On Thursday afternoon, August 27, our team drove across town to spend the rest of the day in the “D” (aka the developments/projects) of Northend Winnipeg. Splitting up into groups we worked our way through each complex, knocking on doors and making contact with the families in the community.
In my group we had a chance to talk to so many people of varying backgrounds and religions. Upon hearing that I had been to Africa and deeply loved his native land, one man really softened up and was surprisingly gracious though he was of another religion. He even asked a lot of questions about Christianity. Next door a mother with her daughter and boyfriend gave us the opportunity to pray for their sick relative. Another African family slammed the door in our faces. We learned not to be discouraged by occurrences like that because God was still working. We were obediently planting seeds of hope by talking about Jesus. Readiness and salvation were up to Him…
Moving on we came to a condominium which the public wasn’t permitted to enter, so we decided to pray for the occupants as we passed. I had kept my eyes open to avoid tripping in the gravel and randomly glanced to my right as we headed on our way. Beside the building sat a grandmother on a weathered bench, smoking a cigarette, and her grandson who was fiddling around with a skateboard. Both looked up and stared at us quizzically (I’m sure we looked like 3 blind mice lol). And right then I had a God moment where He spoke to my heart that we needed to go back to talk to those two people. I listened and weighed my options. It would have been very easy just to go right along to the next building. That would have been the comfortable option. After all, the lady was smoking which would trigger my asthma, and the guy looked so rough…would it be safe to be around him? I came so close to staying quiet and following the others, but knew deep down inside we had a special opportunity before us. Would we miss it? No. We listened to that still small voice of the Spirit, turned around and went back.
The woman wasn’t even interested in talking. When I asked her if she wanted God to do a miracle in her life she just took another puff of smoke, grunted and turned away. However our conversation with the young man was long and productive. I remember discussions about musical talent, a past experience in a church band, time in jail, and now living with his grandmother. He knew a ton of Scripture but didn’t know how to apply it to his life correctly. To me he just seemed like any other teenager searching for answers and life purpose. There was no profession of faith or commitment to turn his life around that day, but I believe God let our path cross with that guy just to get him thinking. I pray that in time God reveals to Him that fulfillment in life is only found in Jesus.
At the end of the afternoon our team reconnected with the e3 leaders at a nearby grocery store/gift shop/restaurant for a time of debriefing. It was fun exchanging stories with the groups that had gone in different directions. Some had accounts to tell of salvation. Others spoke of the hostility they received at certain homes. One couple had an encounter with a homeless woman who was an obvious red light when they first met her, then she later tracked them down and was moved to tears by all that she experienced. We were all encouraged, praising God for his goodness. Considering all the accounts I’ve already shared, imagine how extremely satisfying it must have been for our team.
But even with all the joy filling my heart I was pretty exhausted. It being the last afternoon of our mission, I was already mentally winding down, cataloging memories, and also looking forward to the next day when we’d go sight-seeing in Winnipeg then fly home. With this mindset Sarah and I casually walked over to the gift shop and were enjoying the native artwork when William rushed in and waved us down saying, “There’s a girl out here who needs to hear the gospel from you two.” My heart fluttered with excitement and also a hint of nervousness as we walked over to a table where a girl, probably in her early twenties, sat eating a bowl of soup.
We pretty much got straight to the point with her after brief introductions, asking what was going on in her life. C openly described a past of abuse, and a current struggle with making ends meet and ongoing family issues. My heart was moved, but I honestly had a difficult time connecting because my background and experiences were so different from hers. Sarah, however, could relate to almost everything. God orchestrated the situation so perfectly. She instantly jumped in and shared her own testimony of the way God rescued her from her past and gave her new life in Christ. That was the most incredible open door I’d seen that week! C’s ears perked at the name of Jesus. She wasn’t a church goer, nor had she professed any religion in the past, but she confessed to us that just a few weeks earlier she had seen a preacher on television and the message made her curious to know more about Christ, she just hadn’t had time to go searching for more information. Our meeting was a divine appointment God arranged to water that seed of hope planted by the pastor. I whipped out a notebook and shared the gospel right then using the bridge method. Have you heard of it before? Click HERE to learn about it! So simple and easy to explain using just one verse,
For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
C was broken by her past and saw the traces of sin in each situation she had walked through. When she realized in that moment that God’s Son had given His own life to create the bridge between our sinfulness and the God of hope and restoration, and that all she had to do was accept his free gift of salvation, she reached for it willingly. The three of us bowed our heads and C repeated a simple prayer of repentance and thanksgiving to God. The change in that girl was instant! She beamed with a radiance only the Spirit could bring. We gifted C with a Bible and information of the local church where she could go for more answers and continued discipleship in her new walk with the Lord.
Do you see what just happened?
- God called us to share the Gospel (Matthew 28:19-20)
- We were obedient (Romans 10:14-15)
- C acted upon the message by confessing with her mouth Jesus was Lord, and believing in her heart that God raised him from the dead, and was saved (Romans 10:9-10)!
- God took her heart of stone and replaced it with a heart of flesh (Ezekiel 36:26).
- He delivered her from the domain of darkness and transferred her citizenship to the kingdom of His beloved Son (Colossians 1:13).
That, my friends, is a miracle. A supernatural work of the Lord. A complete heart transformation no human can comprehend.
What if we hadn’t jumped at that opportunity? What if William had just smiled at his cashier as he paid for his soda and walked away? What if when he invited C upstairs to talk, Sarah and I had been “too busy” doing what we wanted to reach out to that girl?
We would have missed it. Another God moment. A chance to change one life.
Alright, transitioning to present time…this past Sunday I visited a friend’s church and the pastor preached spontaneous sermon from Luke 17:11-19 that was exactly on this subject. He talked about how in the passage Jesus was headed on His way from Samaria to Galilee when he passed 10 lepers on His way into town. He didn’t have to stop. He was clearly on a mission to have been heading from one town to the next. But Jesus seized this God-given opportunity. He slowed down, gave the sick men his time and then he healed them on the spot.
Do we imitate Jesus in this way?
In the midst of our busyness, our work and full schedules do we ever slow down when God nudges us to help someone?
I’ve been challenged by this, and I want to challenge you too! Ask God to open your eyes to opportunities this month. It’s often something that pops up when we least expect it, then passes just as quickly, so you have to be attentive! What is He burdening your heart to do that you may be brushing aside because of your own plans? Slow down. Is there someone in your life who needs a little encouragement? How can you lend a helping hand?
Something I’ve learned is that even though we act upon these God moments, we won’t always have time to sit down and share the Gospel with someone (or vice versa). The pastor gave an example of a time when all he said to an elderly man at a convenience store was “God bless you!” when he assisted him with his grocery bill. They will see Jesus in you simply by the way you love and stop to care for them. Whether it be in stopping to talk with the teenager sitting outside his home, or asking the cashier how life is really going, or taking care of an older man’s groceries. Who knows what God will do through that first step of obedience! As you’ve seen, C found new life in Christ!
It’s all about being available when God speaks to us. It’s being Christ’s hands, feet and voice everywhere we go.
So stop and think…are we listening? And even more, are we obeying? Are we embracing all the God moments He divinely appoints us throughout the day? They’re bound to change your life and others’, so don’t miss them!
Don’t miss reading other posts about Canada!