Venue: Somewhere in Ikot Ekpene, Nigeria
Date: September 22, 2019
While some evangelism experiences can be discouraging and frightening, others can ignite a fire deep down in your heart; a fire that burns so warm. One that soothes your soul.
My report is that ‘today had a fragrance of joy and victory’.
So, what happened?
A Warm Welcome…
My [evangelism] partner and I went to our second primary place of duty where the students of the Polytechnic lodge. We had barely moved ahead from where we alighted when we came to a footpath that led us to a family. My partner, Sis U., shared with them from Romans 6:15-18 in Ibibio. We added the prophetic words we got for them which was confirmed by the wife and mother. Then we prayed for the family, especially for their daughter because we were led to do so. This was our first encounter and it went smoothly as we desired. We hoped the others would be same but we were in for more…
Then, We Were Left Hanging!
We crossed the road to a shop where we saw ladies sitting down. We thought that one of them was the owner of the shop so we walked towards them and greeted. But just then, they stood up and left! They had finished buying what they came to buy. Then a guy came out of the shop. He apparently was the seller. We sat down and Sis U. started talking to the guy about the reason we were in his shop.
“I am not ready for this,” he said. He added, “In fact, I want to sleep.”
We kept trying to persuade him to give it a try. We even ended up buying something from him, but he still wasn’t interested. So, we decided to share some prophetic words and tell him what God was saying concerning him. This softened him a bit and then we took our leave. We now headed to the lodge close to his shop.
A Brother At Last!
We knocked on the door of the first room and we were given a very warm welcome by the occupant. We declared peace upon the house. Before he could offer us any seat, we joined him on the floor where he was sitting happily consuming his garri and groundnut. Actually, there were no seats in the house. I shared with him about getting closer to God especially on the salvation of the soul and fruit bearing. Apparently, he was already born again. It was more of an interaction than a preaching. We stayed on with him for a long time and finally prayed with him and left after getting his contact, so we would keep in touch.
Don’t do Timidity!
Thrilled by our last host, we decided to continue the journey. Next, we went to a beauty salon where there were two guys and three ladies. We greeted them and then I turned specifically to one of the ladies and said, “Sorry to disturb you, but can you spare me some minutes of your time?”
“For what?” she asked almost rudely.
“I want to share with you about God – about Jesus.” I said timidly.
By this time, one of the ladies had walked out.
The lady I was talking to finally said, “I am tired and I am eating.” We saw she was eating alright.
“I just came back from Church and want to rest,” she added. I suspected that she wasn’t saying the truth about her just returning from church but we had to leave anyway. We were just about to leave when one of the guys there began to insult us. He was painting one of the ladies’ nails and seemed to be the main occupant of the shop.
He said, “You’re saying ‘sorry to disturb you’ after you’ve disturbed us already.”
He went on to say how that after the stress of sitting down in church to listen to the pastor’s preaching and also waiting back for departmental meetings, we still wouldn’t allow his marginal utility to be replenished (something like that). According to him, we came to make them feel like they were unbelievers. He was saying most of this in ibibio so only my partner understood what he was saying. Hence, she must have felt the impact more. For a moment, I was thankful I didn’t understand the dialect.
Struck Down But Not Destroyed…
The tone with which he said it was very embarrassing to us. But, who were we to be daunted by such? He was insulting God and not us; for we did not go being inspired of our own selves. We were running this operation on Christ’s authority. We thanked them and moved on. In a way, I felt joyous because I’ve never really experienced any such rejection since I started doing any form of evangelism. It only made me determined to preach more.
We continued moving and ended up in a barbing salon. There, we met a girl and another guy who she had actually followed to the salon. We shared with her on the love of God and how we as humans must reciprocate it. While speaking to her, the barber came in and started working on the hair of the guy who the girl was with. This guy had pretended like he wasn’t listening but he was. We knew this because he asked us a question later on when we’d taken Promise (the girl) out to share some prophetic words and pray with her.
Being the ‘Talk’
“Do you practice the love you are preaching about?” He asked us. “I ask this because I have met a lot of persons who come to preach love as you have done. But, when it comes to living the love they preach, they are just terrible.”
He spoke with anger and hurt. You could see that he had been hurt by those who had been fake in their Christianity. He kept saying, “If you go about preaching the Love of God and cannot show the love to your neighbour, what’s the use?” He was almost flaring up.
By now, the barber had joined in and started giving life instances to prove the point the guy was making. We told him that people who live that way were wrong, but that didn’t mean that there were no Christians who truly practiced love. He wanted to know if we did practice it and we replied in the affirmative. They both further went on to comment that they hoped if they saw us in the next five years or so, we wouldn’t be doing otherwise.
The guy left and we finished up with the girl we were speaking to earlier. We were left with the barber.
“I do not believe there are still real Christians.” He stated matter-of-factly.
He kept referring to a pastor figure in his church who lives a very ‘unchristian’ life behind the scenes after coming to preach otherwise to them.
“Because of him (the pastor), many people, I included, stopped going to church. So, whenever I am at home in Uyo, I’ll follow my parents to Church but once I was in school, I stay away from church,” he continued. We told him that the pastor can never be an excuse for his backsliding when he stands before God on Judgment Day. Initially, it seemed all he wanted to do was to give reasons why he wouldn’t return to God, but after quite some persuasion, we led him back to Christ and he asked that we come back another time.
Wasn’t that a beautiful way to end a day of evangelism?
Being resisted by people you go to preach to should not offend you, but give you new reasons why God’s words must reach everyone that can be reached through us. Just live what you preach. You won’t believe that your life of hypocrisy today can be the hindrance to a person receiving God’s words tomorrow.
Indeed God is good!
– Bro S.E.