Protest Brings Opportunity to Missionaries
Thousands of protesters recently flooded Puerta del Sol, the main square in Madrid, Spain, and the location of the Ontheredbox Ministry Center, on Saturday, Sept. 10. The protesters weren’t there to oppose Ontheredbox – they were there participating in a march for animal rights, specifically against bull fighting.
Yet, for Jacob and Julie Boch, who have been serving as Assemblies of God missionaries to Madrid, Spain, and surrounding communities for more than three decades, the protest proved to be a ministry bonanza for their Ontheredbox outreach.
What is the Ontheredbox game plan? Simply explained, a red trunk filled with Light for the Lost (LFTL) Spanish postcard tracts and gospel portions is legally placed in an active pedestrian area in the square, an Ontheredbox team member stands on the red trunk, and then gives his or her testimony or offers a gospel presentation.
A typical effort sees the Ontheredbox team, made up of a mixture of missionaries — including AG world missionaries Dan and Joy West and Kevin and Karen Prevost — and trained volunteers begin by distributing tracts. Then, about every 30 minutes, a team member stands on the trunk and begins to speak. In an average three-hour, six-days-a-week effort, the teams give out 1,000 tracts and 25 gospel portions a day.
“[The messages] always focus on what Jesus did for us on the Cross, challenging the public to repent and put their faith in Jesus,” Julie Boch says. “After the preaching, we offer people a LFTL gospel portion and talk with those who have gathered. When the conversations have finished, we do another gospel presentation.”
However, Sept. 10 was different as the square was teaming with protesters. “We chose to distribute postcard tracts with an animal on them — we distributed at least 5,000 tracts,” Julie says. “What fun!”
Although some may question the effectiveness of street witnessing and tract distribution, the Bochs have Scripture on their side.
“As Romans 10:14 says, ‘How can they believe if they don´t hear?’” Julie states. “We believe in the power of proclaiming the gospel, in any and every way possible. That is why we stand up on a box and proclaim what Jesus did in our lives and what He wants to do in their lives.”
The Bochs also see the postcard tracts as powerful opportunities in several ways — and not just for those receiving them.
“The postcards give a simple direct message to the person that receives it, which plants that thought in people’s minds,” Julie explains. “I also believe tracts are powerful because we hand them to people. We reach into their lives, look them in the eyes, and respond to them — the tracts open up many conversations each night. I have also found that passing out tracts is very beneficial in my life. It helps me to reach out to people and open my heart to them.”
Although Ontheredbox does plenty of ministry in the Puerta del Sol, it also provides a training center for churches to send people to so they can learn through teaching and experience how to replicate the ministry in their own cities — they even offer an online training course.
Julie says the secret to having the courage and effectively sharing the gospel is not complicated: “We need to pray and be full of the Holy Spirit and then, together, go to the streets and proclaim the great news of the gospel.”
The Bochs estimate that in the past 14 years since they’ve began Ontheredbox, they’ve order about 2 million LFTL tracts to distribute — about 300,000 a year!
“What a privilege it is to provide Ontheredbox postcard tracts and gospel portions to place the truth and love of Christ into the hands, hearts, and minds of hundreds of thousands of people each year,” says Rick Allen, national Light for the Lost director. “Every piece of literature distributed is a seed planted, watered, or prepared for harvest — and that’s exciting to consider!”
The Ontheredbox Ministry Center, which has a prayer room overlooking the Puerta del Sol, also has a coffee house, where people are welcomed and can engage in conversations with the staff. “We are currently in the process of raising funds to buy this building,” Julie says. “Its location is ideal as on a normal day as many as 100,000 people walk through the square — and through Ontheredbox can be exposed to the gospel!”