Methods of evangelism certainly have come a long way since Philip met up with the Scripture-reading Ethiopian along the Gaza road. Now people witness along different roads, including airways, cyberspace and subway stations. Still, the message of the gospel remains the same, and the way that God plants His truth in an open heart is timeless.
Avner had just such an open heart as he read and searched the Scriptures from his small town in northern Israel. When he saw an advertisement (sponsored by a local ministry) in the national newspaper, he responded to the offer of free gospel literature. When he came across a response card in the back of a gospel book, he cut it out and returned the request for more information. When one of the more recent Jesus films was broadcast on the national cable television network, Avner watched—and even recorded—the movie.
One of the ministries he had written to passed Avner’s name on to me for follow up. When I showed up unannounced at his door, he wasn’t a bit surprised. He was a searcher. He had been requesting more and more information about Yeshua, so my appearance at his door seemed perfectly normal—just another step in this long journey in faith. He was quite happy to open his door to a stranger offering to talk with him about Yeshua.
For my part, I never know what to expect when doing a drop in” visit. But as soon as our conversation began I sensed that Avner was an unusually open person. He listened well and had keen insights from the Tenach (Jewish for “Old Testament”). As a child Avner had studied in a religious Jewish school and was very well-versed in the Scriptures. His willingness to listen to the gospel showed that the seed of faith had been planted and prepared by the Master Gardener.
It came time to ask Avner if he wanted to pray and ask Jesus into his life. He readily acknowledged that Yeshua is the Messiah. He understood his need for a Savior based upon the fact that he needed forgiveness from sin. The Lord had prepared this man’s heart, and at the appointed time I was there to continue the work of God in Avner’s life. He prayed with me to receive Yeshua into his life. Before I left his home that afternoon we agreed to meet again in a few days for further Bible studies.
Living in a town without a Messianic congregation left Avner without easy access to fellowship, so the time we spent together was critical. I remember at the end of our first discipleship lesson, his response was, “Are you leaving so soon?” The hour had passed quickly. I spoke with Avner on the telephone between visits as he had many questions, often from a passage of Scripture he was reading. In this way I had the privilege of seeing Avner grow in his faith.
I marvel at the various means that the LORD uses to bring people to Himself through the Messiah Yeshua. In Avner’s case, there were letters, television programs and finally a missionary knock at the door. God uses whatever means He chooses to bring about the effect He desires—and we are blessed each time He lets us be part of that process!