Saturday the Ft. Worth team provided the community with an open and free event for children. There wasn’t much time in advance to hand out fliers (1 to 2 days) for this event so we didn’t know what kind of response we’d see. Praise God there were at least 20 kids that I counted and there may have been more than that.
This was not an explicitly evangelistic event. It was an attempt to simply gain awareness of the presence of the community center and to gain community trust by purposefully avoiding any “religious” message. The people are very wary of this kind of approach. So, we’re intentionally taking the longer road of forming friendships and gaining trust. Not surprisingly, many folks are suspicious (since some folks know there is a church meeting at the community center) and some will come right out and ask what we’re about. They typically assume we’re a cult or some sort of religious group. We don’t hesitate to share the truth of the Good News of Jesus Christ with them. Even so, while we can see in their eyes that what we’re sharing is a “new/different religion” to their thinking, we were pleased that some who asked these kinds of questions still came anyway. That’s encouraging.
We didn’t register anyone to my knowledge. Again, to come and go freely without the feeling of obligation or of being recorded is another element of attempting to gain trust. These folks have been visited by Mormons and Jehovah’s Witnesses who go door-to-door every day here in San Juan del Rio. They are wary of giving out information to strangers. They understand that there are “tricks” pulled to try to manipulate or force something on them. We realize that we need to avoid anything that will scare them off right at the beginning of our contact with them. We also want them to realize that we aren’t trying to change their religion. We want them to find a relationship with God through Jesus Christ.
So, we won’t worry about numbers and names to any great degree at this point. We need to build community awareness and trust, and Saturday’s event was a very good step in that direction. Please keep praying for our impact in the community via the community center.
Seems a tall order to be intimidated by a guy who has on white finger nail polish (thanks to Bethany) and a press-on tattoo that says “Party Girl” on it! Ha-ha…they pulled that particular tattoo from the stack, but Andrew somehow got one. I suppose…”sometimes a man wears such things…in his room…it’s for fun.” (a not-so-subtle reference to Nacho Libre) ha-ha!
Speaking of the movie, Nacho Libre, when I saw this “little” guy, for some reason I thought of another line from that movie: “Chancho! I need to borrow some sweats.”
(I know, I know…that’s terrible. It still makes me chuckle though.)
Seriously, it was great to see this boy. He came to a kids’ club in July 2008 when we had a team here from Frisco Bible Church. I remembered him from a photo taken back then…he made a face or something in each of the pics. (see below for an example) It was great to see his brother (a bit of a stinker…we’ll not make him another balloon sword, I promise you) and also their mother. I noticed our teammate Michelle had a long conversation with the mother. Pray for “J” and his brother “A” and their mom too. Pray that we’ll gain their trust and the opportunity to share the Gospel with them, and of course, that they would repent of the sin and receive Christ for the forgiveness of their sins and the free gift of eternal life.
There were several mothers who showed up and surprisingly, I think these moms came after they had sent their children. Thus, they felt safe in sending their kids without them. I don’t think either parent showed up for many of the kids. That’s odd for Mexico but at the same time, I think it shows a surprising level of trust. I’ll take it as a good sign.
Here’s our little guy two years ago when he was only 6 years old (front, left…but I suspect you could pick him out):