From: Kathi Sharpe [Kathi]
Sent: Wednesday, November 01, 2000 7:31 AM |
To:aog (at) associate.com
Subject:[AOG] RE: How did you handle Halloween?
Mary Jo wrote:
> I know this can be a touchy subject and I am not trying to stir up This was my first halloween that wasn't celebrated as the pagan holiday, Samhain. My first instinct was to hibernate in bed with the remote control for the evening, or better yet go out of town somewhere … anywhere … My pastor suggested we go out for pizza or something. I was really worried about temptations. My kids and I have always done lots of both silly and serious family rituals on this holiday.
When I told the kids that cancelling Samhain for our family meant cancelling trick or treating, they were rather upset. Turns out they didn't want to GO this year, they wanted to give out candy.
My husband and I prayed about it for a while, and I did a little research on the web as to what other Christians DO on this day. I found a couple of great sites like Light the Night. So, after gathering some ideas, we decided to do what our little family could do to reclaim this day for the Lord.
We lit up our front yard (white Christmas lights and a big spotlight), sat in lawn chairs, and gave out candy, crayons, and comic book tracts. We put a big sign by the road and made free coffee for the grownups. We played WoW Worship on the stereo, had an impromptu puppet show, crayons and paper for kids who wanted a break, and even a bathroom for a few to use. We even had big paper bags for the kids who had broken or filled their treat bags. I had a paper printed out with some basic info for parents and my email address if they wanted to follow up.
A total of 141 kids and only God knows how many grownups either heard or read about Jesus. Many of them also heard about what halloween really is, and why we were sitting in our lit-up front yard with no screams, bubbling cauldrons, gravestones, or blood.
I can't say that we had any immediate conversions, although several of the adults we shared coffee with were so impressed by our demonstration of "love thy neighbor" that I bet they'll be in touch. Many of the kids wanted to talk to our kids, and one little boy, about 4 years old, went hollering up the street … "Daddy, LOOK! It's JESUS! A comic book!" Daddy, who was waiting across the street, told him to put it away. The little boy insisted on walking and reading it. Daddy was obliged to get out a flashlight, and then to sit and read it with him. We didn't want to be too pushy, so we didn't chase up the street after them. In retrospect, we probably didn't do enough.
We also had a VERY interesting thing happen … four of the teenage hoodlums from the next street over showed up and demanded coffee. Not asked, demanded. These are the same kids who have shot out our streetlights, thrown rocks at houses and children, stolen things, and generally been awful. One of them's been to adult jail at least twice, and he's not yet 16. But before my husband could tell them to go away, I stepped in front of him ;) and told the kids sure, they could share in God's love with us. They just blinked and asked for lots of sugar. So I fixed those kids hot coffee and smiled at them. I could tell they thought I was a bit weird. I could also tell that they didn't get smiled at a lot, especially by grownups. One of the kids was in pain, so I offered some motherly advice and told him I'd pray for him. He didn't want prayer right then (probably because of his friends … but I saw that hungry look in his eyes). They finished their coffee and I even got thanked as they were on their way out of the yard. By the time they reached the next house, one of them (I think the one who has hurting but I'm not sure) was telling his buddies that he was thinking about going to church. They said "Come on, (at) !#$! (at) #!" … but he said no, he was serious … why didn't they come with him? We didn't get to hear the rest of the conversation. But I remember their faces, and next time I see any of them out on the street, I'm going to smile, and say hi, and trust God from there to know what to do to reach these guys.
Equally interesting was the intense opposition we faced. My husband was late getting home to set up the lights. I totally forgot about dinner so we were hungry evangelists. The printer jammed (something that NEVER happens with this printer) not once but five times. The CD player didn't want to work. I went out back to get some wood stakes to put the lights on (we have them strung rather like a fence) and I fell off the woodpile. We thought at first that I was seriously injured. I landed with my knees across a board and with my wrist twisted underneath me, and with a knock on the head too. I layed there and prayed (rolling and crying … no kidding!) for a few minutes, and then this sense of peace came over me … I got up, and had no pain all evening. The big cuts that were on my knees last night are barely there this morning. I am a little stiff and sore today, but that's it. And after that incident, we had a peaceful evening. God is awesome :)
So, seeds were sown. We got to meet some of the more reclusive neighbors. Some of the people who saw a cauldron in my yard last year heard about the cross this year. It was really neat, and I thank God for the opportunity. And because we all stayed completely focused on Jesus all day … not a one of us missed any of the things we've done before. We also learned a lot about how to (and how not to) talk to people about Jesus. This was our first time doing intentional, face-to-face evangelism of ANY kind. It was a way cool evening. :)
> trouble, but I am interested to know how different ones of us spent
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