November 21, 2017

Turning a False Profession into a True: an evangelistic testimony

By a veteran missionary

The story that follows is the true story of an evangelistic experience in a small mission church in a remote area. The testimony of evangelism and salvation occurred over the last few months. Due to the size of the community where the story occurred and the desire to protect privacy, the names and some details have been changed to keep the story anonymous.

When the Lord opened the door for us to return to a small town after 40+ years, I came here with a burden to reach the folk that I knew from our previous ministry. When we were here before it was not unusual for us to have 80-90 for Sunday school. I was told that only about 5 were attending before we returned. Our job is not done and our burden has not lifted but Praise the Lord we have seen several of these return over the past few months. Previously, the bulk of those who attended were children but now the adults are in the majority.

Soon after arriving I began to build a prayer list of people who were a part of the church family. The list came to 13 people including the children. Each time a new person would attend they would be added to the list. I now have 50+ people on that list that I pray for almost every morning. Last Sunday we had 28 adults and 12 kids. I have four ladies whose husbands do not come. My prayer is to reach each of them and John is the first.

John’s story started soon after we arrived here. His wife and daughters were attending the church and he came a couple of times during the first two months we were here. I was told that John made a profession of faith about two missionaries prior to our coming but he only came to church a very short time.

We attend every place the public assembles in our town. We want to be visible and to get to know the people. Each Saturday night is steak night at the factory mess hall and we go almost every week. You cannot beat a steak dinner plus a salad and desert bar for $10.00. I have gotten to know several people from town and the factory there. Jane and the girls are there every week and they often sit with us and later John would come in after he got off work. It was through this contact that I got to know John but he was always very reserved with me.

I continued to pray for John and through the fall Jane came to us a couple of time to ask special pray for her as John was being unfaithful to her and drinking a lot. She was getting pressure from her mother to leave John and take the kids but she felt John needed her. God began to deal with John in early December as some issues came to a head at his work that made him consider his ways. (He is the operations plant manager for the factory and has 400+ workers under his charge.) Christmas Eve I had been out to the factory for dinner (my wife was in Iowa for her mother’s funeral) and as I pulled into my drive John and his family pulled in behind me. I got out of the car and so did he. And as we met, he told me he wanted to wish me a Merry Christmas and then he said, “I need to come and visit with you sometime,” and gave me a hug. I told him to come anytime that my door is always open.

Well “sometime” never came, so we invited the family to join us for dinner one evening. From the beginning of the evening John was very open and relaxed. After dinner I asked John if there had ever been a time in his life that he felt that he was a sinner and needed to repent of his sin and believe in Jesus Christ as his Savior and he said no. I told him that I would like to take my Bible and show him how to be saved. I assume what had happened in his life two missionaries back was he prayed a prayer and nothing changed in his life. There are people all over this town that have done that and say they are on their way to heaven.

Before the family left that night I asked John if he would like to have a Bible study with me and he said, “You know Pastor, I would like that.” So we began the next Monday night. I started out with the very basics of who God was and what the Bible is about. In our conversation he said, “You know, pastor, I know people who say they are Christians but they do not act like Christians.” I said, “John, who do you know that is in your opinion a real Christian?” He thought for a moment and named his wife, Jane. He said, “Pastor, I have not been a very good husband or father to my girls. I have been unfaithful many times to Jane and yet she has not given up on me.” Then I took him to 1 Peter 3:1 and told him that God had put Jane in his life for a purpose. He agreed, but he was not ready to believe on Christ yet. He assured me that when he did he wanted it to be with Jane. Before he left I gave him a Bible and told him to start reading the gospel of John.

The next week he told me that he and Jane had been reading the Bible every morning and praying before he left for work and asked me some questions about the woman at the well so that was our study for that night. The following week we studied John 3 plus what it means to be born again from Acts 11:21-26 where the first Christians believe, turned from their sins, continued to follow Christ, assembled with the church and taught others about Christ. The next week he came in with his face glowing. He said he had come to believe in Christ as his savior as he and Jane were reading from John. They were reading John 5 and the last two verses spoke to his heart. At that point he believed on Christ as his savior. I asked him where he would go if he died and he said without hesitation, “Heaven.” The first night we started I ask him the same question and he said, “I do not know if there is a Heaven or a Hell.”

He shared his testimony with the church after the service the next Sunday. I haven’t heard such a clear testimony of God’s saving grace by anyone. He talked of our Bible studies and boldly told of how his old life had been (everyone at church knew it) and that he was not proud of the life he lived and the way he treated his wife and family. He stated very articulately his faith and belief in Jesus Christ as his Savior.

John is now trying to get others from his work to come to the Bible Study with him.

Although Proclaim & Defend is the blog of the FBFI, the articles we post are not an expression of the views of the FBFI as a whole, they are the views of the author under whose name they are published. The FBFI speaks either through position statements by its board or through its president. Here at Proclaim & Defend, we publish articles as matters of interest or edification to the wider world of fundamentalist Baptists and any others who might be interested.

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