Hidden People Parties
"Encouraging, to say the least!" Is the way John Holzmann, Hidden Peoples Party program director, characterizes the responses of party hosts. "I really wasn't expecting results as positive as those we have received."
From one end of the country to the other, in large groups and small, Christians are hearing the message of the Hidden Peoples. Hidden Peoples Parties are bearing fruit.
Each Hidden Peoples Party host Is given a "Follow Up Questionnaire" to fill out after the party.
"My favorite." says Holzmann, "is from the first response we received. Somebody is actually going to look into missions work as a fulltime occupation as a result of a party."
What People Say
But there have been other exciting responses. A woman from Encinitss, California wrote, "I'm very pleased with hew receptive the people who came were. I believe this really will be a life changing event for them."
Said another host: "The highlight of the program for me was a time of group prayer at the end when many expressed their new concern for the success of the USCWM and for the church to wake up to the needs in world missions."
A young couple from Oklahoma is planning to return to missionary service In Southeast Asia. "Both my husband and I prayerfully desire to attend WCIU and then go overseas again," writes the wife. "Thanks for renewing our vision! We are rejoicing!"
Almost half of all hosts say that the slide show introduction to the world's Hidden Peoples is the highlight of the party.
"It was a good presentation of the need and the challenge," said one host.
The positive emphasis of the presentation was noted by several hosts.
Cause for Rejoicing, the slide show centerpiece of the program, Is "not a 'guilt trip' presentation," according to Ken Schmidt of Tulsa, Oklahoma.
From Newtown Square, Pennsylvania: "As far as my guests were concerned, the highlight of the program was the positive way in which you presented the task before us."
The reasons for such upbeat responses are not too hard to find. Wrote one woman: "Often, earlier appeals to missions stressed the overwhelming, even hopeless, scenario."
But in Hidden Peoples Parties, according to a couple front Holdingford, Minnesota, guests are encouraged to see what God is doing In the world through His church.
Many hosts express satisfaction at the thought of having done something useful for the cause of world evangelization.
"Your purpose is God's plan, and I'm blessed to have a part in it," wrote one man.
A young woman wrote, "I hadn't known about the Center. You've got a great vision."
Despite the overwhelmingly positive nature of most responses, some hosts have been displeased with their experience. The most common complaint centers around obtaining guests.
"We Invited fourteen people." said one host. "No one was able to attend, some letting us know at the last minute, and others not showing up. We ended up showing the program to our daughters."
A minister from Oklahoma wrote, "I feel frustrated! Invitations were sent to fifteen local pastors I have been close to... All but four had other plans for that night, and none of the four gave a definite promise; thus, nobody showed up"
Some... else said, "My party was a complete failure. Of the 22 people who were invited, one was able to come."
Such experiences were by no means universal.
A couple from Mount Lermon, California wrote, "Our guests all seemed to feel that the presentation was well done and that they had learned a lot. Two have said they will have parties. Eighteen took packets (of ten brochures) and will send them out."
Dan Oelegrange of Spencervlile. Indiana is convinced God had His hand on his party. "We used exactly 15 packets of Invitations (the number sent for the party). People were glad to share In reaching the Hidden Peoples."
Another man seems overwhelmed: "Twenty one people in attendance, twelve of them pastors or heads of 'para church' organizations! Eighteen took packets!"
"The program is not perfect, by any means," says Holzmann. "We are learning where our materials need to be improved."
"For example, by far the majority of hosts have been well pleased with our instructions, yet few people have offered suggestions that we will incorporate in future editions.
"We feel good when people tell us our instructions are comprehensive yet simple to understand. On the other hand, we realize we can't ignore those who say, 'I didn't understand what you meant' at this point or that."
"We've done well. We are pushing to do better."