Sometimes it’s easy to make excuses not to witness when it doesn’t fit in perfectly with our schedule. But if Jesus was “about His Father’s business” when He was 12 (Luke 2:49), that should be our daily goal, too! (Big challenge to myself!) Thankfully, the Lord is faithful to guide and provide. A few weeks ago as I was driving home, I noticed some teens at the park by my house and wished I could witness to them. The only problem was that my mom said supper was going to be at 6:45 and it was already almost 7pm. But when I arrived home, my (flexible!) mom said it would be okay to wait, so I grabbed my purse and drove back to the park.
I approached a teenage girl walking towards the merry-go-round. “Here – something for you,” I told her, handing her this tract which has a picture of the Sun and the size of the earth in contrast. She thought it was cool and began looking at it right away. I asked her what she thought happened when we die. Before she could answer, a few of her friends joined the conversation so I gave each of them the same tract and asked them the same question.
Her friend with blue hair, Alexis, (about 13 yrs), looked really familiar. Then she exclaimed, “I’ve been running into this everywhere [people sharing the gospel] … at the mall, at Marion Downtown…”
“Well maybe God’s trying to get your attention!” I suggested.
“Yeah, maybe…” she agreed, “because I’ve stopped going to church.”
They all thought that you get to Heaven by “being good,” so I walked them through the 10 Commandments to see how good they really were. They all readily agreed that they had lied, stolen, lusted, taken God’s name in vain, and dishonored their parents. I could see the look of conviction in their eyes. They agreed with me that death could happen at anytime and the worst thing that could possibly happen to someone would be to go to hell.
“So if you died tonight, would you go to Heaven or Hell?” I asked them.
“I don’t know,” one girl said. (They weren’t offended by my question; they were intrigued. People appreciate truth when it’s spoken lovingly.)
Her friend turned to her and said, “I think you would go to Heaven. God forgives!”
“But if you were standing in court and had committed a crime,” I explained, “You couldn’t just say to the judge, ‘but won’t you just forgive me?’ and expect the judge to say ‘Okay, sure! Goodbye!’ could you? No, the judge has to punish the crime, right?! Otherwise he wouldn’t be a good judge! In the same way, God has to punish sin–-and the punishment for sin is hell.”
“Then everyone is going to hell,” they said.
“Except,” I clarified, “There is one Way—a narrow path—that God provided for those who want to go to Heaven.”
We continued talking. I didn’t want to give them the truth about Jesus until they were ready to receive it. I told them that the only reason I was talking to them was becuase I cared about them. They responded well to that.
Soon Josh interrupted, “So what’s this ‘path thing’, like, to Heaven, that you were talking about?” he asked with sincere urgency in his voice.
“Well,” I answered, “first we need to understand that we cannot get to Heaven on our own or by being ‘good enough.’”
“Yeah, I know that,” he agreed.
“Ok, well then, because God loved you, Josh,” I explained, “He decided to punish Himself for your sin. That’s why Jesus died on the cross. God became a man, Jesus, and died a horrible bloody death on the cross. And God put on Jesus your sin, and also the sin of the whole world.”
“That must have been pretty heavy,” Josh remarked.
“Yeah!” I agreed with a smile and continued to explain how Jesus rose again and is alive now and will come back one day.
“Ok,” Josh interrupted me again, anxiously, “I just need to know the way to get to Heaven. Do you have like, a pamphlet or anything that explains it?”
(Hmm… do I have a pamplet that explains it….?! )
“Ok, well to find the answer,” I told him, “You have to go to the Bible. Don’t trust what people tell you—you have to see what God says. And the Bible says, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son–” and then Josh began to quote along with me!
“You know John 3:16?” I asked in suprise, “Ok, well then you already know the answer: that whosever believes in Him should not perish…” I emphasized.
“Believes in Him” Josh repeated to himself, trying to understand what he needed to do.
“But it’s not simply ‘believing in God,’” I clarified, “Even demons believe that He exists—and tremble. It’s like putting on a parachute,” I explained. “You can believe the parachute will save you, but it won’t actually save you until you put it on. It’s the same way with Jesus. You have to trust what He did for you on the cross and ask Him to save you.”
I gave Josh some tracts and told him of a good website to go to.
Josh’s sincerity seemed to be rubbing off on the other three, too. They went from just being silly to asking me serious questions about Catholicism and some other things. I was surprised to learn that all three other girls also knew John 3:16. I told them, “You guys live in America and are so blessed to have this information about God and the way to Heaven. But if you keep rejecting it, there will come a time when it’s too late and there are no more chances.”
I instructed them that when they went to bed that night (or before) that they needed to get alone with God and ask Him for the gift of eternal life. They seemed to indicate that they would — especially Josh. I asked if I could pray for them right now and they wanted me to.
We talked about what it means to be “born” into God’s family, about the joy of knowing our Creator, about how being a Christian wasn’t always easy, and about how reading the Bible was a necessity. They also liked the idea of getting together for a group Bible study and entered my cell phone number into their cell phones. I assured them they could call or text me with any more questions.
“Thank you so much for talking with us!” they said warmly.
I arrived home at about 8pm to find that my (wonderful) family who had waited for me for dinner and was excited to hear the report.
I was at the park again recently and noticed some kids eating sandwiches on the playground equipment. As I got closer I saw it was Josh and Alexis again!
“Hey guys!” I said.
They were very friendly. I asked them if they had thought more about what we talked about that one night.
They nodded “yes,” and Josh said, “I’ve just been trying to respect God a lot more in what I do…”
I wondered what he meant by that. I explained again about how Jesus told us we need to be “born again” and that it is usually a specific “one time occurrence” that someone asks God to save them. I asked if they had done that.
Josh told me that he had “asked God to be his Savior,” got baptized a few weeks ago, and has been reading his Bible. “Thank you again for talking with me that one night” he said, looking me in the eye.
I can’t say if Josh truly became a believer or not, but he certainly had a sincerity about him. I don’t think his church situation is very good and he certainly needs much more Christian influence in his life. I reminded Josh and Alexis that they needed to keep reading the Bible because it’s like food (“just like the sandwiches you are eating now”) and they need to read the Bible to grow.
Josh was also anxious to receive a “One Heartbeat Away” book. (And his friend Alexis asked him to pass the book to her when she was done with it.)
Please pray for Josh and Alexis!
Thank you so much for sharing this, Grace! I will definitely be praying for Josh and Alexis…what a wonderful opportunity you had!
P.S. Hey, I know I keep asking about this (sorry!), but how is the BL songbook coming along? I would really love to order it whenever it is available! 🙂
wow! that is an amazing testimony of what God can do through those who are sensitive to His leading!!
Absolutely! I will definitely be praying for Josh and Alexis. Thank you SO much for your amazing testimony!
I wonder if the girl with blue hair was the one I talked to at the mall when I was there? That’s neat if you ran into her again!
Annie: The songbook is coming along well and should be done pretty soon. 🙂 I don’t like giving estimation dates becasue it’s always later than we say! I’m sorry about the wait! The project sort of got put “on hold” for a while…
Abby: Could be the same girl! Interesting…! I ran into Alexis again at the park again last night and she was really sweet….but needs the Lord in her life!
I am amazed and encouraged about how you have allowed the Lord to use you in your area! You started off just being faithful to the Lord in your own life, and look how He has grown your ministry to include others and canvass your whole city (re: Alexis’ comment about hearing the truth at the mall and in Marion)! Praise the Lord!
I miss you!
Thanks, Grace! I’m really excited for the songbook, but I will be patient. 🙂
Love and prayers,
That’s awesome Grace. Good work! I’m praying for them!!
Thanks for the estimation on the songbook. I’m looking forward to getting it too!
You have an awesome testimony, Grace! It is so wonderful to hear of someone coming to the Lord.
This is great!
I will be praying.
Wow, Grace! That is such a powerful story!!! I’ll be praying for Josh & Alexis. 🙂
I love your blog! 😀
I’ve read your sister Sarah’s book, Before You Meet Prince Charming (BYMPC), and it has truly touched my life in a mighty way! I was really struggling with crushes and everything before I read BYMPC and after I read it, I felt refreshed & uplifted…I now know how to fight those romantic feelings and keep my focus on Jesus. BYMPC put my feet on a path towards God…it encouraged me to have an open relationship with my parents, save my heart for my future husband, etc. I can’t thank your sister enough!
My mom & I are going to do the Bright Lights Bible study together….we can’t wait!!! 🙂
Will there be any Bright Light conferences in Virgina this year?
Have a lovely evening!
Many Blessings in Christ,
Thank you for sharing this story, Grace! It is such an encouragement to me that I can witness, too! I have been reading The One Thing You Can’t Do In Heaven, and it has been such an inspiration. We also listened to your CD recently and loved it! I was wondering if it was available on DVD? We would like to do it with our BL group this summer. We can listen to the CD together but I thought it might be nice if the girls could actually see you talking. I feel more excited to witness than I ever have before–thank you! God bless!
Moriah: Thanks for your encouragement! No, we don’t have any conferences planned for VA in 2010, but it’s possible we’ll be making a southern trip in the fall of this year…and so we might be doing a few conferences that are at least a little closer to you.
Jenny: I’m glad you liked the CD. That’s encouraging. And that’s great that you are going to work on witnessing with your Bright Lights group! You’ll have to let me know how it goes. No, we don’t have the message available in DVD (yet). Maybe that will be a future project… 🙂
Thanks for sharing this! Well worth being late for dinner for!!
I’ve read all the books your family has written and I love them.They have really encouraged me,especially “Before You Meet Prince Charming.” It especially helped me now that I’m going on fourteen.Anyway,I will definitely be praying for Josh and Alexis even though this blog post is a month old!
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