Last weekend Luleå held their eighth annual festival celebrating food, games and entertainment that drew thousands of people from the town and surrounding areas. Several churches have used the opportunity to set up a tent in the middle of the busiest pedestrian area and offer food and a place people could listen to Christian bands, hear testimonies and just sit and hang out. Inside and around the tent, people mingled with the crowd, talked with them and sought ways to spread the gospel.
Tony was there Saturday night and saw so many who were with other people, yet seemed so lonely. We’ve been told that when girls here turn 13 or 14, their parents give them keys to the house and allow them to come home whenever they want to. Many even fix up the basement as a room where their daughters can “entertain” their boyfriends for the night. This is simply seen as a normal part of growing up in this land. Tony personally saw so many in their early teens roaming the festival grounds – even at 4:00am – and he prayed God would keep them safe.
Tony was part of the tent outreach ministry and was able to share Christ with about seven people – he couldn’t believe how receptive people were. Most of the people knew about God, but had no desire to know Him personally – they held on to the false hope that God would allow them into heaven because He forgives everyone and they had done more good than bad in their lifetime. One fellow said he thinks about what will happen after he dies every night and it concerns him. Another young fellow has a Muslim father and a Christian mother and said he knew both religions well and the “only” difference between them is how Jesus is seen – he said he’ll choose his religion later when he doesn’t have so much on his plate.
We sense a real spiritual battlefield here in Luleå with eternal destinies at stake. However, we know God has not turned his back on these people! The Holy Spirit is piercing hearts as evidenced by people’s questions and willingness to listen. We continue to need your prayers so God will use us for His glory!