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  • Writer's pictureFrank Chirico

Recap: 2024 DSM St. Patrick's Day Parade Outreach

The 2024 Des Moines St. Patrick's Day Parade was held on March 16th and wow was it packed. The streets and skywalks were littered with thousands of people wanting St. Paddy's Day tracts from us.

As per past outreaches, the day started at Calvary Chapel Des Moines (CCDM). As we sporadically arrived, we welcomed newcomers and those who never took part in the outreach before. One of those newbies, Kasin, a gentleman who shockingly lives in my neighborhood that I had never met before. We look forward to serving alongside each other in the park that divides our homes, and have already met last night to plan some evangelism outings for this summer!

At 9am I started my overview of Tactics in Defending the faith. Combining a six-week course into a 45-minute sermonette is no easy task. Hopefully this sparks others to take the course if offered at a later date.

As 10am rolled around, we prayed and walked to our positions at the start of the parade. Some of our group met us on the parade route, and others trickled in, bypassing the beginning and going to the end. Tony hit the skywalks by himself. It was so nice to be within walking distance from the parade this year since they changed the parade route. I liked it better this year and reminded me of when Tony and I started sharing the gospel at the parade 19 years ago.

two brothers

As my team passed out tracts, we gave some to two brothers and their young sister. I was led to stop and talk to them. After a few minutes sharing the bad news, one brother checked out of the conversation, but left the other brother, Colton, talking with us more. He had many questions of his own.

I asked him if he believed he was a good person, to which he replied, “No,” but didn’t know why he felt that way. I started sharing the bad news taking him through God’s Moral Law, the 10 Commandments and he did fine, but didn’t know how to be forgiven of that. When I asked what God did so that he could be forgiven, Colton didn’t know. I asked him where Jesus fit into that and he said, “Well, I don’t understand how Jesus can save me from anything being that He is dead and buried. How can He save anybody?” I was not shocked, because I asked if he goes to church, he said, yes, and that he attends the largest Lutheran church on the west side of town. Every time I meet teens from that congregation, they are clueless when it comes to the gospel, and salvation. It is very sad.

After I gave him the bad news, I shared the gospel and pressed him to scan the QR code on the back of the tract, which takes you to a gospel presentation: I also gave him the booklet, "Why Christianity," which contrasts the differences between the major religions and Christianity, pointing out my website info on the back so he can contact. me.

You never know who you will meet that has never heard the gospel in their entire life, even living here in the United States. Looking over Colton's shoulder, I noticed mama bear watching closely, and smiling. Maybe this conversation was an answer to her prayers.

a great day

Jon Neifert of Tulip Gospel Outreach, who led the outreach, purchased a few thousand St. Patrick’s Day tracts from Tract Planet, Tomorrow’s Forefathers, and other sources; not to mention Trillion Dollar Bills from Living Waters. All of them were a hit as usual with parade-goers. Upon walking back from the event, we saw not one tract on the ground. All were taken and hopefully read. As far as I know, we gave out several thousand tracts, and all the St. Patrick’s Day ones were gone.

We ended our time with most of us going back to the church and debriefing of our time on the street. Lots of us had good conversations on the side, and fed on the boldness of each other. Stay tuned for more opportunities for our church to share the gospel in Des Moines.

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