The outreach to the game in Columbus, OH with TTUN actually began on the evening of November 23. We had great joy that evening because several evangelists visited from out of town to help us this week!
We began the weekend with a time of prayer with president and founder of Sports Fan Outreach International, Bill Adams via conference call. After beseeching God by His mercy to bless us and our efforts, we headed to Skyline Chili to enjoy one of the many blessings God has given us through creation. The photo to the left is the Friday night team after downing some chili together.
After we ate, we headed back to my house where we worshiped the Lord through song and Bible reading. It was a sweet time of fellowship and praising God. It isn’t often that people give up an entire weekend or two days for the sake of the gospel, and I am grateful to these folks who all drove from more than 3 hours away to assist me at my primary fishing hole, the corner of righteousness, at THE Ohio State University.
“The Game” is always the most crowded event at Ohio State. So we left earlier than usual on a cold and rainy day so that we could begin to minister by 9am. It is actually hard to believe how many people were out walking around in cold rain at 9am when kickoff wasn’t until noon! I praise God for my co-laborer Jason Roberts who met us near the stadium in order to help with the ministry.
Most of us don’t mind getting a little wet, and we live in a culture where keeping warm in the cold isn’t very difficult (at least in central Ohio). But keeping electronic equipment and tracts dry becomes the name of the game for evangelism. No one is going to take a wet, soggy, tract, and we certainly don’t need a speaker to malfunction or even electrocute someone due to water!
The day went like any other. We sang, we prayed, we preached, and we passed out hundreds of tracts. There were very few hecklers and a lot of kind-hearted souls who God sent to offer encouragement. A young man selling pies to raise money approached me for prayer, and I prayed for him. I offered to buy some of his pies and his response surprised me:
“I can’t take money from you, sir. I see you out here every week. I just wanted to encourage you.”
I was really excited to hear that. One of the reasons we don’t change locations is so that people will consistently see us, and that maybe that would have an impact on them. Another aspect of being at the same location for years is that we actually get to know the vendors and the ticket sellers. When you think about it, we are there doing the same thing…
Street vendors and ticket sellers have the same physical goals we have:
- Keep your equipment dry/protected
- Get your message to as many people as possible
- Stay warm; go home safely, and try to enjoy yourself while there.
Now we have a supernatural aspect to what we are doing, but in many ways, we are employing methods that by God’s grace are common to man in the dissemination of information. I think we build a kinship with the vendors when they realize we are not “against them.” ** When I left Saturday, I actually walked around and said bye to all of them. They were all very kind and chuckled as I said, “See you next season.”
After the outreach I took the team to Raising Canes, another restaurant (like Skyline) which they do not have in that state up north. So we enjoyed a final Raising Canes lunch as the result of the kind supporters of this ministry. The fellowship was sweet as we shared stories and talked theology and simply enjoyed each other’s company.
But the story doesn’t end there! The Buckeyes completed their season with a victory over our rival, and earned a place in the Big Ten Championship game. Now, several of us had already planned to go to Indianapolis on Dec 1 to minister to the crowds there, but now we get one more chance to reach our Ohio State fans. Will you pray right now that God would save souls in Indy? And pray that my crew of 8 would all be able to make it and dispense His gospel that day.
** The exception is when people peddle their pornography or strip club cards. I am openly against what they are doing, and God has driven those folks away because of His mercy toward us.
It was a privilege to be part of this outreach for the other Ohio team. (Miami is foremost in my mind:)
It was a true blessing to be with you and your family for the better part of three days.