Yesterday I began the first of five in a series on my recent mission experience in Dubai, UAE. As I mentioned yesterday, it was one of if not THE most incredible mission experiences I have ever been on in my life. God is pouring out His waterfall of blessing and I got to sit under the water for five days. Life-changing to say the least.
The primary task for the volunteer team I was with (team members: Kevin Bolin, Ben Browning, and Karl 'Big Daddy Eats a Fat Burger on the First Day' Garner) was to help with what is called 'Compassion Kit Parties' in various camps each night.
Here is a run down of what took place before, during, and after the parties:
- Prior to our coming, believers in the camps had been already trained and committed to inviting their friends, coworkers, etc. to a 'Party' in a certain room (a small room where around 12 men would sleep at night) where they would eat some food, play a game or two, hear some stories, and receive a gift (the gift was a Compassion Kit...more on that tomorrow).
- Those who were invited would show up at the designated room at the designated time. Each night was different as far as attendance was concerned. The first night, my group had 82 in attendance! Other groups would have 40, others 25, and so on. You can imagine, a room that was crowded already with 6 bunk beds, how cramped a room with 82 men in it must be!
- Once everyone we thought was coming had arrived, the guys we work with would start the 'party' off by welcoming everyone and then passing out bags of chips (we brought with us) and cups of Pepsi or orange soda (we also brought). After the snack (which usually lasted no more than 10 seconds!), the guys would lead out in a game (a form of indian wrestling and arm wrestling in a room with 82 men - don't ask, just go and see for yourself). Following the game, one of the North Americans in the room (where the volunteer group comes in...we have been sitting off to the side praying they do not ask us to indian wrestle one of these men who look like they could pick up the building they had been working on all day) would be set (scheduled ahead of time) to tell his personal testimony (with a translator of course). One of the guys would then follow that up with a line or two about how Jesus changed this person's life and would use that to transition to the 2nd story told (called the Hook Story) about a man whose life had been radically changed by Jesus (story of the demon possessed man from Mark 5). The story was told by another of the volunteers in the room (through a translator) in narrative fashion, not read from the Bible - the men in the camps were/are oral learners. There would then be a transition from this story to the 'Gospel' story from Luke 19, and Jesus' encounter with Zaccheus.
- This would, in turn, lead to a call for a response to the Gospel; a prayer with and for those who were led to respond; and then an appeal for those present to be involved in a story group (more on that Thursday).
- We would not leave until the story groups were identified and a time and place for them to meet was established. Having as many men as possible involved in story groups was/is the ultimate goal of these Compassion Kit parties ("What? You mean to tell me seeing these men saved was not the ultimate goal...what kind of ministry is this?" Again, hang on until Thursday to hear more on that...it's really good).
- After ALL of that, several men would go out to our vehicles and get the boxes of Compassion Kits and hand them out, one by one, to each of the men who was present at the party. The what and why and how you can do a Compassion Kit is for tomorrow's post.
- At this point, it would be anywhere from 11 or 12 at night and we would have about an hour and a half drive back to where we were staying. Needless to say (especially since Karl "I'm Gonna Eat Somebody's Hand Off If I Don't Eat Now" Garner was with us!) we stopped on the way home and ate as much Burger King/Popeye's Chicken/Baskin Robbins' milk shakes as we could put down in order to settle us down for a couple of hours sleep (breakfast would be soon!).
Many men came to faith in Christ as a result of these parties and numerous men agreed to participate in a total of 7 story groups that started as a result of these parties. It was a wonderful week. Seeing men from different religious backgrounds trust Christ for the first time reminds you that this is why you exist: for the glory of God and the advancement of His kingdom.
'Til the Whole World Hears...