In mid-May, Gridley church members hosted three booths at the annual Red Suspenders Day—the largest community-wide event of the year in Gridley, attracting thousands of visitors.
Located in a Butte County farming community, Gridley is a small city of about 6,700 people.
One booth featured a show-stopping cabbage, weighing more than 20 pounds, grown by farmer Brad Johnson. Attracted by the massive vegetable and seeing a photo opportunity, hundreds of people visited the booth. Johnson and other church volunteers gave away hundreds of watermelon plants and seeds, Scripture-based handouts, and two cases of Pacific Press books.
“I thought gardening created a lot of interest, and I found many identified with it as something we have in common,” said Johnson. “I met business people and community leaders, farmers, gardeners, classmates from school, people from the gym, and families.”
Physicians Randy and Christine Sloop were at another booth, teaching natural preventative measures for avoiding dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. “We had one lady visit us who said she had been raised an Adventist and hadn’t been to church in over 20 years,” said Christine Sloop. “After talking with us, she said she was going to come and visit our church.”
Retired schoolteacher Barbara Gately ran a third booth for children. She offered nature “grab bags” filled with shells, polished rocks, seeds, and more. Each child also received a memory verse card and an Our Little Friend magazine. “This Red Suspenders project was very positive and a successful event for us,” she said. “We are still receiving raves as to how well it was received by our community.”
As a gift to those who came to the event, Lisa Ekdahl made hundreds of beaded bookmarks and added them to little gift bags that church members had spent weeks stuffing with GLOW tracts. Throughout the day, members gave away about 6,000 tracts!
“We wanted to be intentional in our activities, to represent who we are—people with a health message, people of the Book, who are willing to share God with others,” said Peggy Morentin, head of the church’s local evangelism efforts. “We prayed that God would prepare us to be His representatives and thanked Him for how He would bless.”
By Lisa Ekdahl