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A few days ago as I was walking through the park I saw a teenage guy and girl sitting on the merry-go-round.
“Hey, here’s a million dollars for you guys,” I said, handing them two million dollar bill tracts.“There’s a ‘million dollar question’ on the back,” I explained. “It’s ‘Will you go to Heaven when you die?’”
Flipping the bill over, they looked at the back and laughed a little – not quite sure how to respond. That didn’t surprise me; I knew that if I acted comfortable and confident, they would probably warm up and become more serious.
“So have you had a Christian background?” I asked.
They said they had.
“What do you think? Are you sure you’ll go to Heaven?”
They nodded hesitantly. They were still going in slow circles on the merry-go-round, which made it a little difficult to speak with them since I was just standing there. 🙂 So finally I just laughed and said, “Okay, I’ll just walk around in circles with you guys”. And at that point they stopped the merry-go-round and gave me their attention.
“So why do you think you’ll go to Heaven?” I asked.
They timidly threw out a few ideas. Samantha said she had been baptized and went to church sometimes, and John said he tried to be good.
“So basically you think you’re good enough to make it to Heaven?” I asked.
They grinned awkwardly, not knowing quite how to answer.
“You know, we never know when we are going to die,” I reminded them, “So it’s important that we’re sure we’ll go to Heaven. We don’t like to think about death because it’s sort of scary, but young people die frequently in car accidents and things like that. So let’s just say you got hit by a car tonight, and stood before God and He said, ‘John, (or ‘Samantha’) why should I let you into Heaven?’ What would your answer be?”
They hesitated.
“I know it’s a tough question,” I said.
“Because I try not to be selfish… ?” John replied.
“But how do you know when you’ve been good enough to make it to Heaven?” I asked. “Even though you may not feel that you’re very bad compared to other people,” I continued, “we need to remember that God sees from a different perspective and He has a very high standard – perfection. Even if we’ve only lied once, we’ve already broken His law.”
I had their full attention now.
“If you get a speeding ticket, you have to pay the penalty, right?”
They nodded “yes”.
“And even if you don’t do anything else wrong for the rest of your life, you would still be in trouble with the law, and you would still have to pay the speeding fine.”
They agreed.
“Well, God told us in the Bible that the punishment for sin is death in hell,” I explained, “and if we’ve broken God’s laws we’ll be guilty before Him.”
They were listening very intently now and I saw conviction on their faces.
“So if you died today, are you sure you’d go to heaven or is there a possibility you’d go to hell?”
They both acknowledged there was a possibility they would go to hell.
“So what do you have to do to go to Heaven?” I asked.
They didn’t know.
“Do you want to know?” I asked. “If you want to know I’ll tell you.”
“What do you have to do to go to Heaven?” John asked.
“Well, it’s really about understanding something God did. He came to earth and became a man, Jesus, (who was fully God) and died in our place. We deserved to die for our sin, but on the cross He took the penalty we should have had. It was totally “unfair”, so to speak, because He had done nothing wrong. He was the One who was perfect, and we were the ones who had done wrong (and we did it against Him!) yet He took our penalty. It’s sort of hard to comprehend! But He did it because He loved us. I don’t really know why (what’s so special about us?) but He chose to be merciful to us. So now what we have to do is trust Him and repent from our sin. Do you know what it means to repent?
“Not do it anymore,” John said.
“Right—like a car that does a u-turn.”
He nodded in agreement.
“So, John, you mentioned you had a Christian background. Are your parents Christians?”
“My dad was. He used to read his Bible a lot, but that was before he died.”
“He died? When?”
“Three years ago,” he said.
“I’m sure more than anything else he wanted you to walk with God too,” I mentioned.
He agreed.
“Do you both have Bibles at home?” I asked them.
“Yes,” they said.
“Do you read them?” I asked.
“No,” they replied.
“Do you have your dad’s Bible?” I asked John.
“Yeah,” he said.
“Does it have his writing in it?”
“Yes, I saw some,” he answered.
“That’s really special. I’d really encourage you to get it out and start reading it!” I told him, “And I’d recommend starting in the book of ‘John.’ That shouldn’t be too hard to remember since your name is John. It’s in the second half of the Bible. There’s Matthew, Mark, Luke, and then John,” I explained.
He indicated that he was going to go home and read it. John had really warmed up at this point and was very receptive to everything I was saying.
“There’s really nothing more important than knowing God. Why wouldn’t we want to know our Maker – the God who created the Universe? I mean, if the God who created the universe wants to be our Friend, shouldn’t we want to be His?” I asked.
“That’s true,” John agreed.
“It was really nice talking with you guys,” I told them.
“You too! Now I need to go home and ask for forgiveness,” John said, with a sincere smile.
“Yes—that’s great—do that!” I encouraged him.
I reminded them that Satan would try to distract them and keep them from praying or reading the Bible, and that following God is an uphill climb. “But the good news,” I said, “is that when God is on your side, you have the most powerful Person in the universe helping you.”

Please pray that John will ask for God’s forgiveness and salvation (like he said he would) and that the Lord would bring other Christians along his path to water the seed!

18 comments

  1. Thanks for the encouragement. Often I don’t know where to begin to witness, like what is the first thing I say? Its always something I struggle with.

  2. Yes, I know what you mean! It’s hard to know “how to start”. I’ve found that gospel tracts are very helpful for starting conversations because when you hand someone something it’s only natural that you should explain what it is. And that can easily lead into a conversation — especially if you ask a question such as, “Do you have a Christian background?” or “Do you have any spiritual beliefs?” or “What do you think happens when you die?” I also like to take “surveys” to initiate conversations.
    I’ve found that people often want to talk about these things, and they are eager to talk once you bring it up. But I still have so much to learn… and we really have to rely on the Lord’s guidance because every situation is different.

  3. Wow! Thank you for that! I too struggle with how to witness and how to open up a conversation like that. I have used those tracks before, but I only give them out in line at the grocery store and things like that. The people smile and appreciate the gift, but it doesn’t give me time to really get into a conversation or anything. I really appreciated you sharing this. it doesn’t seem as difficult to get into a conversation with someone now if I sort of follow along these lines. I am greatly encouraged to try to witness more!

    Blessings!
    ~Rachel~

  4. Thank you so much for posting this, Grace. I really find it hard to start witnessing to people so it is very helpful to hear other people’s stories. You are so encouraging! Thank you!
    In Christ,
    Marissa

  5. That was awesome Grace! You are truly a very brave person, but it’s not a vain bravery, it’s a feminine bravery. I really admire you for that!

    I do have a question. When I was at you conference in Bristol VA. I noticed that you and Sarah both smile so brightly, and so much. I know that part of the reason is because you have so much to smile about!(as do I) But, is it also kind of your nature to smile so much, or is it something you have to constantly remind yourself of? I try to smile very big and brightly, but sometimes I forget!

    Thanks,

    Tori L.

  6. Grace, you are so inspiring… I mean really! The way you just go up to someone and strike up a conversation, to show them you care about their soul! Oh, God helping me, may I also have that boldness that we all should have and share with those I come in contact with.

    May God bless you and continue to use you to sow the seeds! It is He alone who gives the increase!

    Blessings,
    Ruth Ann

  7. Tori,
    There’s a “joyful smile” that comes naturally when you’re happy, and then there’s a “ministry smile” that you put on, purposefully, (even when you don’t feel like it) to bless others. So I guess I use a combination. 🙂
    You have a very nice smile, Tori, –keep blessing others with it!!
    -Grace

  8. Thanks for sharring these stories. God has really used you in sharing the Gospel. I still don’t know where to start. I really have noticed your joyful smiles as well.

  9. What an encouraging story! It sounds like the Lord really gave him a soft heart to hear the message. Thanks for sharing 🙂

  10. Yes I will pray for Both young people, God is working in seekers. Keep sharing God’ love,
    love you lots love Supriya

  11. Thanks for sharing this story, Grace! I really enjoy reading your witnessing stories. You are really encouraging. Thanks! 🙂

  12. Wow! I don’t think I would ever have the guts to do that. I would be shaking in my boots.
    Someday I hope to be able to do it as calmly as you did.
    I really liked the part where you told him that Satan would try and make them think they don’t have time. I find myself for morning prayers thinking “oh I have to go to work I’m going to be late I can’t do it know I’ll do it latter” I think that at that time I should catch myself and say “Hey Jen you need to say your prayer, who do you think this is trying to make you not say your prayer” I know that I need Christ in my every day life not just when I make a big sin but even the little ones like yelling at my brother or sister. I really like what you had to say to that guy
    It made me think. Thanks and God Bless

    Jen

  13. That’s an awesome story! I’ll definitely keep John and Samantha in my prayers. Thank you so much for sharing these stories, they are a blessing!
    ~Caroline
    P.S. I can really relate to what Jen said about ‘being to busy to pray’, or have devotions. I know when I think those things and listen to thoughts like that, it make Satan happy. And who wants to him happy? 🙂

  14. I just prayed for John and Samantha…wondering what happened to them, especially John. (Not expecting that you know.) 🙂 If you ever do meet up with them again, be sure to let us know. And I think it’s cool how you could use his dad’s death as an opener to speak more truth and also in a way that would attract him and speak to his soul. I’ve found that people with hurts are so much more sensitive to spiritual truths, even if they seem totally cold and unresponsive when people talk to them. I guess this isn’t anything new, it’s just that with me having experienced a family member’s death, I can better understand others in similar situations and can more easily sense the pain in their lives than I would have been able to otherwise.

    Praying for you,
    Hannah Ruth

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