Gamers find treasure more valuable than Pokémon
A Gospel tract recently produced by Southwestern Seminary begins, “Hello, Pokémon trainers! You think hunting for Pokémon is exciting? What if you were to find out that you may have just stumbled upon the greatest treasure ever known?”
These words greeted numerous “Pokémon Go” players as they stepped onto the Southwestern campus for a “lure party,” July 19. This Gospel tract, produced specifically for this event in order to capitalize on the recent “Pokémon Go” phenomenon, was handed out by Southwestern students and faculty to people from the community who voluntarily came to campus for the sole purpose of catching Pokémon.
As one of the evangelists, master’s student Heather Mentz, says, “They may not have caught as many Pokémon as they were hoping, but they came away with something far greater. People got to hear the Gospel, and that’s what it was all about.”
The Pokémon tract served as a foundational element in the salvation of Angel, a young man whom Mentz led to the Lord. When Mentz learned that Angel and his two friends, Fransisco and Kevin, had already received and read this Gospel tract, she discerned that that was a perfect setup for her to engage them in spiritual conversation. And after hearing a full Gospel presentation, Angel gave his life to the Lord.
“His friend Fransisco just listened to everything,” Mentz says, “but his other friend Kevin [who was already a Christian] was excited to hear someone give a Gospel presentation. He said he had tried before with Angel but always gotten stuck. So not only did one person come to know the Lord (Angel), but another was encouraged to continue in his faith and find a church home (Kevin), and another heard a Gospel presentation and experienced the joy and excitement we all had (Fransisco).”
Mentz immediately began to discuss the next steps for Angel. She enlisted the aid of master’s student Mark Becker, since he keeps Bibles in his car to give away. When Becker met up with the group, he brought four Bibles, “which was perfect,” Mentz says, “because it meant that Fransisco and Kevin could have Bibles as well.”
Becker proceeded to begin the early stages of discipleship with Angel, and Fransisco and Kevin listened as well. Becker told them about the parable of the treasure in the field from Matthew 13:44 wherein a man sells all he has in order to buy a field containing buried treasure, “because what he was getting was so much better.”
“[Becker] compared that to trading your entire Pokémon deck for a Magikarp [a rare Pokémon], a comparison I never could have made, but that showed them how what you gain is nothing compared to what you’ve ‘lost,’” Mentz says. “He told them that Paul said everything was rubbish compared to knowing Christ, and I think they could tell by our excitement and expressions when talking that we meant everything we were saying.”
In light of this experience, Mentz says, “Ministry is not meant to be done alone, and we have a great God who not only draws us to Himself, but provides for every need. It was also a reminder of the need for us to be faithful no matter how we feel or what it costs, because as we were telling them, it is absolutely worth it.”