These are some of the people I met and talked to this past weekend. May God bless you as you read these stories, and may they help you in your witnessing encounters. By the way, please don't forget to pray for the salvation of these people.
Emily-I offered Emily a tract, but she refused, saying, "I already have one!" Then she reached into her pocket to prove it--but it wasn't there! So I gave her another.
Later, across the street, I saw her again and asked if she still had the one I gave her. She affirmed--and then couldn't find that one either! I sensed a spiritual war going on over her soul, handed her another tract, and told her about Jesus' parable in Matthew 13, concerning the Sower, the Seed, and the Soils. The first soil was pavement from which birds flew down to scoop the seed away. Jesus explained this as the devil taking the Gospel away from the hearts of those who don't understand it. I told Emily that the reason she was losing those tracts is that the Devil wants her to go to Hell.
I reminded her that though sin is fun, it will land her in perdition if she holds on to it. She agreed and said that that is not where she wants to go. I prayed for her right there, but she did not pray (although, in fairness, I did not invite her to, though I did give her an idea of what God is looking for in a prayer of repentance). I think she was counting the cost, which is a good thing. Pray for Emily's salvation.
Andrew--I attend a Saturday evening Bible study at my church. During the prayer request portion of our time together, a young man entered for the first time. He didn't have a Bible, but I didn't pay that much attention until we were well into the study. Then I loaned him my Bible and retrieved another from the auditorium, where we keep extras just for cases like this. Then I turned the pages for two Bibles (mine and his) for the rest of the night.
He was astonished that I knew where all of these passages were. I informed him that I have been a Christian for over fifteen years--of course I know where the Books of the Bible are! Besides that, my dad made me memorize them when I was a small child (for which I am eternally grateful).
But then, at the end of the study, things got tense. Our leader for the evening, another Josh (we call him "Big Josh") said something about falling into fornication. Andrew piped up, wondering how we knew that having sex before marriage is a sin. Red flag, you say? I say, "FIRE ALARM!!"
So Andrew got "double-Josh'ed" and the poor guy was just pounded. We tried to be kind as we explained the Scripture to him, but the bottom line was he had to either reject Scripture--and us--or reject his current standard of morals. Well, you can guess which one he chose (at least for the moment).
I did explain to him that we weren't trying to keep him out of Heaven--we want him in! But we don't make the rules on how to get there, and that's what we were stuck with. It didn't help. He was still very angry, saying that this was a bit much for a first time. Well, sorry, dude, but you asked for it. Please pray for Andrew.
Mike--Friday night, after Team Hope's foray into Downtown St Pete, a bunch of us hung out at the local Applebee's. When we finished, I started to head to my car, but then I reached into my pocket and felt a bunch of tracts. I immediately turned around and went back to give them away. Mike was one of the recipients. His friend had gotten one before and told him that it was good information.
Mike did seem concerned about his sins, but he wasn't quite ready to repent. He was talking about how hard it is to stop sinning (which it is). I told him that his only alternative to hating sin is to end up in hell. Which he acknowledged to be true. I told him that, when I was growing up, my best friend's name was Mike (still is, though I can't count him as my best friend when we don't even email each other anymore...sad), and I told him that I dearly hoped to see him in Heaven. He echoed that sentiment and went back inside. Please pray for Mike.
Julianna and Desirae--These two girls never talk to any of us when we go to the Rock downtown. They just keep to themselves and wave us off, listening to their iPods (or one iPod, if they want to share a set of earphones). Finally, last week, our Silent Drama Team got their attention--although it was through a negative review. They were complaining that the "mimes" were talking. In truth, our team doesn't have the striped sleeves characteristic of a mime, which should give them permission to explain their dramas after they finish the scene--but the kids at the Rock don't seem to notice. I tried explaining that to these two last Friday, and they just blew it off. But Julianna took a tract (Desirae refused), and we parted on good terms.
Then, this past Friday, after I rattled the forces of darkness by reading the Word (John 5; and, yes, they were rattled--the kids started arguing and everything), I jumped down, slipped as I landed, and hit my butt. That's what I grew all this padding for! I thought as I arose. Some girl, whose weird name I cannot remember for the life of me, came around to see if I was okay, and then J and D came around for some reason (I know it wasn't to see me, because they jumped when they did) and seemed glad to see me (I don't know why, but I don't care, either).
So we talked. For TWO HOURS. Primarily about the Ten Commandments (the Evidence Bible has a word-picture memorization chart for them somewhere around Romans 15). I was using that to explain to them that they have violated God's Law and really do deserve Hell--but that God is rich in mercy and loves them so much, that He wants to discard their record of sin and replace it with Jesus' record of perfect righteousness, which record Jesus gave up when He took our punishment on the Cross.
But we spent most of the time on the Law. Desirae kept asking, "What if you don't believe in God?" to which I kept replying, "It doesn't matter--you're still going to face Him." She also asked (twice, I think), "What if you just say you repent, but don't really mean it?" The first time, I answered her that God sees her thoughts. The second time Julianna reminded her of that fact! Wow!
It was actually encouraging to hear those questions from Desirae, because those are the same questions that Joe asked me shortly before he got saved within a couple of weeks (he is one of the Rock kids). And it was very encouraging to hear Julianna! But she still wanted to think that she was a good person. She said, "I'm nice to people I like!" So I told her that Jesus said that that didn't count (Matthew 5:43-48). Desirae also asked if helping an old lady cross the street would reduce her guilt before God (it won't, Romans 2:14-15). And when she found out that it would not, she then asked, "Well, then what's the point!?"
"Well, if you don't help her, then youre a murderer." Ouch, but true. If you withhold help from someone one when you can supply it, then you are not living in love--and the opposite of love is hate, and whoever hates is a murderer (1 John 3:15). So by not doing what is right when you can, you merely add to your crimes before God. That explanation made sense to her, but she still didn't seem to like it.
Then Julianna got a phone call from her dad, saying that he was there to pick them up. Well, they were disappointed! They told me they want to continue talking later.
All this time, Gabby was doing all kinds of stupid distracting stuff (she was very drunk as usual; surprisingly, Niki wasn't as runk as usual, but still), and, at one point, Pyro tried to interrupt our conversation with his questions and wouldn't go away. I really believe that the Lord has His hand on those two. Please pray for them extra hard this week.