One of the ministries Word of Life loves is OAE, or “open air evangelism.” It challenges believers to share their faith in arguably the most challenging environment imaginable. At the same time it forces believers to have a clear understanding of the Gospel and have a ready answer to give the people around them. The following story is from a recent open air evangelism excursion we were a part of. The names have been changed to protect the privacy of those involved.
I was sharing with an Hispanic man and offered a gospel tract in Spanish. He politely but rather abruptly ended the conversation. I thanked him for having given me a few minutes of his time. I had not noticed, but two other Hispanic men were carefully observing and overhearing the conversation. One of them motioned to me, inviting me to come closer to talk.
Both men were from Cuba and they profess Christ as their personal Savior. The first man arrived in US just three months ago, the second man has been here for only a matter of weeks. After having been threatened because of their faith in Christ, they were able to gain their freedom and were given permission to enter the USA with the help of an “NGO”. They asked me several very direct questions about what they had seen. Eventually they asked me about church services in Spanish, indicating they hadn’t found a congregation where they felt comfortable. Before our conversation ended we exchanged telephone numbers.
The next day I connected by telephone with one of the men. I met Carlos and his family on Sunday morning and took them with me to a Spanish Language Service at a church near their residence. I have since made a follow-up visit to the home (by invitation). I was able to give each family member a Bible and I gave Carlos and his wife a number of booklets addressing a variety of Biblical topics. The Pastor of the congregation was able to make a visit to their home welcoming them and talking to them about Biblical truth.
We met again for a second Sunday morning service in Spanish. This time we also took one of their trusted friends as a guest. The pastor called on Carlos to share his salvation testimony in the morning service. What a beautiful experience, what a miracle story of the marvelous grace of God at work in a country that restrains their citizens in religious expression.
Here is one of the important “take-a-ways” for me: We should carry out our service for the Lord with dignity and integrity regardless of the response of the individual with which we are dealing at the moment. We never know when we are being observed by the watchful eyes of spiritually needy people.