Missouri Baptists offer lemonade, ‘living water’
Workers share Gospel throughout State Fair
By Brian Koonce
August 23, 2005
SEDALIA – Corn dogs, funnel cakes, carnival rides and the hot August sun. What more could a fairgoer ask for?
How about a free cup of lemonade?
While the Missouri State Fair ran its course Aug. 11-21, Missouri Baptists from 15 associations manned a tent on a main route through the fairgrounds offering those who needed a drink some shade, a little refreshment – and a chance to hear the Gospel.
The first day alone workers gave out more than 40 gallons of water and lemonade to passersby. As a result, Patrick Ryan, director of missions for Eleven Point Association and co-coordinator for the effort, led two people to the Lord that day. As of press time, totals on the number of decisions made were not available.
“The water alone is a big draw,” Ryan said. “It’s one of those ministries where you have a chance to reach people you wouldn’t normally reach.”
Early attendance at the fair was dampened somewhat by unusually heavy rainfall.
“It started picking up again Tuesday,” Ryan said.
When the sun was shining, temperatures hovered around 95 degrees with a heat index of more than 100 degrees. Among the most grateful looking people accepting the gift were fair workers and volunteers.
From the private baby changing station to the balloon animals, everything at the Missouri Baptist Tent was free.
“That really shocks people,” Ryan said. They continually want to give donations.”
Although the water and lemonade were undoubtedly a main draw, workers helped children make crafts and did face painting while others witnessed with parents. Even if a family didn’t want to stay and listen to the Gospel, they still left with a smile and a balloon.
Teams of workers from associations around the state worked half-day shifts throughout the fair’s ten-day run.
“One of the neatest things about it, is that it is one of the cheapest and easiest mission trips anyone can go on,” Ryan said.