Sunday, March 26, 2006

Witnessing Report

I was downtown again while the kids were in their organization activities. I thought I would broaden my survey a bit, so I crossed the street and walked away from the church toward Main Street.

At the corner of Main and Hampton I talked to Tony. Tony was down on his luck. He admitted to having a roof over his head and food to eat, he just wanted money. The more he talked, the more he surveyed me, noticing that I was carrying tracts. Then his language changed and he began to express trust that the Master "up there" was taking care of him.

I asked Him, "Who is the Master?"

"God."

"Do you know God?" I asked.

"Yes." he admitted.

"How did you come to know God?"

"I just know him since I was a boy," he said, smiling broadly. After further prodding, he proclaimed he had never broken the Ten Commandments and all was well between him and God. I asked him, "Ever told a lie?"

Pause. "No."

"Really, not even a little one?"

"No." He smile began to disappear.

"Ever taken anything that didn’t belong to you?" Pause.

"No."

"Ok," I said, "Jesus said that if you look at a woman with lust you've committed adultery. Have you ever done that?"

Looking up the street Tony said, "I don't even know what a woman look like." I asked, "Are you gay?"

He just looked up the street, knowing he was not going to get any money from me and things were getting uncomfortable. He fidgeted and mumbled something about needing to get going.

I held out a gospel tract, "Did you get one of these? It's a gospel tract." He took it and got going.

I walked on down the street toward the State House when I met Orie. Orie was on his way to work when I stopped him. "Did you get one of these? It's a gospel tract."

A large smile revealed a few teeth, but the smile was bright and he seemed full of joy. "Praise the LORD!" he said.

"Do you know the LORD?" I asked?

"I sure do! Been a follower of my Savior Jesus Christ for many years now. Go to the church-house all the time!"

"What did Jesus save you from, my friend?" I asked?

"From my sin!" He said. Wow! Right to the point!

We talked for a few more minutes and he seemed to have a good grasp of the gospel, so we eventually parted ways. I passed out a few more tracts to people (I don't stop "people on a mission," you know, people determined to get somewhere or people with their hands full).

One block from the State House I had been mindful of a tall fellow following me. I ducked what I thought was a storefront and realized I was in the portico of a small TV studio. Looking in (keeping an eye on the guy slowly approaching from behind), I realized I was standing at the place the South Carolina State Lottery drawings are held. What a springboard for witnessing! The guy was almost where I was, so I turned and said, "So what do you think of this lottery stuff?" We talked and laughed for a while and I said something to the effect that money does not last forever. He agreed. I held out a tract. "Did you get one of these? It's a gospel tract." He looked at it for a second, then took it.

"Are you a preacher?" he asked. "Yes."

"Why don't you go down to the Gospel Mission and preach there?"

"There are enough preachers down there. Besides, if I was there, I could not talk to you here. Mind if I ask you a question?"

"Sure" he said. "Ever told a lie?" He hung his head and smiled, blushing, "yeah." "What does that make you.”

“A sinner.”

“Yeah, but more precisely. What is a person called who tells a lie? If I told a lie I would be called a . . .”

“Liar,” he said.

“Ever stolen anything?” I went on.

“Yeah,” hanging his head again . . .

“What does that make you?” I prodded.

“A thief.”

I went on through a few more commandments, then said, “so your telling me you are a lying, thieving, adulterous blasphemer.”

And before I could go any further, he said these beautiful words, “But Jesus saved me from all that! I ain’t goin to hell! He saved me from my sin!”

“Praise the LORD!” was all I could exclaim. We laughed and celebrated for a few minutes, then parted ways. I invited him to church.

I later saw Tony coming up the street and when he realized he was walking toward me, quickly crossed the street and watched me from behind a bush.

Please continue to pray for a team to be raised up to share the good news of Jesus Christ on the streets of Columbia.

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