Saturday, July 26, 2008

Sharing the Gospel & 2 prayer requests

Here's the text from our latest email update:

One of the blessings and curses of being a missionary is the fact that I stick out—but God has a way of using that. Last week, I was in Piura to preach, to make friends and take pictures of the kids in our Latin America ChildCare school. I was leaving the church, when I was stopped by two teenage boys walking down the street. One of them spoke, while the other just listened. The one who spoke asked, "Is that church Christian?"

I said, "Yes."

"Are you a missionary?"


The area I was in was not entirely safe. There are gangs there and I was afraid the two teens were going to harass me. Instead, he asked, "Why did Jesus come to the earth?"

"To pay the price of our sins. Sin separates us from God, but God loved us and wasn’t willing to be separated. So, something had to be done about the sin. That’s why Jesus came—to pay the debts we had incurred by sinning."

He continued, "If God loves us so much, then why is there suffering in the world?"

I said, “That is a great question. It’s not really easy to understand from our perspective. The short answer is that, for now, suffering is part of having the ability to love freely. God wants to have a relationship of love with real people, not just with robots. So, people have to have the right to make choices. When people make a choice to sin, they set off a chain reaction that hurts innocent people. God could stop it and take away everyone’s ability to make choices, but he couldn’t really have a relationship of love that way. Nobody wants that. But, it’s important to remember that this place, along with the suffering, is not the end of the story. Jesus said he’s building a mansion for us in a place without suffering and that he is coming back to take us there. But in order to go, you have to be his disciple. Is Jesus your Savior and Lord?

The two young men stared at me and fumbled to find an answer. So I continued, “Are you in a relationship with Jesus where you show your love for him by obeying him?”

One young man looked down without speaking. The other said, “No.”

I said, “Do you want to confess your sins to the Lord and ask him to be Lord of your life?”

“How do you do that?”
That is the very question all missionaries want to hear! I said, “You say, ‘Lord Jesus, I know that I’m a sinner, but I want to walk with you. I’m asking you to forgive me, to save me and to give me your Holy Spirit.’” I then asked, “Would you like to pray that prayer right now?”

They both looked down, silent. I waited, but they wouldn’t look up again. That’s a common way of ending a conversation in Peru. I had to change the subject. I told them that the church I was at was having a concert that night and I invited them both to come. They smiled and asked what time, then they left. I don’t know if they came, because there was a huge crowd at the church that night. I don’t even know their names. So I’m asking you to pray for them.

I have a second request. This week, we’re hosting a team of youth from our home church in Cincinnati. Please pray that the whole team will have conversations like the one I had with those young men. Pray for safety, salvations and life impacting ministry for all.

Thanks for being part of our team!

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