Ever fall into the trap of thinking that God counts on you to draw others into His kingdom? I have. I know I’m called to be a witness and that He uses me to touch other people—but that is different from worrying about how His work will progress in someone’s life when I’m not there to nurture them. I didn’t even realize I was thinking that way until I returned from a busy season of traveling and reconnected with several people I minister to regularly. God surprised me with what He had done while I was away.
Alice* and I had been studying the Gospel of John together. We first met when she attended my Christ in the Passover presentation at a local church. She is my age, Jewish, and was open to learning more about Jesus, though not at all convinced that He was the promised Messiah of Israel who paid the price for her sin. Alice had close Christian friends, enjoyed going to church and loved reading the Bible—but it was hard for her to believe that she could be Jewish and believe in Jesus. Our times together were helping Alice understand the Jewishness of the gospel as well as her personal need for Jesus. I hated to leave her but between Passover time and summer campaigns, it would be a few months before we could meet again.
When I returned, Alice told me that during the summer, she’d gone on an outing with a group from the church she was attending. In a boat out on the lake, one of the believers engaged her in the gospel story again and asked if she was ready to receive Jesus. Alice said YES and she was baptized in the lake right then! My mouth must have been wide open the whole time she told me the story! We are still studying the Bible and praying together, but now her heart is hungry to grow in her newfound faith!
I called another woman I’d been meeting with, Julie.* She was attracted to Jesus more as a good teacher than a personal Savior. Most of her community, social network and family were Jewish, yet she’d stayed in close contact with a Christian friend from school days. Before I left for the campaign, Julie wasn’t ready to ask Jesus into her life. But when I came back, she had news: she was pursuing a close relationship with Jesus. She had surrendered her life to Him during the few months we had been out of touch. In fact, she had walked into a local church and asked the pastor to baptize her! Once again, I was astounded—in a good way!
But that’s not all! Sarah* had been in touch with me on and off for a couple of years and was drawn to Yeshua, but not ready to receive His redemption. She would read the Scriptures with me but wasn’t ready to relinquish her heart to the Lord. Then she was diagnosed with late stage breast cancer. Sarah and I would talk and text often, and I prayed for her as she was going through her treatments. While I was traveling, she began regularly attending a local Messianic congregation. When I returned from campaign in Israel, she was ready to pray with me to commit her life to Jesus! Sarah actually thanked God for her cancer because it brought her to faith in Yeshua. I’m rejoicing at the Lord’s providential work in her life. She will be baptized in a few months!
I count it a privilege to participate in building God’s kingdom and I want to be faithful to minister to the people He brings into my life. But it’s good to be reminded that this harvest is truly the work of the Holy Spirit, and He often works through many individuals to touch one person at a time. Please continue to pray for Alice, Julie and Sarah as they pursue their lives as new creations in Messiah—and thank you for joining us in the fields!
*Not their real names
Laura Barron is part of our Toronto team, though she goes on our campaigns in New York City and Israel whenever she gets the chance. Find out more about Laura.