Rick shares his story from Calcutta, India:
The Bengali people are the sixth largest unreached people group in the world. 300 million Bengalis call the region of West Bengal home. Needless to say, there are A LOT of people there needing to know who Jesus is, and the response that we received when we spent time with them showed that there is indeed a hunger for God in that part of India. We witnessed over 1,600 professions of faith, helped plant seven new churches in the region, and ministered to two other existing churches there.
One thing that made our trip to India different this time was that often we share stories of an initial meeting with a few people in attendance, then more people show up for the next meeting, and more the following, and so on. This time, however, we started with five or six people in the beginning and then everybody left.
As I stood there, sharing the Gospel, they each exited, one by one. Until all that was left was one lady who stayed in the room along with me and my translator. Despite all the potential distractions of people leaving and her being left alone, she seemed so thoughtful and focused on the message of Jesus. I asked her if she understood what I had been saying and God’s plan for her life, and she said, “Yes, I understand. But I have one question: If I make this decision to follow Jesus as my God, does that mean that my family and my friends will not like me anymore?”
Now, I’ve never been in this predicament before, but I told her that there was a good chance that her family and friends will, in fact, hate her. When Jesus was here, people hated Him. And He made it very clear that if we choose to follow Him, people will hate us as well.
She then paused silently for about thirty seconds. After thoughtfully considering all this, she said, “OK, I want to follow Jesus as my Savior.”
To see her thoroughly count the cost to follow Christ was remarkable!
Too often, we get caught up in the big crowds and huge numbers reflected in our work, but when I sat there with just this one lady, who was left alone in that room (rather indicative of the question she was about to ask), and to see her weigh out what it was going to mean in a real-world context to follow Jesus – it was one of the most special moments of my entire life.
Next, Andreas shares this story from his trip to Costa Rica:
I led a group of 17 people, mostly kids ages 10-17; and for many of them, this was their first time out of the United States.
While there, we met an elderly man in his 70’s who claimed that “death was afraid of him”. He had survived five near-death moments, including one incident that took him beyond “near-death” and actually landed him in a morgue!
Upon hearing the man’s stories, my wife had the insight, “Sir, there’s a reason why you haven’t died yet.” As she said these words, all the laughter and joking that had been stimulated by his amazing stories stopped immediately.
“You know what? Jesus has been waiting for you this whole time. And, I don’t know if you’re going to get your sixth chance.”
Instantly, the man’s entire countenance changed, and he begged to hear Jesus’ message. He completely repented and even helped my 16-year-old son lead a group at the end of the week.
This man’s was just one of the completely transformed lives that we saw, including people in Costa Rica and our own team members from the U.S. – culminating into a “Layover-Worship-Songfest” in the Miami airport!
It’s amazing to see how once the ice is broken and God starts working, you just can’t stop talking about Jesus’ amazing love!
For more engaging and encouraging podcasts and videos, visit the E-Squared Media Network at www.e2medianetwork.com