Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying: "Whom shall I send, and who will go for Us?” Then I said, “Here am I! Send me.” Isaiah 6:8, NKJV.
On August 4th, I asked GNN NJ Local Leader Tiffany Gelpi if she and some others, whom I met during the NYC EBC, would be interested in coming up to evangelize at a community event in Peekskill, New York.
Each year the city holds a series of events celebrating the history and heritage of the city, which culminates with a fireworks display where approximately 3,000+ people attend at the community Riverfront Green by the train station.
Altogether there were eight of us who came up for the event. Tiffany, Ellen Evans, Fred and Stacy Knapp, Nick Astacio, Obie Hill, Byron and myself.
All I can say is WOW, what a night it was!!
I saw quite a few people that I had not seen in years from high school and when they asked what was new with me, well, it just opened up the door to tell them about Christ in my life while handing them a Billion Dollar Bill or a Big Money $100 bill.
I watched Tiffany have a great conversation with a girl who went to my high school, but graduated a few years after me; Fred Knapp was engaged talking to alot of people as well. Ellen and I went into the main area of the gathering and started handing out tracts and one joker tried to get her phone number and she just handed him a Million Dollar Bill instead! Tiffany was witnessing to 3 or 4 county police officers too at one point!
During the evening, I spoke to a Marine who had been recently discharged from his active duty service commitment. He spent two tours in Iraq and it led to me discussing what he thought about death while in Iraq. After hearing what he believed, he was very attentive to what I was saying concerning the reality of hell as Jesus talked about it in Luke 16, and the parable of The Rich Man and Lazarus. He also understood that our violation of God's Law (Ten Commandments), our sin, deserves to be punished by God. The only way to heaven was by repentance and by becoming born-again. Because both of us were Marines was a plus and that time spent with him was so worthwhile and I thanked God for that.
When I had finished speaking to the Marine, Ellen had captured four young teenage girls' attention as she took them through the Law too. When she had finished each of them received a bible and were instructed in what they needed to do, repent, trust in Jesus Christ and begin to read the bible, preferably starting with the Gospel of John.
I had handed the big $100 bills to some kids who were maybe 10 or 12 years old and Nick stepped in and asked them the $100 question! He had them for a good few minutes preaching to these young kids too and it was amazing to watch! Nick is like a bulldog when it comes to witnessing and preaching and it's his tenacity for seeing people come to the knowledge and truth in understanding who Christ is and what He did for us that is so inspiring to me.
That night I wore a t-shirt I received as a promotion gift from work, for the movie The Bourne Ultimatum and that's what it said on the front of the shirt, The Bourne Ultimatum.
Little did I even realize that the title of the movie on the t-shirt communicated a hidden message too as I was handing out tracts. Every person does have an ultimatum with God, and quite literally it is as Jesus said, repent or perish. (Luke 13:3,5, NKJV).
I was able to present the Gospel to several people I had gone to high school with, some whom I played baseball with during a summer league and some who were neighbors where I had lived near the high school.
I was saddened though when two brothers absolutely believed they were going to hell, even thinking that hell was here on earth and they felt that their good works would satisfy God's wrath for their sin against Him. Since they knew they were guilty and destined for hell, all I can say is that I cut to the chase of their realization and went straight to the cross. They did not choose to repent and trust in Christ that evening, but a seed was planted, many seeds were planted by all of us.
This event will be held again next year, unless Jesus comes before then, so hopefully we can get a larger group to come up and evangelize the community in even greater numbers.
As the fireworks display concluded the celebration and people were gazing at the wonderful and beautiful show, I had wished that everyone there would have the same high expectation to see Christ return, even meeting Him in heaven, like they did to see the beautiful array of colors and shapes as they lit up the sky.
"Behold, He is coming with clouds, and every eye will see Him, even they who pierced Him. And all the tribes of the earth will mourn because of Him. Even so, Amen." Revelation 1:7, NKJV.
Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.