United States (MNN) — Barbara Palacios, the 1986 Miss Universe, was a part of the recent CityFest West Michigan. Palacios had the opportunity to speak at the Wednesday Women’s Luncheon in Grand Rapids, Michigan. West Michigan has a reputation for having a church on nearly every corner, but that doesn’t necessarily mean sharing the Gospel is easy.
“I think for each one of us that tries to…deliver the message, [it] is always a hard thing because…sometimes people…have been through so many difficult times or crisis in their life,” Palacios explains.
“Sometimes when you try to explain to them the message of God, probably they don’t want to hear [it]. And the first response, they want to close their heart and say, ‘No, I don’t want to hear anything’.”
However, despite challenges in sharing the Gospel, Palacios says if people know evangelism is their purpose in life, things get a little easier. What can be complicated is finding places where people will listen to or can hear God’s Word.
For Palacios, the place where people listened to her became the global stage during her journey to become Miss Universe. Growing up, Palacios had an unhappy family, but she also had a relationship with Christ. This shared family experience helped offer her connection points to share the Gospel with teenagers.
Opportunity for Ministry
In the 32 years since winning the Miss Universe title, Palacios has used her platform for ministry. She started the Barbara Palacios Network. Sometimes, people will come to her events because they are curious who the 1986 Miss Universe is today. At events like Luis Palau, instead of just seeing the Miss Universe of 1986, people also get the Gospel message.
During CityFest West Michigan, 39,000 people came to the weekend festivities. Of that number, 1,833 people made decisions to follow Christ. However, what about the people who didn’t attend?
“So many people are in their homes, in their own lives, having suffering…Or they just lost members of their family or they just been with different tragedies. I think this is the moment that if we pray for them, they will come. We don’t know how, but they will be in the right place to listen to these [Gospel-centered] words.”
Ask God to open hearts and bring opportunities for people to come into a relationship with Him. Pray that God would heal West Michigan for the glory of His name.