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Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Trekking and Tracting Through Carowinds

By Cheryle M. Touchton
The Pocket Full of Quarters Lady

Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation. Mark 16:15-16 NIV

OK – I admit it – I love amusement parks. They are fun. People are generally in a good mood and receptive to receiving information about Jesus. I also like rides. I go to amusement parks whenever possible.

My Pocket Full of Quarters journey rule is to go where I’m invited and do what I’m asked. My daughter-in-law Whitney called to say her 92-year-old grandmother was gravely ill. Her grandmother, Louise, was my Girl Scout troop leader when I was child and I love her dearly. I knew she was in Charlotte, North Carolina visiting her youngest son.

“How can I help?” I asked immediately.

“Mom and I want to go to Charlotte. Chris has a business trip and can’t keep the children.“

“If you take the kiddoes to Charlotte, I’ll meet you there.” I negotiated. “They can help me tell people about Jesus while you and Elaine visit Louise.”

If you’ve been reading this blog, you may remember that my youngest granddaughter, 1-year-old Abigaile, helped me hand out tracts a few weeks back. Now, 2-year-old Ava and 6-year-old Noah were going to get a turn. I’d been to Carowinds Amusement Park in Charlotte and knew they would enjoy it so I began making plans.

We arrived at the Charlotte hotel about the same time. “Gi Gi!” Noah said excitedly. “You’re going to love this. Look.” He opened the drawer and pointed to the Gideon Bible.

“Gideon is a ministry that hands out Bibles,” I explained, showing him the name. “I’ve met people who worked with Gideon. God has told them to put a Bible in as many hotel rooms as possible.”

“Let’s go see if there is one in your room,” he said excitedly. Sure enough, I had one too.

“I’m going to put it with your ‘talk to God books,’” Noah said, getting the Bible out of the drawer and taking it to the zippered zoo bag that holds my Bible and study books.

“I brought the ‘talk to God book’ you like,” I said. “We’ll read it tonight before you go to bed.”

That night, I read the children a devotional and showed them the tracts. “We’ll ride rides tomorrow but our job is to tell everyone about Jesus. I need you to help me give these to people.”

The next morning, as we were walking across the Carowinds parking lot, Noah said, “Look Gi Gi, look. Look!” He pointed to a license plate.

“Where is it from?” I asked.

“No,” he said excitedly. “Read it.” The words across the bottom read “In God we Trust.” I thanked him for being so observant and took a picture. We entered the park and began riding rides and handing out tracts.

Ava liked giving tracts to preschool girls like herself. She’d walk up shyly and simply hold it out. I’d ask their mother’s permission and after the mom nodded, the children took the tracts. These cute tracts had a picture of cow and the cover read, “You’re very special to God.” As we stood in lines, Ava beamed as their mothers read the words that told these tiny children about how much God loved them and how they could find Him. Even at 2, Ava understood the importance of what she was doing.

Noah also understood what we were doing and figured out right away which tract was for which age group. We had Transformer tracks for adolescents, Cow Tracts for preschoolers, and Billy Graham tracts for adults. He passed them out everywhere.

Unlike Ava, there was nothing shy about Noah. Worried that a “no thank you” would discourage him, I warned, “Not everyone wants to hear this good news. It is our job to share about Jesus and their job to say yes or no. Even if they say no, we are always nice. We want them to see Jesus in us.” He accepted that and stayed hopeful when 2 people said no thank you. They were polite and so was he.

As we walked out of the park, Noah reached in my purse and grabbed the rest of the tracts. He handed them to everyone we passed. When we were down to 1 Transformer tract, he asked, “Can I keep this one? It’s about transformers.”

“Absolutely,” I said. “We’ll read it before we go to bed tonight.”

We saw many people reading our tracts. We don’t know if anyone prayed to receive Jesus but I’ve met an amazing number of people who say getting a tract played a vital role in their becoming a Jesus follower.

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