Our Easter Emphasis Event at UCAM that I talked about in my last post followed on the coattails of an outreach The 8-32 Movement did during UCAM's once-a-semester beer bash! In all my years of ministering at universities, this was a first! And what was even more radical was recent UCAM grad Alexandre's suggestion that I hoist my "Ten Commandments" banner while others handed out evangelistic tracts with The 8-32 Movement contact info. on it. I confess that I was a bit skeptical at first - not to mention scared - but fortunately everything went smoothly.
After arriving at the entrance to the beer bash and finally finding the student government leader who had promised to let us in for free, the four of us took our positions near the 10 port-a-potties due to the illumination there and a "captive audience" of those lined up to "relieve" themselves :) The music was loud, but we were able to converse intermittently with those who wanted to talk. I came across a couple of "ex" evangelical church members, along with two guys who heard me preach the last night of Carnival - the same day we arrived back in Brazil (Feb. 16). For a full report on that event, see my Carnival & Other Open-Air Adventures post. One of the guys who I preached to at the Carnival outreach sarcastically asked me. "Do you still think I deserve hell?" Meanwhile, the other tried to justify himself as good enough to get into heaven one day. The first guy claimed to be an atheist and felt that all Christians were "idiots," while his friend was too drunk to have a serious conversation with. I told the first guy he had to deny the existence of God because that was the only way he could continue in his sinful rebellion and not feel guilty. Pray for him, although I forgot to get his name, because what are the "chances" of running into the same guy you preached to six weeks earlier in a city of 6 million??!! Oh, by the way, neither of them are students at UCAM! They showed up at the "party" apparently just to drink and . . .
Being in the midst of one of these infamous beer bashes reinforced 8-32's commitment to "transform the world with the Truth." Jesus claimed to be the Truth in John 14:6, while John says that God's Word - the Bible - is truth (17:7). That's why I could proudly hold up a banner in the midst of such blatant sin with the Ten Commandments - from Exodus 20 - on one side and James 2:10 on the other: "For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles in one point, he has become guilty of all." TRUTH . . . in the face of drunkenness, violence (Yes, some fights broke out.), profanity, sensuality (clothing, dancing, kissing, groping, etc.). Will we be allowed into the next event? I'm not sure, but we'll be there either on the inside or the outside because people need to be confronted with the TRUTH, no matter how much they may hate to hear or see it!
All in all we handed out nearly 300 tracts between 9:00 p.m. and midnight, not to mention exposed nearly all 2,000 people at the beer bash to the bad news in the hope that they will be intrinsically motivated to seek out the Good News from 8-32, a Christian friend or family member, a trustworthy internet sight, a Christian bookstore, a local church, etc. This is what we're praying for!
Thanks for helping make Christ an issue at UCAM, in the marketplace and in the Brazilian Church through The 8-32 Movement and the Hamiltons!
Your Co-Laborers in Rio,
Bill & Aïda