Saturday, August 08, 1998

VOLUME 4 - Summer 1998

Welcome to the World

“And whoever welcomes a little child like this in my name welcomes me.” Matthew 18:5

Spring and early summer found Sunshine After Rain Ministries crossing continents and cultures, languages and locations, to spread smiles and laughter worldwide. It was an incredible experience. Kaluga, Russia a city of 400,000 had only 600 identified Christians before the team of East West Ministries (of which we were a part) arrived. At the end of the 5-day evangelism outreach there were 320 professions of faith, 128 of those children! The “clowns” touched over 4,000 children on the streets, in the local orphanages and at the public school. Each day on the street we had our own personal KGB watching the crowds amass to receive balloon animals and invitations to the Christian meetings held each night.

With each passing day, the crowds attending the night evangelism meetings were growing larger. On the third night of the meetings the children in attendance were eagerly awaiting the “show” and soon became rowdy. Reaching, and grabbing for the balloons we had, we were finally “hidden” behind the stage until the Russian Ministry workers could calm them down. The leader of the children’s ministry, Vera, was rebuking the children for causing such a problem and how the clowns were scared to come out because of their unruly behavior. Then she went on to say “what were you grabbing for anyway, a balloon that will be here today and gone tomorrow? We are here to give you something much more important than that! We are here to teach you about what is here today and will be with you forever – the love of Jesus and eternal life”!

The children after moments of embarrassment promised to behave – the clowns came out of hiding and the “temporary” gifts were brought back. Yes, the balloons would be gone soon, and the clowns would return to America – but for 128 of the children, one day in the kingdom we will have the chance to reminisce of balloons and funny faces, stories told on street corners and the invitation that changed their life.