The crowd, a little sheepish at first, begins to build, intrigued by the size of the muscular Americans and the booming voices from the portable sound system.
When the first phonebook was torn in half, the energy level drastically increased as onlookers begin to clap and cheer for the physically ripped men standing atop the truck bed sharing feats of strength.
After the steel bars were twisted by hand, bats broken and water bottles exploded, the men, members of the Strength Team, speak about why they are camped along the impoverished Haitian neighborhood, sharing how God transformed their lives and gave hope when they were hopeless.
“There was never a time when many did not respond and give their lives to Jesus,” said David Burton, lead strategist for the Florida Baptist Convention’s Evangelism Group.
“Sometimes shouts of joy erupted—sometime tears of joy.”
“The Haitians are awed by these men of strength. Their eyes grow huge as they watch the feats of strengths. They listen intently as the team shared their testimonies and how Jesus can change and save a life forever,” Burton explained.
The weeklong trip encompassed five nightly crusades, visits to four schools where nearly 700 boys and girls heard the Gospel and a stop at the city’s Swat Team facilities for anther presentation. At the end of the effort, 3,258 professions of faith were recorded, with many names collected and assigned to local churches for follow up.
The mission trip is the third annual event for Burton and the Strength Team, a group of evangelistic body builders and former athletes, as they partner with the churches and leaders of the Confraternite Missionaire
Baptiste d’Haiti, Florida Baptists’ mission partners in that country, who provide translators for the Americans. The group plans to return to Haiti next January.
As the sun began to set, hundreds more appeared, some carrying chairs and stools while others stood, sometimes for several hours at a time, listening to the music, the presentation of the Strength Team and Burton proclaim the Gospel.
At the time of the invitation “we knew God was about to touch hundreds of lives— and He did.”
Several times, the crowd pressed up to the platform, leaving little room for people to come forward, Burton recalled.
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