Salvation with Dinner on the Side

There are people who are ‘keys’ to winning others to Christ.  The woman at the well was one of these keys – she brought her city to meet Jesus.  It seems that we have also found a key in our area – Franco.  Ever since he got saved, he has been continuing with the discipleship course, has been out soulwinning with me, and tries his best to arrange opportunities for me to witness to others.

Yesterday some of his family members came to Arica to visit him: his daughter, younger son, a few nieces, a nephew, and a friend.  Because Franco doesn’t have a kitchen in his apartment, we offered to cook for his visitors.  We had hot dogs and hamburgers on the grill!  After everything was done cooking, we all sat around the table and began eating.  About half-way through the meal, Franco began telling his story to them of how he got saved.  He finished by saying, “And now Pastor will tell you how you can be saved, too.”  It was so sudden that I had to wait a few seconds to finish the bite of hot dog that I had just taken, but after a few seconds, I asked them ‘The Question’.

All of them replied that they were not sure that they would go to heaven.  I explained to them the idea of free forgiveness and they were all very happy to accept it.  We prayed right there sitting at the dinner table.  It is amazing how ‘key’ Franco has been in seeing many of his family members saved.  In addition to these that I just mentioned, he has helped with the salvation of his older son, 3 of his son’s friends, his brother, his sister-in-law, and several others that we have meet in town.  All that remains of his family to be saved is his wife.  She will hopefully be coming to visit in a few days.  Please be in prayer for her that God will prepare her heart to receive the message of the Gospel also.

Church Member Now Saved

A few months ago we were introduced to Karina.  She had been attending a church in Tacna, PERU, but livid in Arica, CHILE.  She was so excited that we were going to be starting a church in Arica!  She told us to let her know when we started so that she could attend.  True to her word, she came to the Christmas service a few weeks ago.  She also sand that she was interested in the discipleship course that we offer.

This last Wednesday we were finally able to line up the time and day and Josiah and I went to study step #1 – Salvation.  Her sister, who has been a member of the church in Tacna, PERU, for 7 years, was visiting this day and was also excited to attend the class.  We studied several aspects about salvation: what it is called, how you get it, and how long it lasts.

After finishing the study, I asked her to tell me about the time when she got saved.  She answered that she has “received the Lord” about 2 years ago in a church in central Chile.  That phrase caught my attention because it is generally what the evangelical churches use to describe the time that they dedicate themselves to obeying the Bible.  Right then we put the conversation in reverse and I asked her ‘The Question’ to which she replied that she wasn’t sure if she would go to heaven.  Right down the Roman’s Road we went and she accepted the free forgiveness that Jesus offers.  At some point in the presentation of the Gospel, she told me that she had never understood that our forgiveness is completely free and without strings attached.  She had always thought that one had to somehow do something to earn his forgiveness.  This little book has helped me to understand that the only thing that I can do to get saved is accept what Jesus has already done for me.  Thank you, she said, for taking the time to come and study with me.  I’ll see you Sunday!

A Trip to the Hospital

The other day we were finishing up some work when our neighbor, Amari, walked up to our front door holding bloody hands.  She had been washing a glass cup that was chipped on the brim and had sliced the area between her thumb and index finger.  She was quite scared because she had no idea what to do.  Sandra got me some paper towels and I put them on the cut and then applied pressure.  After holding it there for about a minute, I had her to continue while we got what we needed together to run to the hospital. Amari, Franco, Sergio (Franco’s son), and I got into the truck and zoomed to the hospital.

I dropped them all off at the front entrance and then circled back around to find a place to park.  There is no parking provided at the hospital, and it is located in one of the busiest areas in town, making parking a very difficult situation.  Finally, I found a spot, parked the truck, and then headed over to the hospital to join with the others.  They had registered her with the front counter and were now waiting for her to be called.  She was still holding the same bloodied paper towels.

After about a half-hour of waiting, I asked the front desk (who was just a lady with a notebook sitting behind a folding table) how much longer she had to wait.  She told me that there were people who had been waiting since 11:00 that morning, and it was now about 5:00 in the afternoon!  Turns out that she had forgotten to write her name in the book, so now everyone that had come in during the half-hour was now ahead of us in line.  After a bit of convincing, she wrote her name on a separate piece of scrap paper and then disappeared behind the doors.  About 5 minutes later, Amari was called.

They took her and 3 others to one of the side rooms to collect financial and personal information, and traded her paper towels with a formal bandage, but still didn’t begin the treatment of cleaning and stitches.  They then sent her back out to wait until her name was called again.

We all went outside so we could wait in the fresh air.  Franco and Sergio excused themselves so they could go buy something to eat, leaving me with an opportunity to ask Amari ‘The Question’.  She responded that she probably wouldn’t be going to heaven.  She already believed in God and the Bible, but was knew that she was not living in accordance to what the Bible teaches.  The funny thing is that she is the type of person that would probably not give us the time of day if she were not in the exact situation that she was currently in.  After explaining how free forgiveness works, I asked her if she wanted to receive it.  The enthusiastically replied, ‘Yes!’

We still had a few hours of waiting ahead, but at least now we could see the reason that all this happened.  Franco told me that he had noticed that many of the people that we were seeing saved, including himself, had to pass through a difficulty so that they would be open to hearing the Gospel.  “I wish that all that had to happen to me was a trip to the hospital.  I would rather have received 1,000 cuts like Amari did rather than go through what I had to.  However, I’m glad that God saved me.”

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

3rd John 4 – “I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth.”  One of the greatest joys that a Christian can have is for one of his converts to show spiritual growth.  Wednesday I went out soul-winning with Franco – the man who recently got saved and baptized.  He recently helped me to check a new tract that I had designed for grammatical errors, and when I gave him a stack of the finished tracts he told me, “Leave this soul-winning thing to me.  I know how to get it done.”

Well, this Wednesday we had our chance to go out soul-winning for his first time ever.  In the truck on the way to the area that I have been working, he told me that he was really excited about it, but he wanted to see it done a few times before he was the ‘talking’ partner.  When he told me that, I explained to him the jobs of the ‘silent’ partner (pray, keep distractions away, smile, etc.).  He said that that sounded like the job for him for this trip.

When we got to the area, we walked to the first door, and then prayed that God would bless our efforts.  When we looked up, this lady walked up to us and said that “It is so good to see people out doing, well, whatever you guys are doing.”  I then asked her ‘The Question”, to which she replied that she was sure that she would go to heaven because she was a good person.  We tried to explain to her that her goodness was not what God was looking for, but she wouldn’t stop talking long enough for us to really explain it to her.  We left her with a tract, which she promised that she would read while we were out, and moved on.  I told Franco that this was his 1st lesson: Be careful for Time-Wasters, those who love to talk, but aren’t interested in what you have to say.

After knocking on a few doors, a lady finally answered who was very open to talk.  We got all the way through the Gospel, but right at the point where I was going to draw the net, her husband came out with her cell phone.  Apparently, someone who hardly ever talks to them just happened to call and needed to talk.  I told Franco that this was his 2nd lesson: Satan is against the soul-winner, and will pull any trick to get the listening sinner away from a Gospel conversation.

We talked to several other people, none of which had the time or desire to talk to us.  It was getting rather discouraging.  After a few more doors the sun had completely disappeared, and our time was up.  On the way back to the truck we passed by a small general market and stopped in for a coke.  Upon entering the store Franco gave the clerk one of his 2 last tracts while I got the cokes.  While paying, I asked the clerk ‘The Question’ to which he responded that he didn’t know if he would go to heaven.  I asked if he would like to know what the Bible says about how he could go to heaven.  He nodded and into the Gospel we went.

By this time Franco’s idea of being the silent partner was completely out the window.  He was so excited to participate in the conversation on all the points that he had heard me talk to the others about earlier that night.  When Nelson (the clerk) bowed his head in the sinner’s prayer, it was all that Franco could do to contain himself.  When he lifted his head, Franco shot his hand across the counter to shake Nelson’s hand and congratulated him.  As we were leaving I told Franco that this was his 3rd lesson: Never leave on a negative visit.

The whole way back home he was telling me what a great time he had and that we needed to go again and soon!  He had come up with some ideas about how we could make the whole process work smother and for the beginning of the conversation at the door to be more accepted.  I think this night I witnessed the birth of a soul-winner.  Please pray for him that he would continue his own spiritual growth, and that he would become the man that God has planned for him to be.

Sunday, November 9, 2015

In our family church service we studied about Solomon’s wisdom.  Our focus for our children is that they will not only be wise, but that they will also do right.  The story of Solomon is so fitting because even though he was wise, he didn’t do right.  At the end of his life the Bible records that God was so angry with him that He promised to remove the kingdom from his son.  Wisdom is good, but disobedience will destroy even the wise Christian.

After the service, I had planned to make a follow-up visit with a Mormon church member that I had spoken with out soul-winning the week before.  Neither of us had had time last week when I knocked on his door, but he told me that I could return Sunday.  In fact, he called me Sunday afternoon to make sure that I was still planning to come over!  After helping Sandra finish baking a batch of chocolate chunk cookies, I left to make the visit.

One of our ministries is to the Mormons, whether they be missionaries or church members.  There are 40+ missionaries and 14 wards (churches) in our city, so having the opportunity to sit down and witness to one of them is something that we definitely take advantage of.

Carlos, the man who I was visiting with, invited me into his living room and there we discussed several points concerning Mormonism and the Bible.  It is interesting that the places in the Bible that directly oppose Mormon doctrine hardly affected him at all.  You would think that if he believed the Bible (which all Mormons say they do), then anything that clearly and directly opposed Bible teachings would be important.  However, the truth is that they are taught that if the Bible “seems” to contradict Mormon doctrine then either it is being interpreted incorrectly, or the Bible text is incorrect (either by faulty translation or by tampering with the original text).  It is also interesting to note that the first thing that Satan convinced Eve to do was to question God’s Word.  When the authority of the Bible is removed, there is nothing for the soul-winner to stand on.

What did work, however, is what I showed him about the doctrine of the Mormon church itself.  Without taking time to go into it here, I showed him several places in the Mormon doctrine that stats some outlandish things.  Upon seeing these things, his response was simply, “That’s impossible!”  He could not believe that his church could have ever taught what I was saying that it did.  He told me that either I was reading it incorrectly and did not understand what was really intended, or that it was a falsified document.  So I provided him with source references where he could go himself to find what I had told him.

After an hour and a half I left him to research the information that I had given him.  We are scheduled to visit again next Sunday.  Please pray for him that he will have an open heart and mind to the Word of God, and the simple plan of the Gospel.