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Encounters at the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally between 160 evangelistic volunteers and 4,800-plus biker enthusiasts led to 539 professions of faith in Jesus Christ over an eight-day period at the famed event, reports Baptist Press.

It was the sixth year for the outreach to bikers, biker-wannabes and onlookers organized by the Dakota Baptist Convention (DBC) and supported by volunteers from across the nation drawn by word of mouth and by the ministry’s website,

Motorcycle enthusiasts comprise one of the nation’s largest affinity groups, with South Dakota rally drawing about a half-million participants each August, according to Baptist Press:

“We know that what we do in Sturgis is not just dependent on people being prepared to share their testimony, or in the number of volunteers, but on the Holy Spirit being there in power,” said Garvon Golden, DBC interim executive director and coordinator of the Sturgis ministry. “Prayer is the key component to the effectiveness of our ministry in Sturgis.”

The Sturgis outreach is a multi-faceted initiative by the DBC that involves a month of focused — often onsite — prayer; evangelism training for the volunteers; a ministry tent in a prime downtown Sturgis location; the giveaway of a Harley-Davidson motorcycle; and chaplaincy ministry among the hundreds of vendors and city/county sanitation and law enforcement personnel.

This year, it also included the death of one of the Sturgis volunteers.

Larry and Anita Gibson, members of Wilsonville (Ala.) Baptist Church and the Alabama FAITH Riders chapter, were part of the Sturgis outreach for a second year. Larry Gibson, 50, died Aug. 12 after the Harley-Davidson they were riding left the road not long after the couple crossed the state line into Wyoming.

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