Answers in Genesis continued its yearly outreach at the National Education Association’s annual convention, once again donating multiple thousands of dollars’ worth of books, DVDs, magazines, and other resources—all of which were freely given away to thousands of teachers at the event (thanks to the generosity of AiG donors who designated their gifts to this outreach).
Coming alongside the booth sponsor, the NEA Creation Science Educators’ Caucus, every year, AiG and the caucus have a great impact at the convention, influencing and encouraging many teachers who approach the booth. But this year, Tony Ramsek of our staff, who leads the annual NEA outreach, has a special story to share about how God was working in the heart of one particular teacher. I am giving Tony most of my blog space today to share his report from our recent NEA ministry in Denver, Colorado.
NEA 2014 ReportBy the way, the Mally family produced an insightful five-minute video about AiG’s outreach at the NEA convention. I encourage you to watch it and then pray for the many teachers our outreach team was able to speak to.
by Tony Ramsek (excerpted from a longer report)
Praise the Lord for an incredibly successful year of creation evangelism at the National Education Association’s (NEA) annual convention. The NEA is the largest professional union in America with three million public schoolteachers as members. This year 15,000 attendees came to Denver, CO, to promote the NEA’s godless, liberal agenda, including strong support for the homosexual movement and abortion on demand. The union is also explicitly against homeschooling and teaching the biblical account of creation.
Answers in Genesis donated over $100,000 worth of God-honoring, Bible-upholding, gospel-proclaiming resources in the form of 4,000 DVDs and 4,000 books, Answers magazines, and Bibles. The two primary resources we freely gave out to the schoolteachers were the film Evolution vs God (from producer Ray Comfort) and the Ken Ham/Bill Nye debate DVD. Our theme verse was 1 Corinthians 1:20, paraphrased to fit our bold, beautiful 20-foot banner which stated, “Evolution vs God. There is no debate. God has made foolish the ‘wisdom’ of the world.”
Playing on the debate theme, 1 Corinthians 1:20 reminded our team of 12 evangelists to move quickly from the creation/evolution topic to the gospel message. Our team included longtime friend of the ministry, Dr. Jobe Martin and his family, Dr. Cherian John, another friend of AiG and a cardiologist, and Dr. David Menton, a PhD biologist from Brown University who taught anatomy and histology for 34 years at the Washington University School of Medicine. As they spoke with NEA attendees, I witnessed many of the teachers develop a respect for the intelligence and experience of those who trust in God’s word when it speaks of the Creator and Redeemer, Jesus Christ.
As you can imagine, there are lots of atheists, agnostics, and evolutionists who are very upset that we have a presence at the NEA. In fact, AiG is not there representing AiG as such; rather, we donate materials and manpower to the NEA Creation Science Educators’ Caucus, which is chaired by a Christian public schoolteacher. Over the 19 years we’ve been ministering the gospel to the public schoolteachers, we’ve had our share of enemies try to get us kicked out of the exhibition space, but by God’s grace He has sustained our presence there to be a light in the midst of darkness.
Five years ago, an evolutionist science teacher we’ll call “Tom” started a caucus with the chief goal of silencing the biblical creation message within the NEA convention.
This year a very special, God-blessed encounter happened between “Tom” and two AiG staff members (James Opperman and me). In God’s providence, I found myself standing in front of “Tom’s” caucus booth and struck up a conversation with the evolutionists there. When they asked me what our goals were this year, I let them know that our primary aim is to be used by God to change individual hearts and minds regarding creation and ultimately the goods news of Jesus Christ. I told them that we certainly aren’t there to try to mandate that creation be taught in the public schools. From their reactions, I got the sense that they didn’t really believe me.
So the next day, by the Lord’s prompting, we invited “Tom” to lunch in order to share our heart with him. We explicitly did not want to debate or argue over evolution or the Bible, but simply wanted to express our Christian motives for why we do what we do at the NEA. We also wanted to let him know our honest goal, which is to see people have repentance toward God and faith in our Lord Jesus Christ. We use creation research as a means to both demolish the stronghold of evolutionary belief and open the door to a gospel conversation.
On the last day of the convention, literally the last hour of our outreach, we had lunch with “Tom” and shared our hearts with him. We shared our personal family lives, including James’ testimony of his conversion experience. It was a joy to see “Tom’s” eyes really light up as James shared the power of the gospel firsthand.
I really believe the Holy Spirit was with us as we expressed our trust that God is the one who has opened the door for us to proclaim the creation/gospel message at the NEA and that He is the one who may close it someday. So if “Tom” succeeds in one day kicking us out of the NEA, we would hold no ill feelings toward him, as we would simply proclaim the gospel in another arena the Lord opens up for us.
We found much common ground with “Tom” when it came to operational science and how we all were zealous that children be taught real empirical, experimental science. He was pleasantly surprised to learn that we support his efforts to teach children true observational science. I told him we probably agree with 90% of what he teaches and would rejoice to see him get many of his goals accomplished. At one point, he said with amazed relief that he never would have thought that we would support what they’re doing and support him, personally. The hand of the Lord was totally on the whole conversation!
“Tom” has a heart for reaching children with the wonder of operational science in the real world; he’s not content with his students simply filling in bubbles with pencil marks on a test. We shared with him how we homeschool our families and similarly have a love for science and children. At this point, “Tom” said something like, “You guys are beautiful guys, beautiful souls. You’ve got big hearts coming out here. And we’ve had a really positive time and I’m just feeling love from you guys.” It was an amazing thing and I really believe the Spirit of God was doing a work among us. We prayed for “Tom” and his family twice and ended our lunch with the hope of getting together next year for dinner!
So praise God for this wonderfully encouraging encounter! Please pray for “Tom” and for the thousands of schoolteachers we spoke with and/or freely gave resources to, that the Lord would convict them of sin, righteousness, and judgment so that they will eventually come to know the one and only Creator God of the Bible, Jesus Christ as their Savior and Lord.
We praise God too for the AiG supporters who have donated specifically towards this special outreach to educators. Because of these donations, we’re able to do our best to reach unbelieving teachers with the gospel of Christ and the truth of God’s Word in Genesis.
Thanks for stopping by and thanks for praying,