Thank you very much for supporting us on DragonCon mission trip 2017! With your prayers, support and God’s grace, we were able to raise $2,000 attending DragonCon (Sept. 1st-4th) and to share Jesus with over 90,000 attendees. We would like to keep you updates and to tell you stories here.
On August 31st, we drove 8 hours to Atlanta, GA, where DragonCon took place this year. We met our team in the late evening and received a greeting & training section with team mates. On September 1st, we loaded all the boxes and headed to set up in the vendor hall early. I saw people lining up waiting to enter, dressing up with different characters standing at the city street. We put up free giveaway merchandise on the booth table, including Jesus’s story- book of John, stickers, lanyards, pins, and some “Jesus Loves Gamers” T-shirts on sale. We were ready for people to come in!
DragonCon 2017 took place at 5 nearby hotels; you can imagine 90,000 people attending the 4days events, dressing up in various characters of the manga, comic, video games, fantasy, cartoon, movies and TV shows universe. It was definitely something that was absolutely different than daily life. It was the moment that people truly let their imagination world come to life. Very eye opening indeed.
I will use the word of “Battle” to describe some of the experience of this DragonCon. Before coming to DragonCon, we both knew that the gaming/geek world needs the light of Jesus, but what we experienced in DragonCon pushed us to share the urgency more with others. On September 1st, we attended a panel (panel is sort of conference where a speaker addresses a crowd of attendees in set room) in the afternoon, which was hosted by the American Atheist Association, titled “Religion vs Science”. Well, the conclusion of that panel was that religion (Christianity) is not necessary and believable. The association set up a booth at the hotel and you could tell that they were ready to prevent people coming to faith in Jesus.
Another incident happened on the street. There was a group of proclaimed Christians protesting on the street every year during DragonCon, holding big signs with scripture and yelling at people through speakers. They shouted condemning the attendees of sinning against God and to judge their fate of going to hell. It was not in any way proclaimed with any amount of love or compassion, purely judgement. They spoke in such a hateful way it made us sad every time we saw them. We received a lot of comments about them from visitors to our booth, asking questions about motives, questioning their beliefs, and feeling angry for their hostile manners. Instead of drawing people closer to God, the unfortunate outcome from that angry group of Christian pushed others away from God.
Hopefully now you would understand why I used the word “Battle” in DragonCon. It was a battle of reaching people among the forces of atheist, angry Christians, and Christians who wanted to do it right. Of course, the evil one attempted to distract our attention with the terrible living conditions as well. Sadly, the Airbnb we got was not good at all, but that was not the groups fault and most Airbnbs are better. Thank God that we were able to survive and to serve God with energy every day there!
Every year you would find some people dress up as Jesus walking around DragonCon. Their motivations are often quite different if you talk with them. Some are just for fun as cosplay, some are against Christianity and want to start debate, and some aim to make fun of Jesus … It was quite interesting to see but it also made me feel some sadness to this phenomena .
Sometimes we may underestimate the power of the name Jesus or the impact of “Jesus Loves You”, since we are living in the Bible belt. Throughout the mission trip, the more I experienced as a representative for Christ, the more humble I felt before the presence of God. For example, a Chinese Christian believer mother and her middle-school age son came over to our booth, and we started to play a board game together. During the process, the Lord used my Chinese to communicate with them and to be the encouragement for them as well. It turned out to be a brief counseling moment and a very enjoyable fun playing experience. We successfully built a very tall standing “tower” with all the cards in the box, which was a record indeed. I appreciate the encounter like that and it was a blessing to walk across each other’s life!
Another example was that we shall never ignore any people whom God put in front of us, for we would never know the real blessing unless we obey. A very young girl wanted to play board game with us, and we played happily with her for a long time. We did not know the whole story until our team mates told us afterwards. Before the little girl played with us, her mother came over to our booth and complained the group of angry Christians yelling at her that she is leading her daughter to hell. Our team mates tried to show empathy and understanding to her, at the same time, her daughter came to play with us. During the time her daughter busy playing games with us, her mother stopped by 3 times to make sure she was doing alright. Meanwhile, she also observed how all of the team interacted with people around, and then she picked up a Bible from the giveaway merchandise, read it and put it in her purse. While her daughter finished playing with us, her mother was smiling and happy. My point is that, God used every single moment and effort of the whole body of Christ, to make a beautiful testimony for His Holy name! While we receive a task from God, we don’t see the big picture till the very end, but we can trust God on His great wisdom and vision to serve Him and His people all the way.
A 14 years old teen approached to us and showed interests playing games together. He looked like much younger and smaller than his age. He was highly intelligent, very independent and talkative. We were very happy to provide a safe, open and comfortable environment for him to be himself and to enjoy the fun together. He did excellent in the game and he took the book of John joyfully afterwards. We wish the best for this boy and pray that he would have a great growth in both high school and in faith.
After coming back from mission trip, one of the attendees found me on internet and shared his story with me. He said that he felt encouraged by hearing “Jesus loves you” and reading the giveaway book of John from our booth during DragonCon mission trip. He even found courage from Jesus to help him overcome his fear of taking airplane! Many unbelievers also acknowledged the kindness of Christianity and appreciated what we did with encouragement event though they are not Christians. Stories like those really made the mission trip whole and complete with the meaning of being ambassador for Christ.
From this mission trip, we saw the great needs of reaching out gamers, which reinforces our on-going gaming ministry on Twitch, Youtube and other social medias; we experienced the intense battle among atheists, angry Christians and Christians who want to do things right, which confirms our desire to listen and to obey as followers of Christ; we witnessed many touching stories of children and adults, which reassures us God’s goodness and grace.
So much to take and to learn from the trip, but thank you very much again for your great support and prayers! We couldn’t go without your great efforts! This trip is not the ending of our mission plan. We will continue doing our gaming mission through internet, will continue serving our community and church, and will continue praying for opportunity to serve God as missionaries oversea in the future. It is our pleasure and blessing to walk with you on this journey! We hope that you will continue walking with us in our future steps as a dear loving family in Christ. We thank God for your presence and pray that the Lord will bless you and your family. Please feel free to contact us any time for any thoughts, feedback and advice. May the Heavenly peace and joy be with you forever!
Love in Christ,
Karen & Andy