Each year, cultures with dominant Roman Catholic
influence celebrate a huge bash just before the fast of Lent.
In the U.S. it is called "Mardi Gras" or "Fat Tuesday." In Spanish
speaking countries it is called "Carnaval."
The celebration may run for days or weeks but culminates
on the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday which starts the observance
of Lent. As with all religions based on ritual, Catholic
life consists of a cycle of license and absolution.
Mardi Gras, or Carnaval, provides a classic example
of this. The weeks-long festival in New Orleans, Louisiana
is famous for debauchery and drunkenness. But it ends abruptly
on a Tuesday night so that repentance can begin on
Ash Wednesday, the beginning of a 40-day Ramadan type period of
fasting and "penance."
Soulwinners have begun invading these "festivals" capitalizing
on the concentration of people to get large amounts of gospel literature
distributed. One such ministry is lead by Danny Callis whose focus
has been to field teams of Bible believers during the Carnavals in
By involving local pastors, Callis is able to direct those who
respond to their witnessing to area churches for discipling. In one
such outreach, 825 Christian workers participated who recorded over
7500 decisions for Christ.
Callis writes: "One man left the street party and returned home.
He had been approached by several Christians, but had not made a
decision. When he returned home to his Christian wife, he said
to her, 'Woman, the city is full of God!' There with his wife, he
"A little salt goes a long way. Our number in the midst
of 2 million people seems small, but news sources reported, 'Christians
invade the city during this Carnaval.'" Soulwinners reported
that, as word got around that they were there, many people would
come asking for salvation.
Callis and his teams have distributed several hundred thousand
tracts at these events. Response cards are supplied with the tracts
and come back for weeks afterward.
Churches and Bible believers have found that even smaller public
gatherings can be fruitful events for witnessing and tracts make it
easy for just a few people to reach a lot of people in a short time.
Even a high school baseball or football game will usually bring a
crowd together that can be reached with gospel tracts.
Many communities have parades and street fairs at various times of the year. Some churches set up booths or build floats to go in the parades and distribute tracts in the process.
Soulwinners have found that more people are open to the gospel in the new concern over terrorism. We need to get busy and people like Danny Callis have shown us one more way to win souls.