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Park bench evangelism

by Lea Edgmon

To find out more about Free Will Baptist missions work in the country of Spain, visit

We are so worried about our daughter. She is only fourteen years old, but she has gotten in with a bad group of girls in high school. She sneaks out of the house at night and doesn’t return until the wee hours of the morning. We don’t know what she has gotten into. The worst part is our second grader sees how her sister talks to us and treats us with a lack of respect and she has begun imitating her sister’s attitude. We don’t know where to turn.”

“Look at your baby. He has the most beautiful big blue eyes. Where are you from? How long have you lived in Spain? Do you work here?”

“Have you had problems with your little one since school started? The teacher says our son is happy at school, but as soon as we pick him up he behaves terribly and cries. Do you have any ideas on what I can do to help him?”

“So…you are an evangelical. What exactly does that mean? When we lived in Uruguay we lived next door to a family that was evangelical. Tell me what you believe.”

ALL OF THESE CONVERSATIONS (and many more) took place in the town of Alpedrete, Spain, in one of our favorite places to share with people…the local park. Spaniards love to be outside interacting with their neighbors and friends. As soon as the weather begins to warm, the parks in our community come to life. Little ones toddle to the baby slide and cautiously make their way down. Tykes wouldn’t be seen without their shovel and pail, and they soon find a group of playmates with whom to begin excavating under a shade tree. Their big brothers and sisters ride scooters or bicycles until someone starts a soccer game. Mom and Dad stroll around the park talking with the other parents and keeping an eye on their little ones. They are always at the ready to kiss a “pupa” (booboo) or help someone up the jungle gym.  

The local park is a natural place to share our faith and experiences with the people we meet. When children play together parents instantly have a reason to begin a conversation. Conversations begin relationships, and relationships lead to trust. We were joking when we first began to call our daily outings to the park “park bench evangelism,” but we have seen the Holy Spirit open doors for sharing our testimonies in ways we would not have thought possible.

In the gospels, we see the Son of God walking through city streets and alongside the banks of the Sea of Galilee. Thousands of others walked those same paths. What made His presence in these ordinary places so different? He was there on purpose!

Jesus went to the Mount of Olives to share an important message to all who would follow Him. He walked across the Sea of Galilee to show His power to His disciples. He gently gathered children in His arms to teach a lesson about humility and the importance of faith. Nothing Jesus did was ordinary, even though it may have seemed so to those around Him.

We, like our Savior, can take something ordinary, like a trip to the park, and transform it by purposing to share His love with those we meet.

Lea Edgmon and her husband Anthony have served in Spain since 1998. They minister as part of a church-planting team in the city of Alpedrete. Email Lea at



©2005 ONE Magazine, National Association of Free Will Baptists