About a month ago, a pastor from a nearby church approached me with a terrific idea. He proposed having an evangelistic soccer tournament in our town of Montijo. We would invite churches from other towns to come, but the main emphasis would be to invite people in our town. It would be a good way to build contacts and share the gospel with an unsaved audience in a non-threatening environment. It would be great.
We found and rented a beautiful soccer field. We printed and distributed flyers all around town (and several people promised to bring teams). We bought the necessary supplies, and everything seemed to be in place.
Now keep in mind, we were inviting people to a soccer tournament. This was not an invitation to a revival meeting or an all-night prayer vigil, something that most people would immediately reject. From my perspective, it seemed like a sure thing that we would have at least a few teams from our town. But it was not to be. Saturday afternoon rolled around, and the other churches showed up with their teams. As the minutes ticked by, I began to realize that there was nobody from our town. Despite the invitations, the promises made by the people who received them, and my high hopes, it seemed as if all the preparation and expense were in vain. I tried to keep a good attitude, and remember that at least we were having a good time of fellowship between churches. And yet I couldn’t help but wonder in frustration, why?
Midway through the tournament, we paused for lunch and the message. A teenager from one of the visiting churches gave a tremendously powerful gospel presentation. Again, I thought, “Boy, this sure would have been great if some unsaved people from our town had showed up to hear this.” And then I noticed, sitting nearby was the man in charge of renting and taking care of the field. He didn’t have to be there, but there he was, listening intently to the message. Afterwards I talked for quite a while with Francisco about the gospel. While he did not make a profession of faith, he heard the truth about Jesus very clearly.
Perhaps all the work and planning was simply so that this one man could hear the gospel. I don’t know. Regardless, we will keep working and praying and planning and inviting. I believe that someday God will surprise us with a spiritual awakening in this town, and that the work we are doing today will be worth it.