When I was a kid, I was always told not to talk to strangers. Down in Mexico though, I was encouraged to, as we did a lot of street evangelism. Some of our plans fell through and we ended up doing a lot of street ministry/evangelism. Because the people you run into walking around need prayer, to be cared for and to hear about Jesus just as much as the people in our ministry time with a charity/church organization. We would just go up to people start a conversation with them, pray for them, tell them what God has done in my life, and get to hear their stories.We also performed our dances and music on the beach Boardwalk. After we were done we had the opportunity to talk to our audience members.
It ended up being some of our most impactful times and favorite memories.
At first I was very intimidated, ‘what do you say to someone you haven’t met before?’
‘What if they don’t speak English?’
‘What if they are mean?’
‘What if they don’t want prayer?’
However, by the end of the trip my confidence grew. I knew that a simple, ‘Hi! How are you doing?’ was all it took to start a conversation. If the person didn’t speak English, I could have a broken conversation with them in Spanish. I learned that people are generally kind-hearted; some people even offered us to eat dinner with them or hangout with them longer.
People on my team said that I have the spiritual gift of evangelism and that they loved seeing that gift develop in me.
One day we did treasure hunt evangelism, which is where you ask God to give you an image of anything and then you are supposed to go and find that object and pray for the person/ place. My group thought this was super weird but we decided to try it out. A girl in my group got an image of the Chicago Cubs logo. We know this was a picture from God because it was random and none of us even knew what sports team it was for. She’s said it’s too specific and we are in a Mexico no one is going to be a Cubs fan.
But nonetheless, we walked along the beach and didn’t find anyone with the Cubs logo. I decided to take this super random route back to the boardwalk. Right next to the stairs was a man with a big C on his hat. My group stepped back.
Is this the Cubs logo? Could this be the person God wanted us to find? If yes what did he want us to do?
Sure enough it was a Cubs hat. We were surprised we actually found someone who was wearing the Cubs logo in Mexico! Somehow God led us to this person for a reason.
We approached this man, whose name was Anjelo, and asked if he spoke any English. His answer was, ‘no’. This made the conversation harder but we were able to manage it, somehow. Our team told him that we felt like God told us to pray for someone who was a Cubs fan. He was shocked that God sent us there to talk to him. We ended up praying for him, his family, and his wife’s illness (which she said she felt better after we prayed). She began to cry because she has never felt so loved by perfect strangers. Anjelo said that he goes to church once in awhile but hasn’t experienced God and he believes that God isn’t involved in our lives today. We pray that because of our encounter with him, God will use it to show him that God does care personally about him and his family.
The main take away I learned from doing street evangelism is that:
I do not have to be in a ministry setting to impact people.
The people I meet in everyday life do not need religion shoved in their faces, but rather they need someone to care about them, love them and reach out to them first. Then, they are more likely to listen to you about God.
I learned that I have a passion for evangelism and sharing Gods transforming love with everyone.
Also, photo credits to the wonderful Sarah Jenson, check out her photos at http://www.lookingglassphotographs.com