Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Sharing Jesus 'In Spite Of ' Fear {Catanduva 2015: Part 3}

"I need someone at the eye glasses station," the mission leader called out, "People have started lining up." 

She looked around and realized only she and one other gal were standing there. She thought, Ok, no big deal, I can hand out eye glasses.

But when she crossed the street, she found they didn't need someone to hand out reading glasses and sunglasses, they needed someone to sit under the canopy with an interpreter and present the gospel to the people wanting the free glasses. They started assembling plastic chairs in a circle. Lots of chairs.

What?! Not now. Not today. She wasn't ready!


Earlier that morning, she had been invited to go door to door with the pastor's wife who also happened to be her sister-in-law. Not ready to speak out loud, she watched in awe and with a little bit of jealousy, as this gal called out to people in their yard, smiled and easily struck up conversations. 

Questions asked. Answers given. The gospel presented. Prayers for salvation lifted up. Prayer requests shared and prayed over. Hugs given. Invitations to the church extended. 

She stood in the background at each home and prayed for the people under her breath, that their hearts would be soft and open, that the enemy would be bound. It was the only thing she felt confident in doing. 

This afternoon, she thought. I'll go door to door. I'll try to speak this afternoon. But as they say, the best laid plans... (or something like that).

So here she was in the afternoon attempting to "boldly" share the gospel with not just one person at a time, but groups of people, sometimes up to 6-8 at a time! This was not what she thought she signed up for. But apparently it was what God was going to ask of her. 

She trudged through the afternoon, not confidently, but obediently, secretly hoping the interpreter was fixing all of her mistakes. She knew she left out parts here and there, but she had to trust the gaps were filled in, if not by the interpreter, then at least by the Holy Spirit!

She usually asked if they knew about the new church building and then she asked for prayer requests. Many who were obviously broken hearted over trials in their lives would become emotional. Her heart could relate to those people. She's experienced brokenness and despair, and she found praying and sharing the gospel with those people seemed almost easy. She felt their need. She felt them seeking assurance.


A couple days later, she found herself under the canopy again. The groups seemed a little smaller so she thought, I've done this before, this will be easy.

But this day turned out to be more difficult than the previous one. She got in a hurry and rushed through the steps. She stumbled over her words. Her thoughts were not coherent. She lost her place several times. She felt the interpreter was losing patience with her. She was frustrated and just before she let the tears flow, she desperately called someone over to take her place, and then walked quickly away from the booth.

What had happened? Why was today so different? This was too hard. They have asked the wrong person to do this. Someone got their wires crossed.

She sought out the hiding place behind the buildings as she did the other day, but there was already another friend of hers there. She had heard about this friend's boldness in sharing the gospel in the neighborhood the past few days. The thought that she was such a failure compared to this friend was intimidating, but the friend merely patted the dirt and invited her to sit down. Before she knew it, she was confessing all her fears and anxieties about the day to the friend, and the friend calmly prayed with her and assured her that her efforts were not in vain. 

Later she felt led to read the Book of Ruth.


The next afternoon, she had the opportunity to accompany her son in a group that was going to a "tough" neighborhood. This would be his first door to door experience and she wanted to witness it! The friend from the day before was also coming with the group.

They were told they would just be handing out tracts and inviting people to the church. But as she and her friend rounded a corner, they came upon a woman sitting on the sidewalk. They were advised she was possibly drunk. As the interpreters began to talk to the woman, another woman and two teenage girls joined them. 

Then the interpreters turned to her and her friend and asked if they wanted to say anything. Her friend looked at her and said with a smile, "Do the cube." (The cube was referred to as the "magic cube" because of how it unfolded showing various pictures. At each unfolding, it contained the next step in the plan of salvation.) As horror overtook her, she obediently "did the cube". When she was done, they all stared silently at each other as she was at a loss for what to do next. Her friend whispered to share some scriptures from the Bible, but fear enveloped her, and she looked at the friend pleadingly and asked the friend to do it instead.

What she witnessed next was profound, and something she hopes she will never forget. The friend easily guided the women and girls though the steps of salvation based upon scripture. The women began to ask the friend hard questions about the friend's life to which the friend answered truthfully. They made a heart connection, and tears began to flow from one of the women. Because of the friend's honesty and openness, hearts were softened, prayers for salvation were lifted up, and lives were probably changed.


Since returning from the trip and as she reflected on these various scenarios, trying to make sense of it all, sorting out her emotions, she realized that there were at least three things she could take away from these experiences.
  1. She needed those opportunities of following behind friends that were more experienced and bold. She wasn't sure why she was led to read the Book of Ruth, but she thinks that like Ruth gleaned behind the harvesters who made it easy for her to bring home food, she needed to see her sister-in-law and her friend's examples and have the opportunity to reap along with them as they harvested. 
  2. Making a personal heart connection with people seemed to be the key to making sharing the gospel flow more easily. On the first day, when she knew where they were hurting, she could pray and connect with them better. On the second day, when she skipped the conversation part and rushed through the steps, she lost her way.
  3. She better be prayed up and in the Word because the enemy was going to make her second guess herself and feel shame and humiliation, if not immediately afterwards, then within hours. Every experience where she had been the one talking had been followed by a torrent of tears and a feeling of remorse. The accuser is very good at his job.

One day Ruth, the Moabite foreigner, said to Naomi, “I’m going to work; I’m going out to glean among the sheaves, following after some harvester who will treat me kindly.”Naomi said, “Go ahead, dear daughter.”And so she set out. She went and started gleaning in a field, following in the wake of the harvesters. Ruth 2 MSG

  • "For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God" (Romans 3:23). 

  • "For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord" (Romans 6:23) 

  • "The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!'" (John 1:29). 

  • "Jesus answered, 'I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me'" (John 14:6). 

  • "That if you confess with your mouth, 'Jesus is Lord,' and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved. As the Scripture says, 'Anyone who trusts in him will never be put to shame'" (Romans 10:9-11). 

  • "And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again" (2 Corinthians 5:15). 

  • "Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me" (Revelation 3:20).
  • Are you a sinner?
    Do you want forgiveness of your sins?
    Do you believe Jesus Christ died on the cross for you and rose again?
    Are you willing to surrender your life to Jesus Christ?
    Are  you ready to invite Jesus Christ into your life and into your heart?

    "Heavenly Father, I have sinned against you.  I want forgiveness for all my sins.  I believe that Jesus died on the cross for me and rose again.  Father, I give you my life to do with as you wish.  I want Jesus Christ to come into my life and into my heart.  This I ask in Jesus' name.  Amen"

    Share Jesus Without Fear, William Fay, published by Broadman & Holman Publishers, Nashville, TN.

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