Howard County Fair 2014
Joyce Ludy's Experience
By Joyce Ludy
Sometimes when you do something that’s a little out of your comfort zone, you just don’t know what to expect until it happens, and then it surprises you. That was my experience at the Howard County Fair this year. Though it wasn’t the first time I’d ever done something with Triadelphia during fair week, in the past it was usually something that had to do with health, in particular. That was a number of years ago. This year, after quite a long hiatus, the church decided to try a different “tack” and concentrate more on getting God’s message out to the public through a short Bible quiz, Bible tracts, and other literature that would hopefully “spark” an interest in the general public.
My first interesting experience came on Monday afternoon (the fair ran for eight days in August) when a young woman stopped to chat with Sylvia Fagal and myself. She started the conversation with us by first asking us how old we thought she was. We both guessed probably around 14 or 15. However, we were both wrong. She was 19 - a nice looking young lady, though rather on the thin side. As the conversation proceeded, she informed us that she was a transgender girl who had always felt she was more boy than girl. Claimed to be a “tomboy” from a very young age and preferred boyish pleasures rather then little-girl fun things such as playing with dolls. She has an older sister who is also transgender and a younger sister who is not. When this young lady and her sister “came out,” their mother’s response was to look at them for a moment, then turned to their younger sister and commented, “well, at least I still have one daughter”! She talked to us about what she hoped to do in the future as far as her gender preference is concerned and we tried to encourage her to seek God’s will for her life in whatever decision she makes. We told her that God loves her and her sister and that we would keep her in our prayers. I think we must have chatted with her close to 40 minutes. INTERESTING, to say the least!
Another baffling meeting I had, with a man this time, was a very long discussion that occurred on Friday when I was working our booth with Tracey Williams. This time it was with a committed person who didn’t believe in the Old Testament God but only in the New Testament Jesus. We had some interesting conversation going back and forth between the three of us. When asked specific questions about his understanding of what it meant to believe in Jesus and what his mission on earth had been, and whether Jesus was actually the Son of God as He claimed to be, the man’s response was that to believe in Jesus was simply a matter of swallowing your ego and sin was nothing but one’s ego getting the best of him. What’s with that?? That’s what I’m thinking anyway. Oh well, he was so ingrained in his way of thinking, just as he believed we were in ours, that I told him probably nothing we could say would change his way of thinking either. By then a couple of his friends showed up to get him to leave our booth but he still continued to talk. One of his friends joined in a bit on our conversation while the other one looked through some of our brochures. I believe his friend took one or two tracts before they finally convinced our “friend” to go elsewhere. Like my daughter would say, “it is what it is,” but still, you never know if the Holy Spirit was able to plant a seed in this man’s mind that will be brought to light at a later time. One can only pray for him -- AND hope.
Probably my most rewarding experience during the three days I helped out at the booth came when a very lovely lady stopped at the booth and she and I got into quite a lengthy conversation – maybe 40 or 45 minutes! During the course of our talking together, she mentioned that she had had some questions regarding the Sabbath but hadn’t decided which day she thought was really the right one. I told her my own journey in discovering the truth about this particular issue and that I had not, in fact, always been an Adventist. Having been raised a Presbyterian during my childhood, then transferring (but not a member of) to the Lutheran church while in college and then to the Methodist church soon after moving out to where I live now, it had been quite a journey to get to where I am now. She stated that she, herself, is Methodist and that she is married to a Jewish man who does not really practice his faith in the usual sense of the word. Well, anyway, to make a very long story a little shorter, I invited her to come join us at Triadelphia some Saturday, the Bible Sabbath, and that we would love to have her visit. She said in parting that she would consider doing just that but I thought to myself, “yeah, right – sure you will.” But I also hoped that the Holy Spirit would work on her heart and that she would come SOME day. Ha – but what to my wondering eyes should appear that very next Sabbath when I arrived at church but my friend, Debbie, who NOT ONLY stayed for the church service but had come early enough to attend a Sabbath school class!!!! God does work in many different ways and through many different people and what a beautiful gift that was for me to see her there. I pray that her experience with Triadelphia will lead her to continue to study for herself and accept where God leads if she will let Him direct her ways.
Was having a booth at the Howard County Fair worth our time and effort? I truly think that it was. Though a learning experience this time around, I know that with God working in and through those who participated that there may, in time, be some lives that were changed and brought closer to a loving Savior, Jesus Christ.
That’s all from me but I praise God for any good that may come from our efforts to bring Him a little closer into the lives of many of the fairgoers.