This past weekend, in addition to serving at City of Refuge on Friday, we helped host two block parties on Saturday in the Atlanta area. One was held in Walton Communities in Marietta and the other was held in Clarkston, the most diverse community in the world. I was assigned to the Clarkston group and was responsible for running the salvation bracelet table and sharing my testimony with the kids that stopped by my table. We had been preparing for these block parties for weeks. I’d been rehearsing my testimony, and we had all been praying for the people we encountered and that they would be ready to hear the good news! The night before the block parties, we spent time training for our stations and making posters for the events. When it came time to put all our preparation into action, we were ready.

Upon arrival at Clarkston, I immediately noticed the many nationalities represented. We were introduced to Mr. Bennett, the resident missionary to the community. He briefed us on what we were about to encounter: kids who were hungry for attention, care, and love. For the next three hours, that’s what we provided, with God’s help and to the best of our abilities. My salvation bracelet station started off slow, with most kids opting to simply draw or color. While they were busy doodling away, God gave me many opportunities to share Him with them. I’d usually start the conversation by asking about their family and if they had any brothers and sisters. I’d share my own experience from growing up with two older sisters and one younger brother, and how even though we loved each other, we were still mean to each other. They’d say the same was true for them. I’d use that to show how we are sinful and need Jesus. I’d go on to share who Jesus is and how I made Jesus my King. I’d invite them to do the same. Most of the kids claimed to know who Jesus was and, when asked, often pointed to the sky or said something about dying on the cross. I’d share with them how Jesus is my closest friend – when I pray, I talk to Him about anything and everything, and He helps me. Sometimes I wouldn’t get the response I hoped for, but I just remembered that it’s not up to me to save them. I plant the seeds. God grows the vine.

I felt God made a significant impact on one girl in particular. I won’t attempt to spell her name, but for conversation’s sake, we’ll call her “Pa.” She shared with me that her name, which ended in “Pa”, meant something to do with a flower and being talkative. I felt both things described her very well. She had one baby brother, who sat with her mother nearby. I don’t believe her mother spoke English, but Pa spoke it well enough for the both of them. I found out about how she came to America, and how she got sick when she rode in a car for the first time. She told me that she thought the plane was some sort of magical car. She also told me that, when pressed, she doesn’t really know if she believes in God. She likes to believe in Jesus because it makes her feel good, but she’s not sure about it all the time. God gave me the words to speak into this precious girl’s life. I told her that I believed in Him, and I know He is real! At the end of our conversation, I asked her what she thought. With a smile, she replied that she thought He is real. It seemed genuine. Certainly progress was made. I’ll be praying, and I invite you to pray for Pa as well. I want a new sister in Christ.

– Josiah Brown