Back before I had kids, I started a one-man stand-up comedy ministry in Cru that utilized humor in order to leverage my motivational agenda of plugging lifestyle evangelism to Christian college students. Word spread about what I was doing, and I was eventually invited to perform at the University of Alabama, Birmingham (UAB) for their weekly Cru large group meeting.
The gathering drew roughly 90 college students, most of whom were ethnic minorities. I didn’t find out about the fact that UAB was such an ethnically diverse campus until I arrived there the day before I spoke. But, sure enough, the small subsection of the school represented in the room that night proved the diversity to be true.
Before I got up front to speak that night, a short five-minute video was played, advertising a ministry called Threads of Hope. This ministry is based out of Puerto Galera on the island of Mindoro in the Philippines and its primary purpose is to assist the economically oppressed by giving them steady jobs making colorful bracelets. The reason why this is such a big deal is because many families in Puerto Galera are so poor that they are forced to resort to prostitution in order to feed their families. Some people even sell their young daughters into the sex slave trade in order to receive income.
Threads of Hope gives them a safe and healthy alternative at earning income as the bracelets (which cost about four cents to make) are sold for a dollar or two here in the States. It’s an extremely moving ministry that’s taking place in the Philippines and the promotional video that was played before I got up to perform powerfully conveyed their vision.
After the video concluded, some announcements were made, I was introduced, and I spoke about the value of communicating the gospel to our friends who don’t yet know Jesus…with a humorous twist, of course.
Little did I know there were roughly seven people attending that night for the first time who showed up to the meeting simply because they had heard a comedian would be performing as a special alternative to the normal speaker.
When the meeting ended, I mingled with the students and staff who lingered for a while, made a phone call to my wife back home, and packed up my things to go back to where I would be housed for the night.
My ride home was the local Cru director Drake, and I soon found him in the hallway outside the meeting room, talking to three students in a manner that seemed intentional, sincere, and joyful all at the same time.
About forty five more minutes passed before Drake’s conversation with those students came to a close, at which time he walked up to me and apologized for it taking so long. I shook off the apology and immediately asked how the conversation went.
“Great,” he said. “They all accepted Christ tonight.”
“What?!” I nearly shouted in response to the news. “Tell me what happened!”
Drake went on to tell me that, although those three students had only attended the meeting to hear a comedian, they were greatly impacted by the Threads of Hope video because they were all Filipino students. When I had talked about the gospel from up front, this only continued to prime the pump of their spiritual hearts, and all three were very ready to hear in more detail about how they could be in a personal relationship with God through Jesus Christ. Drake stepped up to the plate, so to speak, and led all three to the Lord.
My heart swelled with excitement as Drake smiled and nodded. God used a promotional video about a ministry that keeps women off the streets in the Philippines to lead three Filipino students in Birmingham, Alabama into a relationship with Him. Who in the world would have thought up that particular scenario?
After all this occurred, I went over to the Threads of Hope table in that same hallway and bought a bracelet to remind myself of the night’s events. God can do whatever He wants, in whatever way He wants, through whatever means He decides. I’m overjoyed that I was able to witness such a great example of that.