Open Air Story of the Month
Posted July 2018
Brian also shared that three different teachers from three different schools pulled him aside one week to thank him for what he and the teams are doing in their schools. "We need this so much." "You are offering hope to these kids and they need it!" "I love, love, love what you're doing here." Brian had not met any of these three teachers before, but it's very obvious that God is using their efforts to reach beyond just the students.
With so much violence happening in our school systems in recent days, our Michigan Director, Brian Harmon shares that God is at work, even in the midst of much turmoil. Recently, Brian and two youth pastors were entering into a public school when the superintendent of this school parked next to them and was walking in at the same time. Past conversations with him were few, and Brian didn't really know how he perceived the Bible Club taking place. During their short conversation on the way into the school, the superintendent said, "So many broken children. Some are so broken they are a danger to themselves and to others. Thank you, me, for what you are doing here. These kids need your consistency and something stable." This school had been on lockdown the day before due to a threat, so the superintendent's words were full of fresh meaning.
Posted June 2018
One of our OAC staff in the state of New York, Erin Chervenak, shared that she was able to work with a local church recently in the state's Southern Tier. The church is located in an exceedingly difficult and hardened section of Elmira, which is permeated with every conceivable earthly ill. Outreach and ministry efforts often bring discouragement for Christians in that area; however, as Erin was practicing some object lessons with the church members, a man named Roy suddenly walked in off the street for help. As it turned out, Roy was 100% Cherokee with Stage Four Lung Cancer; he and his wife, Paula, were making their way to Massachusetts but had run out of money for tolls. The door opened to share the Gospel with Roy, and he even prayed to receive the Lord. One of the pastor's daughters also had the opportunity to do the "heaven jar" object lesson for a real audience! The small group of participants were greatly encouraged that the Lord was going before them that day as they were obedient in preparing to share Christ.
Posted May 2018
Summer is fast approaching as all our staff gear up for many open-air outreach opportunities. Evangelist Paul Adams reports of the great summer ministry last year working with a team of youth for four weeks in the Calgary, Edmonton and Vancouver areas of Canada. The Gospel was preached to a wide range of people from many different cultures. The time began with Paul and the team working with a church plant doing two VBS programs each day out in communities surrounding the building in which the local church met. Children were reached who originated from Vietnam, Lebanon, Iraq and various nations of Africa. Some were Muslims and the team was able to share about the only true God of Holy Scripture and the good news of the Gospel. Paul's wife, Carmina, an integral part of that summer team, reported that in over 20 years of open-air ministry, she could not honestly remember a time like this where so many conversations were truly Divine appointments. She was in awe to see how God brought those conversations about and how the Holy Spirit drew lost people to be ministered to one-on-one by our team members at the perfect time needed.
Posted March 2018
A few months ago, OAC staff man Bob Ewerth had the opportunity to minister in a Korean church, sharing the Gospel during their festival. Their large gym was filled with games, bouncy rides, food, face painting and a special area where Bob was able to set up his sketchboard so the kids could come to hear the Gospel in groups of about 50 at a time. He was expecting to have one meeting each half hour from 2-6pm. At 1:50 p.m., the first group arrived, and Bob presented a 15-minute Gospel program as requested. When that group left, instead of having the next group enter a half-hour later, 50 more children came in right away. This was fine at the start, but when that group left, the next group immediately entered. So the groups were now coming back-to-back so that at 3:30 p.m., all but one of Bob's prepared sketches were used up. As the next group entered, he found himself slinging paint like a mad-man trying to prepare for the next group. When it was all said and done, the Lord provided a total of 17 groups which consisted of approximately 400 kids and 100 adults in total! Running out of sketches, using all your paint and scrambling like crazy to keep the Gospel going forth is a challenging situation to be in. Bob reports that in over 41 years of ministry, he never spoke as much within such a short time period! What a great opportunity and wide-open door the Lord provided that day to make Himself known to the multitudes!
Posted February 2018
Our USA Field Director, Eric Briscoe, and his wife, Diane, travel much in their ministry to our staff, working alongside them in the open air and as they share the Gospel with lost folks. On a recent trip, Eric ministered at Indiana University of Pennsylvania with co-workers Zane Dempsie, Matthew Smart and Ed Neimann. Matthew was preaching on "The Problem of Evil." Eric approached a student named Cole who was listening; with glazed eyes, Cole asked Eric why his girlfriend had been shot and killed the previous week. Eric silently prayed I Kings 3:9, and then started talking to Cole about the empty tomb, working his way backwards through the Gospel and the problem of evil. After a long conversation, Eric prayed with Cole who ended up hugging him and thanking Eric for speaking the truth.
Posted November 2017
We are thankful for our OAC Board of Directors who give oversight to our mission and are involved first hand in the ministry of evangelism with us. One of our board members, Joe Toy, lives in the Philadelphia area and was preaching in the open air at the Olney Transportation Center recently. A young man crossed the street and approached one of Joe's team members, Pastor Joseph. They proceeded to have a lengthy conversation, which is rare at this location due to many busy people on their way to work. This day, however, the Lord brought this Saudi Arabian man across our path who is here in the US to learn English. He inquired as to whether we could get him an Arabic Bible. Pastor Joseph was more than able to handle this request and will make sure this man receives the Bible requested. Who knows, this man may come to Christ and be like the Apostle Paul going back to his home nation to reach others!
Posted October 2017
One of our OAC Texas staff couples, Chip and Kim Wolfe, take time each year to minister in Vermont at a children's camp. This past year was no exception, and we rejoice at the following note which Chip and Kim shared with us recently. "I wanted to give you a praise from your time at River Of Life this summer. A young man received Christ while being there with you (his dad works with my husband and is not a Christian). His son was witnessing to his dad and his mom (they are divorced) and to some of the guys at his father's work. He also insisted he wanted to be in church each week and is reading his Bible everyday. It is wonderful to see this young man in 'action.' Thank you for all you do to share Christ!"
Posted September 2017
Back in 1991, our OAC Switzerland staff man, Kurt Schafli, came to the USA and opened up our work in Wyoming. Kurt takes advantage of many unique opportunities to share Christ in that part of the country. Conducting meetings with adults, children and teens on the Wind River Reservation and in surrounding areas have provided great opportunities to minister through the years. Kurt conducts regular ministry at Pow-Wow gatherings, in local prison facilities, at local parks, in local churches and recently showing “The Privileged Planet” movie as preparation for the Eclipse event that took place. Another unique opportunity happened at the Riverwalk gathering as good conversations ensued with Mormons. Kurt was glad to engage them in some great conversations about the reliability of the Bible and the reality of God’s love in a world of suffering. Kurt was able to elaborate on the suffering Christ endured on the cross where His redemptive work took place and how that applies to us in these days, not based on our good works.
Posted August 2017
Our OAC Michigan Director, Brian Harmon, shares how he received an email from a Western Michigan University (WMU) student named David who had never heard the story of Jesus and the Gospel before but feels David truly received Christ that day. They talked on the sidewalk on campus for about 40 minutes, and when they were done, Brian left his email address with David. Here is what David wrote: "Hey Brian, sorry it took so long to write. I have prayed to God many times asking for forgiveness
of all my sins, for the security of my family and friends and the voice of His eternal life. You are an angel in disguise, reporting the Word of God to strangers around the country. We need more people like you who will spread the Word of Jesus."
Posted July 2017
Keep praying for those whom the Lord puts on your heart. Here is a great example of why, as told by Erin Chervenak who ministers in upstate New York. “In the early spring, we had some unusually warm days. On one of these days, a large group of kids were playing just outside of the Community Center... a boy with bright blond hair, probably not more than ten years old, followed us in to see what was going on. ‘Bible Club - would you like to join us?’ He emphatically answered, ‘No’ and didn’t linger. Later, after the club, I was passing out a few tracts to kids still playing football; he took one, but threw it on the ground after realizing what it was. Just this past week, he suddenly came to mind; I was driving around doing something, and I think I said the briefest of all brief prayers for him. I thought maybe I would see him at some point later in the summer. Much to my surprise, he showed up for Bible Club this past week, remained attentive the whole time, and even made my somewhat dorky craft at the end. He seemed especially interested when I did a short game after the story that revealed some simple apologetics for why the Bible was really true. He insisted his name was Jeff, although a couple other kids around him shot him strange looks and told me his name was really Ed. So, whoever he is, Jeff or Ed, he is apparently on the Lord’s mind!” Keep praying.
Posted June 2017
Los Angeles staff man, Russ Hodder, shared with us recently that a man named Johnson was intently listening one evening to a testimony from his team member, Bette Bond, at the Newport pier. Talking with him after the meeting, Russ asked Johnson if what he had just heard made any sense to him. Johnson replied, "Yes, it's something I have been thinking about a long time." After questioning him further, Russ found out Johnson believed all he needed to know in order to trust Jesus as Savior. Russ asked Johnson if he had ever made that step of faith and when he said, "No," Russ asked him if he would like to make that step tonight. Johnson responded with an emphatic "Yes." When they had finished praying together, Johnson knew for sure he was part of God's family and rejoiced in that. Johnson is from Central California and was visiting Southern California for his niece's graduation; as it turns out, he too graduated - into God's kingdom!
Posted May 2017
Our OAC staff man in Western Pennsylvania, Zane Dempsie, shares how he met a young man named Shawn on the streets of State College while conducting a Friday night ministry two years ago. It was Shawn's freshman year in college at that time, and it was not going well for him. Shawn shared many things with Zane in a 30-45 minute conversation, including his battle with depression, questioning the existence of God, broken relationships and an accident that left him in a wheelchair. This year, in God's providence, Shawn saw Zane on campus sharing Christ and took the initiative to strike up a conversation with Zane. Shawn recalled some of the most recent events in his life, including the most important details of how God had saved him last year and how he was now trusting Christ, attempting to live a godly life and had just been baptized. Zane was overcome with joy at this divine appointment and example of how God uses the seeds of the Gospel which we share to bring about a harvest. Catching a glimpse of such fruits of his labor was a great encouragement and blessing to Zane and to all who hear this wonderful testimony.
Posted April 2017
Mark shared that one day in the subway, he met Kinsen, a young man who was very interested in talking with co-worker Eric Briscoe about eternal matters. After Eric shared with this fellow about the Law of God (Ten Commandments), Kinsen paused and said, "I'm in a predicament." What a response! We can't receive grace until we know we need it! Kinsen said, "I don't have a good reason for why God should let me into Heaven." Eric shared God's saving message with this fellow and pointed him to the Bible. It's awesome to see what kind of strangers God sends our way! Please pray for this polite and thoughtful young man.
Staff man Mark Sohmer ministers in the New Hampshire / Boston area and reports that for the most part, subway evangelism is some of the most effective ministry they do all year! God always seems to work so amazingly in the subway. And He seems to bring people there from around the world.
Posted March 2017
We love to assist local churches to become effective in open-air evangelism and do our best to train and assist them when possible. Staff man Mark Kennedy from Idaho had an opportunity to train Pastor Keith Weaver, a pastor from Texas who met with his team and two other churches in Colorado. Pastor Weaver wrote to us thanking the Lord for using Mark in helping transform his local church, which is in a rural location centered between three towns. The people caught the vision for reaching people outside the church, and over the past few months, they have been going out to local football stadiums and setting up outreach tents. The response has been overwhelming, and folks in these local towns have heard a clear presentation of the Word of God and been given the opportunity to trust Christ as Savior.
Posted February 2017
God's favor was surely with staff man Frank Baldus and his team in an extended multi-day outreach at Oceanside pier in California. On the first night, they saw nearly 40% of the people ministered to profess Christ as Lord and Savior. They presented four gospel presentations and recorded that 79 people listened. Of those, 30 people stepped forward to call on the name of the Lord and be saved. On the second night, they shared five gospel presentations, recorded 88 individuals who listened, and seven who called on the Lord to save them. They also noticed more Christians in the area the second night and were able to be a blessing and encouragement to them as they saw what God could do in the open air through those who are willing to conduct such ministry. Before leaving the area, Frank and his team attended a local church and found out that on Friday nights, these believers have an evening prayer meeting, which we are confident was not a coincidence when looking back and seeing the great way God's Spirit was moving in the lives of many individuals.
Posted January 2017
Back in 1973, Hunter, a drop out from junior high school and a hippie, was walking along the boardwalk in Ocean City, Maryland, on drugs. In his pocket was a loaded .32 pistol. His wife was divorcing him and his world was crumbling. At the end of the boardwalk, he planned to walk out on the rocks, shoot himself, fall into the water, and disappear forever. As he was walking to this final destination, his eye caught something glowing on the beach, and he wondered if it was real. Coming out onto the sand, he saw our sketchboard with a black light illuminating the message. Joining the crowd, he listened as the good news of the Gospel was being proclaimed. After the message, he was the first to respond and sat down on the beach where he prayed to trust Christ. God worked mightily in his life from that point and a year later, he was preaching at the same spot on the beach and people were responding to Christ. The Lord used him and one by one, lives were transformed including an atheist, homosexual and those contemplating suicide. Hunter went to Bible school for a year, completed a university degree in psychology and has now served for many years as a Christian counselor at a hospital. The Lord has done a wonderful work in his life, given him a good wife, family and tremendous ministry of pointing people to Christ.
Posted December 2016
While at Montgomery College in Maryland, staff man Paul Adams shared with students about sin in the church, our nation's sin, and personal sin. A discussion about abortion resulted. Speaking of the unborn, one young lady said, "But they are not human." Paul replied, "Are you 100% sure they are not human?" The crowd became silent. She sheepishly replied, "Well no" with a sense of shock on her face. There was a sense that most everyone there was under conviction because a sense of soberness prevailed. Paul continued, "So how is it that anyone would approve of or take part in abortion if they are not sure?" Again, silence. Paul went on to speak about the personhood of a baby and explained that the slaughter of the unborn is our holocaust and that saying they are not human is akin to how people thought and talked about black people in this country's history. Paul then concluded with the Gospel and shared how God can forgive all who repent and believe, including those who have had an abortion. After Paul concluded, he packed to leave as students walked with him to his truck and asked more questions. Please pray that God's Word would penetrate these hearts and that the students would remain receptive when Paul returns.
Posted November 2016
Los Angeles staff man Russ Hodder shared that after an open-air meeting at Hermosa Pier, he started talking to two young men who seemed interested in the presentation. They turned out to be two non-practicing Mormons and were open to the Gospel, as they had never been exposed to it before. They were not defensive about their Mormon background, because they didn't believe it anyway. Three friends soon joined them and Russ was able to share the Gospel with all five. He gave them all Gospels and a movie on the life of Jesus, which they said they would watch. Please pray for these five young men that the Spirit of God would bring them to a saving knowledge of Christ.
Posted August 2016
It is exciting to hear how God has used our OAC staff here in the States and around the world to share Christ with folks. We received a letter from a lady who shared that as a young teenager, her house was often filled with people partying and just looking to have a good time. In fact, the police had been called to this house 57 times by the neighbors! One afternoon, one of our OAC staff, who lived next door, felt led to conduct an open-air meeting in her backyard. She and her friends asked the staff man to leave, which he did in a polite and respectful way as a Christ-honoring servant. After a long and painful life of disobedience and rebellion, this lady ended up in jail facing up to a 20-year sentence in prison. She found herself in bondage to drugs and even contemplated ending her life to spare her daughter the life she was subjecting her to. This lady's note encouraged us to keep ministering and be assured that our efforts for the Lord are not in vain. She came to a point where complete surrender to God took place as she trusted Christ and surrendered fully and has answered God's call to ministry. She wrote in a note, "...Thank you from the bottom of my heart, if there is every anything I can do for you, don't hesitate to contact me."
Posted July 2016
Our OAC International President, Rob George, is from Australia. He frequently travels the world visiting our OAC branches and was here in the States recently to help with ministry outreach. As he was working with Brian Harmon in our Michigan branch, he reported of great opportunities to share Christ. A team of young people from Nebraska were receiving training from Brian during Rob's visit, and together, they were able to reach out into various communities. It was a blessing for them to make contact with a cross section of the Lansing area population including African-Americans and folks from Nepal and Iraq. In the Iraqi community, an 11-year-old girl, Zinab, told the team that her family had lived in four countries. They fled Iraq because, "Bad people wanted to kill them." Zinab, her mom and sisters have been attending open-air meetings conducted by Brian and his team for the past four years. This year, they are all quick to speak of Jesus and how His blood paid for their sins to put them right with God. The mom eagerly recruits neighborhood kids and encourages them to attend the open-air meetings and listen to God's Word!
Posted June 2016
Our Los Angeles Branch Director, Frank Baldus, and his team have seen God at work in mighty ways. One night at Hermosa Pier, Frank finished a gospel-painting presentation, but the Lord wasn’t done with it. Barry, a regular team leader, re-preached the message, after it was taken off the board, to a family of five having them hold it while he explained. As a result, all five professed Christ! Then a man named Jonathan, who proclaimed to be an atheist, conversed with Frank for a bit, admitted that he was actually an agnostic and happily received John’s Gospel and a book about how the Bible is from God! He was astonished that we were giving the resources for free. Frank also had opportunity to speak with three young Muslim men. One seemed to be their unofficial spokesman, but they all listened intently and respectfully to Frank's challenges. They departed with the books of John and Romans in English/Arabic, plus a DVD on the life of Christ in English/Arabic.
Posted May 2016
Through the years, Mike Malszycki has been a good friend of the ministry, served as an OAC staff member, branch committee and board member. God recently opened the doors for Mike to minister in Cuba where he taught a short course called "The Story of God." It was quite a week: teaching, visiting with people from the churches and even questioned by Cuban authorities. The church is alive and growing from its decimation in the 1959 "revolution." A remnant of believers faithfully carried on since those difficult days and, as a result, the church is now exploding in numbers. Home churches are allowed, and they are quite active and growing. Cuba is not just seeing Christians by addition, the numbers are growing by multiplication! The people of Cuba, as well as the church, still have a ways to go to be free of the many difficulties they face, but they are well on their way and God is blessing greatly.
Posted April 2016
Each year, some of our OAC staff train and lead a group of young people from Liberty University to Florida for outreach to spring break crowds in Miami. This year, one of our board members, Joe Toy, joined the group and reported that the Lord blessed by giving them some big crowds each night and, in God's providence, there were a number of Muslims listening to the Gospel. Joe remembered talking to men from Lebanon, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and Pakistan during their five nights on the street, and each person from those regions spoken to left the meeting location with a Gospel of Luke in Arabic. Conducting international evangelism that week in the city of Miami was another example of "Presenting Christ By All Means Everywhere."
Posted March 2016
One of our newest staff, Erin Chervenak, shared that it always amazes her how receptive small children are to the Word of God. We should never underestimate God’s ability to break through to even the youngest hearts. Erin was able to come alongside and assist another mission recently in their after school program. Among the group were a few non-readers so she wondered if they were truly perceiving the major themes of the message. When they did the story of the Good Shepherd, a review took place and Michael, a five-year-old non-reader, excitedly raised his hand to answer every question. When we got to the question, “Who is the wolf and what does he do?”, she called on him and without missing a beat, Michael emphatically declared, “That’s the devil and he comes to steal, kill, and destroy!!” His total recall was amazing. Please pray for the Lord’s Word to continue to enter Michael’s heart and that he would never be entangled with the snares of the evil one.
Posted February 2016
Our evangelist-at-large, Paul Adams, shared how he was blessed to lead a ministry team to the main central square of Vienna, Austria. They had a large team and large crowds. A young Muslim woman came forward after the invitation was given at one meeting, and she told how that previous night she had a dream. In her dream, she was in a river of blood, along with thousands of her religion. Many extremists were doing deadly acts, which filled the river with even more blood. All of them together were heading over a precipice to destruction. She wanted to get out of the river of blood but did not know how. Her god seemed powerless to help. In her dream, she decided to pray to the Christian's God. Immediately, in her dream, she saw a painting of a green hill with a red cross and a man standing in front of the painting saying, "Come to Jesus." The very next day as she walked through the city square, she saw that same painting and the same man with an outreached hand saying, "Come to Jesus." That man was Paul Adams. She immediately responded and came to Christ.
Posted January 2016
We covet your prayers for this frontline ministry. OAC Los Angeles Branch Director, Russ Hodder, tells of the call he received from one of his voluntary workers, who had decided go down to their scheduled Newport Pier open-air site early. She told Russ it was totally gridlocked. He prayed, and decided to change the location last minute to Seal Beach. While he knew it would also be very crowded, the team would at least not face gridlock in the parking structure. Russ managed to contact everyone, and they all converged on the site from every direction; everyone arrived at about the same time. Though it was very crowded, God got all 13 of the team members immediate parking, and they were able to have six very successful and well-attended open-air meetings! God delights in answering even the smallest of requests on our behalf.
Posted December 2015
Do you have those times when you are low on money and you go searching the sofa, junk drawers and coat pockets for loose change? Our OAC man in Idaho, Mark Kennedy, tells of a time when he was low on gospel tracts and went searching around for anything he could find to use at his upcoming meeting outreach. He found a curious assortment including a wordless book with pictures that tell of creation, ten commandments, the cross and the resurrection. The tract Mark found is no longer printed in this particular format, so he was saving it as it was the last one. This day, it was going in the tract box. D uring one of his meetings out in the open air, a man named Patrick approached the team and asked what was going on. Mark asked what he knew of Jesus, the Bible and the gospel message, which wasn't very much, and at the end offered Patrick a Bible to take with him. Patrick said he couldn't read anymore because of an injury received by a gunshot wound to the head. But guess what Mark had in his tract box? That wordless book was the perfect piece of literature for Patrick, one that had no words but clearly illustrated the gospel message. Mark went through the tract with Patrick, and he took it with him saying he could also go to the local library and listen to the Bible on a computer.
Posted November 2015
In ever increasing numbers, folks from other countries are coming to our doorstep. Sharing the Gospel with these folks out in the open air in their homeland would be dangerous and even illegal in many cases. But here in the USA, God gives us an open door of opportunity and our staff step through these open doors on a daily basis. One week, our Boston branch of OAC kept track of all the countries represented as they shared Christ with individuals. They reached people from Brazil, Chile, Dominican Republic, England, France, Hungary, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Korea, Mexico, New Zealand, Pakistan, Puerto Rico, Russia, Spain, Turkey, and Vietnam, along with many Americans!
Posted October 2015
Rejoice with us at this report from staff man Zane Dempsie: "It was evident that God was moving on the Indiana State University (IUP) campus. The day started out like any other day on campus. This was the second day we preached there this semester. Matthew Smart, my ministry partner and pastor, preached first. Some students stopped, and we were able to engage in conversation. Praise God! Then, I painted up a message to preach and discuss "Worldviews." After preaching for about ten minutes, a group of students came out to the patio of the building, took out their notebooks and began to listen and take notes. I soon realized this was a class of students, and their professor brought them out to listen to the preaching as part of their class for the day. I found out that it was an English class, and after I preached the Gospel several times, they began to raise their hands and ask questions. The professor even raised her hand at one point to ask a question. This was truly amazing to see how God was moving. This went on for over 40 minutes! As the class came to an end, the students went back inside, but many other students stopped by, and we were able to continue having gospel conversations throughout the rest of the afternoon.
Posted May 24 2015
Our OAC Michigan Director, Brian Harmon, tells of how they have been praying for Justin's salvation (a senior at Perry High School). The first week of April, Justin and Brian started meeting outside of the normal Bible study program at school. During their first conversation, Justin shared how he wasn't a Christian because he wanted to investigate things further, didn't know if he was deserving... and he wasn't 100% sure he wanted to leave his "fleshly" life behind him. Needless to say, Brian was encouraged at this initial conversation and asked if he would be willing to read three books of the Bible. Fast forward over spring break. They met again, and this time, Justin was excited to share that over spring break, he had read Matthew, John, and started Romans. He said, "As I got through chapter three in Romans, I stopped reading and found myself talking to God silently. I asked God to forgive me for all of my sins and asked Jesus to save me. I want you to know, I'm born again now." Please keep praying for Justin as he launches into the Christian journey. They are doing weekly Bible studies right now - going through the Navigators Bible Study material.
Posted April 16 2015
We are thankful that God uses our staff not only out on the front lines of evangelism but also to help equip others to do the same. This year, our one-week sketchboard evangelism training (SET) sessions will, once again, take place in Boston and Washington, DC and already, our Boston location is full to capacity! In between these SET sessions throughout the year, training continues to take place as shared by one of our OAC staff members in the Baltimore/Washington, DC area, Chris Reick. Chris was able to train a team in his local church earlier this year so they could travel to Cambodia and use the sketchboard ministry in that location. One of those whom Chris trained, by the name of Joyce, was able to take the skills she learned in the class all the way to Cambodia and present a Gospel sketchboard-style message to the kids there. It is so amazing to realize how God orchestrates all this for His glory and uses us to build up one another so the lost can receive a clear presentation of salvation.
Posted March 17 2015
Our Field Director, Eric Briscoe, reported that we had a wonderful week of open-air ministry with college students and OAC staff in Miami. Eric led this team recently to reach out with the Gospel to those on spring break in this part of Florida. Every night, they had conversations with Saudi Muslims on South Beach. The students testified on Friday that before they came, they were either told or believed themselves that this type of evangelism would not work. After the week with us they were all convinced that meaningful relationships and Gospel conversations were entered into through the power of the Gospel and the working of the Holy Spirit. We had 27 adult meanings with 540 in attendance and five kids meetings with 165 in attendance. God worked in a great way and we are grateful.
Posted February 15 2015
Our Los Angeles Director, Russ Hodder, tells of his days doing open-air ministry as a student in Bible college where a young twenty-year-old Hispanic man by the name of Rodolfo trusted Christ in one of the meetings in downtown Los Angeles. He then later led 12 of his immediate family to Christ and worked with us for several years as a volunteer. Russ had lost track of him for the last number of years, often wondering how he was doing. Last spring, Rodolfo and members of his extended family showed up at one of our open-air meeting locations on Santa Monica Pier. His younger brother Carlos had found us on the internet and called asking for our schedule but did not reveal who he was! They wanted to surprise Russ, and what a wonderful reunion that was. The entire family still continues to faithfully serve the Lord to this day. Rodolfo is now coming up on his 60th birthday. We praise God for this fruit that has matured, multiplied and lasted all these years.
Posted January 19 2015
It is very encouraging to hear testimonies of how God has used this open-air outreach through the years in the lives of many individuals. A lady named Linda shared with us how in the summer of 1975, she was with a group of friends in Ocean City, Maryland, who decided to mock some of our open-air workers who were sharing Christ at the shore one evening. But God had other plans as one of the team shared the gospel message with Linda and she knelt down on the beach and prayed to receive Christ. Linda recently told us that she wanted to say a special “thank You” from the depths of her soul because our workers were faithful to God that night. She told us, “I obtained a degree in Christian missions, married a godly man, and served the Lord in Lebanon and Canada with my dear husband … we have seen people saved and much seed has been sown … all my children have made professions of faith.”
Posted December 20 2014
Our staff in the Boston area spoke to a veteran police officer for the city who stopped by at one of our open-air meetings at the Boston University campus. After 15 years on the force, he became discouraged and disillusioned about who he had become. He said, “I had become like the people I was arresting.” He quit the force and became a recluse in his home, not wanting to face society. He said, “I have not told anyone but my wife, but I actually attempted suicide.” He had also signed up for a psychology class at Boston University to try and figure out what had happened to him, and this is where we met him that day. The 45-minute conversation with our staff left him with a desire to search the Scriptures and an OAC staff telephone number.
Posted November 17 2014
Jesus said, “I will build my Church…” One of the core values of OAC is strong involvement with the local church. What a blessing it is to train and minister alongside many local churches here in the USA and around the world. In the Boston area, our OAC team is blessed to work with the Arabic Evangelical Baptist Church on an ongoing basis. During one particular week, our OAC Boston staff spent four days with them conducting 15 open-air meetings. The church members formed a choir which helped attract many to the open-air location and an Arabic literature table was set up near the sketchboard which resulted in many Muslims engaging in Arabic conversations with the local church members about faith in Christ. At the end of the week, the Arabic church had a barbecue and concert at their church and 33 Muslims attended who had been at various open-air meetings the preceding five days!
Posted October 23 2014
OAC staff man Mark Kennedy worked with a local church in Texas recently and here is an encouraging word from one of the church members about that experience: “I just want to take moment to say thank you for helping our church spread the Word of God! Mark came to our church and shared his lesson on how to engage people and share the Word … I went to one of our tailgate parties before our local homecoming game and boy were we blessed! It was so easy to jump in and pass out tracts and share God's Word. The story boards pulled the people in and gave everyone a fun and inventive way to share their faith!! What a joy it was to see my very own students from High School and Middle School join in the fellowship! One of youth was able to witness to the cheerleaders … they even offered to place tracts in every football program they handed out! Many seeds were planted and I am so blessed to see the product of those planted seeds in my classroom!”
Posted September 16 2014
After seeing OAC staff man, Eric Briscoe, on the Boston University campus sharing his faith on the sketchboard, God opened the door for further ministry as one of the professors invited Eric to speak to students in his Introduction to Religion class; it was an awesome opportunity. After making sure all the students had their syllabi in hand, the professor introduced Eric and told the class he represented a modern version of Christianity. He told the class that Eric would be speaking for 35 minutes and the remaining 15 minutes would be devoted to questions. Using the sketchboard, Eric presented the message of the gospel, emphasizing pride, sin and the difference between theology and religion. He used the example of Moses on the mountain with God and Aaron at the bottom where the golden calf represented religion. The humility of God to take on human flesh and become the sin bearer was shared, along with His resurrection and response necessary from individuals in order to receive the gift of so great a salvation. The follow-up question time was truly a God-ordained event, as Eric clearly laid out the salvation message.
Posted July 27 2014
Russ Hodder and his team in the Los Angeles area are faithfully at the task of evangelism these days. Russ had the opportunity recently to speak at the first of two Junior camps near Green Valley Lake in the San Bernardino Mountains. Several local churches were involved, with 280 campers present. Russ presented the gospel presentations which included 14 blacklight paintings on the subject of “God’s Love for Us.” What a great blessing to see God work in the lives of 70 children who openly responded for first-time decisions to trust Christ. They were counseled with by staff and volunteers from their own churches.
Posted June 24 2014
Our Michigan Director, Brian Harmon, recently reported about a talk he had with a young doctor from Singapore named Kai. Brian asked Kai if he'd like a Bible, and he was instantly interested. Kai told Brian that one of his goals was to know who the true God was by the time he turned 30! After a 45-minute conversation, Kai seemed to struggle in seeing the difference between Allah and the God of the Bible. As Brian explained the true biblical attributes of God, Kai's eyes got real big. He actually put the words into Brian's mouth at one point and said, "...because without Jesus, if Allah forgives sins, there would still be sins unaccounted for." Brian shared some key verses in Kai's new Bible regarding this topic, and at the end of their conversation, his face was bright with understanding, as if he'd settled it. Kai asked if he could come to church, so please be praying for the salvation and discipleship of this young man.
Posted May 24 2014
OAC Los Angeles staff man, Frank Baldus, tells of a cold windy evening when he and his team were ministering the gospel in the open air on Redondo Beach pier. Their crowds were pretty thin due to the weather but one guy watched intently while holding up his cell phone by one hand in the air. Frank found out that this fellow was using his phone to record the gospel message and send it live to a friend on the other end of the line! Wow - live streaming of an open-air meeting, the wonders of modern technology. We never know how God is going to use the sharing of His Word. He has promised us that it will never return void and it's exciting to realize that as we are faithful to share the Lord, God Himself will cause this Good News to be spread further than we might realize as we present Christ by all means, everywhere.
Posted April 26 2014
Boston University can be a hard place to share Christ, but God had a nice crowd gather around Boston evangelist, Eric Briscoe. As he was about to finish his message, a man tried to interrupt him and Eric politely told him he would be through in a minute, so the man waited patiently. The man was a professor and some of his students had heard Eric preach so he invited Eric to come that very day into his "Introduction to religion" class. He offered Eric ten minutes of classroom time to speak about his faith. The classroom contained about 100 students who were very attentive and after ten minutes of sharing, Eric asked is there could be a question and answer time. God provided an open door and the students asked some very thought-provoking questions. A week later, the professor sent Eric an email which read, "...I thought your presentation was superb and extremely thought-provoking on its own, never mind that you had zero preparation time! I am a bit sorry that you were not able to stay in class for the further discussion of the ideas and issues you raised. I do not often offer courses of this nature, but whenever I do in the future, I would be delighted to have you speak."
Posted March 24 2014
God is using Mark and Angela Kennedy to open up our OAC Spokane Branch in a powerful way. At both the Spokane City Bus Transit Plaza and Union Gospel Mission, Mark is able to minister to a wide variety of folks, including those who are atheists, homeless, business executives and even believers. God brought a man named David to the Union Gospel Mission when Mark was there preaching. David's testimony in his own words was, "I didn't want to stay for this, but now I hear this message." David stayed after the message and Mark taught through Psalm 51 with him. Afterward, David poured out his heart to God, asking forgiveness and even listed his sins one by one! Mark said it was sweet to hear this man express such a prayer of godly repentance and trust, certainly not a "form prayer" of any kind. David is now in a Bible study and discipleship program.
Posted January 16 2014
Our June Sketchboard Evangelism Training (SET) sessions in Boston and Baltimore/DC will soon be here (see our www.oacusaold.com website for details). We received the following encouraging note from one of our former participants. "I just wanted to encourage you that your investment in our lives is being multiplied. OAC taught us how "to fish" and now we've had an opportunity to pass along the blessing. We held a paint board evangelism training session for five people who wanted to learn this gospel-sharing technique. These folks worship at five different churches on the west side of Cleveland but know each other from attending the same Bible school. We appreciate the excellent training we received from you all...these folks now have another tool in their evangelistic toolboxes to use...the Spirit of God continues to s-t-r-e-t-c-h us because of what you have imparted to us."
Posted December 23 2013
Our Los Angeles Director, Russ Hodder, tells of a evangelistic sketchboard presentation he conducted at a local AWANA Club program. At the end of his talk, seven children of different ages responded in faith. Russ noticed that as he gave the invitation prayer, one of the little ones got on his knees. At the conclusion of the evening, the leader of the AWANA program asked for one of the kids to pray. This same child raised his hand, and the leader, with hesitation, let him do it, not expecting much out of one so young. This child launched out on a very profound prayer which started off with, "Oh Lord, let us take Jesus home with us tonight...." He then brought up the major points of the blacklight presentation Russ conducted and prayed, "Lord, help us be real in our faith in you and not fakes." He went on and when he had closed, we felt that God had showed His presence in the life of this first-grader!
Posted November 23 2013
Our Baltimore/DC Branch Director, Tom Fox tells of meeting two men named Greg and John. He met them while ministering in the Ocean City area. Tom tells us that he can't count the number of times that he has been there or the number of stories that he has about lives being changed as a result of ministry in that place. Greg and John both grew up in Catholic school and have since rebelled against all forms of Christianity. When Greg joked that he could die tonight and he'd have no clue what would happen to him, John said that thought truly scared him. After that, they were both extremely receptive to the gospel presentation and seemed to be truly impacted by that particular conversation with them. Please pray that God would continue to work in their lives.
Posted October 25 2013
Aaron Wentz from our OAC Michigan branch shared the following: Michigan State University (MSU) is one of the largest universities in America, pulling students from the around the country, and around the world, especially Chinese students. Just from being out on campus with our sketchboard, I have had one Chinese student listen intently and afterwards say he wanted a Bible. Another Chinese student who is only 17 years old, has met with me twice to know more about God. And a Chinese woman who has a son is here to study, and has met with me twice. After giving her her first English/Chinese Bible, she emailed me writing: "These days I am beginning to read the Bible you give me. I started from the New Testament. There are some amazing stories about Jesus. He cured all the illnesses and helped the sick. How great he is! I am quite interested in this book. Thanks again for bringing the book to me. I can always find great wisdom in it. It also helps me to think more about my life and the world. You must be sent to me by Jesus. Thanks so much!"
Posted August 26 2013
Our OAC Evangelist-at-Large, Paul Adams, has noticed that college students these days have become much more hardened to the Gospel. With our government's endorsement of homosexuality, there is a raised hostility towards Christians. It does not matter what subject we preach on; the students always seem to find a way to bring up homosexuality. As a result, we have been receiving increased verbal assaults and are called "intolerant," bigots," "Neanderthals," and more. It's interesting to note this bent toward intolerance from those who pride themselves on being "tolerant!" Just last week, a young lady threw a full cup of lemonade on Paul while he was sharing the Gospel. Still, the Gospel must boldly, yet lovingly, continue to be proclaimed. Thank you for partnering with us as we attempt to be faithful in the open air.
Posted July 14 2013
It is a blessing to have godly members on the OAC Board of Directors team which help guide our work. One of these members, Joe Toy, lives in the Philadelphia area and works regularly with our OAC staff Bob Ewerth and David Braun out in the open air. I was reading over one of Joe's ministry reports from early this year and found this account which he wrote: "On those really cold days, it would be easy [for me] to stay home, but I ponder, "Would you sit out at a football game in this weather?" So off I go, headed to Frankford to proclaim Christ. On this particular day, I was able to share Jesus with three men struggling with drug addictions. I was able to bless one of these men with lunch as he had not eaten in a few days. He was overjoyed and hung out with me for an hour. As I packed up to leave, a man walked by us and said, "Many of us like you being here. Don't stop coming.""
Posted June 14 2013
One of our newest staff members in Michigan, Brian Harmon, often has open doors into the public school system. Each individual school is different and Brian shared with us recently about one particular location where very few believers are represented in his after-school Bible class. This location is truly a "goldmine" and "battlefield" at the same time. A student named Hunter in his senior year of high school at this place told Brian that he is really enjoying the Bible Club. He said, "I don't believe like you do or agree with anything you are saying, but I like your method of communication." He went on to say, "You may not know what this is, but I am an agnostic." Later on, Hunter let Brian know that he is a foster child. Brian is seeing Hunter beginning to open up and "soften around of the edges" a bit, so please pray for this young man as Brian continues to minister in his school and surrounding area.
Posted May 16 2013
This past month we had the privilege of training and taking with us a group of young people from Liberty University in Virginia to Miami for spring break outreach. One venue of ministry took place on the sidewalks of Lincoln Mall for several evenings. Every night God gave opportunity to share the Gospel with people from all over the world. Our open-air team interacted with people from Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Spain, France, Israel and Canada during the week. On the last night, God opened the door for us to interact with some street kids. One of our staff was sharing the Gospel with a girl and afterwards we were able to give her a Bible. She left the meeting location but then soon her friends came looking for her. In a few minutes, our team was engaged in conversations with all of these kids who returned!
Posted April 25 2013
Boston evangelist Eric Briscoe tells us that the subway continues to be a wonderful place to preach the gospel. A forty-year-old woman, named Necko, rejoiced to hear us preaching and told Eric she was attending a Catholic church. Before that, she had attended a Baptist church, then a Pentecostal church. He asked her if she was confident of going to heaven. She hesitated then said she was not sure. Eric said to Necko “If you get what you deserve where would you go?” Her smile disappeared and she said she would go to hell. After he explained the gospel again, she asked to pray for her that she would be saved. Eric told her to pray and let God know what was on her heart. She took a tract with the OAC Boston phone number and got on the train. Two hours later, Aaron, our Boston OAC Director, received a call from Necko saying she had gotten saved in the subway that afternoon!
Posted March 19 2013
An important part of our ministry is making affordable open air supplies available to others who also have a burden to share the gospel. Last year we were pleased to ship out object lessons, books, manuals, paints and sketchboard equipment to well over 300 individuals here in the States and around the world! It's always a thrill to hear from these folks letting us know how God has used the supplies. A recent note related the following: "Thank you for so quickly filling my order. I used one of the stories Thursday night at a retirement home. They were intrigued with the original outline, were very attentive as the story advanced on the board and were surprised at the end. Thank you also for the extra book. These mature people are looking forward to another service."
Posted March 5 2013
When our Field Director, Eric Briscoe visited Tom Fox and his Baltimore-Washington Branch team recently, they were able to train some young people in a local church for some inner-city ministry. Tom trained on sketchboard skills while Eric demonstrated and trained the students how to do the three ropes illustration. One particular youth, Abby, learned the rope lesson and took the ropes to school to practice, showing her classmates. Tom was recently informed that Abby's geometry teacher asked Abby to demonstrate the rope trick, gospel and all, in the Bowie public high school! It's wonderful to see how God opens doors and allows us to minister in places where He wants a witness of Him to take place.
Posted January 2013
In ever increasing numbers, folks from other countries are coming to our doorstep. Sharing the gospel with these folks out in the open air in their homeland would be dangerous and even illegal in many cases. But here in the USA, God gives us an open door of opportunity and our staff step through these open doors on a daily basis. One week, our Boston branch of OAC kept track of all the countries represented as they shared Christ with individuals. Over the course of this one week, they reached people from Brazil, Chile, Dominican Republic, England, France, Hungary, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Korea, Mexico, New Zealand, Pakistan, Puerto Rico, Russia, Spain, Turkey, USA and Vietnam.
Posted December 2012
Our OAC staff man in New Hampshire, Mark Sohmer, reports that at a local "block party" which his local church sponsored, a man named Sal came and heard the gospel. Sal was able to hear the presentation several times as it was preached throughout the event. Then Sal came to church the very next day where he heard the message of salvation again. After church, Mark's pastor talked with Sal for quite some time and indicated that this man appeared to have made a sincere decision to trust Christ. The very next morning, less than 24 hours after receiving Christ, Sal died unexpectedly of an aneurism! There is great rejoicing in heaven because of the work God did in Sal's life. That is why we go out to where people are an d share with them this wonderful message.
Posted November 2012
On the campus of Michigan State University, after the preaching, OAC staff man Brian Harmon reports that his friend turned to the person next to him and asked what he thought about the message. The student replied, “I need a relationship with Jesus Christ.” This student (York) was from China and has been here four months. Please pray for York, as well as, Noah (an atheist turned “seeker”), Dean (sensitive to the things of God), Andrew, and many others who hear the Word of God in these campus meetings.
It has been said that “A man’s mind, stretched with a new idea, can never go back to its original dimensions.” As we minister in the open air, we certainly can’t initiate faith but we can depend upon God to help us provoke thought, proclaim truth and trust Him for the fruit. As John 6:63 teaches us, it is the Spirit who gives life, and it comes through God's Word.
Posted October 2012
This summer, OAC staff Paul and Carmiña Adams took eight wonderful teens on a six-week youth missions trip which included outreach in San Francisco. God protected them and gave many great outreach opportunities. After one particular sketchboard presentation, a man named Saivon said that he had never heard that message before! Convicted in his heart, he expressed faith in Christ. The teens on this trip went forth each day putting on the full armor of God and proclaimed the life-changing message of the gospel seeing God work in mighty ways. People from local churches in other parts of California were trained in effective open air methods. Even though the reality of spiritual darkness and hostility to the things of God were evident, the team persevered and experienced the victory only God can give.
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