Conversations after soccer games and speaking God's Word to construction workers: creative ways BMM missionaries shared the gospel in 2022
More than 65 percent of Zambia’s population is below age 25. This reality amplifies Harrison and Michelle Banda’s concern to reach this age group for Christ. For many years, the Bandas have reached unsaved youth through soccer teams. These teams have given Harrison and Michelle prime opportunities to share about Christ. Sadly, the Bandas had to give up their teen girls’ team due to rising costs and other challenges. The Bandas are now focusing on more affordable teams for girls 13 and under to ground them in God’s Word and help reduce increasing sexual immorality and abortions among older teens. They’re also finding greater opportunities to interact with boys ages 10–14, their son Josiah’s friends who visit their house on the weekend.
Also this year, Harrison and Michelle assembled a men’s team and are seeking long-term funding methods to make the team self-sustainable. Although the Bandas still face financial challenges with maintaining a team, they are praying for God’s provision, including funds to offer lunch and dinner to the team members, an important time for conversations about the Lord.
The Bandas also took steps to add a church service in English in addition to the Chewa dialect service they currently hold. Because English is more commonly used by young people, this creates another way to invite soccer contacts and other young adults.
During each academic year, Campus Bible Fellowship missionary Dave Mayner has a unique opportunity to represent Christ in a religious panel discussion on the campus radio station. Dave and his wife, Elizabeth, serve at State University of New York at Binghamton. Through an unsaved student he connected with at his campus literature table, Dave was invited to represent Christianity alongside others from Jewish, Muslim, and sometimes atheistic perspectives. Dave loves it when holidays like Easter roll around because it gives clear opportunities to share bedrock truths about Christianity.
The panel formerly had a student moderator, but now Dave both moderates and represents Christianity. The discussion takes a nonconfrontational approach, but Dave tries to gently correct false teachings that other religions have about Christianity. Off-air, panelists and even the program engineer have commented, “I didn’t know you Christians believed that. I’d like to know more about that.” The station’s audience is limited, but Dave sees the program as an opportunity to minister to the panelists and radio personnel. The opportunity has also given Dave good inroads into Binghamton’s Muslim and Jewish communities.
Several years ago, a group rolled across Germany in a bus painted with atheist slogans to persuade people there is no God. This year, people heard a different message when an evangelistic bus rolled through Mark and
Leslie Boyd’s city of Neumarkt. The bus (painted with “Do not fear, only believe” in multiple languages) parked in front of Neumarkt’s city hall to attract visitors.
Excited for this opportunity to share Christ, the Boyds’ church members prayed and prepared. One church member was eager to help but was scared about evangelism. After Mark prayed with her, she added her own one-line prayer, “God allow the Spirit to speak through me. Amen.” God gave her an open opportunity with the first lady she met, and three hours later this church member told Mark, “There is nothing more fun than sharing Christ with people!”
Three unsaved teenagers came back to the bus all three days asking great questions. A few weeks later, the Boyd’s son Joshua was sitting in his high school religion class when the teacher said Jesus was just a religious fanatic. The boy sitting in front of Joshua, one of the class’s biggest bullies, raised his hand and said, “That’s not what the people at the bus said.” After class, Joshua connected with him and continued the discussion from what he’d heard at the bus.
Creative Access Nation missionaries Jonathan and Hannah take time each day to speak God’s Word to construction workers building their ministry campus. At first, the workers’ faces are blank as they hear the gospel. The concept of a personal relationship with God is foreign in their traditional religion filled with idols. But the Spirit of God works in them to develop understanding that Jesus alone is God. All are attentive to the presentations, and two trusted in Jesus this year. Their growth is evident as they pray and share testimonies of miracles in their lives. One mason, formerly an atheist, had been unhappy and rude. The new smile on his face as he worships Jesus comes from a joyful heart centered on Christ.
Over the years that Jonathan and Hannah’s campus has slowly taken shape, they have shared the gospel with hundreds of campus visitors. One couple in their 80s trusted Christ through this ministry. The husband recently passed away—their first convert in heaven. Jonathan and Hannah’s current and former night watchmen each received the Lord and stopped participating in their former religion. Another woman, Jyothi (meaning “light”) was demon-possessed and could predict deaths by suicide. She was saved through Hannah’s ministry and now works on campus. Although she has a speech disability, nothing will stop her from praying and praising the Lord, the true Light.
After losing out on two seasons due to the pandemic, the ¡Playball! evangelistic baseball outreach was back on the field in 2022.
A Creation museum in Peru, a brand new podcast, and more. This year saw new ministries spring up that will better equip workers to advance the gospel worldwide.