This is serious business.

Blonde-haired Brittany Hedin’s pink, plastic visor shades her water color-blue eyes. Her Precious Moments cheeks are rouged with charm. But that can’t hide the five-year-old’s overt hankering to feel for the first time the heart-stopping tug of fish on hook.

With piscatorial pensiveness, Brittany’s fingers clutch her rod. She squints. She fidgets. She wonders, What happens next?

Before the sun hits its crest, Jim Grassi’s crew of fishing experts will help Brittany answer one of life’s deepest questions.

And before the sun sets, Jim Grassi will catch some fish of his own. Grassi the expert and Brittany the novice share the same lofty goal.

But while Brittany probes the waters of a small pond outside of Oakland, Grassi will comb deeper, surrounding waters: the pool of humanity.

The founder and director of Moraga, California-based Let’s Go Fishing ministries, Grassi and his volunteers hosted Brittany and about 50 others on an all-day fishing trip last June. Grassi’s ministry specializes in family retreats where he and his staff teach Christians and non-Christians alike how to fish while they give them the gospel.

Grassi sees much of life in fishing terms.

In essence, he says, all Christians are called to “the ultimate fishing challenge,” and he has written a pamphlet by that title. After all, he notes, Christ’s top trainees were anglers.

“I see the fisherman as a disciple,” says Grassi. “The rod and reel are the spiritual gifts, the equipment God gives his disciples. The line connecting the rod and reel to the lure is the Holy Spirit. The lures we use are really the various testimonies and experiences God has given each believer.”

Then comes Grassi’s clincher: “The fish that we are after is equivalent ...

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