Special Forces – Pleasantville, IA

Jim Van GelderenSpecial Forces Updates

This is the first time one of our teams was at Pleasantville Baptist Church in Iowa. We were encouraged with the good spirit in the church. They have built a new building on a new location and have a great opportunity before them. It was a blessing to get to know Pastor Potter. He joined us for many of our prayer meetings.

On Monday morning, it was pouring rain. Although the team did not get many recruited, one of the young men that was recruited came and got saved!

The rain continued on and off through Wednesday morning. The team was grateful for about 130 teens who did sign up, but we were wondering how the weather would affect the attendance. On Wednesday evening, the rain had stopped, but it was cold and windy. That night 61 teens came out! The field quickly turned to mud and almost everyone went down sooner or later. Mud was everywhere! I think I laughed more than I have laughed in a long time. It was hard to run and not eventually slip.

That night when we went inside, the Lord quieted the hearts as the Gospel was given. When the invitation was given, 18 teens responded to get saved. One young man exclaimed after his decision,

“My sins are washed away. I’m a free man!”

Other teens were saved that were invited out by the teens.


On Friday evening, one of the teens testified about leading a young man to the Lord the first night.

“I think it was Wednesday night . . . I was able to talk to him about Christ and see him get saved. Just the look on his face after he got saved, it warmed my heart so much. It made me feel so good that there’s another soul that’s going to Heaven.”

I understand that the next Sunday, he had several teens that were saved come on his bus.


On the last night a young lady raised her hand during the invitation, but she did not respond. Bethany, one of our team members, came up to her after the service and asked, “Is God working in your heart?” She acknowledged that He was. She told Bethany that she knew she was a sinner.

“When he was talking about those sins, I’ve done almost all of them,” she admitted.

Bethany was able to lead her to the Lord.


We also had some good testimonies on Friday evening at the campfire service. Below are a few that will encourage your heart.

“I got saved yesterday. And if you haven’t got saved, I encourage you to do it.”

“I’ve decided today that I will go full-time into missions.”

“For a while I’ve been hiding music behind my parents’ back, just listening to worldly music. . . . My parents knew my attitude had changed, and they figured that was the reason. And I even knew my attitude was changing towards them and towards others, and God has just been really convicting my heart this week about it . . . . And I just kept putting it off, and then today in chapel I just finally decided to go and get it right with the Lord. And I told my mom about it, and she told me she knew for a while. And I can just tell you, it was a burden lifted off my shoulders, and I’m very glad that I decided to make that decision.”

In all we had over 80 teens come over the three nights and about 25 salvation decisions were made. It was an exciting week!

About the Author
Jim Van Gelderen

Jim Van Gelderen

Dr. Jim Van Gelderen is president of Minutemen Ministries, vice-president of Baptist College of Ministry, and evangelist out of Falls Baptist Church. He and his wife, Rhonda, travel the country in evangelism. They have three daughters.