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Thursday, March 17, 2016

“Evangelism doesn’t work!” - By Guest Writer Jim Wine

“Evangelism doesn’t work!” 

Have you ever thought these words?  If so, you are like me!  But let’s be honest.  Thoughts like these are totally wrong!  The reality is that evangelism (proclaiming the good news of Jesus) ALWAYS works – often, however, just not in the way we imagined or expected (witness Isa 6:9-10). Moreover, even if evangelism never “worked” we would still do it anyway! Why?  Because, according to the Bible, Christians are a special people to proclaim the excellencies of Him Who called us out of darkness into His marvelous light (1Pet 2:9).  In other words, a person who has experienced the matchless grace of God CANNOT be quiet about it! The Psalmist said it well in Psalm 145:

Men shall speak of the power of Your awesome acts,
And I will tell of Your greatness.
They shall eagerly utter the memory of Your abundant goodness
And will shout joyfully of Your righteousness.

There is nothing more beautiful than seeing a believer share their faith for the first time. God has graciously allowed our family to work in the area of training and mobilizing evangelists for over fifteen years – the last three years in Argentina. Regardless of the “results” (God save us from that expectation!), the incredible joy that follows is incomparable. You and I are meant to declare the Good News, and, when we do, the joy from following our purpose is astounding.

We have seen this over, and over again in South America.  From Argentina to Paraguay. From Buenos Aires to Asuncion, dozens of believers have been trained and are sharing their faith with others. One quick story:

Pablo travelled with our church from Buenos Aires, Argentina to San Lorenzo, Paraguay to share his faith on an evangelistic campaign.  He was so nervous!  I had breakfast with him on Monday morning – two hours before we were due to “hit the streets.” He had never done this before. He told me that he just didn’t think he could do it.  He didn’t “know enough.” What if people asked him tough questions? And on it went.  Poor Pablo. My heart went out to him, but I knew he could do it. He had been trained.  He was ready. Nervous, yes; but ready. He took a deep breath and hit the streets.

I didn’t see Pablo again until lunch time.  I asked him “how did it go?” His answer was typical: “Jim, you wouldn’t believe it! It was amazing!”  He then recounted a story how he shared the message of the Cross with an 80 year old woman.  And how, with tears, she bowed her heart to God, expressing her faith in Jesus’ substitution for forgiveness of her sins.

Pablo was excited.  His joy was, and is, contagious. Moreover, he has not stopped. Two years later he is still sharing his faith.

Please pray for us. It is very difficult for our family to navigate the cross-cultural life-style. As sixty year-old missionaries our stamina doesn’t always allow us to do everything we would like to do.  Now, we are home on furlough.  Please pray for stamina, direction and faithfulness to serve our Savior. Oh yes, one more prayer request: that God would free us from false expectations, and that we would proclaim His goodness and mercy freely and joyfully!

Thanks to my friend Jim Wine for writing this post for me!
Jim was our Sunday School teacher for a time in California before we moved to Tennessee, and he and some of his family went to be missionaries.

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