“They gave us a spot on a hill.” There was more than a hint of disappointment in Bill’s voice. “Besides that, the ground is uneven,” one of the men added. “We’re concerned about those who have trouble walking. Someone could fall and get hurt.”
I’d seen a whole lot more flat land than hills since arriving in South Carolina, so I was surprised by the conversation as the men walked through the door of the townhome our Fellowship of Christian Farmers group was staying in during Flowertown Festival. It was the day before the opening of the event and all of the guys–Bill, Pastor Rob, Steve, and Pete–had spent the day setting up tents, tables, and chairs for the festival.
Thankfully, the hill problem was solved by sharing with those in wheelchairs and those who had difficulty walking at the entrance to our tent which was at street level, while the remainder of folks heard the story of the beads at the top of the hill where there were plenty of chairs and walking sticks.
The situation got me to thinking about the significance of the hills and mountains mentioned in the Bible.
I thought of Mount Sinai, the mountain where God delivered the law to Moses. For the Israelites it was a mountain that evoked trembling terror and acute awareness of sinful man’s enormous distance from holy God.
And then I thought of Mount Zion where the Temple once stood and where it will stand again. This mountain represents the New Covenant summarized in Ephesians 2:8-9, a verse we often share when telling the story of the beads:
For by grace you have been saved by 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.
Mount Zion (the New Jerusalem, New Heaven and Earth) is where Christians will live forever in the presence of God, the judge of us all. We will have nothing to fear on this mountain because of one single event that took place on another mountain.
THE MOUNT CALLED CALVARY
Mount Calvary is the location of the greatest event of history. This was the hill where Jesus died, the hill where Jesus shed his precious blood to pay the debt in full for our sin. No one can get to Zion without going through Calvary.
And all Jesus asks is that we believe…that we have what is called saving faith.
WHAT IS SAVING FAITH?
- Saving faith is not believing in Jesus the same way we believe in George Washington. We believe that George Washington is a real person in history, but we do not trust him to do anything for us today.
- Saving faith is not believing in Jesus simply for temporal needs such as safety when we travel or enough money to pay our bills. This is good and God wants us to trust Him for these things, but it’s not the faith that gets us to heaven.
- Saving faith is trusting Jesus Christ alone for our salvation, for eternal life. We don’t trust our own good works, church attendance, giving, or anything other than Jesus who died on the cross to pay for our sins, rose from death, and is alive today.
It’s the message of the beads. It’s the GOOD NEWS OF EASTER. And what a great privilege it is to go to crowded streets, like the streets during Flowertown Festival, and share the greatest story ever told.
Pete and I are blessed!
Our team–Bill and Kathy, Steve and Chris, Rob and Sue, Leona, Diane, Pete and I–shared the Gospel with 2000 at the Flowertown Festival. It was the first event that Pete and I have been part of that we actually ran out of walking sticks! We were too busy to keep accurate track of the number of people who prayed to receive Jesus as their Lord and Savior. All we can report is that countless folks made this life changing decision.
Whenever we had a free minute, we prepared the walking sticks to be given out. In this picture Leona and Sue are busy adding the beads and cards to the walking sticks.
Our plan had been for the women in our group to leave the festival a little early so we could return to the townhouse to prepare dinner while the guys talked to the last few people and secured our site for the night. From previous experience we knew that things slow down between 3:30 and 4:00p.m. That wasn’t the case during Flowertown. The crowds never eased up, even after announcements were made that the festival grounds were closed.
It is never all work when we get this group together…especially when we’re together on April Fools Day. We thought we’d come up with a great prank on Bill by arranging our clothes on the floor as if we’d all been raptured. Bill didn’t fall for our joke for several reasons, one of which was the lack of underwear. Oh how we laughed!
Pastor Rob shared the Gospel with many folks. I wish I had gotten a photo of everyone as they shared, but we were just too busy to take many photos. And that’s the best news because God was at work in amazing ways at the Flowertown Festival.
South Carolina is deep inside the Bible Belt and one might think almost everyone here is saved. But that is not the case. Some folks do not even own a Bible.
I spoke with a mom and her adult son who were tragically lost. The mom was into wicca and told me that they use the same color beads in their outreach. “Of course, the color of the beads has a different meaning,” she explained. Her son was in theatre and had his own beliefs. I asked if he had ever read the Bible and he said he had not. “If I give you the Gospel of John, will you read it?” As I handed him the Gospel, he promised he would read it, adding this: “When I make a promise, I keep it.”
Later that day, I had just started sharing the story of the beads with a group of people when out of the corner of my eye I saw a young teen sneak up on the pile of walking sticks. Her legs were bent as if by making herself shorter she wouldn’t be seen, and her eyes darted in every direction.
She was about to steal something that could be hers for free!
“You may have a walking stick,” I assured the young girl. “All you have to do is listen to the story of the beads.” Clearly, she was embarrassed as she slumped toward the one remaining empty seat in my circle of chairs. When I was done sharing the Gospel, the young girl said she wanted to pray to invite Jesus into her heart. After praying, I asked her if she had a Bible at home and she told me she didn’t. Praise God, we were able to give her a Bible!
It’s impossible to count God’s gifts as we minister with The Fellowship of Christian Farmers. I’m sure I can’t even remember all the gifts He gave us in S.C. But one of the gifts that stood out to me was people of various races and backgrounds coming together, praying together, talking about Jesus together in little circles of fellowship. Calvary brings people together and for me, it was just a taste of what eternity will be like.
This precious family (per their request we did not include their children in the photo) stopped by our booth to bless us! Their young son (about 10 years old) prayed over us with authority and power that could only come from the Holy Spirit. Then the dad and mom prayed over us with the same Spirit. These folks own a nearby B & B and they invited us to stay with them for a couple days after the festival. Sadly, none of us could accept their generous offer because of previous commitments. Isn’t our God amazing!
AFTER THE FESTIVAL
We left the Fellowship of Christian Farmers crew about 6a.m. Monday morning and headed to the lumber yard to load up more sticks before heading home.
Easter Sunday we will be at Laishley Park in Punta Gorda on the banks of the Peace River handing out free walking sticks and gifts for the kids. The Easter event is sponsored by The Rock Church in Punta Gorda and starts at 9:30. After the Easter service, there will be water slides and food trucks. What a great way to celebrate Easter with the family!
From May 10-14 we travel to Minnesota, sharing the Gospel and walking sticks with those the Lord brings our way.
In June we will be in Anoka Minnesota (the Halloween capital of the world), handing out walking sticks at their huge Arts Festival.
In July we head to Marcy NY to help with stick days where we will prepare sticks for our upcoming events.
Thank you to everyone who supports us with your prayers and gifts. We are beyond grateful. You are part of every person who comes to Christ, every person who receives assurance, and everyone who receives a sincere touch of love and compassion at one of the events.
- Please pray for Bill and Kathy as Bill continues his battle with cancer.
- Pastor Rob and his wife Sue as he faces serious medical issues and wisdom in the decisions they must make. Pastor Rob and Sue are church planters and join us at several events.
- All the people who prayed to receive Jesus as their Lord and Savior in South Carolina and at all the events this season that they will find good church homes where they will grow in Christ.
- Those who did not pray, that God will continue to work in their hearts, calling them to Calvary and the free gift of salvation He offers.
- Please pray especially for a young woman I met in S.C. who got tears in her eyes and backed away when I started to share the Gospel. This woman has been seriously hurt in the church. Pray for her healing so she will have the courage to turn to Jesus, the one who will never hurt or disappoint her.
- Please pray for safe travel for Pete and I as we travel north and that we will be open to all the people God sends our way.
- Please pray that all our needs will be met as we travel over 6200 miles this summer.
- Please pray for continued health for Pete and I.
Have a blessed Easter. He is risen and He is working in our world today.
Love you All, Pete and Sandy Singer