Christmas in March? This may seem like an odd time to be publishing a story on a past Christmas event. However, the members of the Castle Valley and Moab churches don't think so. To them, the story is not about a past event but a future one. The success of their missionary fire truck has sparked within them the desire to repeat this again next December, hoping that early planning will bring even greater results from this outreach.
The old fire truck sits beside the road, still wrapped in garland and strung with lights. Across its side panel, the banner declares, “Jesus, Light of the World.” Though tired and worn out, not running as it used to, the fire truck now has a new purpose. Instead of fighting fire, it is now being used to ignite the spark of the gospel in the community of Moab, Utah.
Right on the heels of the Moab Manna potato harvest, the annual community Christmas Electric Light Parade was scheduled to take place. While some church members and volunteers were out harvesting in the potato field, others were decorating the missionary fire truck and preparing give-away bags to be stowed in the compartments of the truck. Inside these bags were age- specific sharing books, activities, and treats. The youth bags included copies of Young Disciple Magazine, and the adult bags held a gift copy of The Great Controversy.
Excitement ran high the evening of December 4, 2021. Students and staff from DayStar Adventist Academy joined the Moab and Castle Valley church members in the pre-parade lineup. Pastor Nathan James gave final instructions and led in a group prayer. Then participants choosing to walk on the street donned blinking-light wreaths, the younger children hopped aboard the fire truck, and the prepared witnessing bags were staged in hand.
As the parade rolled slowly down the streets of Moab, the townspeople lined the route in droves. It was heartwarming to see the community come together and the crowd smiling and waving. It was the perfect time to share about Jesus and the solution to the real spiritual controversy that rages around the globe. The hundreds of gift bags were received with eagerness, and supplies ran out too quickly.
Afterward, as the participants mingled at the church over cookies and hot drinks, plans for next year were already being cooked up. Castle Valley church member Felicia Mayer said, “We need thousands of bags, not hundreds.” The spark of the gospel needs to be ignited in the hearts of the people. Where the people are, that is where God’s workers must go.
Because of the tremendous response from the community, the members of the two churches, along with the academy, are already in preparation for this year’s evangelism. They are determined to be able to provide the Living Bread to everyone willing to receive it. Plans are being made to direct a portion of their evangelism funds to the missionary fire truck outreach, as well other creative evangelism projects.
Nathan James, pastor of the churches, hopes that by hearing this story, you may be encouraged to search for creative ways to reach your community. “It’s time for us to find more ways to meet the needs of the communities around us, not losing sight of the fact that finding Jesus is the greatest of those needs.”
By Charolet James