Clay Acer, the other staff guy on project.
Sometimes in ministry it can be tough to believe that God is actually using you to accomplish anything at all. It can seem, at times, as though the forest is nowhere to be seen because of all the trees in the way. When people are working through real life issues we can often get bogged down with them and begin to believe that our job and our work is accomplishing very little.
I had one moment on project specifically blow that sort've thinking out of the water for me. It became impossible for me to entertain thoughts like that after Brian and I's encounter with Josue.
For a little backstory: Brian entered school at Ohio State very nominally religious. So he tried the party scene and whatever else he could find, but he found them lacking. At some point in his first quarter I (Bart) got lunch with him. We chatted for a while and then got down to the gospel. See, Brian grew up quasi-churched so he knew the right answers but things just never clicked for him. When I told him that he had a decision to make about Jesus Christ he was a bit taken aback.
He asked, "wait, so I have to choose one way or another? I have to choose to give my life to Jesus or to remain separated from God?"
"Yep, you sure do," I responded.
He looked frazzled. "I never knew that!" He paused, then, "so this is probably the biggest and most important decision people could make."
Brian said, "I think I'd like to go home and think about this tonight."
Brian went home that night 3 years ago and prayed to give his life to Jesus. He has been in my small group bible study ever since.
So here Brian and I are in Venezuela and we approach a student at the Engineering school named Josue (pronounced Joe-sway). It turns out Josue's dad died in a car accident exactly one year ago and it really hurt him a lot. He had been reaching out to God with his mother quite a bit, trying to find meaning and purpose. He wanted something to make sense of life.
So, he knew all the right answers, and he said all the right things (just like Brian) but what he didn't quite get was the decision to accept Christ.
Josue said, "So, when someone makes a decision to give their life to Jesus they are given new lief and a new hope in life?"
"Yep, they sure are," we replied.
At this point I started to feel like I heard the twilight zone theme song in my head.
Josue continued, "So this is pretty much the most important decision in my life?"
Brian replied that it most certainly was and then proceeded to tell him his story of giving his life to Jesus.
Josue then said, "I think I'd like to go home and think about this decision." I smiled.
Josue went home that night and prayed to receive Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior. He immediately got involved in the small group bible study on campus.
I love Jesus. I love him because of who He is and what He has accomplished for the world. Unlike some, we are not on staff with Campus Crusade for Christ (Cru now, more on that later) because we are motivated by some fruit or happiness that comes from ministry but by a deep loyalty and passion for Christ alone. In other words, for us, fruit is awfully nice when it comes along, but we aren't demanding it or even expecting it in great amounts. But boy, it sure is nice to have moments like that to hang our hats on.
Thank you, Jesus, for using us to change lives.