Saturday, October 31, 2009

[Following is an account of an evangelism experience in the Bahamas in April of 2009]

Though interruptions were regular, I’d pretty much settled into a routine of preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ at the main downtown bus terminal in Freeport, Bahamas. Most work days, at around four in the afternoon, would find me standing on my stool opening services at the ‘Freeport Church of the Downtown Bus Stop’. [listen here]

As we began to make plans to leave Freeport for the Exuma islands further south, I began to dread leaving. You see, Bahamian people are used to visitors and are quite friendly, though it seems to take a while for them to really open-up (every outsider they meet soon leaves). Several men who regularly came to hear me preach had begun to open-up, showing signs of contrition and a tender conscience towards God. It was very hard to leave (still hard now these months later as I write this – I want to go back).

After many miles of sailing and numerous islands later, we found ourselves anchored at Staniel Cay (near where part of a James Bond film was made). Though we stopped in Nassau on the way south, I didn’t take the opportunity to preach there, but re-provisioned, visited a sister church to our church in Freeport and sailed further south. Handing out tracts in Nassau, I did meet a Christian woman who expressed a keen interest in learning to share the Gospel. She later emailed me to get a supply of million dollar bill tracts and a ‘Hells Best Kept Secret’ DVD.

In Staniel Cay, I was able to meet Berkie, the local pastor (& store owner, realtor ... even sold me gasoline). I talked with Berkie about setting up a ‘street meeting’. A street meeting in the Bahamas is a bit of an old-time traditional way of doing street preaching. Often the time and place is announced ahead of time and people are invited to come from the village to hear. Pretty often they are opened with music and maybe testimonies and then the preaching of the Gospel, followed my more music and testimonies and maybe more preaching. Berkie expressed interest in setting up a street meeting on Staniel Cay; we planning to get together in a ‘couple days’.

I can’t really put my finger right on it, but Sue and I both felt very uneasy and a strong pull to sail on, in spite of the pending planning of a street meeting on Staniel Cay. We sailed on that next day, a couple islands down to Little Farmers Cay.

The approach to Little Farmers Cay runs through some really shallow water, and surrounded by even shallower water (and rocks and reefs in a couple spots). We approached slowly and wound our way through a tiny opening into the anchorage and secured Seawing on a mooring in the harbour.

After ensuring we were secure in the harbour, we launched our dingy and headed for ‘town’. ‘Town’ on Little Farmers Cay means a tiny little settlement on an island about one mile long and a fraction of that wide. We’d been ashore for a very few minutes, when I overheard a conversation between two folks sitting in front of the general store; they were talking about Pharisee-ism - legalistic religion vs. Real biblical Christianity. As it turned out, one of the people I overheard, was Rowena (sp?). Rowena grew up in the Bahamas; in her youth felt God called her to proclaim His Gospel. She began to take her Bible and walk village-to-village on Long Island (the Bahamian island she grew up on) proclaiming the truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Rowena eventually married and moved to south Florida, where she raised her family. She often yearned to be a missionary among her countrymen once again; she promised her Lord she would go once again, after her children were grown.

A couple of years after her youngest left home, she said ‘well Lord, I guess I can go now’. Rowena flew to the Bahamas and stayed with her uncle (the pastor on Little Farmers Cay) ‘till she figured out what to do, and where to go. Two days later, we arrived to overhear her on a conversation in front of the General Store.

Rowena responded very positively to the idea of open-air preaching of the Gospel on the island. She encouraged me to preach and agreed to meet with me on the water front 8am the next morning (Wednesday). The next morning, as many were beginning to walk about and start their day, Rowena took my microphone and introduced me and I stood on my stool and preached the Gospel [listen here] of my Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. That evening at 6pm I was once again on my stool preaching [listen here] with Rowena for encouragement. This time, quite a few more people stopped to listen. A couple men, Julian & Areese (sp?) asked if I would preach again the following night. They suggested they announce a street meeting to the whole island & bring the sound system from the church.

Thursday night, a whole lot of people showed up, some casual and others dressed up for the event. The Street Meeting got underway with music and singing, prayer but the local pastor (& others). Finally, I was introduced and stood up and began to preach, with a boldness that I believe the Lord gave to me. The audience grew as I preached; some arriving in boats, buying beer at the little liquor store and sat down on the grass to listen. Not everyone stayed, but most stayed for the over-an-hour that I preached [listen here]. I didn’t know I was preaching that long; but the Lord seemed to bring many things to mind more than were in my notes.

Afterwards, many came forward asking for prayer. I had numerous serious conversations with those who hung around after to talk.

The next afternoon, we felt that rather than preaching again, we would spend some time getting to know the people. We spent most of the afternoon and evening sitting in front of the General Store with a Pepsi, chatting with new friends and getting to know them better. As we sat and talked, our new friends began to open-up and we learned much of the hurts and damaged lives on this tiny little island.

Though I am not free to discuss details of conversations we had in this public forum, we have reason to be encouraged that the Lord indeed directed us to this place and that He gave me specific things to speak on that we only later learned how appropriate they were. I believe it’s been a long time since a clear, simple and Biblical Gospel was preached on Little Farmers Cay. A month or two later, we were privileged to once again visit this island community, and the Lord graciously open opportunities to speak to some issues that had been bothering us since our first visit. Our brother Julian leads a Bible Study on the island and was quite positive when I offered to send the evangelism ‘Basic Training Course’ from Way Of The Master. Fellow Ambassadors Alliance member Craig Miller very kindly bought a copy of this DVD course and when visiting the Bahamas this past June put it on a boat to Little Farmers Cay (in the safe keeping of the boat’s captain).

Please pray for the Lord to wake up the believers that are on this island (Isaiah 52) and bring a true understanding of the Christian Gospel to the many religious people and out-and-out rebellious in this dear little community. We look forward to visiting again, as the Lord allows us to travel (currently some roadblocks).

Thursday, October 29, 2009

All Backed Up

Hi all.  It seems that I’ve rather gotten behind on blogging … sorry.  I must admit I was rather surprised to log on and find my last entry as January of this year.  Okay, so I’m getting busy and writing now … there’s been a bunch happened between January and now.  I’ve been making notes and will be blogging, but blogs from these past experiences will be mixed in with current ones.  I’ll try to be sure to note when these happened so it’ll make sense.

The Lord has blessed us with a small business that provides a basic income for us.  Some of the upcoming ministry things we are planning will need some extra funding.  Consider if the Lord would put it on your heart to assist in this ministry.