2022 Marshalltown Holiday Stroll Outreach (Almost)
Yesterday was the 30th Annual Marshalltown Holiday Stroll. For the past few years I have joined my friend Paul, and his wife, Mary, passing out tracts, treats, and the Trinity to people walking about Main Street in downtown Marshalltown. This year it was planned to open this very easy and low-key event to members of Calvary Chapel Des Moines. We were all set to go with over 11 helpers to make this year the best yet.
Unfortunately, the weather was not cooperative. I made the last-minute decision the day before to cancel it for the church due to the foreseeable frigid temperatures the team would be exposed to. With no room inside Stepping Stones Christian Bookstore -- where we were located, to warm up, it would have been a miserable outreach experience; not to mention dangerous, especially for those who are not used to Iowa temperatures like this. But since I had promised Paul and Mary I would be there, I went ahead to battle the cold. I did though bring my neighbor, Bob to the program, who had been wanting to do street evangelism since becoming retired.
With everything set up, people started to show up promptly around 4pm, and trickled in until the parade which started right on time at 5pm. We passed out a handful of tracts, along with candy canes and chocolate. I love the tracts that Paul buys for these events. Some of my favorites are: Tis the Season, There’s No Christmas Without Christ, and The Greatest Gift, which the image changes when you tilt the card. Another favorite we gave out was this one which broke down John 3:16 in a way that unbelievers could understand the gospel.
We had several good conversations even through the frigid temperatures. I appreciate my neighbor's boldness and direct approach to stepping out in faith, even if it meant reading tracts to people. I met with one gentleman, Marc, right outside the booth. He claimed to know Christ, but then when I asked him if he kept the 10 Commandments, he said yes, but not perfectly. We went through some of them, and he still wasn’t truly convinced of his wickedness towards a holy God. I brought up his need for a blood sacrifice, and that’s when he got really interested, describing the sin offering and the transfer of sin to the animal; that Jesus is that blood sacrifice and his need to place his hand of faith on the forehead of the Lamb of God in order to receive forgiveness and cleansing of sin. After I was done speaking he said that a friend of his is a pastor of a nearby church and has been wanting him to come. He said, “Tomorrow I just may pay him a visit. I never heard it like this before. I have questions now. Thank you.” He took a gospel tract and I gave him the booklet, “Why Christianity?”
Last year we had better weather, and hopefully this time next year I will be ready to take a team up and do what we were planning on doing: sharing Christ with the lost and encouraging fellow believers to go into all the world and preach the gospel.