Thursday, April 1, 2010

"I'm asking that Jesus go back into his tomb..."

All day yesterday The 8-32 Movement was at Candido Mendes University (UCAM) trying to make the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ an issue. The five of us involved in the outreach set up a display near the elevators that the students use (UCAM's main campus is in a tall office building in downtown Rio.), but were quickly told by a security guard that we needed permission to be there. Alexandre, who recently finished UCAM's Law School and is an 8-32 volunteer, went to talk with the person responsible for giving us permission, but we were denied! I was told I had to pack everything up, which I did, while Alexandre talked with the UCAM's vice president, who came to see what we were planning on doing.

Professor Antonio Luis, the VP, subsequently gave his permission for us to be there saying, with a somewhat-sarcastic smile on his face, "I don't see a problem, although I am of another religion. If the students get too agitated over your display, however, I'm asking that 'Jesus go back into his tomb' until things calm down!"

So, we were back in business! We set everything up again, including my "Did Jesus Really Die?" banner with the five main theories on what happened to Jesus' body, including the true theory of the resurrection. We were taking surveys as a way of identifying students willing to hear how Jesus says someone can become a Christian. One of the survey questions we asked was, "What does Easter stand for?" There was almost a tie between "the resurrection of Jesus" and "a time to gather as a family!" Those who answered the latter normally put that they didn't believe in the God of the Bible and/or were not members of any religious group or church. I guess we are seeing the effects of being raised in a secular family and school environment, although Brazil is still considered the largest Catholic country in the world.

Students trickled in and out of UCAM most of the day until 6:00 to 7:00 p.m. - the "hot hours" on campus when most students arrive after work for night classes. While students waited for the elevators we handed them surveys and asked them to fill them out during class. They would be able to trade their survey for a gum-pop (i.e., a lollipop with gum on the inside) and the Josh McDowell article The Case of the Empty Tomb on their way out. Out of 200 surveys handed out we only received 52 back, but we now have some good contacts to follow up on, including a number of Christians wanting to check out 8-32 next week! To God be the glory!

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