But when they travel home, are they any more satisfied than when they arrived? No, they leave with a giant Mickey-shaped hole in their wallet. What if they left knowing that God loved them so much that he sent his son to die for them? What if Orlando was known more for Jesus than it was for Mickey Mouse?
I spent 10 weeks in Orlando working with ROCK Ministries. Rock Stands for Reaching Orlando with Compassion and Kindness. We reached tourists in all kinds of places. We did Kids Clubs at hotel pools, and we performed puppet shows at secular venues like fast-food restaurants and amusement parks. We did free face-painting at the Fun Spot amusement park, hoping to spark conversations about the free salvation God offers us. We made free salvation bracelets at McDonalds. We went prayer-walking at the most crowded outlet mall in Orlando most Fridays.
I had only 10 weeks in Orlando, but some people live in Orlando. We wanted to reach the locals, too. We traveled to churches in Orlando. We talked about our ministry, and we emphasized what an incredible mission field Orlando is. The locals sometimes see tourists as annoying, but we challenged them to pray one prayer: "Let me see what You see."
That prayer was with me since Day 1 when our supervisors took us out to the most-crowded outlet mall for prayer-walking. They told us to pray that prayer and just watch what happens. I met a girl from Israel and a girl from Paris in five minutes. I didn't have to board any planes. I just had to take a few steps. The world truly does come to Orlando. I pray they leave with much more than just memories and an empty wallet, but with Christ in their hearts.
Marlie Austin, a student at Howard Payne University, seved with Go Now Missions in Orlando, Fla.