y story may encourage others who find being on mission to
be such a challenge.
First of all, on those rare occasions when I actually have led a
non-believer into a personal relationship with Christ my joy has been enormous.
But I'm not doing it for the blessing to myself--that's just a happy
by-product. I'm doing it out of obedience to the Lord who saved me at the age
Yet sometimes it's hard to keep on trying with people who seem so
non-responsive. I'll share an anecdote to illustrate.
I met a woman at a parenting class at my daughter's school. She complained
bitterly about having a poor relationship with her father and how that had
affected her own parenting skills. I was touched by her story. And I recognized
it as an opening for me to share Christ--but in a setting away from school.
I called her and discovered she lived only a few blocks away. I thought:
"Aha, God is even making it convenient!" We agreed for me to come over. I told
her I wanted to talk to her about what she'd said in class.
Well, we communicated fine--up to a point. I could tell she was a little ill
at ease, because her house showed all the trappings of family life--sticky
fingerprints on the dining room table, little spills here and there. It was
obvious she was busy raising a young, active family. But she also needed to
This was to be the first of several visits. The first time I was all primed
to explain how our Heavenly Father is always the perfect Father and how she
could depend on Him entirely. But the transition from her complaining about her
earthly dad to such talk of God seemed too jarring, and so I waited.
At the second visit I considered talking about my relationship with my
dad--which was a good one--as a way to refocus the conversation on something
positive, but somehow that didn't seem right either. It became obvious that
this woman had a lot of hurt and disappointment to work through. So I decided
to hold my tongue and listen.
Finally, one meeting seemed to be the right time to talk about God.
Gingerly, I broached the subject. She didn't send me away! I felt encouraged
and set up a time to come back again.
By now she knew I was a Christian and that I felt I had an answer for her
sorrow, but she was still reluctant to let me talk about it as much as I longed
to. Her anger toward her earthly father had to subside, and her trust in me and
in our Heavenly Father had to grow.
After quite a few visits, I'd invested a lot of time in this woman. The
relationship had grown to the point where I thought I could ask whether she
wanted to pray to receive Christ--something I had explained to her in detail. I
was absolutely crushed when she declined.
I have no explanation for why this happened. Why did God allow me to spend
so much time with her, only to come to what seemed like nothing? Of course, I
had made a new friend, but I hoped she would also become a sister in Christ. My
husband, a strong pastor, picked up on my discouragement. He hugged me tightly
one night as we stood gazing out the patio doors. He knows I'm tenderhearted,
and he's more pragmatic. He wouldn't leave me in that low emotional spot
without reminding me that God is always in total control and that He knew my
time with the woman had not been wasted.
So she went on my prayer list (I pray daily--calling each by name--for all
1,152 people I've ever talked to about a personal relationship with the Lord).
It takes me about an hour.
Now I'll give an example of a victory--while I was present, that is. I was
helping at Youth Camp in South Dakota. Two Sioux girls, ages 10 and 11, drew a
mural showing a great chasm between God and us. It represented a concept they
had been taught in their Native American culture. Since this was a drawing, I
suggested they add a bridge. And then I explained how Jesus is that bridge
between us and God. They understood immediately and began to ask questions. The
conversation led to their prayer to accept Jesus as their Savior.
Who knows what made the difference? Perhaps, as I found out later, it was
because of their aunt whom God had delivered from alcoholism. She had been
praying for the girls. So their hearts were fertile.
And that's why I continue to talk to people about Jesus--and to pray for
them daily. I have learned over the years that I am not responsible for how
people respond to Christ. I am only responsible for sharing His good news with
A Southern Baptist Convention entity supported by the Cooperative Program and theAnnie Armstrong Easter Offering® ©Copyright 2013 North American Mission Board, SBC