We've done outreaches in the townships before. Frequently in the past we've been able to do door-to-door evangelism, and once in awhile when teams are here we organize something more like a Vacation Bible School. But each time you do something you never know what might happen.
The initial inspiration for this ministry came from Zachariah, who wanted to set up some street preaching. Knowing the Lakeside team was on the way, we thought it would be good to use their skills. So we combined Zachariah's idea for street preaching with a Vacation Bible School-type outreach. Since we now have church meetings each Sunday in Thabong we had the added benefit of being able to provide follow-up opportunities for this type of ministry.
Here is a little synopsis of the outreach:
Day One: We arrived early to get set up and make sure everything was ready. I had asked Zachariah to help arrange things, both to take some of the work off us and to see how he handled something like this. After we got located and set up Zachariah then left as we started a soccer game to begin gathering some children. Zachariah had recruited some help on the keyboard in the form of Thapelo. Ironically enough, Thapelo is the cousin of one of the boys from our old Bible study. Thapelo was a tremendous blessing, as he was our interpreter. When Zachariah wasn't there, Thapelo was. He willingly jumped in to help whenever asked and did a great job translating to the kids. While I don't know Sotho, I know enough to tell he was bringing the Word to them.
Day Three: After again starting with games we realized the crowd was growing bigger on this day. By time Bible lesson rolled around we were at 85+. After the lesson I was able to preach using Wordless Book bracelets the team had brought. Walking the children through each step was enjoyable. There were two illustrations: One, of a half jar of water which you pour food coloring into to illustrate sin, then pour bleach into the water which makes it clear again, showing what Christ does in our hearts. The second was using a trick deck of cards in which it appears as a normal deck, then appears as if every card is the 2 of Hearts. The point of this is that Jesus is all about our hearts as well.
As we were nearing the end an older gentleman came and explained that he trains some young men in boxing at an abandoned building nearby. He asked if we could come speak to his boys. Now, I'm not the most gifted evangelist, but when someone comes and asks if we would share the Gospel with his group, it's not too hard to know the answer is "YES". We went and spent about 20 minutes sharing the same message with his guys, then giving each a bracelet as well. By that time word had spread to the kids on the street and about 30 tracked us down. It gives a much better understanding of what Jesus went through with the crowds following him just to see the miracles or eat the loaves and fishes.
With all the obstacles of weather, health, language, etc... the Lord was still able to bless. The Sunday after our outreach our average attendance doubled to 66. Only 2 new adults were there, but one of them was the boxing coach. We praise God for His blessings on us, and pray that fruit would continue to be produced for His name.
Small blessings can be such an encouragement.