By Allen Palmeri
SAULT STE. MARIE, Ontario—Diane Campbell is driven to share the Gospel.
In a pioneering setting that called for “cold turkey” witnessing, she stood out among 16 Missourians on mission to Canada in the first week of August as the one who was most likely to try. Two Canadians at the local mall professed Christ on her watch; several others at a children’s festival listened intently to her bold line of Gospel inquiry.
“I find when you get people one-on-one, and they get a chance to think about eternity, they’ve all got questions whether they’re willing to talk to you about it or not,” said Campbell, wife of Brent Campbell, director of missions, Twin Rivers Baptist Association, and team leader for the Missouri group. “People are people. I was a summer missionary during my freshman year of college in Oregon, and it was similar to this. Every new work has to start somewhere. We’ve planted a lot of seeds.”
She relentlessly pursued virtually every prospect the team was able to come up with through the method of giving children free popcorn and train rides at a local motel and school. Every time a mother or father was willing to let their children climb on board the ride it seemed like Diane was the one moving in with questions about where they would be spending eternity. Most were drawn into long conversations with her where they would go to a place in their minds and hearts where they would consider their need for a Savior. They then received a Gospel tract and a flyer telling them that a Canadian National Baptist Convention (CNBC) church would be planted in their city next year. Some received a Bible as well.
“We’re commanded to go and tell,” she said. “We’re not commanded to go and tell and make sure they become Christians. We don’t know what God’s plan is. This may be the groundwork for something really great.”
Brent and Diane are the point people in a pioneering Missouri Baptist effort to plant a platform church in this Northern Ontario city of 75,000. They are praying for a Canadian church planter to fund, and they plan on sending more associational teams here in 2011—perhaps as many as four, according to Brent Campbell. On Aug. 5, they printed and distributed in town for the first time the flyer indicating that a CNBC church is on the way. Right now things are in the exploratory stage with the association acting like the missionary to the city.
“We’re praying by faith,” Diane Campbell said. “It’s 100 percent God’s work. It’s called a miracle because it seems unbelievable right now. We can’t figure out any way to do it ourselves except for God.”
At a point where not much was happening with the team, she found an older gentleman in a wheelchair outside Station Mall who was waiting for a ride and led him to Christ. She then shared the Gospel with a man who had many questions. He was handicapped, slurred in his speech, and said he felt as if people looked at him as if he wasn’t there. He jumped right in and prayed a prayer of salvation to where he said he did not feel hollow inside anymore.
“He prayed his own prayer,” Diane said. “I didn’t pray it. He said the most beautiful, not the typical, prayer.”
She asked him if he really meant it and he replied, “Yes. I feel happy.”
Both she and her husband emphasized that this was a vision trip pointing toward a time in 2011 when more Gospel light will be shined into Sault Ste. Marie.
“It’s a spiritual darkness here,” Diane said, “and it’s only through prayer that it’s going to be broken.”