Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Circuit-Riding Preacher

Allen Hilgendorf is an itinerant preacher evangelist with SAC International (formerly Shantymen) in the North Hastings and Madawaska Highlands in Ontario. He visits house to house, by vehicle, bicycle, canoe and horseback… Along the way he distributes Christian literature and lends a willing ear to people who need someone to talk to, building relationships as he travels. He regularly requests Scriptures from LifeLight Ministries to distribute.
In the summer the ministry includes setting up at fairs, festivals and rodeos. He dresses up as an old-time circuit riding preacher and participates in every parade that is available to him. Usually several volunteers flank him as he rides, passing out appropriate Christian literature to hundreds of people.
Creativity is one of Allen’s great strengths. He dresses up for rodeos and fairs and creates venues in which to draw a crowd. By advertising and conducting the meetings in a pioneer setting—inviting folks to come by horse and antique auto…even dressed up in period clothing—he creatively provides a fun atmosphere for a serious message.
Allen had the opportunity in July to speak at the Palmer Rapids Music Festival, which takes place annually on the banks of the beautiful Madawaska River. He writes: “For the third year I was asked to preach at the Festival during the Sunday Gospel Hour. This year I took my horse, dressed in my circuit-reading preacher outfit, rode around to the hundreds of trailer sites and handed out The Way for Cowboys New Testaments, along with other literature. After riding to the different camps, I spoke on Paul’s words to the Corinthians, ‘I beg you…be reconciled to God.’ After I spoke, several people came forward to receive either the Heart of the Outdoors Bible or the NT for cowboys. Praise the Lord!
“In August we had a camp-out and Ride Your Horse to Church Sunday at an old heritage church. Again I dressed the part, preached an old-time gospel message, and left The Way for Cowboys for people to pick up on their way out.
“During hunting season I visit hunt camps and hand out Heart of the Outdoors Bibles at each camp, sometimes deep in the woods.

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