Saturday, December 7, 2013
The Winter Park Christmas Parade - From Disaster to Success
I don't want to spend a whole lot of time writing about this, but today was the annual Christmas parade in downtown Winter Park and I was in charge of the evangelism part of it for those in this group who like to go to parades and evangelize. In a parade though, it is a little different. It is fast paced and there are tons of people and tons of printed up tracts to give out, with the hope that some will read them and God will make His word alive and convict them of sin and they will repent and come to Christ. It is harder to talk to someone individually about the Gospel because the goal is to pass out as many tracts as possible. I have been doing this for about the past 6 years or so, and, to be honest, I am not as envisioned to do this as before. I would rather take my time and talk to people about the Gospel as well as give out tracts. But, I am the person to head this event up right now. For starters, only a handful were going to come. I received a call from one person saying they weren't going to be able to come, but we would still have about 5 or 6 if everyone who said they would be there came. Well, only 1 person besides me and my son were there. It was the three of us, but finding a parking place was impossible. I don't know if it was because they closed down some of the parking or if more people are coming to the parade. We finally, after sitting in stopped traffic for a long time, found a place, several blocks away, to park. Since the only guy that was there was my son, it limited the amount of tracts we could actually carry with us, and we wouldn't be able to go back to the car because it was too far away, so we bagged up as many tracts as we could take. My bag was extremely heavy. I also had beach balls in it and as I got out of the car, they kept falling out. One fell under the car and I couldn't get it out. After our long haul to the bench by the bandstand, I needed to use the restroom which was a few blocks away. When I got there, it was locked and you had to go into one of the stores to get the key. I said, 'forget it' and as I was leaving the area, the parade was starting. I saw one of our friends who also was looking for a parking space, and when I got back to the bench, I called her. She showed up immediately and found us. I could tell already by the amount of difficulty that either I was going to never do this again, or, that I would remember and take into consideration the fact that we are in a spiritual battle and that anything that is of value will be attacked. Could this be an attack from the Enemy or was it just God's way of saying, 'Why are you doing this? Did I tell you to do this?'. I believe in faith that God does want us to promote His word and share it with others, and that this difficulty was an attack from the Devil himself. I never found a restroom. I never saw the others who were with me on this event. There were the usual mockers of course. We even had one woman who sounded like she was from Westboro. I gave her a tract and as I was talking with another group, she came up and told me that we were all going to hell. She was mocking so I thought it was interesting. But then I heard some of her other conversation in which she talked about God's hatred for people. As the parade went on, and I gave out a lot of tracts, most people were friendly. I also gave out all the beach balls and coloring books, as well as a couple of decks of cards and mood cups. All have Scripture on them and most have web sites people can go to if they are interested or have questions. I would have also given out balloons, but I couldn't find them in the garage as I was leaving the house in the morning. It got really hot and I needed to sit in the shade for a while. Then I got up and gave out more tracts and then the parade ended. I was on another street when I gave a tract to a young man. I started talking to him and before long we were in a conversation, that led to the Gospel. He seemed unfamiliar with it, to a point, but I think he had some correct information but didn't know how to put it together. Please pray for this young man if you think of it. I will be in touch with him and continue to help him understand the Gospel more. If all the trouble we went through in this parade led up to this conversation with this young man, and if he comes to know Christ, then all that trouble will have been worth it. Also, God is helping me to look at my own heart. I was angry because things were going opposite my way. Everything about this parade was hard, but if God is in it, it will be worth it, and the results are His. One day in eternity, we will see the fruit of our labors. Someone might be there because they found a beach ball in the road with a Gospel message on it. Another one could be there because they received a cute tract that serves as a post card, that has the Gospel message on it. Still, some could be there because someone actually explained the Gospel to them. We will only know what really happens in the spiritual realm when we are there. But for now, we live in faith, and we trust in the True and Living God to do whatever He wants to do in our lives. Merry Christmas!