ON THE TIPPING POINT

World events of the last few weeks have left Pete and I feeling as if we are standing on the very tipping point of human history–the history prophesized thousands of years ago in God’s Word. Like so many, we have opened our Bibles to Revelation, Ezekiel 38, and the words of Jesus as recorded in Matthew 24.

Most important, we have sensed a tipping point urgency to share the Gospel. We look at each person we encounter with eyes more focused on eternity, asking:

“Have her/his eyes seen Jesus?”

“Are his/her ears open to the message of salvation?”

“Has she or he prayed to ask Jesus into their heart?

Does this person know that God loves them so much that he gave his only Son to die on the cross and all she or he must do to receive eternal life is believe in Jesus Christ (John 3:16)?”

Do they realize that it is by God’s grace they are saved through faith, and that it has nothing to do with the good or bad they do, it is a free gift of God (Ephesians 2:8-9)?

IN A TIPPING POINT WORLD,

THE MOST URGENT TIPPING POINT QUESTION IS ONE WE ASK EACH PERSON WE OFFER A WALKING STICK TO.

“DO YOU KNOW FOR SURE YOU ARE GOING TO HEAVEN?”

We come across many people who say, “Yes, I know I’m going to heaven because I’ve asked Jesus into my heart.”

But sadly, others say, “Well, I hope so. I go to church, and I try to be a good person.” These folks are trusting their own good works instead of trusting Jesus and his sacrifice on the cross.

Ephesians 2:8-9 makes it perfectly clear: For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not of your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.

During the last few weeks, it seems hearts have been more open. When we share the simple gospel truth, people seem more willing to listen and many repent of their sin and place their trust in Jesus Christ alone for their salvation.

Sadly, many do not. While in Zolfo Springs earlier this month, God gave me the opportunity to share with a man who identified himself as an atheist. He came to his conclusion without ever opening a Bible and refused to accept a Gospel of John. I can think of nothing more tragic than to stand at the tipping point of one’s life, struggling to take those final breaths without knowing Jesus.

May I share a few stories and photos of some of the people who work with the Fellowship of Christian Farmers International (FCFI), and those who recently responded to the Good News. We praise God each time a man, woman, or child accepts Jesus’ offer of salvation. These stories are just a sampling of what happens at events where we hand out walking sticks and share the salvation message. The stories happened in February and thus far in March.

God is using the walking stick ministry of FCFI in miraculous ways. We take no credit. Jesus is the ONE who opens eyes, ears, and hearts to the amazing truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ. He is also the One who gives believers the courage and confidence to share the gospel with others.

In February Bill Brown, Ron Herrold, Cliff Kitchen, Valerie Roman, Josiah Gant, Pete, and others with FCFI traveled to Louisianna to help those who had not yet recovered from summer hurricanes. Generous gifts for this event included a tractor and $8100 worth of generators and chain saws!

These folks (Pete is in the back left) gave of their time and finances to cut up downed trees, reroof, and replace rafters. They also shared walking sticks and the message of salvation.

February also found us at the Swamp Cabbage Festival in LaBelle where we gave out about 1200 walking sticks and shared the story of the beads with that many folks. About 100 people repented of their sin and prayed to ask Jesus into their hearts.

  • A group of 8-10 teenagers stopped by the FCFI tent. Undaunted by peer pressure, every one of the teens prayed to receive Jesus
  • A young man who had recently moved to the area was living with extreme loneliness and had many family problems. He prayed to receive Christ and also requested prayer for his hurting family.
  • A teenager by the name of Hannah prayed with Pete to invite Jesus into her life. After praying she showed Pete her arms which were covered in scars and fresh slashes. She was a cutter, and she wanted to stop. Please join us in prayer for Hannah, for victory over the forces seeking to destroy her.
  • Even though I’m dealing with some health issues and had to leave earlier than planned, I was able to see God work in amazing ways. All seven of the first seven people I shared the story of the beads with prayed for salvation. That has never happened to me before.
  • As mentioned earlier, I believe God is using the troubling days we are living in to cause people to think about eternal things and soften their hearts.

Bill, Kathy, and Bill’s daughter Laurie traveled to LaBelle for Swamp Cabbage.

Laurie worked hard all day preparing the walking sticks with beads and Bible verse cards. At the end of the day, she was able to give away one of the sticks she’d prepared and share the gospel with someone who stopped by our tent.

Rick, one of the first people we met when we moved to Florida over 30 years ago, came out to help with the event. He prepared walking sticks, shared the gospel, and caught up on days gone by with Pete. One of the men from Pete’s Bible study also came out to the event. After spending the day witnessing, he told Pete, “Telling people about Jesus has never been so easy.”

God has put the most wonderful folks in our lives.

It was evident that God’s presence was powerful at the Swamp Cabbage Festival. One of the things I will never forget is seeing a young woman in a beautiful green blouse walking through the festival grounds. She was heading in our direction and in my heart, I could hear God speak to me. “Step toward her. She is ready and she will pray for salvation today.” What a great blessing and joy it was to pray with this woman as she invited Jesus into her heart to be her Savior and Lord.

We must never ignore God’s voice when He tells us to witness or offer help to a stranger. That stranger’s life may very well be at their salvation “tipping point.”

Just four days after the Swamp Cabbage Festival, we made our way to Zolfo Springs, Florida for the Pioneer Days Celebration where we handed out over 2000 walking sticks and over 200, perhaps even more, prayed to receive Jesus during the four-day event.

We are always grateful for volunteers who are passionate to share the gospel. Pioneer Days brought out some of the most passionate folks we’ve ever worked alongside.

Travis, the Youth Pastor from an Arcadia Baptist church, did a great job of sharing the gospel with the young and not-so-young.

We can’t stop praising God for all He did at Pioneer Days. We witnessed new Christians walk away with their sticks, share the bead story with others, give their sticks away, and come back for another walking stick. One new believer shared the good news with seven friends just minutes after she was saved. The Gospel is so simple that even a child can understand. That’s the way God planned it. He didn’t make it difficult. There’s no need for a college degree to witness or understand how to receive His free gift of salvation.

Jesus loves children. The well-known story in Luke 18:16-17 reveals the place children have in the ministry of Jesus.

Let the children come to me, and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God. Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.”

Because of the priority Jesus placed on reaching children and because of His love for them, we welcome children into our tent, giving them inexpensive little toys, child size walking sticks, lots of love and attention as we share the story of the beads with them. When a child asks Jesus into his or her heart, we always make certain they have a Bible in their home. What a joy it is to be able to give families the Family Devotional Bible. We recently gave one to a new Christian dad who attends our church. That young man proudly carries the Bible with colorful pictures on its cover to church every Sunday.

Two precious little brothers whose mom prayed to accept Jesus are happy to pose for a photo with their new family Bible.

Thank you! Thank you for your generous gifts so we can buy Bibles. Thanks to you, we have also been able to purchase a supply of The Gospel of John. Included in this little book is a clear salvation message.

Do you notice anything different about our tent? It’s new!

On the first day of the Pioneer Days celebration a strong wind blew in from seemingly out of nowhere. It blew past row after row of tents and displays without blowing one thing away. The it perched itself in all of its crazy power on our tent where it blew papers, toys, and books away. The most expensive thing we lost was our tent. The winds not only blew it down, but they also twisted its metal frame beyond repair. By the time the winds quieted down, all we could do was throw our tent in the trash.

To say we were disappointed and discouraged is an understatement.

Back at our hotel room, just a few hours later, Pete’s phone rang. It was Ron and Deb Herrold who had been working with us all day. They had gone to Cosco and wanted to let us know they were buying a new tent for the ministry! God is so good! The heat that weekend was intense, breaking all previous records. There was no way we could have stood out under the blazing sun all day without the shade the new tent provided.

There just aren’t words to express our gratitude.

Some people we meet and the stories they share are heartbreaking and unforgettable. It says a lot to me that when the folks who are burdened down with tremendous struggles, know that the Fellowship of CHRISTIAN Farmers is a safe place, a place where they will receive prayer and find God’s perfect love. Paul, the man pictured above, is someone we will never forget. He was a struggling Christian with many questions. His adult daughter had been killed in a car accident a couple years earlier. Following her death, his son-in-law committed suicide, leaving this man and his wife to raise their grandchildren. After being told his son-in-law who had accepted Jesus as his Savior, would not make it into heaven because he’d taken his own life, this man was overwhelmed with questions and living in despair. He also questioned his own salvation due to giving in to temptation. He was not attending church and Bible reading was no longer part of his daily routine. After we prayed for this man, by the end of our time together, he agreed to return to church and to spend time in God’s Word. He also agreed to have devotions with his grandchildren using the Family Devotion Bible we were able to give him. The next day he returned with his precious grandchildren, and God gave opportunity to pray with them. Please join us in praying for Paul and his family.

Another grandparent came to the FCFI tent. She was frail and worn as she tried to keep track of her two grandchildren who ran around taking merchandise off vendor’s tables without paying. Our conversation was repeatedly interrupted by the distressing cries of her grandchildren when they were forced to return the merchandise–a child’s backpack, a colorful sombrero–items they could not afford. During our conversation, I learned that the children’s mother was in prison because she was caught driving under the influence of alcohol and drugs. The children stood by their grandmother’s side weeping and between sobs saying how much they missed their mommy. It was heartbreaking when the grandmother and children did not pray to receive Christ. What a comfort to know that God’s Word never returns void. The Scripture shared and the verses on the card she walked away with are with her. Maybe she went home and prayed to receive Jesus, or maybe God will send someone else into her life and she will pray with that person. That is in God’s hands, which are far more capable than ours. When the woman walked away, she suddenly turned around and said, “I do have something I would like you to pray about. Will you pray that my daughter gets out of prison and comes home before Easter? The children need her home for Easter.” We prayed together for the mom’s return and continue to pray every day for that and for this family’s salvation. Will you lift them up right now?

Finally, last weekend we were at ECHO.

For the second year (last year the event was cancelled due to covid) we were blessed to hand out walking sticks and share the Gospel at ECHO’s biggest community event of the year–Global Food and Farm Festival. Since ECHO is a Christian non-profit many of the people who attend this event already know Jesus.

But not all do.

  • Pete witnessed to a young single mom who gave her life to Jesus. When he asked if she owned a Bible she replied, “I think my mom and dad have one someplace.” Our latest shipment of Family Devotion Bibles hadn’t yet arrived, and we only had one left. Pete knew this woman and her son were the ones who should be given the last Bible. Praise God, our Bibles arrived two days later.
  • The first people Pete spoke with that day, a family with two children, all prayed to receive Christ as Lord and Savior.
  • Later in the day, a family consisting of dad, mom, and 2 little boys stopped by the tent. It quickly became obvious that the dad wanted nothing to do with the walking sticks or the message. He paced back and forth and ended up walking away, but his precious wife and sons stayed, and the two little boys prayed to ask Jesus into their hearts as the mother stood by them with tears of joy washing her face. She later returned with her sons to take their picture with me. This was a momentous day for this mom. As she positioned us for the picture, she made certain she got the Fellowship of Christian Farmers banner in her photo. We praise God for this mom and her sons and continue to pray for the dad’s salvation.

What an amazing joy to know that we will see this sweet mom and her two precious sons again one day in heaven where we will sit on the shores of the River of Life and talk about Jesus and all He has done for us.

It gives me shivers to think about this each time I meet a believer at one of our events or am part of leading someone to Christ. This is not the last time I will see this person, I remind myself, One day we will meet again in heaven and they will tell me about God’s work in their lives and how He never left them, how He was there in the good times and the difficult times giving them strength, working through them.

FUTURE EVENTS

  • March 19 Revival in Wauchula
  • March 29 Leave for South Carolina event
  • March 30-31 Set up for Flowertown Festival in Summerville South Carolina
  • April 1-3 Flowertown Festival
  • April 17 Laisly Park Easter celebration (waiting for confirmation)
  • May 10-13 Travel to Minnesota, sharing walking sticks and message
  • July 8-10 Travel to Marcy New York for Stick Days
  • July 12-16 Stick Days. Volunteers work together to cut, sand, and prepare walking sticks for the upcoming year’s events.
  • Please pray for the growth of folks who have received Jesus at recent events.
  • The children who have received Jesus.
  • Upcoming events that God will prepare us, and the folks Jesus brings our way.
  • Bill Brown’s health as he battles cancer.
  • Our health and strength.
  • The heartbreaking events around the world will be used to draw folks to Christ.
  • Ukraine.
  • God’s continued provision as we travel with much higher gas prices.
  • Praise God for His continued and miraculous provision as we face rising costs.
  • Because of the drastic rise in fuel costs, we have decided it will not be wise to take the RV north this year. Pete says that at today’s prices, it will take $1000 for one fill-up. We will be gone during hurricane season so please pray for protection on our RV. The RV is our Florida home.
  • Also, as you read the blog, please pray for each request mentioned.

Thank you for your prayers and support. It means so much. We are blessed to call you friend and blessed that God has allowed us to spend our retirement years serving Him. May each of you be blessed and grow in your love for our Savior and Lord Jesus Christ.

In His Grip,

Pete and Sandy

Published by sandramaesinger

Fifty years and counting, that is how long Pete and I have been married. We have two wonderful adult children, seven amazing grandchildren, one terrific great-grandson, and a pug with an inflated ego. Originally from Minnesota, we now call southwest Florida home. I'm looking forward to publication of The Missing Piece, which is the sequel to my first book, All the Broken Pieces. Also keep an eye out for He Came to Me, which places readers in the sandals of the often neglected women whose lives were changed when Jesus came to them. Along with Pete, I have spent my life in ministry, often opening our home to women in crisis and working with lawmakers on legislation that promotes life and family values. Both Pete and I are certified Community Chaplains and since Pete's retirement, we minister with The Fellowship of Christian Farmers International, traveling to festivals and fairs to share the gospel and bringing hope and help to those hit by natural disasters.

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