Virginia State FFA Convention

Virginia State FFA Convention

The FCFI booth is ready for the great FFA gang. We had our Names Book for those to sign who received Jesus into their hearts on the music stand.

On Wednesday, June 29, 2022, the Virginia FFA held their annual convention at Virginia Tech’s Lane Stadium.  The show was run by Pennsylvania Northern Tier Chapter leaders Michael and Karen Steele.

Large groups would gather around the table. Everyone would be so busy. FCFI witness Sally Good is in the blue shirt with her back to the camera and talking to these two ladies. To the far left is FCFI witness Michael Steele talking to the lady in green.

From Michael Steele:

 “We had a good conversation and shared information with Adam Ford who was a VA FFA staff member directing vendors where to go to set up their tables. Adam is also a member of The Farm Ministry . The Farm Ministry was created several years ago by Adam’s employer to help farmers in organizing and maintaining their finances and helping them make and adhere to budgets. Adam was very interested in FCFI and was taking the FCFI information back to his employer.”

It was fun seeing the names of the various chapters on the backs of shirts and coats.FCFI witness Michael Steele was busy in the background.

“A lady by the name of Connie Gaulden (spelling?) stopped by our table. She was there with her daughter or daughter-in-law. The daughter or daughter-in-law was holding her newborn child and feeding it from a bottle. Connie stated the little one is a 5th generation farmer new to the family. Connie took the FCFI information. She told us in the 1970’s her husband and her were struggling on the farm and received free hay from the west coast to help feed their animals. They now donate hay whenever possible for farmers in need. She struggle to get the story out through tears remembering the outpouring of love for them through this act of kindness of free hay. She said last year they had almost 60 more bales than they expected and they were trying to find farmers to give them to who might need them. She would like to get on a registry with FCFI as a farm wanting to share hay when needed.”

FCFI witnesses Ernie and Martha Reese look on as FCFI witness Sally Good shares with this young lady.

“A young man with the FFA stopped to talk to FCFI witness Karen Steele. He was excited we were at their convention. He told Karen his favorite verse was Romans 6:23 (For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. NKJV). He told her it is his reminder that there is help in this world through all the bad out there. That there was help in this world through the Lord. He received a gel bracelet with this Bible verse on it from Karen and was excited it had his verse on the inside under the black color.”

This young lady stopped by earlier and listened to the Wordless Bible message from FCFI witness Karen Steele. Then she came back wanting more information about FCFI as a Ministry. It is always fun to see people come back asking more questions whether Jesus related or FCFI related!

“We had multiple FFA parents stop by the FCFI able telling us they were excited FCFI had a presence at their convention. The existence of FCFI was new to every single one. It shows the possibility of a stronger influence of FCFI in this region and maybe this state with the right person in FCFI putting forth an effort to reach the farming community. One parent was so excited she told he daughter she should set up an FCFI chapter in Virginia as an FFA project. The daughter was not all in on that idea.”

FCFI witness Sally Good (blue shirt) shares from the bracelet attached to the bookmark.  You can see we had the different animal bookmarks in the various boxes on the table.

“The FCFI Pennsylvania Northern Tier Chapter tried something new for this event. We purchased 1500 farm animal bookmarks and attached the FCFI card and a Wordless Bible bracelet to each. We gave these out to anyone who wanted one and used the wordless Bible on each to share the Gospel of Lord Jesus. It was fun watching the FFA members choose from the cow, horse, goat, duck, chicken, and pig according to what they have at home. As may be expected the cow bookmarks were the most in demand followed by the pig bookmarks. We have a lot left over and will use them at our other agriculture events. We tried them several years ago with the 4H members at the Troy Fair in Troy, Pa. and they went over well there.”

FCFI witness Sally Good has a one-on-one experience with this young man!

“We also gave out the FCFI gel bracelets. These have not garnered much interests the last few years at our events. But everybody had to have one here. It was great to see.”

We would have crowds like this gather and each of the witnesses would branch out to speak to whoever was waiting to hear the great news!

“We obtained maybe one thousand 2” wide by 3” tall wood crosses several years ago. We gave them to Ernie and Martha Reese of our chapter to glue the Wordless Bible beads on and a magnet on the back. We gave out maybe 200 of these!”

FCFI witness Ernie Reese explains the Gospel of Lord Jesus to these two young ladies!

“We did not give out Wordless Walking Sticks at this event. We did not have enough on hand and we wondered if there was enough room within the area our table would be in to pass them out and for the FFA members to carry them. Also, we felt the bookmarks may encourage them to read their Bibles!”

FCFI witness Karen Steele is using the Wordless Bible attached to the bookmark she is holding to explain the Salvation Message of Lord Jesus to these two FFA ladies.

“The Jesus Box with the caption “Look Inside To See Who Jesus Died For” was huge hit. It was constantly being opened. They would open it to see the mirror showing them He died for them. It always brought a huge smile to their faces.”

The people were standing up to 20 and 30 deep in line waiting to get up to the table. Here FCFI witnesses Karen Steele (blue shirt left) and Ernie Reese (back to camera) were very busy trying to keep up with everyone and sharing Jesus Christ!

“Now, for the reason FCFI exists and reaches out to the people at as many events as we possibly can. FCFI witness Karen Steele spoke with a young lady FFA member. She is not a FFA chapter officer but she was invited there as the VA FFA State Convention organizers invite any FFA members from the state that want to come. She was not going to come. She told Karen she was at home very depressed and considering suicide. She felt so alone. She received the invite to come to the convention. She was not going to come be decided she would. At first she felt better just being our with all the people and seeing them walking around having fun. Then she stopped by the FCFI table. She explained this entire story and opened her heart to Karen. This young lady was near tears telling her story. After talking to Karen she knew our table was the entire reason she was to come to this event. In short time she was praying and asking Jesus into heart heart and life. I am not saying without FCFI at this event this young wonderful life would have been lost. But, it was very obvious that Lord Jesus used this ministry at this very moment in time to reach out to a tremendous young lady considering ending her life. When reading this, does anything else that occurred compare?”

There were also Future Future Farmers of America in the crowd and FCFI witness Karen Steele was leaning over telling her about Lord Jesus as Mom listens in.

“When you stood back and looked at this event, it was amazing. We have never attended an FFA State Convention as a vendor. We attended the Pennsylvania FFA state Convention about 4 or 5 years ago. But they had no vendors. We were strictly guests. We were not sure how we would be received at the Virginia FFA State Convention but everyone was very open to us. And 20 people came out of it with their names written in the Lamb’s Book of Life.”  You can certainly see why it is said “There are not enough books in the world to contain all that Jesus does!””

FCFI witness Ernie Reese was blessed to share the Lord’s Salvation Message with these three men. They ended up praying and asking Jesus into their hearts and lives!

“We have never attended an FFA State Convention as a vendor and were very nervous for several weeks about what to give out and how we would be received. We spent the entire weekend before tying bracelets and then tying them with FCFI cards onto the new farm animal bookmarks (that arrived just in time on Friday June 24. We were up until midnight both Friday and Saturday night tying bracelets to bookmarks and we are early to bed people. We had great weather and a good trip. It was 7 hours away from our house and knew the trip would be intense. We are excited to say we were well received and we had a great time. Though we did not have any contacts with any other state FFA representatives we are hoping 2023 will open the door to attending various other states conventions.  We ended up praying with 20 people to ask Jesus into their hearts and lives!!”

I (Michael) have been part of FCFI since 2001.
Was on the board for the Northeast Pa Chapter starting in 2003.
In 2005 I was made Chapter Vice-President and remained so until Karen and I left the NE PA Chapter in late 2017.

Karen has been part of FCFI since 2004.
In maybe 2012 or so she was elected to the chapter board and remained there until we left the chapter in late 2017.