“This is something a small church can do to make a big impact,” says Peter Touhey, pastor of the Grace Brethren Church of Harrah, WA, referring to the Harrah church’s recent outreach event featuring Andre Kole.
Kole, a world-famous illusionist who is affiliated with Campus Crusade for Christ, was engaged by the Harrah church for an outreach event last November. The meeting was hosted at White Swan High School, about 10 miles to the west.
“We wanted to do something to bring the gospel to our community,” says Touhey. “Andre Kole was perfect. He presented a really first-class show, and you could see his heart for smaller communities-the show was family-oriented, very wholesome, and toward the end he gave a very straightforward, clear presentation of the gospel.”
Members of the Harrah church, which has a Sunday morning attendance of about 55, had prayed and worked for several months to bring off the event. They distributed response cards for people to fill out, and they received over 100 cards from people who indicated making a first-time decision for Christ. In addition, some 40-50 either wanted to know more, or were rededicating their lives to the Lord.
After the invitation, Kole concluded the program with his spectacular finishing act-making a ten-foot-tall replica of the Statue of Liberty disappear. Weighing several hundred pounds, constructed of wood, fiberglass, and steel, the statue disappears in slow motion–from the bottom up. David Copperfield has called Kole’s Statue of Liberty creation “one of the most remarkable illusions ever attempted on stage, anywhere in the world.” Adds Copperfield, “I don’t know of anyone else who would attempt such a feat.”
As a part of his elaborate stage production, Andre exposes some of the fraudulent and deceitful hoaxes that he has investigated, and reveals the truth behind transcendental levitation, dematerialization, the Bermuda Triangle mystery, the occult and communication with the dead.
Then he shares his findings from his investigation of the miracles of Christ and how the discovery that Jesus Christ was who He claimed to be, the Son of God, the Savior of mankind, changed the entire course of his life.
Members of the Harrah church distributed publicity and free tickets to the event. To enable a free-to-the-public evening, the total cost for publicity and for Kole’s company of six professionals was funded by the church.
Those who responded to Kole’s invitation were offered a free Bible, and each was sent a letter. In addition, about 40-50 of the decision cards were given to a missionary couple working with the Yakima people, who then invited respondents to a Christmas dinner.
Pastor Peter Touhey, who was born in Brooklyn and lived in New Jersey and New Hampshire before moving to the northwest to attend seminary in Portland, has been pastor of the Harrah church since August of 2002.
“The success of the event really encouraged our church,” Touhey said. “It’s very do-able, and Kole’s presentation of the gospel is biblical and clear.”