In 2009, I took part in an Origin of Species outreach. This outreach handed out over 170,000 copies of Charles Darwin’s On the Origin of Species to students at universities around the nation. Each book includes an introduction written by Ray Comfort of Living Waters Ministries that contains information about Intelligent Design and the gospel.
When I first found out about this Origin into schools project, I was so excited I could hardly stand it. I immediately contacted Living Waters to find out if there was a group heading up to the UW. Due to the incredible response to the project, the original plan of 100 campuses quickly grew to 1,000’s of campuses, including Madison!! So I was off and running.
As the weeks went by, I prayed diligently for this outreach. I couldn’t wait to see God work! I told many people about what was being planned…I asked for prayers over the outreach week…I posted links on Facebook sparring heated debates…it was so darn exciting!!
Just as quickly as the fire was lit and spread inside me for the cause of Christ, it began to fade. I began to doubt my courage, I feared what might happen, I didn’t trust what God could do through me, and I started to worry!
I became certain that God didn’t want me out there, because I would just mess it up, so I was convinced that God would provide my way out. He knew I couldn’t do this, so I figured I wouldn’t be able to find a sitter, or Jax would end up scheduled to work that day, maybe one of the kids would be sick. I KNEW something would come up.
It didn’t. God clearly had His own plans…
Much to my surprise, one of my best friends jumped at the chance to watch the boys so I could head down to be part of this.
Jax lost his job about a week before, so there were absolutely no scheduling conflicts with him.
The kids had been ill several weeks prior, but this week?? Fit as fiddles.
NOT ONE THING came up. In fact God provided, even through my children, encouragement for me:
“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God;” Philippians 4:6
“The LORD is on my side; I will not fear. What can man do to me?” Psalm 118:6
“…do not worry about how or what you should speak. For it will be given to you in that hour… for it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father who speaks in you.” Matthew 10:19-20
Yet, I continued to doubt.
The night before the outreach, I put off GOING to bed, because…well, the morning would come far too quickly. Then that morning, I delayed getting OUT of bed, because I knew people would be arriving at our house in no time. I seriously tried to figure out a way that the group could go without me, but God was NOT about to let me out of this. Everything was falling into place beautifully. No conflicts, no problems, no excuse.
“Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.” 1 Peter 5:6-7
Ok fine, I’ll go.
All of the brothers and sisters in Christ serving with us gathered at our house at 9:30am. We divvied up the boxes of books between three cars and headed downtown Madison.
Deep breath Nicole, take a deep breath…
The more I thought about it, I realized this wasn’t going to be so bad. I figured I would be right alongside Jax anyway, so if I had any problems he could take care of it. That essentially, he would be my “Aaron.” I was being sent…but Jax would do the talking.
Sounds like a plan to me!! Yup, that would work.
We decided to head toward State Street to cover the length of it and then would see where to go from there. Jax and I didn’t make it much past the first corner with our books, when we were instantly separated by the swarm of students coming to and from classes. Ok, he’s not too far away… I still felt fairly comfortable, so I began to hand out books. The students snatched them up. They couldn’t get enough!
“Darwin? Oh, I love him!”
“It’s free? Are you kidding me? Awesome!”
“Man, I thought you were giving out Bibles! This is great!!”
They were amazed and THRILLED that we were handing out Darwin’s book as opposed to Bibles or religious literature.
This was going to be easier than I thought!!
One professor, an “Evolutionary Scientist,” was so thrilled that we were handing out the book, that he said he was eager to share it with his students and even invited us to sit in on his class!!
The books were flying out of my arms. Only a few left… Yay, almost done!! Oooooh yes, my last book! Then, a lady asked me a question:
“Why are you handing these out?”
That’s easy enough I thought… “It’s the 150th anniversary of the publication of this book.”
“Who’s providing these books?”
Well…ok, “Living Waters.”
“Who is that?”
What do I say now? Oh my word. They’re not going to understand! They’re going to get mad! Oh gosh…
“I don’t know.” I said hoping it was good enough.
“Well, who are you working for?”
Silence. I shook my head playing dumb. The lady looked at me inquisitively.
“Who hired you?”
Sheer terror filled me, and I blurted out: “I don’t know, I answered an ad in the paper.”
I stared back at her, holding my breath. She finally walked away probably thinking that I was an idiot.
“When I say to the wicked, ‘You shall surely die,’ and you give him no warning, nor speak to warn the wicked from his wicked way, to save his life, that same wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood I will require at your hand.” Ezekiel 3:18
I walked back to the car to get more books, my heart very heavy. I was so ashamed. Oh my word, what have I done? I just missed an opportunity to share my faith. I played dumb to avoid what God was setting up! It hit me like a ton of bricks. I AM an idiot!!
Oh God, I am so sorry. YOU put me here. YOU orchestrated all of this. Each person that passes by me YOU led here at this exact moment. You are trying to use me, and I am stopping you!! Oh God, please forgive me, I am STILL doubting!
At that moment, I was done. I was done pretending. I was done doubting. I remembered Psalm 118:6 – the verse my daughter gave me the week before. What CAN man do to me? Absolutely NOTHING with God on my side!
From this moment on, if I was questioned I would answer. No holds barred. God knows I can do this, and I know I can trust Him. I grabbed more books and headed back to State Street. Now I was on a mission.
I hadn’t taken time to set all the books down when an elderly gentleman approached me. He had some questions. It was CLEARLY God saying, “Ok, prove it.” This man literally asked the exact same questions the lady before him asked and as I was talking to him, he finally got around to the poignant question:
“Living Waters? Who are they?”
I closed my eyes and took a deep breath, and as I was about to speak when a young lady interrupted us:
“Is that Darwin’s original work, Origin of Species?”
“Yes,” I answered.
She screamed, grabbed a book and exclaimed, “Oh, thank you so much!! That’s fantastic! Thank you, thank you!” She walked away practically hugging the book.
The man looked at her, then at me, and awaited my response.
“Actually,” I said, “Living Waters is a Christian organization who wrote the introduction to the book. It explains Intelligent Design, and how Darwin’s theories are incorrect.”
The man paused, looked back at the gal who was now showing people this precious treasure she had just received, and said:
“Well, she’s going to be surprised now, isn’t she?!”
A huge smile engulfed my face. “Yes sir, she is.”
He thanked me, took the book, and walked away.
It was then that I knew God was with me. He was NOT going to allow anything to happen. HE was in control.
“Those who trust in the LORD are like Mount Zion, which cannot be moved, but abides forever.” Psalm 125:1
We were on State Street for about three hours. We handed out a little over 1500 books. We were given the immense honor of speaking with a handful of people in whom the Holy Spirit was obviously working. Who really wanted to know why we were out there, and who still accepted the book after hearing that Intelligent Design prefaced it.
Now that it’s over, I have mixed feelings about the whole thing. Great joy that I was able to witness to people — great joy that over 1500 students/professors were given a book which also contained the gospel message — but also great sadness.
It was astonishing how many people practically jumped up and down that we were handing out Darwin’s book. In fact, the amount of people who came back to THANK US!! One gal even bought me a pumpkin spice latte because she was so appreciative of what we were doing…and, because I looked cold!! Another guy said to Jax: “Thanks for not telling me about Jesus.”
Oh it broke my heart. Just how lost those people really are! That their view of street preachers is so negative, they view it as “refreshing” to be handed something other than a Bible!
Oh Lord, I can only pray that you touched one life that day. That one person read the introduction and made a choice to follow you. I leave it in your hands and thank you for what you have done and will continue to do because of that outreach. Thank you for including me, for NOT giving me an Aaron, and for teaching me amazing truths.
Oh, and by the way…thanks for the pumpkin spice latte!!
“I, the LORD, search the heart, I test the mind, Even to give to each man according to his ways, According to the results of his deeds.” Jeremiah 17:10