Breaking a rule about NOT running through parking lots, Brandon came racing over to me at Taco Bell. He had a “Tom Sawyer” boy face: crew cut, ears poking out, and it was bright red beaming with a wide grin. “Mr. K! Mr. K.!”
“What?” I thought I’d hear the amazing news before expounding wisdom about safety.
“Maurice died!” Somehow, I couldn’t match his expression with his news. Brandon searched my face. I must have looked very perplexed. He explained, “The last time we were here, Maurice asked Jesus to come into his heart!” My mouth was wide open in the shape of a question mark. “He’s in heaven!”
My eyes got moist. I was looking into the eyes of a boy I had led to the Lord, who had led another to the Lord, who was with the Lord! All the questions about the career path I had chosen vanished instantly! “Wow!” I said, putting my arm around his shoulder as we walked into Taco Bell. I just forgot the whole lecture about parking lot safety.
That was twenty-two years ago. My 6th grade class at Trinity Christian School had the privilege of visiting a convalescent home near the school once a month. I believe that children can do some things better than adults. One is ministering to seniors. We made little gifts, cards, etc., and I had taught the students how to lead someone to Christ.
It was Brandon’s first year at Trinity. He and his parents had come, very discouraged due to some tough experiences in his previous educational environment. After a short time, Brandon accepted Jesus as his Savior. He began to brighten. He excelled academically. And, he had developed a relationship with one of our dear seniors, Maurice.
Today, Brandon inspects large structure buildings, roller-coasters, etc. and writes detailed safety reports. He was good at math. He and his wife Thuy (pronounced “Tree”) attend Rick Warren’s Saddleback Church in Mission Viejo, CA. They take Thuy’s two nephews with them as often as they can with the goal of discipling the boys in Christ. A few months ago, Brandon found me on Face Book.
We recently met at their church and shared a meal together afterwards. And now, I share his story with you. My hope in doing so is that you are encouraged. Brandon and Thuy would not call themselves evangelists, but they know they are to have a role in the fulfillment of the Great Commission of Jesus Christ. They do their best to follow Peter’s exhortation, recorded in his 1st letter, chapter 3, verses 15 & 16:
“But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always
be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks
you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But
do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear
conscience, so that those who speak maliciously
against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed
of their slander.”
“Hey, how ya doin’? How’s the family, Dawna and Sammy?” I asked Eswin as we met incidentally in a parking lot.
His face was thoughtful. “Thank you for asking. No one else ever asks me how it’s going with me personally.”
“Really? Well, I’m interested in you”, I replied simply. We talked a while, and the Lord came up naturally since Eswin led a city-wide ministry called “Friends of Faith”. I asked when he had accepted the Lord as his Savior. He wasn’t sure what I meant, so I explained the simple gospel to him, and he prayed with me to receive the Lord. We began meeting regularly for Bible study together, and my friend continued to grow.
A few months later, the Lord led my wife and me to leave Emporia, KS for the “left coast” as they lovingly call California in the mid-west. Eswin and I stayed in contact, and I attempted to mentor him long distance. There were some difficult times. My friend’s marriage suffered a divorce.
Eswin met Heather, remarried, and promptly fathered four more children with her. She also has a child from a previous relationship, so together they have six kids! Over time, Eswin deepened his relationship with the Lord and led Heather to Jesus.
For six years we only had email and phone contact. Invites out west and back to Emporia were constant. We both had an “it would be nice some day” attitude until last spring when Eswin expressed a desire to be baptized, and he wanted me to do it. So, last summer I was privileged to baptize him and his beautiful wife and to spend some quality time with them and their children-all of them!
We’re still interacting long distance, but our hearts are knit together with a bond closer than blood. I’m honored that he considers me a mentor in his life, which is a huge responsibility and joy. This is especially true when I find my mentee mentoring me!
You Can Make Disciples
I hope Eswin’s testimony encourages you. I wasn’t knocking on doors or street preaching. I had simply made a friend. When the opportunity arose, I was blessed to be the one to pray with him as he gave his heart to Jesus. You can be used the same way, even if you don’t have the gift of evangelism. That’s what Win and Grow is all about-helping those who are differently gifted to effectively share their faith when the opportunity arises. God will open those doors for you. Briefly, here’s how to be prepared:
“Feed the Spring”.
- Deepen your relationship with Jesus through daily Bible Study and prayer. Don’t just “do devotions”; become a “person of the Word and of prayer”.
- Write down your own story of what the Lord has done and is doing in your life. Learn to tell it in just a few minutes.
“Let the Living Water Flow”
- Learn a few key verses like John 3:16, 1 John 1:9, and Revelations 3:20.
- Ask God to open doors with people you already know who may not know Him.
- When He does, walk through the doors. 1 Peter 3:15-16
- Plan to stay with your new believer and help him or her grow into a fully devoted follower of Jesus Christ.