By Ray Howell
2023 ATA was awesome! What an incredible opportunity to share the gospel with so many people who love the outdoors. This year’s Target the Heart prayer breakfast was amazing! We were greeted by Brad Clay and Jeff Danker opened us all up with a beautiful prayer. The theme this year was Ordinary People Extraordinary God and we were blessed to hear testimonies from Adam Carter, Al Quackenbush and Chad Stillman. All three shared how God was with them through some really difficult times in their lives. It was powerful!
Then we honored my wife Karen who loved the Lord and was a founding servant of Kicking Bear ministry. It was amazing to see how God touched so many people’s hearts through what she did here on this earth for the Kingdom. We started by sharing this tribute video: Karen Howell Tribute Video. We shared all that she did in her life to bring others to Christ through the many ministries she was involved with, as well as Kicking Bear. For 24 years throughout the nation, the gospel has been shared to not only kids off the streets, but every adult that attended the KB events. It always amazes me to witness the fruit from each event. Not only in decisions for Christ, but also all the baptisms.
The message for her that I gave at the prayer breakfast was on the cord of three that is not easily broken with keeping Christ in the middle of our marriage. By having Bible studies together couples can put joy and happiness in their hearts in this fallen world. The smaller storms are easier to get through and you are better prepared together for the big ones. Karen was a warrior bride, who loved the lord, more than she loved me. I still cannot believe how much God loved me to give me a gift such as her.
Following the presentations that morning there were many decisions for Christ! Then the Kicking Bear team went out into the arena with all of the vendors and people to share the love of Jesus. It was great to see lots of old friends and companies who have supported this ministry for the last 24 years. There were also several new companies with young people who wanted to help kids get off the streets through our mission. I thank the Lord for the opportunity to be able to share the gospel and tell the truth with so many people.