Sunday, 29 November -0001 18:42

Reformed Evangelism At The 1994 Plowing Match

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The 1994 International Plowing Match (IPM) was held in Pembroke, about sixty miles west of Ottawa. It was the farthest north in the history of the IPM. For most of the workers involved in the outreach at this event, it was an eight-hour drive. We either drove up the day before or left at 3.00 a.m. so we could be there when it got busy. As we were so far away from home, it was impossible to find billeting for the workers. Instead, we rented a cottage on the Ottawa River about thirty miles away.

Our special thanks goes to the ladies who sent delicious meals along for us to heat up. It gave us time to relax after a long day. Our thanks also goes to those who made it possible for the workers to come, by babysitting and doing chores. Much work was done behind the scenes, such as taking inventory, ordering and pricing books, folding tracts, setting up and taking down the tent, the displays, and transporting equipment. Just organizing the event is a massive job. Without the help of all these dedicated people we would not be able to do this work. We also thank everyone who financially contributed to the work and supported us with their prayers.

This year, again, proved to be very interesting. There were Mormons just down the street from us, so when we found out who our neighbours were, we did some quick studying up on their beliefs. We had some excellent material on the cults, which was very helpful. On the opening day, two Mormon missionaries came in and read the literature we had on them. They were rather disturbed at what they read, but did not dispute with us. One of our helpers who is an expert on Jehovah's Witnesses and Mormons went to their tent on Saturday to talk with them. When he told that what they were teaching, they were incredulous. They also asked for his name and address so they could contact him afterwards.

Our next-door neighbours were the Full Gospel Businessmen. They were kind and helpful and supplied us with coffee every day and offered us cold drinks when the weather got hot. Even though we are so different in beliefs, they came to our tent and bought books and even sent people who came to their booth to buy books from us. There were many Pentecostals in the area, but very few people of Dutch Reformed background. We felt we were breaking new ground. Many people had heard of Spurgeon, but only a few knew abut Ryle, let alone the Puritans.

On Wednesday, two teenagers on a school trip came in, all excited about the books. Each of the boys had a backpack full of tracts which they were handing out as they walked around the grounds. They were full of zeal and came back on Saturday with friends to buy more books. Together they handed out 10,000 tracts. Would we had more young people like that! They had a thorough knowledge of Scripture and could challenge many older Christians.

We had stocked many French tracts, since we were so close to the Quebec border. One couple started speaking in French when given a tract, so we showed them the table with French tracts. They were very excited, helped themselves to the literature, and then came back and patted us on the back, saying, "good, good." That was all the English they appeared to know.

At one point a little girl helped herself to the tracts. When her brother pointed out that they were French, she replied, "I know; I am giving them to my French teacher." Oh, for more missionaries like her!

We had a good selection of tracts for Roman Catholics, given us by an ex-priest, which came in handy for the Catholic visitors. One Catholic gentleman who came in told us he was reading Calvin's Institutes. He bought some of our Reformed literature, saying that he loved to read. Other Roman Catholics we spoke with seemed to have no problem with the word Reformed, because they didn't know what it meant. For example, one man asked us for a book on Saint Anthony for his mother.

On Saturday a young woman came and looked around. Apparently she had an assignment from her college class to do a report on the IPM. She asked whether we had some books on Christian mysticism and meditation. She was shown J.C. Ryle's Meditation book and some other works from Spurgeon, Pink and Lloyd-Jones. She sat down and looked through them for about forty-five minutes and ended up buying eight books, including Spiritual Depression--Its Causes and Its Cures by Lloyd-Jones, The Sovereignty of God by Pink, and a meditation book by Ryle, taken from his Expository Thoughts on the Gospels. We found this very encouraging.

The Fuller Brush lady was there again; we still don't know her name. She belongs to a Pentecostal church and she gave away bags full of our tracts to her customers. Every year she looks for us so she can help us.

The attendance this year was exceptionally good, considering we now have competition from the Machinery Show in Burford. About 125,000 people went through the gates, many of whom received our tracts. Let us be diligent, sowing the seed until our Lord brings in the harvest.

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