In Texas!


We arrived in Texas at about 3pm this afternoon.

You know you are traveling south when all the gas stations play country music, all the road kill are armadillos, you pass signs along the highway advertising “fried pies”, and the cashier lady at the gas station says “thank you, sugar!” as you leave.


We finally left Iowa at 9pm last night and drove through the night. We made pretty good time and everything was smooth-sailing…but as you can imagine,we did spend quite a bit at gas stations!

Since gas stations can be good places to get into witnessing conversations, I’ve been trying to take advantage of my frequent opportunities. (We use a lot of gas!)
At one station I noticed that the cashier was just eating pringles and looked kind of bored.
“Hi, how are you?” I asked.
“Ready for lunch,” she said.
I handed her a tract and asked her my new favorite witnessing question: (I absolutely love using this question– it works so well as a spring board into a good talk!) “Do you think Heaven is a free gift or something we have to earn?”
“Hmm…well I think it’s a little of both, I guess.”
“Okay” I replied, “well to earn it we would have to be perfect, right?”
She agreed.
“Well, no one is perfect,” I said.
“My opinion is that if you ask God to forgive you, then you have nothing to worry about,” she said.
“But, you know,” I replied, “God is a just Judge. A just judge doesn’t necessarily forgive anyone who asks, because sometimes people deserve punishment. None of us are perfect and, really, we all deserve punishment. But Jesus was perfect and He is the way to Heaven.”

The conversation was interupted there, but she has a tract that clearly explains the way to Heaven, and I pray she reads it. I’ve been trying to learn to spark people’s curiousity so that they’ll actually read the tract I give them and take it seriously.

I have so much to learn regarding witnessing and I often feel that I didn’t handle the situation as well as I could have. But I’m glad for the fact that the Lord is able to use weak vessels to accomplish his purposes. (2 Cor 4:7!) Plus, I know that the way to become a good “witnesser” is to practice, practice, practice. The worst thing is to not try at all.

Learning from the wise…

naas-and-panera-2-copy.jpg

I am learning that one of the best ways to learn how to share my faith is to glean from the wisdom of those who have been doing it for years. Since I’ve recently been asking the Lord for wisdom and training in witnessing, I was delighted with the amazing way He provided for me today.

Last night, Sarah, my dad and I drove into Darien, Illinois (where my dad grew up) for a Bible Quizzing Tournament this Saturday. This morning, we decided Panera sounded good for breakfast. Just as we sat down with our bagels—surprise!—some good friends walked in, not knowing we were in the area. After warm greetings, we invited them to join us for breakfast.

Immediately they began sharing some recent witnessing stories. Since I kept asking, they kept sharing, and wow—was I encouraged! They shared for 2 hours straight about the incredible ways the Lord has led them in sharing the gospel. From hosting neighborhood children’s events to making friends at local restaurants and stores…they shared example after example of times the Lord brought seeking souls across their paths. I wish I could share it all with you now but I don’t want to make this blog a newspaper.

Later this afternoon, we ran into another good friend and, upon hearing my desire to gain insight in witnessing, he graciously agreed to share his “fishing” advice with me. He goes out “fishing” everyday and is always sharing stories about those that he has led to the Lord. I felt so privileged to have this appointment with this hero of the faith and I bounced dozens of questions off him. One of the major things I learned was how powerful simplicity is. The devil wants to make the gospel look complicated and scare us away from attempting to share it. But Jesus said, “Unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven”. (Matt. 18:3)

St Patrick’s Parade Report

We just arrived home from the St. Patrick’s Parade about an hour ago. It was rainy and cold, but that didn’t keep everyone away! It was funny seeing lots of people wrapped up in their fuzzy blankets waiting for the parade to start.

Some friends from our church and Bright Lights group came with us and together we passed out about 2,000 tracts. It was a lot of fun! –Especially since most people smiled and thanked us, sometimes asking for more. We also got into several good conversations with people.

witnessing-at-st-patricks-parade.jpg

A real highlight for me was listening to the stories that were told at a coffee shop afterwards. We sipped our coffee and hot chocolate and listened to reports. My dad told a story about how he had talked with someone for a long time and then they prayed to accept Christ, (!!!!) and Sarah explained about an interesting talk she had had with a young Mormon who was really open and interested in what she was saying.

My friend Nickie got into a talk with a lady who called herself a “born again Christian”, but didn’t really know the Lord. So Nickie asked her, “When you say ‘born again’, what does that mean to you?”
Her response was a confirmation to Nickie that this lady didn’t really know what she was talking about–she just knew some Christian terminology.
“Well, would you like to know what I believe?” Nickie asked.
“Sure” she said.
Nickie explained the gospel, and she was very receptive.
“Do you have a Bible?” Nickie asked.
“Yes” the lady answered.
“I’d suggest reading the book of John,” Nickie said.
“John? Ok.” she answered affirmitively.
Nickie left her with a tract entitled “How Can We Know We’ll Go to Heaven?”. (By the way, I’d recommend this tract–it’s very clear and informative.Click here to read it.)

If any of you passed out tracts today we would all be encouraged to hear about it! Please post a comment and share…

Checking out

walmart_sign.jpg

I had no cash in my wallet. I blanked out and couldn’t remember my debit card pin number. The Wal-Mart cashier had already scanned in all my items. Oh great.

“Forty dollars and eighty cents will be your total,” she told me. After a few seconds of frantic frustration I confessed, “I am so sorry—I can’t remember my pin number and I don’t have any cash! Could you hold it while I find my mom?”

“Uh…sure” she agreed.

I began searching for my mom, knowing that finding someone in a crowded Super Wal-Mart is very difficult, and often unsuccessful. To make matters worse, it was about 5pm during the Christmas rush. I’m sure you can imagine. Thankfully, after a minute or two I spotted my mom in another check-out line.

“Mom!” I exclaimed with relief.

“Grace, dear, I can’t talk to you right now, and I need you to leave because I’m buying your Christmas gift.”

“But, mom, I need money—and the cashier is waiting—and there are people behind me in line—and…”

“Grace, just go stand over there and I’ll talk to you when I’m done”

“But mom—”

Oh my goodness. This is crazy, I thought. I considered calling my bank and asking for my pin number, but the bank was closed by this time. After several minutes, my mom finished checking out and I rushed over to her. She had run into an old friend and was busy chatting.

“Mom,” I interrupted, “I really need a check—or some cash—or something. I’ll pay you back.”

Returning to the cashier, I found that she, and the people behind me in line, had been simply waiting all this time. Great. Now they are probably all going to be mad at me.
Surprisingly, they didn’t seem to be upset. I handed the cashier the two $20s and a dime.

“Um, It’s actually forty dollars and eighty cents,” the cashier responded.

Uh oh. I had remembered the total wrong. I was still 70 cents short!

The search for my mom began–again. I didn’t see her anywhere. I can’t believe this is happening. She was just here a minute ago! Why do embarrassing things always have to happen to me?! (“Hmmm…I wonder…” Stephen would answer.)

I must have looked rather silly running through all the self checkout aisles and lines of people. Eventually I found my mom sitting on a bench by the door.

After getting the change and paying the cashier, I apologized for the inconvenience. Then I turned to the lady behind me in line and apologized for making her wait all that time. Thankfully she didn’t seem bothered at all…she just looked somewhat amused. Whew! That was crazy.

At least I didn’t try to slide my driver’s permit instead of my debit card like I accidentally did one time…but that’s another story. 🙂

A few weeks later I was at Wal-Mart again and I noticed someone waving at me. It was the same cashier girl! She was all smiles and we began to talk. We chatted for about 5 minutes and I explained a few things about our family ministry and left her with a tract. Now when I go to Wal-mart I purposely go through her line since we are “friends” now. I am hoping to go back and talk with her more. God is so creative…He uses all kinds of different ways to bring us into contact with people so we can be a witness to them of who He is.

St. Patrick’s Day – A Report from Last Year!

parade-1-copy.jpg

st-patrick-compilation-copy.jpg

parade-2-copy.jpg

Click here to view tract

Note: The tract is a PDF file and will require Adobe Acrobat Reader to open it. Click here to download a free version of Adobe Reader.

parade-4-copy.jpg

St. Patrick’s day really is a “witnesser’s jackpot”! It’s a day where thousands of people gather on the sidewalks and streets and do nothing except pick up candy and watch a few floats go by…or drink beer. Often they having nothing to do as they are waiting for the parade to start and they are eager to talk. Below is a summary of one of the witnessing conversations I got into last year.

“Hey, I’m taking a survey—would you mind answering some questions?” I asked two guys and a girl who looked like they were in their mid-twenties.
“What’s it about?” they replied.
“It’s about St. Patrick and the 10 commandments…” I answered.
“Oh, we’re bad people,” they said and laughed as they took another drink from their beer bottles. But one guy said, “Sure, I’ll take the survey”.
“Okay!” I replied, “The first question is, ‘Where was St. Patrick born?’”
“Ireland”
“Nope! Nice try, but he was actually English. He was captured as a slave and brought to Ireland. Second question: ‘Why do you think St Patrick was such a great person?’”
“Uh…he was Irish and he drank beer?”
“Uh, no, sorry.” I smiled, “He was a missionary and brought the gospel to Ireland. The third question is, “Do you consider yourself to be a good person?”
“No, I’m bad!” he emphasized.
“Yeah, he is!” his friends told me. “He’s going straight to hell!” they joked.
I continued, “The forth question is, If God judged you by the 10 commandments would you be innocent or guilty?”
“Guilty. Definitely.”
“That’s for sure!” his friends added.
“Would you like to know the way St Patrick preached we could be 100% sure we are going to Heaven?” I asked.
“Sure,” he said.
“Well, St Patrick preached that we have all sinned and when God judges us we’ll all be guilty. But when Jesus died on the cross, He was taking the punishment that we deserved from God—it’s like we switched places with Jesus—and He took our punishment. That doesn’t mean the whole world is going to Heaven now—but it means that those who choose to come to God and follow Him can, because He made a way for us to be forgiven.”

I was thrilled to see a serious look in his eyes as I said this—I could tell he was comprehending what I was saying.

His friend interrupted, “Are you saying that my friend’s going to hell because he is Irish and he drinks?”
“You weren’t listening, were you?” I replied.
“He never listens!” replied the more serious guy who had just taken the survey, “But I heard you,” he said.
Wow, those words really made the whole talk worth it to me! I thanked him and left him with a tract.

After the parade was over, we shared stories as we ate our bagels. Some very good reports were shared and we were encouraged by the good talks we had gotten into that afternoon. Praise the Lord who is faithful to do through us what He calls us to do!
“Faithful is He that calleth you who also will do it.” (1 Thess. 5:24)

Not everyone I talked to last year at the parade was receptive, but I expected that. I often remind myself that we can’t see inside the hearts of those we talk with. They may have been truly influenced by what we said to them, but they don’t admit it right then. However, they will go home and think about it. (And we can go home and pray for them!)

A sucessful witnessing conversation is not leading someone through a little prayer to “ask Jesus into their heart.” A sucessful witnessing conversation is leading someone to understand the truth of eternity and their Creator’s amazing plan of salvation.

parade-5-copy.jpg

Two Girls I Met at Panera Bread

I have a new favorite question to use when sharing with someone about Jesus. Here is how I found it.
I was filling my little glass with water at Panera the other day when I noticed a girl behind me in line. Her multiple piercings made me feel compassion for her. I said, “hi”.
She said, “hi”.
I asked, “So…are you enjoying your Christmas break?”
“Yeah…” she said, “I’m just hanging out with my friend and we decided to come here”.
“That’s nice. This is a good place to come,” I responded.
She sat down with her friend and I sat down with my family.

After a few minutes I grabbed my notebook from my purse and went over to their table.
“Hello again,” I said, “I don’t want to interrupt or disturb you guys but I’m doing a little survey and I was wondering if you would be willing to take it?”
“Sure” they responded happily.
I sat down with them and said “I don’t normally do this at restaurants but I thought you wouldn’t mind.”
They smiled.
I said, “The first question is ‘Do you consider yourself to be a good person?’”
They answered, “Yes”.
“Alright,” I said, “Question two is: ‘How many of the 10 Commandments can you name?’”
They got about 5 of them and I told them the rest.
“If God judged you by the 10 Commandments would you be innocent or guilty?” I asked.
“Guilty” they replied with no hesitation.
“So” I continued, “if you died today and stood before God, do you think he would let you into heaven?”
“Uh…no…probably not….well… maybe…yeah…I think so…because I try to be good.”
“Ok” I said, “well does it concern you that there’s a possibility God might not let you into Heaven?”
“Yeah, it concerns me a little I guess.”
“There is a way to be completely sure you are going to Heaven” I responded, hoping they would ask what it was. They didn’t act interested.
I was tempted to just make a little speech about the gospel and then leave but I remembered a quote I really like by Mark Cahill: “Sharing the gospel should be a conversation not a presentation.” So, I decided to ask another question. I wasn’t quite sure what to ask, but then it came to me.
I said, “Let me ask one more question: Who do you think Jesus Christ was?” (I should have said “is”. I don’t know why I said “was”.)
“Uh… God’s Son??? Some great person who lived along time ago? That’s about all I know. I’m not really religious,” one of them answered.
“Ok, well, you know that he died on the cross—” I continued.
“Yeah, we know that.”
“Most people in America do,” I said, “But most people don’t really understand why. He died for our sin so that we could go to Heaven. He was the last person that deserved to die because he was perfect but He did it for us.”
They didn’t quite know what to say. Since they were eating lunch and I didn’t want to take more of their time I left but gave them each a little red pamphlet called, “The Credentials of Jesus Christ”, (written by my dad). I told them that it was something our family had put together and that we’ve handed out a lot of them this Christmas.
They began flipping through it and I went back to my table.

After sharing the story and asking for prayer for them at our church’s Wednesday night prayer meeting, I was reminded by my grandma that even if a conversation seems “unsuccessful”, it may have made more impact then we think. I also learned from that conversation that the question, “Who do you think Jesus Christ is?” is an excellent question to use if you want to get into a good conversation with someone. It leads right to the core of the gospel! I decided that I like it better then the question, “Would you like to know how to be sure you are going to Heaven?” because the question doesn’t point at them, it points at Jesus, the Savior. I’d encourage you to ask that question to someone this week! And don’t forget to share with people not only about the purpose of His death, but also that he is the only one who ever rose from the dead. Because of this fact, we see that Jesus is more than a leader; He’s a Savior. No other religion has a savior, they just have leaders – and they are all dead. Buda, Mohammad, Joseph Smith, etc. are dead. Jesus is alive!

CODE BLUE RALLY

code-blue.jpg
Last night our family drove to Des Moines with a few friends from church to attend the first ever Code Blue Rally. This was the first of 8 rallies that World View Weekend is putting on in the next 2 months across the country. There is no cost and it is just one single evening. The speakers (all live) were Mark Cahill, David Barton, Brannon Howse, and Candace Cameron-Bure’. My family thought it was excellent and we’d strongly recommend it- especially for parents and teens.

Afterwards, we stopped at McDonalds. As Stephen was waiting through the long line, I gave a little “10 Commandments Coin” to an older man and struck up a conversation. (It’s hard to listen to Mark Cahill speak without finding someone to witness to afterward 🙂 ) This man was a Catholic and he was very friendly and eager to talk. During the course of our conversation I asked him, “If you died tonight and stood before God and he asked you why he should let you into Heaven what would you say?” He explained that he thinks you get to Heaven by being a good person and keeping the 10 commandments. So I asked him if he has kept the 10 commandments. He hesitated. “Well….I guess…I haven’t kept all of them.”

I asked, “So then will God just ‘let you off the hook’? Doesn’t He have to be just and punish?”

He didn’t have a good answer. He didn’t seem offended though, so I continued. “Really what you just said is that you aren’t sure if you are going to Heaven or not, right?”

He tried to explain to me that it was natural for someone to be “imperfect”, etc… but Sarah had now joined the conversation and replied, “Yes, it may be ‘natural’ but that doesn’t mean it is acceptable to God.”

Candace, in her talk that night, had used a good illustration of how we look when we compare ourselves to God’s law, so I explained it to our new friend. It goes like this. “If you see a sheep grazing on the green grass you think ‘how nice and white the sheep looks against the green grass’. But then it begins to snow and you think ‘how dirty the sheep looks against the white snow'” So it is when we compare ourselves with God’s moral law—the 10 Commandments—instead of comparing ourselves with the people around us. We see how dirty we really are in God’s sight.

I was a little frustrated that this man didn’t take me more seriously. I’m hoping he really was listening to me on the inside, and that he’ll go home, think about our talk and open his Bible. Who knows? Maybe God knew a teenage girl would be the sort of person he would be most receptive to.

I was glad that I had said “hi” and start talking. It wasn’t that hard, and I could tell he appreciated it so much. He said, “Most people your age aren’t interested in talking about stuff like this”. He even insisted on buying Sarah and me ice cream before we left. Please pray for Richard.

Nothing could have been more exciting…

nolride-witnessing-for-gracenotes.jpg
My friends Janae, Jessica, and Nickie

About a week ago, some friends and I were witnessing at the park, using a “survey” approach. Here is a story of one of our conversations…

“Hello! I’m taking a little survey. Would you be interested it taking it?” I asked 2 teenage girls as I approached them in the park about a week ago.
“Sure, why not?”
“Ok, great! The first question is: “Do you consider yourself to be a good person?” I asked.
“Uh…yeah I guess so” they answered.
“Okay” I smiled and continued, “How many of the 10 commandments can you name?”
One of the girls told the other “you name them.” A sheepish smile covered the other girl’s face as she tried to think of one. Finally, after putting their minds together, they thought of a few.
“So—have you ever told a lie?”
“Maybe once”
“What does that make you?” I asked them.
“Uh…A liar?”
“Have you ever been angry with your brothers or sisters?”
They smiled. “All the time,” they replied.
“Did you know that Jesus said that if we are angry with our brother, it’s considered as murder in God’s eyes?”
“Really??”
“You know,” I told them, “God’s standards are different from ours. God’s laws are the 10 commandments. You’ve already admitted to me that you’ve disobeyed some of His laws and we didn’t even go through the other ones! If you got hit by a car walking home tonight and God judged you by the 10 commandments, do you think you’d go to heaven or hell?”
“Hell,” they answered. I don’t think they had ever thought of it that way. I could see the seriousness in their eyes.
“Does that concern you?”
“Yeah”
I told them, “Actually, I am 100% sure I’m going to Heaven, but it’s not because I’m some great person or anything like that. It’s because God made a way! Would you like to know the way to be 100% sure you are going to Heaven?”

They said “yes,” so we sat down on the grass and I got my Bible out. Just then I was startled with a loud exclamation behind me. “Well, hello there, Grace!!!!! Remember me??? I saw you here last year!”
Oh no, I thought as I recalled the conversation I had with this lady last year. She was kind of loud and talkative and I thought she’d just be an interruption to this conversation.
And I was just getting in to the most important part! There must be spiritual warfare going on here.

“Uh, hi! Yeah, I do remember you.” I told her, “Would you like to sit down and listen to our conversation?”
“Yeah! Sure!!!” she said and sat down with us.

The next 10 minutes or so I went through the Romans road with these two girls. I had them read the verses and tell me what they thought it was saying. It encouraged me so much to watch them anxiously seeking to know the answer…to know how to be saved. One of the girls wiped a tear in her eye.
“So…” they asked me after reading Romans 10:9 , “that’s saying that you have to believe, and…”
“Yes” I answered, “and it’s just like a free gift. You simply have to ask and receive the gift of eternal life.”
“Have you ever prayed before?” I asked them.
“I pray every night.” The teary-eyed girl said. I think she was telling the truth, and I see how the Lord (who had heard those prayers) was now drawing her into His family.
“Would you like to pray now and ask the Lord for eternal life?
They hesitated. There were other people walking by. We might make a scene. I thought it would be great to make a prayer-meeting scene :), but I didn’t want to make them uncomfortable.
“We’ve never really prayed with other people before,” they said.
Just then the other lady (who had dropped in and was listening to our conversation) stated loudly, “Well, I think we should pray! I think prayer is always a good thing to do!”
“Ok, then, let’s pray.” I said, (realizing that the Lord was now using this lady’s presence for good!) “This is such an important decision, why put it off? Since you said you aren’t sure quite what to say would you like to repeat after me?”
“Sure” they all said, obviously serious about wanting to do this. “And it will make us feel better” they added.

I prayed and the 2 of them, plus the other lady, all repeated after me. I was so thrilled. I told them “You may not realize the significance of what you just did, but this is the most important decision of your life…Our life here is so short and what really matters is where we will spend eternity.”
They seemed to understand. But it struck me how much more they still needed to learn.
Since no one seemed to be in a hurry to leave, we continued our discussion for a little while. I explained why the Lord wants to save us. He wants to be our closest friend, and doesn’t want sin to separate us from Him anymore. I reviewed the story of Adam and Eve, gave them some Bible history, and told them to go home and read the book of John. I am hoping to get together with them again soon. The fact that the Lord allowed me and my friends the privilege of leading them into His family was a thought almost too wonderful to grasp. 🙂

The Conversation at the Grocery Store

It was humid and foggy last night as we were traveling through Mississippi. We opened all the windows instead of turning on the air, so I moved to the front bench of the van to get the full effect of the damp, cool wind. I began reading a book I had brought along for the van ride, One Thing You Can’t Do In Heaven by Mark Cahill. I’ve heard so many good things about this book on soul-winning—I knew I needed to read it! In the first chapter, he emphasized how it takes practice, practice, practice to get good at witnessing. That encouraged me. Even if I mess up when I’m talking someone, or they don’t respond in the way I want them to, at least I’m getting practice. God’s the One who does the real work anyway.

When my mom asked me if I wanted to accompany her to the store today, I decided it would be a good chance to witness. At the store, I began evaluating each person I passed in the aisles. (… she looks like she’s in a hurry…no, not him, he looks intimidating…she’s on her cell phone…) Finally I decided I just needed to just pick someone! After all, that’s why I had come to the store.

market-place.jpg

I spotted a lady looking at the pancake syrups who didn’t seem to be in a hurry. I handed her my current favorite tract*, smiled and said, “Hello—this is something for you.”
Surprised, she smiled back warmly and opened it.
“I like to pass these out to people,” I explained, “Inside there’s a coin with the 10 Commandments on it.”
“Oh, thank you!”
“I’m actually from Iowa, but I’m here because my family is going to a homeschool conference in Jackson. We just came from Texas, and next we are going to Florida…so have you lived in Mississippi all your life? ”
“Yes, all my life, but I’ve visited many other states traveling with my kids to basketball tournaments. I live on the Indian reservation and work at the Casino,” she said.
The Choctaw Indian reservation is just a few miles from where we are staying right now. The tribe consists of about 6,000 people.
I continued, “Just out of curiosity, what do you think happens when we die? Do you have an idea of where we’ll go?”
“Well, if we try to be really good…” she said, “well, I don’t really know for sure…I guess the Good Lord will make the decision when the time comes…”
I wanted to tell her how downright wrong she was and that people don’t go to Heaven by being good, but I thought it would probably be more effective to be sensitive in my response. I prayed that the Lord would show me what to say.
“It’s a really important thing to think about because our life here is so short and eternity is forever!”
She agreed with me.
“One of the reasons I like to pass out these 10 commandments coins is because it shows us how bad we really are—and how God sees us. You know, God’s the One who gave us those laws and since only perfect people can go to Heaven, we’re in big trouble. We humans lie, steal and sin all the time…”
“Yeah, and sometimes we do it without knowing it,” she added, “something just makes you do it”.
“Yes—it’s our nature to be bad. We can’t be good without God changing us.” I told her, “Just this morning our family had a Bible study about sins that are really hard to get rid of. We all need God’s help. But, you know, the main thing we need to understand is why Jesus died on the cross. It was to take the punishment that we should have had. We all deserved to die.”
She nodded, but I wasn’t sure what she was thinking. After a little more conversation she thanked me again warmly. I invited her to come to the harp concert/gospel chalk talk that our family is doing at a church in town tomorrow night. She seemed interested and wrote her phone number on a card for me so that I could call her with specific details of when and where. Please pray that she will come and bring her children!! The program is Wednesday night, May 16th. I will post more afterwards about what happens.

Looking back, I think of other things I should have said, or things I could have worded differently, but I have to remind myself that it takes time to learn. It’s better to say something than to say nothing at all.

*The tract is from Ray Comfort/Kirk Cameron’s ministry. (www.livingwaters.com) It says “A gift for you” on the front and on the inside it has a message and the little coin. I’ve found that people receive it like a little gift and it’s great for cashiers, waiters, or for starting conversations.

A Late Night Stop

mj5p6741.jpg
Our family was on our way home from MACHE, the Minnesota Homes School Convention a few nights ago. It was about 11 pm.

“What’s taking Dad so long? He’s been in there a half hour!” I heard Stephen say to my mom.
“He’s probably talking to someone,” I remarked and went back to sleep.
When Dad finally returned to the van, he told us what had happened.

As he entered the gas station, instead of finding a bored-looking employee behind the counter, he was surprised to be greeted warmly by a bright and cheery junior high boy who was buffing the floor. “I hope the restrooms were clean! How far do you have to go?”
Dad made a few friendly comments in return, and then left. After taking about 10 steps out the door it hit him, “I should have given that kid a dinosaur booklet!”

As Dad re-entered the store, the boy shut off his buffer.
“Here, I thought you might be interested in this. We’re trying to reeducate the country. We don’t think we came from monkeys,” Dad said. (That’s the “standard line” Dad uses when he gives these little Creation Science booklets away.)
“Monkeys?” the boy asked, looking confused.
“We believe the Bible supports Genesis,” my dad replied.
“Genesis? What’s Genesis?” he asked.
“It’s the first book of the Bible,” my dad explained.
“Oh! I should have known that.” the young man answered. “I was just confirmed yesterday. Catholic, I think.”

Shocked, my dad realized he needed to say more.

He continued, “Well, the world wants us to think that we just came from nowhere, but the Bible says that God created the world. People don’t want to admit this because they don’t want to deal with God. But the truth is that there is evidence in every area of science that is consistent with—and supports— Genesis. Did you know that there are sea shells in the rock strata of every high mountain including Mt. Everest?

Now the boy was shocked. I’m not sure if he was more surprised by hearing about sea shells on Mt. Everest or by the fact that he was getting a science lesson from a customer at 11 pm.
“So how could the shells possibly get there?” my dad asked him. “The Bible says that there was a worldwide flood. And the geologic evidence all over the world indicates that the geology of this planet was formed by a flood. In every area of science, the evidence is consistent with the Bible and not with evolution.”

The boy smiled with what seemed to be eager interest. “The real issue is God,” my dad said, realizing that what he really needed right now was the gospel, not a science lesson.
“Whether Catholic or Protestant, we both believe that God created man and that man has sinned. That’s the heart of the matter. God wants us to live forever in heaven but we can’t because we have sinned. And being good alone isn’t the answer because we could never be good enough. We would have to be perfect, and that’s impossible.”

The boy agreed.

“The solution is that God needs to forgive us. But to do that, somehow sin has to be taken care of. If God punished us for our sin it would destroy us, so He can’t do that.”

Again the young man smiled and nodded in agreement.

So my dad said, “The only one who can receive God’s punishment and not be destroyed is God Himself! That is what the cross is all about. God created man, then became man so He could die for us. It’s actually really simple.”

At this point, having given him the basics, my dad switched gears. “You need to read the Bible,” my dad told him. “It would be good to start by reading John. Matthew, Mark, Luke, John. It’s at the beginning of the New Testament.)

The boy went over to the counter, got a blank receipt from the cash register, and wrote “J-O-N.” He looked up, “Ok, and you said that’s in the New Testiment?” He wrote “N-E-W T-E-S-T-A-M-E-N-T.”
My dad was thinking to himself, “Boy, he really is a beginner! He still needs a lot more information, but I can’t stay and talk. Anyway, he’s supposed to be working. So he said, “Read the book of John and pray. Ask God to give you the eternal life He is talking about there in John.”

In addition to his friendliness, the boy also seemed serious and mature. Perhaps, even though he knew so little about spiritual things, he did have some interest in knowing the one true God (since he said he had just been confirmed the day before.) Perhaps the Lord was now providing some information to bring his knowledge equal with his interest. When one responds to the light he has been given, God will give more light.

The boy asked my dad a few questions about himself. “No I didn’t teach school,” Dad replied, “But we do try to help families. And we teach about God and the Bible. The Bible is our wisdom. It’s God’s book.”

Not wanting to overload this boy with too much to think about all at once, my dad left, reminding him to read John and pray about what he read. Our family has been praying for him.