Fremont For Jesus
Do you ever have moments where something feels familiar and yet you know it's different; as if you were to walk up to an old friend, whom you haven’t seen in years, in the same coffee shop you used to meet? Your old friend would greet you with the same “hello” as before, and you would stand there, struck with the feeling of having been here before but mixed with an understanding that circumstances are different now.
I felt this way last week, as five of us here from YWAM Yosemite participated in something called Fremont For Jesus. My head was a cocktail shaker full of these types of thoughts and emotions - shaken, not stirred - for a recipe that the Lord was surely conjuring up to show me something. Before I explain what Fremont was all about, let me give you a brief background story.
Growing up, my mother’s side of the family was my only religious influence. They were Jehovah’s Witnesses. If you’re reading this, live in the United States, and live in a home or apartment, you're most likely familiar with the type of evangelism that they do: door-to-door, with tracts, magazines, and their bibles. Fremont For Jesus was (and is for one more week) a six-week outreach put on by our friends from YWAM Redding. What type of evangelism were we doing? You may have just guessed it. Door-to-door.
There I was, standing in the first doorway, ready to offer a Gospel of John, an invitation card to church, and some other materials - even full Bibles to those who wanted them. I thought back to when I was young and had gone out and done this with the Kingdom Hall of Jehovah’s Witnesses (what they call church). Then I was reminded that things are different now. Years have since passed. I am married now. My wonderful wife, Lissa, was there beside me, and most importantly, we were here to proclaim Jesus as Lord, as the Founder and Perfecter of faith, and the one who brings hope and is able to reconcile us to God!
We were in Fremont, CA for six days. YWAM Redding was organizing the event for a total of six weeks. Other YWAM bases would jump in for shorter stretches. Our team led worship every morning, preparing our hearts for the task at hand. Then the whole lot of us, about 40-50, would hear from a different speaker for a time of teaching, preparing our minds. After that we put our bodies into action! We went out in groups of two or three from 3:30pm to 8:00pm, sharing the Good News. What a fruitful time it was! Yes, we encountered angry, reluctant, depraved, spiritually blind people, but we also were able to witness to spiritually hungry, desperate, and wanting people. Reports were made back daily of people coming to know Christ and Him crucified. We even were able to evangelize at a Hindu-Indian festival filled with a couple thousand hindu followers!
My takeaway from the week was this: though it is often hard to preach the Gospel to strangers, it is necessary and rewarding. Here is my challenge to you. Open up your Bible app, or go to the index in the back of your Bible, and do a New Testament word search on the word “preach.” Notice the urgency and eagerness of the Apostles. Notice the necessity, and consider the sacrifices given by the apostles to make the Good News known. Consider yourself. Do you have this kind of zeal? Should you?
John’s Gospel ends by saying, “were all of the things Jesus did written down, I suppose the world itself couldn’t contain the books that would be written.” Similarly, there isn’t nearly enough space here to share every testimony from Fremont for Jesus. You’ll just have to ask us yourself!