Saturday, September 3, 2011
Evangelism 101/ Evangelismo 101
Who knew that I could be so intensely ignited for evangelism!!! This week’s topic was Evangelism and the practical applications of it. Not only were the teachings valuable for me in learning how to effectively evangelise to others without actually preaching to them, but we had the opportunity to go out of the classroom and put what we learned into practice! Let me just say that the Holy Spirit was moving swiftly and mightily through me during that time! Woah!!!
Our first practical application came in the form of Bible distribution to a poor area of San Jose on Tuesday morning. Before setting out, we prepared our hearts, minds and spirits for any opportunities that we would have to speak to people about God. Then we were divided into several small groups, given 5 New Testament Bibles and, once we arrived at our destination, were told to go door to door to speak to people about the Bible and its message. My group, four of us, didn’t have to go far before coming across a couple women who were doing some chores outside. We asked if we could talk to them about the Bible, and after they agreed, they welcomed us into their home.
We set foot into a small house built on the side of a hill, showing bare concrete walls and obviously worn furniture. It was almost immediate that the Holy Spirit started to speak to me, telling me to talk to the women about being mothers, based on my own life as a mother. Then God began filling me with words to speak to the women as to how God saw them. That He saw them as pearls, unblemished and beautiful. Strong women who with great responsibility of raising their families, were valuable to God and loved by God. Turns out these same women, married with children, were Christians and one of the husbands soon appeared and began engaging us in conversation. He told us of the blessings and miracles of God in their lives and in the lives of their extended families who all lived in close proximity of each other. It was incredible to hear the stories and how, even through their obvious poverty, they still saw the goodness and glory of God in their lives.
The husband, whose name I have forgotten, soon told us that he was learning English and trying to learn Chinese and even had a Chinese Bible! Wow!!! Spanish is difficult enough to learn never mind learning Chinese! I was in awe of that and admired him greatly for wanting to learn all of that! Woah!!
God had also given me a piece of Scripture to bless each person we came in contact with that morning. It came from Numbers 6:24-26 and so before leaving their home, we laid hands on them, prayed for them and their families and I prayed the piece of Scripture over them in Spanish. :D I figured I needed as much practice as possible before outreach! Hee hee
After leaving their home, we came across a man with his son whose wife appeared shortly after we started speaking to the man. He already had a Bible but welcomed our prayers over him and his family. I again prayed the Scriptural blessing over him and his family and we left to visit other houses before having to head back to base. Our final house opened to a young woman who brought her son to the door to greet us. His name was Brando. We only had a couple moments to speak to her but we prayed for her, I read my blessing over her and gave her one of our Bibles.
I couldn’t believe how on fire and excited I was to talk to people about having a relationship with God! More so, I couldn’t believe how fast our time went! I could have stayed out there all day! How incredible it felt to have the Holy Spirit move in me that way! Amazing!! Unbelievable! Mind blowing!! It’s funny but people in my DTS class think I’m anointed by the Holy Spirit to speak to people and to evangelise to them. Isn’t that crazy? But in a way I think I might be because of the fire I get burning inside of me to share the truth and beauty of God to others! I just want to rescue the lost and give them hope!!
Well, hold on because that’s not the end of things for this week!!! We had another opportunity on Thursday morning to go out again and hand out Bibles. This time our destination was only a short walk from the YWAM base and brought us to a more affluent neighbourhood. Many of the people we talked to knew about YWAM because they attended a church that several of the YWAM staff attended. In spite of that, we had many incredible conversations and, again, I was filled with the fire of the Holy Spirit, only more intensely this time than on Tuesday!!! So much so that God was guiding me through the Spirit as to the people He had arranged ahead of time for us to meet with and talk to.
Our first divine appointment was with an elderly woman who was sitting outside in front of her house. Now, just to give you all an idea of what life is like here in Costa Rica, every house you will see is, essentially, a fortress. Surrounded by high concrete walls with bars on every window and either razor wire, barbed wire or metal spears at the top of these walls to keep away thieves. So when we came across this woman, she was well within her fortress. So, as our small group leader, Jose, spoke to this woman, God started speaking to me to pray for her but not just any prayer, a prayer of healing. She had come to us limping and she appeared to be in pain, great pain. God was telling me to lay my hand on her and pray for healing so I quickly asked her if we could pray for her and I just started speaking the words that God was telling me to speak with power, boldness and conviction, in the name of Jesus, and with it came the internal fire of the Holy Spirit!!! WHOO WEE!!! Powerful!!!! Totally and completely powerful and when I opened my eyes, I looked at the woman as she wiped away tears and looked directly into my eyes while thanking me at the same time. Words can’t describe how much love I felt for that woman, the same love that God was flooding me with from His heart for this same woman. How precious she was to God! I saw her as God saw her. Wow.
Our next divine appointment was with a woman who was working in a home doing, what I guessed to be, house cleaning or maybe even helping to run a business out of the home with a couple other women. Shyly she approached us and we began talking to her about the Bible and that, as students, we were learning about the Bible and going out to talk to people about this great book and its mighty author. We asked her if she had a Bible and she didn’t seem interested to take it at first, hesitated, then accepted the gift from us. All of a sudden, I felt God speak to me again and He said, “This woman has no hope. Tell her that there is hope in me.” This woman that we were talking to was broken and no longer had hope.
Even though I didn’t know why she had no hope, I obeyed God and began talking to her about my experiences with the Bible and how every time I read it, it blessed me and it gave me hope and joy. Her lips began to quiver as tears began to roll down her face. As God continued to speak to me, I spoke the same words to the woman, telling her the heart of God for her. Telling her that God wanted her to have hope, that He loved her and that He saw her as beautiful. Her tears kept flowing as I kept speaking the words that God was giving me for her. After finishing God’s words I asked if I could pray for her and as she accepted, I closed my eyes and prayed for her as we all laid hands on her. Shortly after we left her presence, God opened my heart to show me the woman’s heart and I broke down, crying and all I could say was that God had shown me her heart and that she was so very broken.
Before reaching this woman’s house, we had passed by an older man who was manning a wheelbarrow filled with large branches of a bamboo tree he had just cut down. At first I didn’t think much of the man when we passed him on the road but then after we finished with the woman, God kept telling me to go to that man, to talk to him, that he had an extraordinary story. So even as we walked away from the man, God wouldn’t let go of what He wanted me to do and I told my team that we needed to go and talk to that man. By that time, half a block now separated us and the man and we had to walk swiftly to catch up to him as he disappeared around a corner. As my steps hurried, God said to my heart, “Don’t worry, he’s waiting for you.” And as we rounded the corner, there he was, stopped with his wheelbarrow.
The story of the man was nothing short of incredible and he began to tell us of the wonderful story of how God rescued him from a life of alcoholism that spanned decades. How through this experience, he was ministering to others while attending AA meetings each week as well as ministering to people in the neighbourhood he had been in all his life. God told me to speak words of blessing on him and I told him that his story would bless others and that he was a blessing to so many people. Again, our time ended in prayer and I spoke the words given to me from Numbers and we parted ways as we shook hands with him, gave him one of the Bibles and wished him well, just like we had been friends with him for years! Incredible!
Another divine appointment brought us to a small business owner, who while open to accepting one of our Bibles, refused prayer. As we walked away from her shop, God spoke to me, telling me to stop, turn around and begin praying for her. That I was to pray for a seed to be firmly and deeply planted into the soil, that the words of the Bible we gave her would come alive as she read them. O, amen!
Our next divine appointment brought us to the home of an older gentleman who lived with his wife and children. He said that he had a Bible and that he read it every day but that it was difficult to read the Bible and spend time with God each day. It was evident that the worries of the world and daily life had taken a toll on him and that he saw more bad than good around him. Immediately, God spoke to my heart telling me to refute what the man was saying and to do it gently and in love. So I began talking to him about how important it was to have a personal relationship with God and to spend time with him every day. That my life had been greatly blessed by the words in the Bible and that because of that book, I had hope and joy and with that hope and joy came the strength to get through any of life’s difficulties that came along.
He then went on to make note of my youth in comparison to his elder age and that it would be easier to have hope at my age. But I again refuted him by telling him that it wasn’t the age that was the issue, it was knowing that because of his relationship with God, that he had the hope of eternal life after this temporary life on earth was over. God was just filling me with words of encouragement for this man, who had come to a point in his life where he saw too much injustice in his own nation to be encouraged or to have hope as he should. Our time ended with him in prayer as I prayed hope and encouragement into his life and the life of his family as well as praying for the hope of the entire nation of Costa Rica, for I knew God’s heart for the nation and it was something I shared openly with the man.
Our final divine appointment brought us to the home of a Christian woman whose name was Carmen. Her son was at home with her and at seeing us, welcomed us openly into her home. She invited us to come with her as she told us stories of the many ways in which God had been and still is blessing her life and the lives of her immediate family. How God had provided a new home for her sister and her and another home directly beside hers, for her nephew and his small children. She just kept telling us the same blessed story over and over again and when it came time for us to leave, she gratefully accepted our prayers for her.
Another incredible evangelism opportunity and another day when I could have stayed out all day!! So amazing our God is when we surrender all and leave Him to use us as He sees fit, not as we think we should be used. When you come before Him with the right mind and the right attitude, being totally willing to do His will alone, mind blowing things start to happen. It happened to me these two days and keeps happening to me each day as I get through each struggle and each test that God brings me to and through. I have to admit that this past week’s struggles were some of the greatest I’ve experienced since coming to YWAM. So great that I was ready to go online and change my ticket to fly back to Canada THIS WEEKEND!!! But after seeking God’s counsel as to what to do, His answer, albeit difficult to swallow, was the answer I submitted to and I continued to seek Him in His word as He guided me to several places in Jeremiah 15 and 16 that helped me to understand what was happening and what God was doing in me through, yet, more struggles.
How can I possibly refute all that He tells me when I know that here, at YWAM San Jose, is God’s perfect will for me even though it’s often a hurricane??? Yes, that mighty hurricane that wrenches me to and fro but sends my roots even deeper into God. I surrender all. I submit to the storm and see it through knowing that this is not the last of the storms that lie ahead for me during my time here but knowing full well because of my steadfastness in holding on to God, He’ll bring me through each one successfully and build an even stronger faith within me.
As a side note, do you remember in one of my previous posts I mentioned that I believed I was coming into a knowledge of God’s plan for my life out of YWAM and that it involved me being a powerful woman of prayer?? Well, I’ve received confirmation of that power, time and again as the very prayers I’ve been raising up to God, are being answered for those of whom I have been praying for those same people have been telling of the answers!! If all that isn’t confirmation of God’s purpose for me, I really don’t know what is! :D Gloria DIOS!!!!!