I tried diligently to recalibrate my brain away from the evangelical call I was hearing from my Master. Unsuccessful. My plethora of excuses seemed valid to me. Retirement loomed around the corner as old age knocked on the door of my body. However, the words of Dr. Hawkins’ sermon took permanent root in my heart: “Get out of your comfort zone. Tell the gospel to those who haven’t heard.”
Snuggling up in my comfort zone seemed satisfactory for a woman now sporting white hair. I loved teaching the Bible to children at church, but most of my students came from homes where the gospel had been taught. Now teens and children who’d never heard the gospel pulled at my heart’s strings.
When I drove by the run-down apartments close to my home in Dallas, I wondered how many of the young people residing there were clueless to truth about our Savior. After wrestling with pillow and conscience several nights, I surrendered, catapulting me to the unknown aspects of apartment ministry.
On my first attempt, there were only five children and me under a tree — with the Holy Spirit of the living God. Before I knew it, twenty young people came to our Bible club. One day I decided to give out invitations to a Bible club, with hot dogs and all the trimmings the next Saturday. I questioned my sanity as I trudged through the summer heat giving out fliers. June had introduced us to degrees in excess of one hundred. With sweat dripping from my brow and a few invitations left, I decided to go up the stairs where I thought more students might live.
As my weary feet reached the top, a woman came out to meet me. She was dressed in a long, yellow garment accented by a black geometric design. The lovely lady began speaking to me in a language I didn’t understand. In turn, I talked to her in my Texas accent, which was foreign to her. She opened her apartment door and motioned for me to enter. Cool air greeted me. This woman handed me a glass brimming with ice water. I gulped it down.
Next, this lady took my hand and led me to the wall in her living area. I noted a calendar hanging there that featured a large picture of Jesus on the cross. While gracing me with her endearing smile, she pointed to Jesus and then to her heart. She repeated the action. I then pointed to Jesus on the calendar and to my heart twice.
We embraced. Here we were, two strangers who didn’t understand the words each other spoke, and yet we shared a bond in our love for Jesus. I left her apartment filled with cold water she gave me and the wordless testimony of her belief in our Savior.
To this day, memories of my encounter with this believer still bless my heart. Later I would learn she and her family had escaped from a country where Christians were persecuted. Her children, who are strong believers, became faithful students in our Bible club and helpers in the work. As a result, the Lord swept one hundred children and teens at the apartment complex into His kingdom when they were born again.
I thank Jesus for my divine appointment with a woman who was a stranger to me. I learned that strangers bond when they have the Holy Spirit in their hearts.
Sandy K. Keeton writes from Dallas, TX.