone just to listen and pray with him. At the end of the day, Nevaeh made a bag and wrote, “I love Kathy” on it.
The pie-eating contest was a sight-to-behold. There was whipped topping and chocolate pie filling everywhere and the best part about it was that everyone was around the contestants cheering them on. Paula won the cash prize contest and was so excited because she said it was the first thing she had ever won. I spent time with Paula that day, sharing with her and talking a lot about the Christian Illusionists that was there from Springfield, MO. I was able to share more about the Gospel message with her through the magic the illusionists did. Paula confessed she was a believer but had stopped attending church. However, that day God used the Fall Celebration to get Paula back into church. One month later Paula was unexpectedly diagnosed with cancer and died only a few short days afterwards. Her niece still talks about what a difference there was in Paula’s life. The difference was God! What a mighty, all-knowing, gracious God we serve.
The day ended with a presentation of the Gospel using a pumpkin, the awarding of ribbons, and lots of hugs and goodbyes to new friends. Special thanks to ministering partners South Gate Baptist Church from Springfield, MO, McDowell First Baptist Church, and Fitzpatrick Baptist Church. May every tool, gift, and talent we possess continue to declare the good news to all we encounter. (Click on the image below to view more photos.)