Here is my fishing buddy, my son. He is 13 and a fine young man who cares deeply about the lost. On a side note, I have found that I am not avoided nor are my tracts declined as often if I wear something like a T-shirt that is somewhat goofy or juvenile. I am not trying to act younger than I am, but if you look older than them (like I do) teens at these events are more apt to talk to you or take your tract if you wear something like this because it breaks the ice. I have worn just a regular "mom" shirt and been avoided more then when I wear something like this. I know this is purely anecdotal, but this has just been my experience. This shirt is special to me because #1 I like penguins. My whole family likes them. #2 My son used to wear this shirt when he was little. OK, enough wardrobe talk.
This Festival has run for 40 years and was started as a Christian alternative to Woodstock. It is also the first year I ever attended. It is an unbelievable gathering and has by far, been my favorite fishing experience since the Academy. Here's why: By and far, I don't have to worry about witnessing to some weird, existential freak because everyone at this Festival knows who Jesus is and almost all of them believe they are saved. We only had about 800 tracts and gave them all out except for a handful by the end of the day.
These two pictures show how large the main stage is. There were thousands of people just at this sound stage alone. The picture below is the rest of the crowd at the same stage. What opportunity!
Unfortunately, after my experience was over that evening, I was deeply grieved. We were almost out of tracts and I'd had conversation after conversation until I was literally hoarse and could barely speak anymore. Out of all the young people I spoke to, there was only one young man who may have been a Christian. It was so sad to hear so many of these kids arrive with their youth group and their youth leaders agreeing at the beginning of our conversation that they were Christians, but when asked, many could not articulate even the basic premise of the Christian faith. These are the "good" kids- the leaders in their youth groups. When asked, "When is the last time you read your Bible?" the most common answer was, "It's been awhile." When pressed further, the average length of time since they had last read their Bible was about 3 weeks or longer.
Pray for the youth of today. Pray especially for the ones in the youth groups of the churches in America. We need to be sharing the full Gospel with these kids because if they can't tell us what was happening on the cross as Jesus hung and died, there is no way they can be a Christian because they don't even understand it was their sin that put Him there and that He was being crushed by God not because God is evil but because He is so good. I'll be sharing our experiences over the next few days.