The Mardi Gras Carnaval in Salvador, Brazil is the "biggest street party in the world," according to street evangelist Danny Callis. Held this year in mid February, it was attended by over 2 million people. Callis and his teams prepare months in advance. This year they distributed over 120,000 gospel tracts during the week of festivities.
The witnessing teams would set up a paint talk or music group on the side of the street to attract attention. Those who stopped to listen would be given tracts and soul winners would engage them in conversation. Callis reported that many were led to confess Christ as Saviour.
Some members of the teams were veteran street workers and others were new at it. But as the new ones watched, they soon caught on. One girl was very active helping with setup and support, but found difficulty in starting a conversation. Her heart was touched by a young man who approached her near the music team. He explained that he was having severe problems with his family. She counseled him for twenty minutes and then prayed with him. The team leader sent a veteran to help her but found she was doing fine. From then on, she was a bold soul winner at the front of the outreach.
The tracts were so well received that very few were discarded on the ground. Even then, others would pick them up and read them as they went along. One lady showed up at one of the teams with about 200 wet tracts that she had picked up in the street. She said she was going to take them home and dry them out and use them in her church`s hospital ministry. The team made sure she had additional tracts that were dry.
One young man came and after prayer, took out a set of keys and threw them away. He explained that they were special keys that he had brought with him every year to steal motorcycles. He said that this would be the first year that he would not steal motorcycles at Carnaval.
The police expressed special appreciation for the "light" that the outreach teams brought to the "darkness". One police lady had been called in from the countryside to help with the crowds. Before she left home, she expressed concern about the assignment to her mother. "God is waiting for you in Salvador. Don`t worry," her mother told her.
When she got off the bus at her substation, she heard Christian music. She walked around to the side of the station and found one of the music teams praising God in the midst of the revelry. She was so excited that God had prepared that "just for her." Many other officers received the gospel through the tracts, even asking for extra copies to give to their buddies.
One young man got off a bus and was immediately drawn to the Christian music. A soul winner engaged him in conversation and found that he had "given up on church" and come to Carnaval to "do it all." The Holy Spirit gripped his heart and he sobbed his way back to the Lord. Afterward he walked to the bus stop and caught a bus back toward home.
You don`t have to go to the other side of the world to do "event evangelism." Any hometown parade or sports game attracts a crowd. And most of them need the gospel message of hope. What are the events in your community where you can plant the seed of the gospel by tracts and personal witnessing?