Dare 2 Share 2010! The name of the tour this year was Blaze, and it was awesome. My dad, Chris, Valerie, Michael, Stephanie, and myself, along with our super youth group (27 people including leaders), all went, with a little help from "The Beast" (our "15 passenger" van).
In case you don't know, a Dare 2 Share conference is a two-day weekend that is all about mobilizing teenagers to share the gospel. There are thousands of people there, youth groups from all over the Midwest. So what did we do these past two days? Worshiped with Starfield, listened to teaching and hilarious stories by guys like Greg Stier and Zane Black, watched really intense skits, and were very challenged.
What I really came away with was how possible it is to share the gospel. Yes, it is very awkward to start conversations at first, but once you swallow your initial fear and just do it, it's not that hard. It doesn't matter if you know everything, because it's Jesus who does the saving, and the Holy Spirit who prepares and plans and works. Yes, you might lose "cool points", but isn't that was losing your life for His sake is all about? Jesus was definitely not concerned about what people thought of Him when He gave His life for us.
On Saturday there were a couple specific goals they challenged us to do that very day. One was the cell phone challenge. I'll tell you about my experience with that in a minute. Another one was to find a stranger during dinner and share the gospel with them. We ended up going to a little pizza joint, and I know I wasn't the only one who scoped out the place as soon as we got in there: 2 boys at one table, 2 girls at another, and a couple workers. Not really enough for 27 people to each witness to someone. But some boys went and talked to the two boys, some girls to the girls. Then Mrs. G (that's really what we call her) and Sarah went to talk to the employees, actually one in particular whose name is Lucy. Mrs. G asked her Lucy she knew if she knew where she would go, heaven or hell, when she died. Lucy said no, she had never thought about it. They got to talking a bit more, Sarah and Chris C. joining in as well. By and by they explained the good news of Jesus to her, and asked if she wanted to accept Christ as her Savior. And she was ready! She replied, "No doubt about it!" So they prayed with her, and now we who are in Christ have a new sister who was born yesterday! Incredibly, no customers came in that needed to be served the whole time they were talking with her. Also, Sarah had a Bible with her that she could give away. God is amazing!
Now about the cell phone challenge. Everyone had to call one friend who wasn't a Christian, and start a conversation with the purpose of sharing the gospel. And you didn't get off the hook if you didn't have a phone or bring it with you... you had to borrow someone else's once they were done. I borrowed my dad's phone, but the only person I could think of was my grandpa. I was pretty sure my grandma was a believer, though we had never talked of it, but I knew my grandpa was not. Usually he avoids talking about spiritual things. But, I called my grandparents' house, and someone answered, but I couldn't hear a thing. I figured that it was because of the murmuring stadium that I was in the middle of, so I said into the phone that I would call in a half hour, and hung up. Next on the schedule was our lunch break, so I went outside of the restaurant and tried again, but the same thing happened. I could tell that someone had picked up, but I still couldn't hear anything. So very apologetically I said I would have to try later and hung up.
So today, Sunday, after church I called first to see if they were home... land line to land line, no connection problem this time... and then I hopped in the car and drove over. Chris came along too at the last minute. We got there and before we had been there very long, my grandma asks how the conference that we went to was. Ok. This was it. I took a deep breath and plunged ahead. "It was great. Actually, that kind of why we came over today." I then went into what the drama had been about and how it had made me realize that I needed to do what I could so people I cared about - them - wouldn't go to hell. I probably used similarly run-on sentences like that too. Well, they had not been expecting an answer like that. Awkward. Then I asked if she knew where she would go if she died. (At this point Chris split and went to talk to Grandpa, who had been listening from the other room. Thank You God for letting him come with me!) Grandma's reply was, "Heaven, I hope." So I probed a bit to see the reasoning behind her answer. She said it was because she believed; she agreed it didn't have anything to do with earning her salvation. I have to believe that God didn't want me to do any further persuading, because He didn't lead me to. But we did get into a honest conversation about church and such. Meanwhile, Chris was talking to Grandpa in the other room. At first, Grandpa was like, "I'd rather not talk about it". But then Chris was just sitting there, not talking, so Grandpa started talking to break the silence. :) They talked about why bad things happen and I don't know what else.
In the end, no conversion happened there that day. But because we went over there, God was brought to the forefront their minds yet again, and they know that their eternal destiny is important to us.
It's funny, I almost didn't go to Blaze this year. After all, I already knew that I should share the gospel, and I already know how. Loud music isn't really my thing, it's geared for public-schooled people (btw that was a bad heart attitude on my part... better now), I'm really too old for it, etc etc. But I ended up going anyway. And I'm glad I did. Jesus saves. The harvest is already white, but the laborers are few. Here am I, Lord, send me.