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Crown of Maine Hot Air Balloon Festival

Aug 29 2017

Our first trip to Aroostook County, the northernmost part of Maine, was in 1995. We met and quickly befriended Pastor Jim Ackerson and his wife, Debbie. They had kids around our kids ages, and they, like we, were regulars at Baptist Park summer camp each summer from then on. Jim pastors Bethany Baptist Church in Presque Isle, and has recently added Mapleton Baptist to his responsibilities as well.

Jim hired me to come up to "the county" last week to juggle at the kick off to the Crown of Maine Hot Air Balloon Festival. This annual, four day event starts with a street fair, and his churches have a display right in front of the Bowling Alley, and my role was to attract attention to the church's free school supplies, Bibles, popcorn and helium balloons. There was also a prayer room set up in the foyer of a local insurance office.

While the event started at 6:00,, by 5:30 there was already a crowd of folks walking on Main Street. What else could I do; I began to juggle. For about three hours, I juggled to draw attention to the display, and occasionally (when I had a larger crowd that seemed to be willing to stay) I did some magic with 'light Gospel overtones', whatever that means.

Since my family and I live in the Presque Isle area six or seven weeks each year, there were lots of folks I knew that came by that evening, which made it extra fun. The evening was barely half over when the church ran out of school supplies, and we were out of popcorn a little while after that. Also, six free Bibles were taken, all the helium balloons, and a lot of good publicity went out about what Bethany and Mapleton churches are doing in the area.

For more on this event, see the following:

https://fiddleheadfocus.com/2017/08/25/news/postponed-flights-didnt-stop-hundreds-from-attending-balloon-fest-street-fair/

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The presentation was fun and encouraging... The gospel message was clear and encouraging. I purchased your book and just finished it. Your scope is broad and again encouraging. May God continue to bless your ministry. I will encourage others to read your book. -Parishioner of a local church

"Hey, I just wanted to say that was a great message in chapel today! It touched something:) thanks for doing it!" -High School Student  

"We are so grateful that you brought your amazing ministry back to our church this year... The Gospel message you bring applies to all!  It is such a positive, valuable work that you do."  -Coordinator of Christian Ed. UCC Church

"There's no questioning it. This is powerful stuff. It's extremely touching at times, never less than entertaining, and I see a lot of sincere love for Jesus in you guys."  -Dwight Lilies, song writer

The Lord has given you a wonderful window through which to present the Gospel!   - Field Director of Alliance Missions to Paraguay

"What a wonderful ministry to both children and adults.  In past years it has been a struggle to arrange programing that would hold the attention of all ages, but also challenge each heart with God's gift of Salvation.  Thank you for sharing your ministry."  -Sunday School Sup't.

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