Today our entire team spent the day at Storybook Island, a children’s theme park here in Rapid City. The park has been in the city for over 50 years and is only open in the summer and during the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays. The park has remained free of admission all this time and is completely run on donations and prayer. We learned it costs approximately $400,000 to run per year.
We were blessed to build, rake, clean, paint, and overall help prepare the park for opening day this month. We left the park by 5pm so that we could start our evening activities with CCCC. Instead of their usual Wednesday night service, we gathered in groups of 3-5 and canvased the neighborhood with fliers for this Saturday’s BBQ outreach. We hoped to encourage the church body here to engage their community. Beautiful experiences came from this evening and it’s surprising who God puts in your path as you are bold enough to knock on a door.
Here are a few testimonies from today…
“We went to Storybook Island today to rake grass and leaves and paint. I wore the wrong clothes for painting and raking and was really uncomfortable and annoyed, to be honest, but I wanted to be obedient. We raked the whole area and when we were finished, I was very satisfied because it looked so nice. I was happy.
Then, a worker came and mowed the lawn again over the same area we worked on. I was complaining in my mind. We took a break and went to lunch, but when we went back to work on the lawn I suddenly realized that I couldn’t complain anymore.
What the lawn worker was doing, I do to God. God cleanses me of my sin with Jesus’ blood and I am forgiven, but I keep on sinning. God’s never upset with me because He is merciful. I don’t deserve to be forgiven. I was humbled and encouraged. I realized that I’m learning even when I’m doing something I don’t want to do. I was being selfish because it was hot outside and the work was hard, but I wasn’t the only one in the heat or working. I saw other people working hard and felt lazy.
God is slow to anger. He washed clean my mind, my heart, and my faith, so why was I sinning? I finally understood. I learned humility.” -Sunny
“Today I was paired with Angie from Calvary Chapel for the Neighborhood outreach. As we were walking toward a house we noticed that there was a woman sitting in the front, she was texting and had a couple of Bud Lights. We introduced ourselves and found out that her name is Cinnamon. Angie then asked her how she was doing and invited her to the BBQ on Saturday. Cinnamon said that she wont be able to make it because she is working and her Father begins his dialysis treatment on Friday. Angie asked her if our group could pray for her and immediately Cinnamon started crying. She explained that her Mother had passed away recently, and because Mother’s Day is coming up it’s been rough. Cinnamon also went on to say that she works at a jail and has to deal with a lot of tough situations.
We prayed for her and after we did Cinnamon gave Angie a long hug- it seemed like healing happened in that hug. We noticed that she had a tattoo that says “Jesus Saves” so we asked her if she was a Believer. Cinnamon said that she that she got it because her mother was very religious. As we were leaving I gave her a Gospel of John and encouraged her to read it. We also encouraged her to surround herself with a community of Christian’s so that she could have people there for her. Angie made it very clear that she would be very welcomed at Calvary Chapel. We are hoping and praying that we get to see her again and that she comes to know Jesus.” -Jason
After getting back from our outreach to Storybook Island, HSE student led some people from the Calvary Chapel congregation to do some neighborhood evangelism and to pass out fliers for the upcoming barbeque. Dani and Rich were pared together along with three others from Calvary Chapel. They knocked on the first door and an elderly man in his eighties came out to greet them. His name was Lloyd and he made it clear he was not the Barbeque type nor was he a church goer, however Rich asked him questions about his beliefs about Jesus and where he felt he would go if he died today. Lloyd realized his need for Jesus and prayed the sinner’s prayer. For Dani it was a special day because she had never personally witnessed a salvation, even though she had been a Christian since she was a little girl.
They went to the next house and met a couple who were due to have a baby girl in two weeks. Rich noticed a bible in their living room and learned they were believers but didn’t often go to church. The team asked if they could pray for them and the birth of their baby and learned the babies name was Ivy which was the recent nickname Dani’s fellow student had given her. Next they met a man named Charlie at the house across the street. He was not very interested in talking to them and seemed to be set in his version of God. But Rich would not be brushed off and continued to poor into this man until he had accepted the Lord. His girl friend Michelle who was struggling with cerebral palsy came out as they were praying for her and she got saved as well.
At the next house was an older woman named Joe whose eyes glowed with receptivity. Catholicism had left a bad taste in her mouth so she sought he relationship with God in the forest on her walks. After Rich explained that being a Christian was not a religion but a relationship they prayed for Joe and she accepted Jesus. The Holy Spirit fell and her tear filled blue eyes shined even brighter than before. One hour, six obedient Christian, and the empowerment and grace of a loving God produced four salvations on one street!
“I had never seen anyone accept Jesus through an outreach like than. I had been so discouraged by countless rejections in my attempts to share the Lord. It seemed like such a daunting and rare occurrence to see someone say “yes, I believe!” The Lord blew my mind today! He used Rich as an example of love drenched boldness to show me that God is still in the business of saving souls. My lack of faith in people’s receptiveness to God hindered me to see God work all these years. I’m so thankful for this experience, and that people from the church were encouraged along with me.”
“It was amazing to see how a person that seemed to be totally uninterested in anything to do with Jesus could be made keenly aware of there need for a savior in only a matter of minuets. You could see a shift in thought and an awakening in sprit that was unmistakable” -Dani