Sunday, July 23, 2017

I would do everything in my power...

Monday night I had the opportunity to share some of my testimony with a man who had converted from Catholicism to Islam several years ago. I told about how I overcame 7 years of addiction through the power of Jesus Christ. After hearing this story, he asked if he could talk with me outside because he did not want his friends and family to hear our conversation. He wanted to isolate himself from everyone else because he genuinely wanted to learn more about Jesus but he knew that if his family had heard him then he would have been persecuted.

After walking outside, he began to open up to me unlike he had with anyone else before. He told me that he felt as if God were calling him to become a Christian. Though he was a Muslim, J said that lately he has been praying daily to the God that we serve and that when he was alone he would even listen to Christian music. He told me that he wanted to become a follower of Christ but he was afraid of what would happen to him if he were to accept Him into his life. Shortly after this, we had guests that arrived at his house so our conversation was cut short.

At the end of the night J asked if he could walk us to our vehicle. When we finally got to our car, he pulled me and the translator aside and asked if we could meet up later in the week to finish the conversation that we had started. He was seeking after the Lord whole-heartedly and God was convicting his heart.

Friday night we arranged to eat dinner with him in hopes of getting to share the Gospel with him once more. Upon arrival at his house, we realized that he had invited many other friends over for dinner. We were nervous that it would interfere with our time of sharing with J because he felt uncomfortable talking about his faith in front of others. He felt this way because he was afraid of being persecuted or even killed for his faith. Despite our nervousness, we remained patient because we knew that God was in control of the whole situation.

After dinner we stayed up until midnight playing cards and dominoes with J and his friends. By 12:15 a.m. all but one of J’s friends had gone to sleep for the night. At this time, we decided to go for a walk on the beach. J’s friend, L, walked with us to the beach and Aaron even had an opportunity to share the Gospel with him. After this, Aaron and Johann asked if L would take them ahead of J and me. They wanted to give us space so that we would have a chance to talk with J about his faith.

During this time, the translator and I were frantically trying to think of how to initiate a gospel conversation. As we were talking he pulled us aside and started talking to me about how the Lord has been working in his heart. It caught us entirely off guard. The Lord paved the way for us to have this conversation. He started the discussion by saying that Jesus was the only way to Heaven and that He is our Savior. However, he was still afraid to commit his life fully to the Lord.

Immediately God began to put parables and Bible stories on my heart to share with him. After sharing for several hours, the only thing that he felt was holding him back from surrendering his life to God was his family and friends. He said that if he accepted Christ in to his life then he would be killed by his family. After hearing this, God put a story on my heart to share with him. It involved being persecuted and having to suffer for your faith.

I gave him an analogy to think about. I told him to imagine himself standing in a road. While standing in the road, a big truck was about to hit him. In this scenario, a man was warning him about the truck so that he would not get run over. I asked then that if he knew about the danger would he not move out of the way? He said “of course I would move!” I then compared this with his spiritual life and how Jesus desperately wanted to save him from what was coming for him. All that he has to do is listen and obey to be saved.

I then asked if he loved his friends and family. He said that he loved them with his whole heart. In this moment I shared the same analogy with him once more. Except this time his friends and family were in the road and that the truck was about to run them over. I asked him, “J, if you were on the side of the road watching this, would you stand idly by or would you try to save them?” Immediately he said “I would do everything in my power to save them! Even if I had to die to save them, I would still do it!”

I told him that the truck represented Hell. His friends and family are all standing in the road and need someone to tell them that the truck will hit them if they don’t move. I explained to him that just like in the story, he may get hurt or even killed, but he must still try to save them so that they have a chance to escape the danger that lies ahead of them. In this moment he understood my point behind this whole story. He recognized that he needed to save himself and those who he loves dearly.

I told him that if he were to deny Christ in this life then Christ will deny him in Heaven. After hearing this he knew what he had to do. He prayed that God would be the Lord of his life. He confessed his sins, and repented. Afterwards, he said that he would be willing to suffer or even die for his faith even knowing that it was a very real possibility. J said that he was a new man and that he recognized his duties as a new believer. He said that he would not deny Christ but share his amazing story with those around him.

After this prayer he was overflowing with a joy that was out of this world. For the remainder of the night was kept saying “Praise Jesus for saving me!” Everything that has happened this week has been nothing less than the work of God. God has sent many people to share the Gospel with J and after more than a year the Lord convicted his heart and the Lord saved him. Praise God for his infinite love and mercy!

We understand that all things are possible through Christ, but we also recognize that the planting and watering of seeds are just as important to God as harvesting what was planted. However, we are so incredibly thankful that the Lord allowed us to be a part of the harvesting process. We ask that you would join us in prayer for J that he would be bold in his faith and that he would relentlessly pursue Christ. Thank you for all of your continual prayers because the Lord is answering prayers and the Kingdom of God is growing.

We give God the glory that He deserves because He alone is working in ways that we can’t even comprehend. We recognize that we as humans are incapable of doing the work that He has set before us. It truly puts us at peace to know that the Lord is working through us because only He can complete the task that we are required to do. Thank you God for allowing us to be a part of your perfect will because we recognize that we are unworthy of doing so. We pray that we would remain obedient in every situation and that He would allow us to be used throughout the remainder of our days. God please humble me and my team so that you may receive the glory that you deserve. Luke 19:40 says that if we keep quiet then the rocks will cry out. He deserves all of our praise so let’s join together and lift him up for all of the exceptional things that He is doing.

-Caleb W.