The two super-intensive weeks of training for staff started off with the School of Evangelism, led by Rev. Chris Byrd. Originally, the School was going to be taught mostly by Dr. Henry Krabbendam, but due to some personal matters, Dr. Krabbendam was not able to attend. Instead, the School benefitted from Chris’ teaching and pre-recorded lectures from Dr. K. God worked through difficult and unexpected circumstances in a powerful way, with attendants leaving motivated for evangelism not only here on the Boardwalk, but also at home.
One of our guest attendees, Dan Bottie, saw God’s work in conversion firsthand late one night on the Boardwalk. After a long night of sign evangelism with little to no positive interaction, he headed back to bed, but decided to try to hold up his sign as he walked back. He and his evangelism partner, Brandon, had been praying all night for interested people to approach him, and it looked like that was not going to happen.
However, as they neared the Chapel, three catholic girls approached him and struck up a conversation with them. They were curious, with a lot of questions but strikingly receptive to the answers they were given. Over the course of the next two hours, God worked in the hearts of two of the girls. For the sake of privacy, we will call them Kristina and Tori. They became convicted of their sin, and their need for a saviour. They grasped the truth of the gospel as it applied to them personally, and called on the name of Lord that very night. The four people left praising God and rejoicing in his mercy, and Kristina and Tori left, promising to tell everyone about what had happened to them!
Daniel saw what the School had been discussing that afternoon, saying, “as we talked, time stood still as if we had entered into the presence of God.” Daniel described his experience at the Chapel as “unlike any other experience I’ve ever had,” with the biggest change in his life “being extremely bold for the gospel.” As Daniel has left the Boardwalk Chapel to go evangelize in his hometown, he asks for prayer that Kristina and Tori would not only believe the Word, but go and share the Good News just as they desired during the moments of their conversion. He noted, “I think the Lord has given me a heart for evangelism.”
One of our return staffers, Adam Thibault, had a very similar takeaway from a week of evangelism-specific training. This was his second time participating in the training, but it served to embolden him in sharing the gospel as the persons of the Trinity were recognized. The Father promises sanctification, the Son produces it, and the Holy Spirit goes with us as we are sanctified by His work through our evangelism.
Adam has a large collection of shirts that are great conversation pieces, and one night he was wearing a shirt that said, “Mayo light shine for Jesus.” On his way back to the house, a woman, for the sake of privacy we will call her Gracie, complimented his shirt and Adam took that opportunity to engage in a conversation about the Gospel with her. Gracie is Roman Catholic like many of the people in Wildwood, and really felt distanced from God and His Word. Adam was able to encourage her to pursue Christ, and to pray for her. The work of the Holy Spirit became more obvious at this point as she struggled to know which Saint to pray to in order to receive money. Using the very first lesson from the School of Evangelism, Adam explained how our prayers should be focused on God first, not ourselves. A key passage he used was from Matthew 6:33, “Seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things will be added to you.” Through a command of the training and Scripture, Adam helped Gracie to know how to pray, and prayed that God would give her a heart for the things of God.
Over the course of the School of Evangelism, over ten people called on the name of the Lord as a result of bold evangelism and the work of the Holy Spirit. Pray for Kristina, Tori, Gracie, and the others who were exposed to the Gospel, that God would bring the work that he has started in them to a completion!