September 22-27, 2010
It is almost 8 o’clock at night and as soon as I finish these blogs I will be packing up for leaving Ljubljana in another twelve hours. The next time you hear from me, I will be writing from somewhere in Italy.
I am a little apprehensive about street ministry and just wonder what good it does. Of course, I did street preaching and outdoor campaigning for years and wonder now if I didn’t alienate more people than I attracted. This doesn’t mean that there isn’t an effective way to do it. I just don’t think that screaming at folks did much to draw people into the kingdom.
Though frustrated with city hall Rok continued to push through and finally threatened to do it anyway – permission or not. This threat seemed to do the trick so after weeks of pursuing
the request, at the last hour they gave the “go ahead.” It turned out to be a “just right” day, sunny without a hint of wind so we were on the street in the city center by ten in the morning. Several of the ladies set up the kiosk with literature while I put up an easel and readied my paints.
Out of my head I began a watercolor portrait of Jesus and quite a number of people stopped to inquire about what I was doing and to give their compliments. For the most part I had my back to the crowd and continued to work away. At one point a fellow came up to talk and he turned out to be an Italian from Bossano so reading the Italian Bible verse on the back of my shirt, he wanted to know why I had Italian on my back since I wasn’t Italian. In the next minutes I was able to share the gospel with him and he later bought and brought me a coffee and said that he would like to have lunch. Regrettably, he may have returned but if he did, I didn’t see him.
Tadaj…It wasn’t long after this I heard one of our older ladies boldly speaking to an equally bold young man in his twenties. While this was going on, Palona, one of the young ladies came over to us. I stopped her and asked, “He’s giving her a bad time isn’t he?” To this question, she provided a quick, “Yes.” I inquired, “Do you think I should do something about it?” “Well,” Palona said, “someone should.” I couldn’t resist so I made my way around and pretended to listen until there was a break in the conversation at which time I said, “Excuse me, do you speak English?” As I engaged him I could see that he was not being objectionable as much as assertive. He struck me as someone who was looking for satisfying answers and explanations. Frankly, it wasn’t long until the exchange became friendly. I presented the concept of salvation by grace through faith alone. I presented Jesus as the all sufficient sacrifice for sin. I said, “Tadai, what were Jesus’ last words on the cross?” He didn’t do badly at this by suggesting, “Wasn’t it something about why have you turned away from me? Why have you left me alone?” I complimented him and then proceeded to add, “It is finished.” And then explained what Jesus meant with this statement. He said, “I understand! It makes sense. Does my priest know this? Why hasn’t he told me this?”
I explained what he would have to do with the information now that he understood it. I made sure that he understood that he would have turn from his sin and put his full trust and confidence in what Jesus has done for him on the cross. After introducing him to Rok and Pastor Chris, I went back to my painting while they carried on the conversation in Slovenian. Leaving the rest up to Him…I have learned that there is nothing I can do except clearly present the claims of Christ and the means of salvation. I wish I could make Christians out of people but I know that this is the convicting work of the Holy Spirit. I could plant the seed and then rise night and day but none of this is to any avail. I sow the seed and it comes up by itself, first the sprout, then the stalk, and the full blade of corn and then comes harvest.” All of my rising will accomplish nothing. I must allow God to do His perfect work. “I work, and my Father works hitherto.”