Monday, May 20, 2019
Sunday, May 19, 2019
We crossed a small bridge walkway from the sidewalk to enter into the house of W___, a blind man. He and his wife were waiting for us. Their São Paulo living room was furnished with three sofas organized in a u-shape and a small coffee table in the center. Although there was five of us visiting from the local Baptist church, W___ and his wife seemed very pleased to welcome us.
The conversation consisted of Portuguese words of welcome and thanks. Being the lone “American on a Mission Trip” in the group, it was not long before everyone looked to me to lead the conversation. What was I going to say?
Speaking through a gifted interpreter, I told W___ that we were visiting him in the name of Jesus. I asked him if I could begin by sharing something that had happened to me in 1980. He said, “Yes.” Following his approval, I explained that I had believed in Jesus from a young age. And though I believed in Jesus I was still injured in a train-truck collision at the age of 19. One day, as I worked as a garbageman, our truck stalled on the railroad tracks right in front of a freight train.
The collision left me in a coma for 8 days. It took me almost a year to recuperate and to begin sorting out my post-accident life. People told me that I should feel fortunate that I was still alive. They explained that I could have died. Rather than accepting their encouragement, I was inwardly mad at God. Why had God allowed me that trauma, pain, and embarrassment?
I asked W___ a question:
“How have you responded to God regarding your blindness? Have you struggled with God like I have?”
As W___ shared his story, a torrent of tears began to flow from this large man in his 40s. He removed his mirrored-lens glasses and wiped his eyes. Apparently, he also had been in an accident at the age of 19. It was a motorcycle accident. He broke both his legs. He explained to us that as he lay in his hospital bed, he told God, “If you get me out of here, I will serve you for the rest of my life!”
After being released from the hospital W___ quickly returned to drinking with his friends. One month later, while he was getting drunk in a bar with his friends, W___ remembered his promise to God. Soon after he gradually began to lose his eyesight. W___ was under deep conviction, sobbing as he shared. He felt that God had punished him with blindness because he did not keep his hospital promise to God.
I asked W___ if he knew that the last words of Jesus on the cross were, “It is finished!” (John 19:38). I continued, “Do you know what was finished?” I used these words to explain the essence of the gospel. Jesus lived a perfect-sinless life. He obeyed all the laws of the Old Testament. Then, when He died on the cross, as a substitute for our sins. Jesus paid for all the sins of W___ sins full and free. He did it all! All of W___’s sins past, present, and future were carried away by the blood of Jesus. And in their place, the righteousness of Christ was given to all those who repent of their sins and believe in Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior.
I asked W___ the question, “W___, if you died tonight are you absolutely sure you would get into heaven?” He answered, “No.” I continued, “W___, if Jesus said, ‘Why should I let you into My heaven?’ what would you answer?” He said, “I would say, ‘Even if you don’t let me in, I will still believe in You!’”
We were all moved by W___’s humble and broken heart. The missionary who was with us explained the steps of repentance and faith in Portuguese. W___ and his wife tearfully repented and believed. Their tears of grief became tears of joy!
A holy moment transpired around those three sofas. It was definitely a God-moment. The glory of God seemed to glow in the tiny room as the name Jesus was lifted up.
After leaving the house of W___, we ascended his road to a commercial street on the crest of the hill. Once there we began handing out gospel tracts and engaging persons in gospel conversations.
As we walked the commercial street sharing the gospel another unusual conversation took place. We were walking as a group—four men and one woman handing out tracts. Suddenly a young woman named D___ came up to us and said, “I want to be saved!” I pulled out a gospel tract and began to explain the gospel. She said, “I really want to be saved.” At that moment I considered that someone else had spoken with her on one of the four other days that we had evangelized on that street. D___ appeared to be under strong conviction. I asked her if she was ready to repent of her sins and confess Jesus as her Savior and Lord right now. She said, “Yes.” D___ prayed a prayed of repentance and faith.
In about an hour of evangelism God gave us two amazing and memorable conversations. The lives of W___ and D___ were eternally touched by the gospel of Jesus Christ.
In like manner, Peter answered the question of Jesus:
“Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. Also we have come to believe and know that You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”(John 6:68-69).
On that day in Brazil, we experienced eternity touching the earth through the words of Christ!