Last night my husband and I helped out with a four-hour shift at our county fair. Our church has a booth and we are handing out information about our ministries, holding a raffle for some beautiful quilts a lady in our church made to help pay for a mission trip, and presenting the Gospel to those who are interested. Every time I do this it is a thrill. Don't get me wrong, there are plenty of no thank yous and hostile reactions, but sometimes the Lord sends a person past your table who is desperately in need of the truth. Those times make it all worthwhile.
There was a lady who came by and was interested in hearing more. As my friend Reneé and I spoke to her, it became obvious that her knowledge of the Bible was limited. This is a common phenomena in our culture today; a far cry from the days when I was a child. Even if people didn't believe (me, for example), they still had at least heard the accounts of Adam and Eve, Cain and Able, the Tower of Babel, Noah's Ark, Abraham and Sarah, David, and etc. You know, the stories that can be found in children's Bible story books. But in spite of this, I believe this woman was pleased to hear the Good News of what Jesus Christ has done for her. When she was ready to leave, I asked her if she had a Bible at home and she said she did. Then my friend asked her if she would like for us to pray for her and that is when she let us know that she is going to school and struggling with one of her courses, she has a couple of teenagers that she is raising on her own at this point because her husband is in prison. It turns out that someone is witnessing to him there also, and that the two of them have been talking about the Lord. I pray that by God's grace both of them will fully understand the depth of their sinful state, seek forgiveness and peace from the Prince of Peace, repent, and be saved.
Concerning the rejections, there were some interesting ones. I went toe to toe with one fellow and his wife, who were convinced that works were essential. As we spoke, it was clear that they understood things I was telling them, the husband would even say to me, "So what you are saying is..." and he would give back what I had said in his own words. In spite of this, they both stood firm that their works are their ticket to heaven. They didn't say who they are affiliated with, but there were many who came by last night that did. The first person who told us that he will certainly go to heaven when he dies because he is a member of the LDS church also noted that he is a bishop, sealing the deal. Reneé was stunned at his confidence, as she knew better. I understood where she was coming from; it is heartbreaking to see people so utterly convinced that they will be fine when they die when their confidence is in a lie. We had a number if Mormons come by and each one had a similar response. A very common reaction that you get when you suggest that people are sinners is indignation. None of us want to be told that we are wrong, only God can change our hearts and teach us humility.
We were using the Way of the Master's Million Dollar Bill tract and though there were many who took them, there were also many who put them back on the table and walked away. My heart aches for people who do not grasp the invaluable gift that that piece of paper represents, but I pray that the little seeds that were planted in their hearts during that brief encounter will produce an abundant harvest one day.
Today my husband and I are headed back over there; this time for an eight-hour shift. If you read this today, please lift us up and pray that our words would be true, that we would not give offense unless that offense is from the Gospel message and that the people we will meet would be receptive.