Monday, August 3, 2009
We were also able to put together a basketball tournament in which 45 young people participated. This gave us an opportunity to reach out to the teenage and young adult strata of Baeza. We'll have more opportunities to talk when we give them each a photo of their team.
The city of Baeza cooperated with us at the highest levels - from the mayor to the councilperson in charge of Social Affairs, to her executive secretary, and even the environmental impact department. Because of their support, we were able to carry out all of our activities with complete liberty and help with logistics. They even offered us free-of-chrage the municipal guest facilities for the team to stay in. In a public ceremony, the mayhor presented a plaque to the Decision Team and the Ubeda church for their efforts in the campaign!
By the way, we made the newspaper for a third article!
And thanks to the municipal offices, we were able to celebrate a service of thanksgiving to God in a local auditorium - the ruins of the San Francisco chapel. This was our first church service n Baeza!
We're following up this activity, and the campaign, through a weekly Bible study in our apartment. It's actually called a "Dialogue Group," in which the attendees feel free to expres their own ideas and doubts, and find answers to their questions in the Bible. We held the first study on Friday, July 24th, with two attendees. We hope in the future to gather enough followers of Jesus to celebrate a weekly service here in Baeza.
We also celebrated a Bible school under the name of "Bible Festival." Several Christian moral values were stressed, and the stories all taught the love of God through Jesus.
Every day for a whole week children came following the clowns, and participating in activities such as: puppets, music, Bible classes, handicrafts, photos with the clowns, and, of course, a snack table. The photos taken with the clowns provided an opportunity for team members to visit the homes of the children, to give them the photos, and talk with their parents. Several older folks arrived every day at the classes - without any children! They came to sit, observe, and talk. That provided us with a group of people we could talk to about Jesus!
By the way, the "Festival" will continue on into the fall as a Saturday afternoon activity, produced and presented by the Ubeda church youth group.
We were able to bring a Christian flamenco group called "Enkalma" to present a concert. As a further drawing card, we asked the local Multiple Sclerosis Association to charge an entry fee of E2.00, for their own benefit. The group presented a clear message of God's love through Jesus.
And, we made the newspaper again!
The team members were divided into small groups to allow for Bible study and prayer each day. Leaders were chosen among the young people, encouraging them to develop skills in leading groups. We used a series of booklets on discipleship from Navigators.
Our first activity was a blood-drive. Through personally delivered printed flyers and the example of the team members, several citizens of Baeza were motivated to donate blood. Approximately 50 people showed up, of which 37 were able to give 435 ml each. This represents the largest-ever response to a blood-drive in Baeza! We even made the local newspaper!
All the activities had the goal of investing in the community, providing a needed service, and reaching out to them with god's love and Jesus' gift of salvation. at each event the team members were encouraged to mingle and talk with the participants, observers, and bystanders.
Dustin Kelm, world champion unicyclist, brought his collection of unicycles to give us an exhibition of daring-do. Among his cycles were a simple wheel, and cycles of 3-foot, 4 1/2-foot and 10-foot heights. His combination of short testimony with different acts kept the crowd alert, and we were able to share the gospel with many people.