We spent all morning setting up for our community-wide block party with help from the 300-member Prestonwood Baptist Church youth choir. The morning turned to noon, and things became frustrating as the large bounce house failed to inflate.
As I walked away feeling frustrated, God reminded me why we were setting up bounce houses and giving away 500 hot dogs in the first place to engage the community of Richmond, British Columbia, with the truth and life of Jesus Christ.
I quickly redirected my steps in order to introduce myself to a Chinese family enjoying hot dogs in the shade. They were really inviting and had a lot of question about why all of these high school students were running around giving out free snowcones and playing games with the many children. To say the least, the conversation quickly turned toward Jesus and the Church.
I made an effort to explain why we were here through the gospel and that our ultimate motive was the redeeming love of Christ and his transforming power. However, like many of the other conversations I have had over the past few weeks with other people in the neighborhood, there was little to no response nor any interest in the things of God. My frustration began to increase. I began to question if God was using this block party in any way possible. I am thankful that God is good at proving me wrong.
As soon as I began to walk away, Emily, the other intern here in Richmond, called me over to a group of two students from Prestonwood and informed me that they had just led two eighth-grade boys to Christ. Everything had changed. As the angels in heaven were singing for joy at the obedience of these two new brothers in Christ, I began to truly understand and experience how the Kingdom of God works.
Over our four weeks here in Richmond, the only fruit we had seen were people simply asking question about Jesus, which for us was a blessing to see. But now it’s a joy to see how God is using all of our work within his own timing to bring about life changing salvation.
Plowing, sowing and watering
I am reminded that the power to bring a person from death to life and into a saving relationship with Jesus belongs to Jesus himself. At the same time, I’m also reminded that God grants us the joy of plowing, sowing and watering the seeds of the gospel in people lives through every conversation we engage in.
It’s encouraging to think that although Satan may tempt me to believe that the conversation I had with the Chinese family earlier may have appeared to be a failure, I really have no idea what God is truly doing in the hearts of those wonderful people he has created. He holds the power to life and death. We are simply joyful laborers God chooses to use in his overall redemptive work. Although I may not be there to witness someone bow their knee to the King of Kings, I am overflowing with joy to know that the kingdom of God is forcibly advancing here in Richmond, British Columbia.
Sam Sweetin, a student at Texas A&M University, is serving with Go Now Missions in Richmond, British Columbia.