One of the things God has shown me in my life, and something I like to pass on to other people, is that our God is not boring. In fact, He is quite the opposite.
God has amazing plans for you, exciting ideas filled with adventure and experiences you will love to tell stories about.
One such example was my first week of outreach. The first stop in the journey was in a city called Avignon in the southern part of France. We were there during the Festival d’Avignon, which is a very large and very historic performing arts festival that takes place for almost the entire month of July. During this month, visitors travel to Avignon from around the world to see various plays and dances.
The streets are filled with street performers of all kinds: jugglers, dancers, singers, acrobats. Shops line the sidewalks of this historic city with vendors shouting their wares, hoping to get the attention of the passing crowd. You cannot walk down the street without having flyers for a circus or play of some kind thrust towards you. The festival takes place in the oldest part of town; an ancient castle wall surrounds the inner city of narrow cobblestone streets. In the centre, an eight hundred year old cathedral towers over the surrounding buildings.
Because this is such a momentous event for Avignon, a local church saw this as an amazing opportunity for ministry.
God had placed them in a unique position to reach people in creative ways during this festival, so they started a ministry which they called Impact Festival. They invited teams from all over the world to come stay at their church for one week. During the week, all of the teams created a street performance of various Gospel-based dramas and acts, then in between acts, we shared short messages about how much Jesus loves His children. At the same time, other Impact Festival team members who were not currently performing, went into the audience sharing the Gospel. We even had Bibles and devotionals readily available in multiple languages to hand out.
Soon after we arrived and met up with the other teams, we split up into different groups to prepare an act to perform on the street. I was part of a group whose objective was to work together in order to perform an acrobatic act intended to represent unity through diversity. In that group, we represented four different nations from four different continents! Despite our lack of experience in that area, we came together for two days of training under the guidance of a former circus performer. During that time, I was taught how to do a backflip for the act, which was something that I had never been able to do before. It was an amazing experience working with these people from around the world and overcoming language barriers in order to share God’s love through the arts.
The night came when we were to do our performance and I felt nervous.
A crowd of nearly two hundred people were excitedly watching the other Gospel-based performances that led up to ours. I had only just learned how to do a backflip and I couldn’t help but notice how hard the concrete of the street was. I soon found myself standing in front of everyone and it was amazing! We performed with excellence and no one was injured! Afterwards, as I was calming down from the rush of performing in front of the crowd,
I took a moment to thank God for such an amazing and unique experience.
I thought about all the times I heard how hard outreach was, and the different ways that it would push me to my limits, and I can definitely agree with those things! Long days and short nights definitely affected us, but I also marveled at how much God does want good for me.
Our God is good and His plans are good. He wants us to go on adventures and do exciting things for His glory, even if that means performing acrobatics in a festival, doing backflips on the streets of Avignon.
by Brandon Dasher
Compassion Now DTS Student