The Pocket Full of Quarters Lady
For I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. Phil 4:11 NIV
I try to be content in all circumstances but some circumstances are more challenging than others. The concert, Bonaroo, is an exciting event for most people. You can ride amusement rides, listen to music, play games, eat and eat some more, dance, hear comedians, and sleep in the sunshine. I’ve found that God doesn’t much care about my personal comfort on these missionary journeys and sure enough, at Bonaroo, God put me on Potty Patrol. I wrote about this on my Facebook and the Christian author, editor, speaker, and apparent comedian, James Watkins, commented that I was doing my Christian “dooty.” You have to have a sense of humor when doing God’s work.
Yearly, over 80,000 people descend on the tiny town of Manchester, Tennessee for a concert that attracts the biggest and best popular musicians and entertainers. Ron Fuller is one my mentors and invited me to participate with them in an evangelistic outreach to the concert attendees. Ron, The Sojourner, is pastor of the Sojourners Ministry, a home church ministry whose hub is in Manchester. I go where I’m invited. You can visit the Sojourners Hub
Manchester doesn’t have enough hotel rooms, camp grounds, restaurants, or restrooms to accommodate everyone, so eager attendees sleep in tents and campers on concert grounds and in the Wal-Mart parking lot. Massive rows of portable toilets frame the city and concert grounds. People wait in line in temperatures that exceed 90 degrees and the scowls on faces indicate their distaste for the foul smell and dread of entering the tiny nasty coffin-like boxes. I spent hours standing beside them handing out individually wrapped sanitary wipes and Christian tracts. Potty Patrol worked.
“Would you like a wipe?” I’d offer. Their face would light up.
“Absolutely,” so many said. “Thank you so much.”
“How about a wipe in the name of Jesus? He loves you so much that He put me on Potty Patrol just for you.” Most grinned, took my wipe, the tract, and thanked me. I worried they would toss the tracts in the potty but people were so eco-friendly that they came out carrying and reading their tracts.
One woman said, “Oh, no, not another one. Are you going to tell me I’m going to hell because I’m listening to this music?”
“Did someone tell you that?” I asked.
“Oh yeah, there is a Christian group here warning people that this music will send them to hell.”
“They are not with us. I’m with the Sojourners and we share good news. Music can’t send anyone to hell. That’s bad theology. Jesus came to save the world – not to condemn it. I’m here and I promise you, I’m going to heaven. The Bible says in Romans 3 that all have sinned and that includes the person who told you that. It says in Romans 6 that the wages of sin is death and the gift of God is eternal life. In Romans 10 it says that all who call on the name of Jesus shall be saved.”
“I like the way you think,” she said, her voice cracking.
“I think you’re worried about hell,” I said gently. “Let’s take care of that issue right now.”
“OK,” she said with relief.
“Pray after me,” I said. Line by line, she prayed the following prayer.
“Dear Jesus, I believe in you. I believe you died on a cross and rose from the dead for me. I’ve made mistakes and I ask for your forgiveness. I ask you to come into my life and be my Lord and Savior. Thank you for my salvation.”
When we finished, she was crying. I said, “If anyone else tells you that you are going to hell, you look them in the eye and say firmly, ‘I’ve called on the name of Jesus and He saved me by His blood on the cross. I’m going to heaven.’”
“Thank you so much,” she said, still crying. She hugged me, took her life into her own hands, and dashed into the nasty potty.
Potty Patrol was a success. I gave out 200 wipes and tracts. Next year, I’ll take more. People were grateful for the wipes and while a few refused the tracts, no one got mad. Many received Jesus right there by the smelly stalls and many more walked away reading the words of love. Our small group had 131 salvations and 41 people prayed with me directly to receive Jesus. We never know where God is going to use us. Our job is to say yes to God and to be content in all circumstances – even the smelly ones.