We have a Missions Banquet coming up this next week at the church my wife and I attend. We participated in this meeting last year where we were asked to speak about what we do in our ministry with AOI. This year they asked that all the missionaries share a specific story about a person that they were able to minister to … and we are to do this in 5 minutes! Ouch! What a challenge to keep it to that short of a time period.
All of the AOI speakers minister to thousands of people every year. Each year we talk to many people as a group. We are also able to talk with many people on a one to one basis. Because of the traveling nature of AOI’s ministry, we are able to share for a brief time, but then travel down the road to a new event. Through AOI’s various informational DVD’s, publications, and web-site, we can indirectly continue to minister to people. Mostly, all we are able to do is plant a seed of truth and encouragement, and pray that it falls on fertile soil. The Holy Spirit does the rest.
Occasionally, we are blessed to learn about an impact we had on the lives of individuals. Here is one of numerous examples: Several years ago, after a family Awana program, I was answering the questions of many youth. Standing at the edge of the group was a man probably in his thirties. A non-believer, he began to aggressively pepper me with me questions about sea floor spreading and continental drift. His contention was the evidence pointed to an evolutionary old earth. Amazingly, I was well armed for his arguments … just the month before I had written a KT&B Too article on that very subject. (http://www.discovercreation.org/kids/documents/MarandApr2001KTB.pdf) After the evening ended, I shared with my wife the ‘encounter’ I had with this man, expressing, “I don’t think he believed a thing I talked about tonight.”
About two years later, we returned to that same church to do another program. The pastor asked, “Do you remember the man that heatedly argued with you the last time you were here?” I did. He continued, “His mother, who was the only believer in the family, wanted him to accompany her that night. Reluctantly, he agreed. I had been trying to share with him for weeks, but was always met with a closed heart. I am not sure what you shared with him that night, but something struck home. Two weeks after you left, this hard-hearted man gave his life to the Lord! Since that time, he has become one of our churches strongest evangelists. Not only did he end up leading all of his family to the Lord, but he is also reaching out to the whole community. Today he is a strong believer in Biblical creation. Something you said really got through to him.”
We were blessed to be told about this man’s salvation. I know we only played a small part in this happening … it was not my words that saved him, but the message of those words. It was the work of the Holy Spirit that actually led him to Christ. However, it is encouraging to know that even when we don’t recognize it, there is a lot of fertile soil out there ready for the seed of truth to be planted.