Wow, friends and family, what an incredible week! Coming back from Thanksgiving break, it was such a strange feeling having been in such a bubble, then out in the real world, then back in the bubble. As for class, it was an unusual week in that almost half of our class was gone. They are the students who are enrolled in graduate classes at John Brown University. Every now and then, they have to actually go to the JBU campus and this was one of those weeks. At first, it was a little strange missing half of our friends, but it ended up being SUCH an amazing week. Since so many of us were gone, we did something a little different than normal class that week.
Our focus for the week was evangelism, so instead of sitting in class on Thursday, those of us who were left on campus were to use that time to go into the community and evangelize to those who we came in contact with. I knew this going into the week and, honestly, was really nervous about it. Let’s just say that when I take those little spiritual gifts tests, evangelism is NOT my strong suit. I’m more of a shepherder and encourager. I thrive on relationships. So, the idea of just walking up to a random person and beginning a conversation about the most deeply controversial subject was a little intimidating.
As I was driving to work on Tuesday afternoon, I was expressing my concerns to God and asking Him to open my eyes to an opportunity to share my faith in a way that I felt comfortable and natural. Although I know that the Lord does not often let us operate in our comfort zones, He was so faithful to answer this prayer! During dinner at work that day, I sat down across the table from one of my co-workers. We struck up a conversation and somehow, the topic of church came up. And when I say somehow, I mean through the power of the Holy Spirit. We had a great conversation, but I kept thinking that what she was telling me seemed a little sketchy and I was interested to learn more about her faith and beliefs. As we got up, she said that we should get coffee sometime soon. Bingo! There it was! Needless to say, we ended up having coffee Thursday morning during the time of our scheduled “class evangelism”. What an incredible time! We talked for hours about church, faith, and life and it was so good. From the impression that I got that day, I think that she knows the Lord, but I am excited to continue this relationship with her and encourage her as she grows in her faith with the Lord.
Leaving my coffee meeting, I was so pumped! The Lord had been so evident in the conversation and it was such an encouragement for me. The Lord showed me that evangelizing to those around me and sharing the most wonderful news that has ever come to the world was not only more natural than I thought it was, but so NECESSARY. How can I say that I love and care about people, but NOT tell them about Christ and His salvation that He has to offer all those who believe?
Not only did I have an incredible meeting with my co-worker, but the Lord continued to work throughout the day. Work that afternoon was incredible. I direct an afterschool program at one of the local middle schools and help out with the elementary program as well. Many of the students in our program come from broken homes or families who are struggling financially. There are three siblings in particular who I have really enjoyed getting to know and you can tell need a lot of love right now. It has been fun to interact with their mom as she comes to pick them up every day as well. Anyway, as I was leaving work that day, I noticed that this family was walking home from the school. Take note that it was already dark at this point and very cold. Boom! Another moment! What an incredible, divinely-appointed moment to minister to this family. This is a family that I know and felt completely comfortable offering them a ride home. Especially as a girl, offering a ride home to people is rarely a safe option. What a blessing this was! Getting to pack those kids into the back of my car, ask them about their day, and talk to the mom as we drove the few minutes to their house was one of my favorite experiences all week. The route that we took would have been really dangerous for those kids to walk on and it would have taken them at least thirty minutes at the pace that they would have had to take. Our conversation was great and, as I dropped them off, my heart just went out to them. That family has been on my mind ever since and I am praying for an opportunity for further encounters and opportunities to minister to them. So, if you want to join me in that prayer, than that would be much appreciated.
As if I didn’t have enough of an incredible day already, the Lord continued to blow me away! That night, as I was finding suggestions to add to my Christmas list online, I came across a question on a website where I needed to ask one of their “on-line” experts. So, I ended up chatting with one of their representatives about the product. As we were talking, a thought crossed my mind: “I wonder if this guy will cut me off if I bring up Jesus?” I was nervous at first but, then the Lord just spoke to my heart. Why would I not? Why would I miss this opportunity just out of fear of rejection? So, through a lovely segway of Christmas in the conversation, I brought up Jesus. We ended up talking for over an hour! It was awesome to be able to talk about Jesus in such a real way with someone I didn’t even know and then, at the end, be able to ask him how I could be praying for him. So cool!
When it was all said and done, my heart was on fire and so excited about what the Lord had done that day! I couldn’t sleep at first because my heart was so burdened for each of these people that I had encountered that day and their stories. I had so many prayers on my heart: for my co-worker and her faith, for this family and their situation, and my helpful online expert and his prayer request. What a wonderful day! The Lord is so faithful. He is so faithful to answer our prayers. When we are willing to listen and have our eyes open to what He is doing, we get to see some incredible things! That was the biggest lesson that I walked away from that day with: that when I am in prayer and expectantly waiting for a response, the Lord will work and show us what He has prepared for us to do.