When I told my Christian friends that I was going on staff with Jews for Jesus and that I would be serving with the New Jerusalem Players mobile evangelistic team, the almost uniform response was, Hey, God is really going to bless you,” or the more vernacular version, “He’s going to bless the socks right off your feet!”
That was almost five years ago, and most of the time I’m still wearing my socks—although a different pair—or two, or three. Back then I had been a believer for only two years. And being a less mature Christian, I had found all those predictions of how God was going to bless me both confusing and exciting.
I guess it is really true that experience is the best teacher. I’ve been on the road. I’ve discovered how God usually blesses in ways that we would not expect. We all know that he uses us as his vessels to spread the gospel, so it only makes sense that he would also use us as his vessels to bless one another. Here’s a case in point:
When the New Jerusalem Players were ministering in El Paso, Texas, we stayed with some very good friends who had opened their homes to Jews for Jesus in the past. Staying in a house instead of our “converted” GMC bus was a treat in itself, as the living quarters that had replaced all the bus seats were pleasant but somewhat cramped.
After our presentation that evening, I tried to start the bus, but the bus had other ideas. One of my friends, Bob Basom, was a diesel mechanic, so he and another El Paso friend, Gary Hedrick, went to work with me to troubleshoot the problem. We soon discovered that the starter was shot and would need to be rebuilt. Since the bus was a conversion, it was extremely difficult to get to the starter. We had to go under one of the beds in the back of the bus to reach it. It was a tough job, but by 3:30 a.m. the mission was accomplished. Tired and greasy, we went home for a couple of hours of rest.
The next day was Bob’s day off from work, but he said that he wouldn’t mind helping out. Gary decided to take an extra day off from his work so that he, too, could help in any way that we needed. Early that morning we realized that the bus would not be ready in time for the team’s 300-mile trip into central Texas. I had started to research rental car possibilities, when Bob offered us the use of his car. I thanked him and told him that it would be impossible because we couldn’t return it to him. We just wouldn’t have the time in our schedule to drive back to El Paso. Bob said, “No problem.” He had relatives in Lubbock, Texas, where we would be a couple of nights later, and we could leave his car with them. He would take care of getting it back. I could begin to feel those socks of mine slipping off my feet!
Four days later, my wife Stephana and I flew back to El Paso to pick up the repaired bus. Bob and Gary met us at the airport. Again we had to spend the night in order to rest up for the hard drive back to Amarillo in the Texas Panhandle the next morning. On the way to our friends’ house, we stopped by to look at the bus. Not only was it now in excellent running condition, but Gaye and Pam, the two wives, had helped clean up the inside. Between the four of them, they had washed the rugs, cleaned the back bedroom and wiped out the refrigerator. Pam had stored the food in her own refrigerator so it wouldn’t spoil, and had cleaned my jacket that had gotten so greasy when I removed the starter.
What does one say to Christian friends like that, and to the many of our Newsletter friends like them who have helped our evangelistic teams as we travel across the country? What can we say, except, “We’ll never forget you, and oh, uh—thanks for the bare feet!”
Lee Fraum served with the New Jerusalem Players, our mobile evangelistic team, since May of 1979. He has recently been assigned to our Boston branch.