The last place you would ever think to go on a mission trip is a place where they say “Gentlemen, start your engines!” And, you don’t imagine you’ll hear the rumbling sound of engines as race cars rush around a track at speeds of 125 mph or more. This isn’t your typical mission field, but that’s exactly where John and Crystal Earnhardt, Carolina Conference evangelists, have been called to witness for Christ.
The youth from the Wilkesboro, N.C., Church were invited to attend the Bristol Motor Speedway Race weekend on April 5, 2019, and share their faith. None of them had ever been to a race track or even thought of attending one, but with John Earnhardt’s enthusiasm and passion — not to mention his relation to the world-famous Dale Earnhardt — it was exciting for them to be part of this mission.
Late Friday morning the group set up their booth at the Hospitality Village, where hundreds of racing fans would soon swarm in to receive freebies from the NASCAR sponsors. They had more than 1,000 sharing books to give away, including little Bibles and a version of Steps to Christ that has race cars on the cover to target the interest of the fans. They also gave away around 600 copies of Crystal Earnhardt’s The 7 Flags of NASCAR, a newly published book which takes the principles behind each racing flag and applies them to everyday life. The Gospel is interwoven with compelling stories meant to encourage the reader to seek God.
To draw people to their booth, they also gave out autographed pictures of racecar drivers. It worked! Do you know how easy it is to start a conversation with someone as you’re looking for their favorite race-car driver’s picture? So many people are searching and longing for someone to admire and look up to. What a great opportunity it was to show Jesus’ love through the way they interacted and shared His Word with each person. Unconventional? Yes. Effective? Most definitely!
On Saturday and Sunday morning, the young people led out in songs and devotions at the campsite where fans were lodged for the weekend. Some of the fans would join in to worship, and some would sit outside their campers and listen. Others would walk by, stop, and observe from a distance. No matter what, seeds were being planted.
Each year, as fans come strolling through, they can look forward to visiting that friendly booth, because this special booth has more to share than just books or pictures. It shares a true, lasting relationship with the Friend and Savior, Jesus Christ.
Carolina | June 2019