Friday, May 30, 2008

"Fishing" in Ukraine

This is an excerpt from the monthly update of Pastor Eric Bougie at Calvary Chapel-Poltava, Ukraine. It's only been 6 months since Eric's church was introduced to "Way of the Master" in a Crash Course. 1/3 of the church showed for the class. Read the progress...
Greetings in the name of our Lord Jesus! We wanted to take the time to share what the Lord has been doing in the month of May! We'll share a bit what we have been doing this month and then list of prayer requests!
We were all able to attend a 4 day Calvary Chapel National Conference outside of Kiev, Ukraine's capital. It was a wonderful time of being fed God's Word and enjoying much time of worship and fellowship with old and new friends. Thank you for praying for the evangelistic seminar I taught. Those that attended were really blessed and encouraged to go out and share their faith "like Jesus did"!

Last weekend our family traveled to a nearby city to share "The Way of the Master" evangelistic seminar. It was a wonderful time to fellowship with the pastor and his wife and meet the people from the church. Pastor Ben has a 20 month old girl so our kids really enjoyed spending time with her. Three people from our church came to serve with us while we were there.
We are almost finished going through the 8 week WOTM seminar in Poltava. Many great things are happening through this and those that are taking it are really growing and have a great desire to share the Lord.
We are going to have our "graduation party" and "fishing trip" together very soon.
In Chootava (a small village we are ministering in) we are renting a hall so we can invite more people to the study. Instead of going 2 a month we are going to go and teach the Word every Saturday. One of the leaders is going to share in the responsibility to teach the study every other week!

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Gone Fishin'

Last night Dennis and I met for pizza with our WOTM class and a chance to talk to people about the Lord. Some were apprehensive while some were cool-all were ready to go. After prayer we broke up into smaller groups and out we went. We had a great chance to speak with 2 young guys’ named Sloam and Kelvin. Kelvin told us he was a Christian. When we asked him some questions he admitted that he should be better at sharing his faith. His friend, Sloam hesitated but said, “Yes” when asked if he was a Christian. We talked more in depth with him and he was very intense when he told us that he needed to go home and talk with God about his destiny.

We had an encounter with a guy named Nick, who told us he was very grateful that God had saved him from Hell. He also told us that he used to be homeless and living on the beach. I didn't give him the black eye...he took the Giant Money willingly!

Valerie became bolder and bolder as the evening went on, handing tracts to all who passed us. …
Sharon spoke to a man who thought his righteousness was ‘enough’. Loretta, Tracy and Theresa encountered an agnostic man who was from the Ukraine. As they brought the Law to him he began to justify himself.

I saw Wes on the corner with 2 guys who were listening closely

Evelyn came with her son Jordon-who is just 11 years old! While Evelyn spoke to a skateboarder, Jordan chose to practice his Curved Illusion on a lady and her teenaged son.

Trish and Diana spoke to a man who was in need of nothing and refused to engage them in conversation. They saw him later intensely reading the Good Person tract they had left him with! Well said that they are called, “Silent Preachers”!

Allyson, Jeffrey, Ken, Jerry, Jeff, Christina, Lillian and Harry rounded out our team. Although I haven’t heard firsthand what experiences they had, I am sure of one thing-they grew! One of the most interesting things I find when talking to people about eternity is that it is not about me talking to them, it is about God teaching us both.

Homeless Doug

While on the way to church Saturday night I saw a homeless man. I had seen him earlier that day a couple of miles from there, but could not get to him. I asked Dennis to go back and he did an immediate U-turn. As I approached him I could see he was in distress. It was 95 degrees outside. I introduced myself to him, offered him a hat and found out his name was Doug. He had no teeth and was missing his right leg. He was in a grimy wheelchair. I have no idea when the last time was that he had been clean.

I told him that I wanted to talk to him and he seemed agreeable. I asked him some questions to try and determine the state of his soul. Doug told me he was a Christian. He said he knew the Lord and knew that when he died he would certainly be with the Lord. He told me that he wished it would be today. As we talked people drove past in their cars and some would shout rude insults at us both. He seemed hurt by each one and I told him not to worry about what people said. He told me that he was an alcoholic and he hated it. I asked him why he didn’t go to one of the many shelters in the area-thinking maybe he didn’t like hearing the Gospel. Doug told me that he had begged the shelters to take him but that he had MRSA and they wouldn’t let him in. This is a very contagious infection and I made a mental note not to touch him again. He said, “Yesterday I even wheeled myself out in front of a police officer but he wouldn’t even put me in the car. He gave me his card and told me he was sorry and there was no one he could call for me!” I am sure that officer’s heart was broken. I asked if he had any family. He told me that his Mom had died a couple years earlier and his wife had divorced him. I asked him where he would sleep tonite and he said, “That dumpster is looking pretty good right now.”

I noticed that the darker it got the more “night people” came out. When someone would walk by he became really scared. I kept telling him it was OK, which seemed to make him feel better- but it just made me feel worse. He said, “I have a death sentence now and I tell God every day that I didn’t do anything to deserve this!” He told me that he got MRSA while in the local hospital for an operation. We talked about John the Baptist and how Jesus told him, “Blessed are you who are not offended in me.” We talked about Job. He nodded his head. The whole time I stood with him I was talking to God asking him why He had wanted me to stop and talk to this man-I felt so helpless! I kept going back and forth in my mind with things like, I’ll take him home and put him in the spare room-no…he has MRSA, you can’t do that! It is like modern day leprosy!! I had some money in my pocket I intended to give him and before even offering it he said, “I don’t want money. I need help.” I couldn’t help thinking, here I am on my way to church…I’m supposed to be salt and light, and I can’t even help this man!! Black clouds were quickly forming overhead and I knew it was going to pour. I asked if there was anything I could do for him at all. He put his head in his hand and said, “Pray.” After we prayed I felt led to say, “Doug, God has put you in a place where absolutely no human being can help you. The only one you can call on is God Himself.” He looked straight at me and said, “That is from the Lord to me!” He told me that he knew that God had spoken to him. I told him that he should go under the eaves before the rain started but it came down in buckets. I ran for the truck and Doug wheeled slowly down the sidewalk. As I lay in my nice warm bed that night I could not help but think what it would be like to even sit in a chair outside in my driveway all night in the rain. We are so blessed of God, who provides for us in so many ways. Lord, please watch over Doug and so many others like him.

A Man Named Bear

I talked to the nurse on duty this morning and asked if there was anyone in particular she wanted me to speak with. She turned to me and said, “Well, there is a man, his name is Bear- but he is mad at everyone and everything right now…he’s right here in this room!” She pointed to a room nearby. I quickly asked the Lord to go before me and soften his heart. I looked into the room but didn’t see anyone. I looked back at the nurse and was about to ask if he was gone to therapy when she said, “Oh, he’s in there, he weighs 500 pounds and we haven’t gotten him up yet.” Reassuring myself that my will was in order I tried not to picture myself shredded. I went in and introduced myself to a tattooed mountain with a long braid and beard. He said, “OK, what do you want?” I stared at him and he stared at me. I finally said, “Would you like me to pray with you?” Now, please understand that I NEVER say something like that, and most especially with the information that I had just been given! He stared at me a moment (while I asked for God’s protection- I could not believe what I had just said) and in a very soft voice said, “I would like that very much.” I took his hand in both of mine; it was like holding a 25 pound meatloaf! I asked God to comfort Bear and open his heart to Truth.

He showed me pictures of his snakes with his son, which he had posted on the wall of his room. When asked if he ever attended church, he told me that he had been an altar boy. I asked what he thought happened to us when we died. He said he didn’t know and didn’t believe in Heaven or Hell much anymore. After asking him some questions I discovered he was proud. I opened the Law to him and he admitted guilt but then digressed. He even said at one point, “Hand me my Bible!” I thought …huh? This guy has a Bible in here? I went around to his side table and after removing a stack of papers I discovered a Bible that our ministry gives to people when they accept Christ as Savior. When we give one to someone I write a little statement in the front about why they are receiving it and then ask them to sign it. I opened it up and it was signed by a lady who I knew had died. (Isaiah 55:11) I asked him if he knew her. He said he didn’t. I told him that she had passed away- he turned white. We continued our conversation with him searching for an unknown verse that didn’t exist. Meanwhile, I kept praying that God would give me the words he needed and that the Holy Spirit would break his hard heart. I quoted Ephesians 2:8-9 and told him that he could never be good enough-it was a gift. I let him know that all of his righteous deeds were like filthy rags-the good deeds! I turned to Romans 6:23 and asked him to read it. It was difficult for him to read it but when he finished, he laid the book flat on his stomach and put his head back on his pillow. He let out a big breath and paused, then said, “A big book has just been opened! I feel like I have just been hit in the head with a board…it sure took me long enough to get it!” He said, “Why would He do that?” I told him that God didn’t want him to go to Hell. He knew Bear would need a Savior just like the rest of us. He got the good news of Grace and I asked if he wanted to pray. Bear got choked up and prayed to God, asking for forgiveness and thanking Him for Jesus. He told me that his son had been ‘bugging’ him to come with him to a church called Calvary-that it was really important. I would have loved to see the smile on that young guy’s face when his Dad gave him the news!

Furry People

A friend and I decided to get away, relax and go see a noted Christian speaker. We went to Jacksonville but as soon as we pulled up to the front door of the hotel where we were staying we knew it was not going to be an ordinary weekend!

Outside the front doors of the Westin was a group of 3 men. One of them had a long tail coming out the back of his jeans. When we went inside to register we were surrounded by “them”. What an odd assortment of guests!! Hundreds of people were there to receive encouragement from one of the leading female Christian speakers and others had ears and a tail. Some were even dressed from head to toe in an animal costume. Although it was clear visually that things were amiss, it was much more than that. The Holy Spirit warned us right from the start that we were in a battle zone!!

We checked in and noticed several women standing around in leather and chains. What did chains have to do with animal costumes? My friend laughingly told me she watched a TV show called CSI once and it had this sort of thing in the episode. We put our luggage into our room and got ready for the first night’s session. Our antennae were up! On the way down to the lobby we crossed paths with what looked like someone in a dog costume. We stopped him in the hall and asked what the costume was about. He immediately clasped his hands and bowed his head (?) and spoke very softly, he answered something about “…costume” and turned away. I quickly put a Million Dollar Bill into his paw and told him to be sure to read the back. We got into the elevator with another one of “them”. It was a girl and Patricia asked her what the gathering was about. She said, “…uhh, animals and animal drawings.” This was getting stranger and stranger. It actually became something of a game over the weekend to see how many different answers we got from them. None of them said the same thing!

We went down and caught a cab. Eddie was our driver and since we only had a couple of miles to go I asked him where he would be spending eternity when he died. He said, “Heaven.” As I asked him some questions we arrived at the convention center. I gave him a Good Person booklet and asked him to consider what he would read. He promised he would.

That night’s session was great and when we got out on the street, there was Eddie picking up another group. He waved us over and crammed us into his cab. He was all smiles. He told us that he read the booklet and that he was on his way to Heaven!

As we arrived at the hotel a strange group awaited us. A girl in leather and 4 young men were standing out front. We had to find out what this was about. We approached the group and started handing out Million Dollar Bills. The girl disappeared and I was left with 3 young men who didn’t talk and another one who appeared to be a little older, who did the talking for them. Since he was the only one who spoke I directed conversation to him. He had a name tag on that said Stryker Coyote. I asked his real name. He laughed and said, “Firefox Dragon”. I noticed the boy on his left had some sort of hand puppet on one hand and kept petting it with the other (did he think this thing was real??). My friend Patricia told me later that the boys were reading their tracts and listening carefully. I asked Stryker if he was a good man. He smiled and replied, “A good animal.” As I took him thru the test I asked him if he had ever lusted after another person. He gestured toward the boy on his left and said, “He’s my pet!” As Stryker became aware of his eternal destination he became visibly nervous, lighting a cigarette. He seemed shocked that he would end up in Hell. When I asked what he thought of his destiny he told me that he really thought he would end up “someplace better than Hell”. You could tell from his voice that the thought of Hell for eternity shocked him. I told him that Jesus was willing to pay his fine and forgive him if he would humble himself before God. He shut down and I told them that they had enough information now to make an informed decision and it was up to them.

As we went to the elevator we could see that they had an entire ballroom reserved! I looked at Patricia and she was probably thinking, Oh, no!, but she was right there with me and we walked in and started giving away Millions! We were pretty well received until Patricia heard one of the bondage girls say, “Oh, we’re all going to Hell!” I wish I would have heard that because I would have said, “But you don’t all have to!!!” We gave out everything we had. No one wanted to talk to us and to tell you the truth handing the Million Dollar Bills over to adults in animal costumes was bizarre-to say the least!

The next morning Patricia and I grabbed another cab for the short ride over. Our driver, Frank was a nice man and I got right to the point. He was a black man and brought up the fact that people hate each other over their skin color. I told him of the story in Matthew 18 about the master forgiving the slave his debt and then the slave’s unwillingness to forgive another and that the end result was his master calling in the original debt and imprisoning him. All of the sudden Frank pulled the front of the car to the curb and stopped. I thought he was going to kick us out! He bowed His head and asked Jesus to forgive him for his own lack of forgiveness!

We had another great session and afterwards had a hard time getting a cab. We were first in line for the next car. A sedan pulled up to the curb and 3 ladies pushed past us and jumped in. I thought to myself, “Man I would not get into an unmarked car like that!” All of the sudden, my friend Patricia grabbed the back door and jumped in with them saying, “Do you mind sharing your cab?” She is bold! Patricia was forever leaving me the front seats!! I got in and saw from his license that he was legitimate. I asked his name and it was Marco. He was from Jamaica and said he went to church in the area. I talked to him about eternity and took him thru 2 or 3 Commandments. He got very quiet and admitted that he was on his way to Hell. When given the Good News, he said that he wanted to follow Jesus Christ as His Lord and Savior! I asked if he could drive and pray at the same time and he smiled and said, “Yes!” Marco gave his life to Jesus and all the angels rejoiced! (As did we, because he didn’t close his eyes!)

Patricia and I laughed all the way home at our great and creepy weekend!! . We found out later that we were dead-smack in the middle of a “Furcon” or “Furry Convention”! Grrr… Do yourself a favor-don’t Google it.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

P*I*E Indialantic FL

This is our first P*I*E Pizza * Intercessory Prayer * Evangelism outreach.
We were able to witness to several folks around the Indialantic Boardwalk.
5 Teenagers gave their life to the Lord. Others said they will seriously think about what has been said to them. His Work goes on.....

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

You Are Never Too Old

Harry (97 years young) and His wife Lillian (??? years young) in Indialantic FL witnessing outside Starbucks.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Evangelism in Central Florida

This week Wed-Saturday (14-17 May), my local church – Calvary Chapel-Melbourne was scheduled to teach the Way of the Master Crash Course and assist with some community outreaches at a sister church – Calvary Chapel, Leesburg FL. The week before, our communities were ravaged by brush fires that also destroyed several dozen homes in the Palm Bay FL area. As a result about ½ of our team needed to stay behind to handle those fires.
God’s work needed to go on and in the WOTM class only 6-8 people showed for the 2 nights. We were disappointed but then reminded that it was 6-8 people more than before who are now prepping to get out of their comfort zone.

We had a planned outreach at a local park with food, popcorn, face painting and games to bring in the community. A few showed and it was obvious that the few folks who showed up, really needed to be there. We had a trivia game and the gal selected to answer the questions about being a “Good Person” said she was a Christian. Angelica said that she had broken God’s Laws but then her expression showed something a little different than what she was saying. She affirmed her faith by proclaiming her repentance and trust in the Lord Jesus Christ.

Then on Saturday we had a car wash. God was bringing the people in. We probably washed 40+ cars but what really got cleaned up were people’s consciences. One lady I spoke to, Debbie said that she always prayed but was not sure what was enough. We put all that aside and went through the Law. Then it started to make sense to her (Actually the Holy Spirit opened her eyes), She began to understand that believing in Jesus was not enough- she had to put Him on like a parachute. She said now she was ready for turning her life over to the Lord. We prayed right there and she left fully assured in her salvation.

There are many stories and many people were greatly affected and left with consciences awakened. This included a lady who was employed as a public relations person for a local purpose driven church. Another was a young girl who said she prayed in front of her friends yet never told them they are going to Hell unless they change. She knows differently now – we will see how her friends react now if she really follows through about what happens when you die – Heaven or Hell?

After all that, we went back to the area where our hotel was. The area is called the The Villages. This place is several thousand acres of senior homes, golf courses, some pretty cool shopping areas and public squares. The people are like 70 year old high school seniors left un-chaperoned by the their parents. That night was a car show of hot rods and some really cool cars.
People were very receptive and we gave out over 1500 + tracts. Yes 1500…..
Watch the slide show and see His work.

How Serious Are YOU about Witnessing?

This poor lady received a tract - a Million Dollar Bill.
But it was too late. Is this going to happen to people around you??