COMPASSION THAT LED TO EVANGELISM

Ben & Lydia,
Folsom, CA

Enjoy reading the difference Ben & Lydia’s compassion and love made!

“I did not grow up in church but always knew something was missing. I always wondered, “Why am I who I am.” I had a pretty happy childhood though. I was married at 21. I thought I had a perfect marriage. We had a beautiful son together. We didn’t have much but we made the best out of it. I was happy. I was content. However, In March of 2016 my life started changing. My husband was distant and depressed. I did what I could to lift him up. In June of 2016 my life was turned upside down, I was blindsided. My husband of almost 13 years was cheating on me and was lying to me about drugs and alcohol. I was devastated. I couldn’t eat. I couldn’t sleep. I thought my life was over. I still went to work every day knowing that it could possibly take my mind of it, so I thought. One day my boss, Ben, came to my desk seeing that I was crying, He asked if I needed to talk. I said “yes please” while sobbing. I told him what happened and he said to me, “I’m going to talk to you not as your boss but as your friend. Do you have God in your life?” I said “Yes, I believe – but I haven’t had him in my life for a while now.” Ben asked if he could pray for me. As he prayed, I sobbed. I felt God’s presence. I wanted more. Ben brought a book to me the very next day, When trouble comes. After I read it, I felt like I needed to forgive my husband and his girlfriend with my whole heart and let go. I also stressed this to my son and he forgave his father and his girlfriend. Ben and his wife invited my son and me over for dinner discussing the book I had received. I wanted more. Lydia, Ben’s wife, asked if I wanted to do a Bible study with her. I agreed, with no hesitation, which is so unlike me. I’m usually not the type of person to meet with a stranger. We continued our studies in The Exchange. On October 10, 2016 I accepted God into my life as my Savior. I felt alive, I felt free. Each day I grow as a new believer searching wanting more of him, to love him with my whole heart.”

I’M ALL IN!

Last Tuesday when I finished explaining the grace portion of the outline, though I was supposed to stop before heading into the invitation, I plunged ahead. As I walked off the platform this thought went through my mind, “That was like going through the gospel with an unbeliever!” There was a reason for that thought!

Wednesday night Ludys & her husband, Ray came to me after the seminar. Ludys had not yet had a chance to share this awesome news with her husband, so I got to watch the beauty of Ray’s face as he heard that Tuesday night Ludys had trusted Christ for salvation. As she was watching the two-chair illustration she came under such conviction that she described it as torture. She went home that evening realizing that she was sitting in between the two chairs – trusting Jesus and her good works. I loved her words to me, “Now I’m all in!” Indeed, Ludys made that life-changing decision to trust Jesus alone for salvation!

Two years prior to this, Ludys brought Ray to revival meetings at First Baptist of Westwood Lake in Miami. Ray, a lawyer, was confident that he was ok just as he was. However, the message convicted him. He “took a knee”, humbled himself and put his faith in Christ. What a reminder of the power of the gospel both in Ray’s life and Ludys’. What a blessing to train at such a wonderful church – First Baptist of Westwood Lake in Miami, FL!

A SPIRITUAL BATTLE WON!

Lana Booth from our recent Exchange seminar at Faith Baptist in Taylors, SC was very concerned for the soul of a woman for whom she works caring for her medically challenged child. It’s been hard for this woman to understand why they were given a medically fragile child. But Lana wisely shared with her that she should not sacrifice eternity because of her lack of understanding.

Lana and her friend began The Exchange Bible study on September 1, and that day we received an email with these words: “BRANDI MADE THE EXCHANGE!”  Lana felt very strongly that the enemy does not want her in this home, but her story was a reminder that the One who is in us is greater than he who is in the world. Yes, a battle is won – but now comes the ongoing battle of discipleship; so if you think of Lana, please pray for her and for this dear woman who has just trusted Christ.

A BROKEN ANKLE…TOTALLY WORTH A SOUL BEING SAVED!

Faithway Seminar in Ypsilanti, MI

In May 2017, the Musgraves presented the Exchange Seminar at our church. One of the steps included, “Find 5,” and asked those of us in the seminar to list five individuals who need the Gospel. Sharyn, a woman I met 3 years ago at a large Midwest university, was at the number one position on my list. She had visited church several times, I had given her my personal testimony but she kept putting off the decision, and now she had moved an hour away from me. Even before the seminar ended I phoned her to ask if she would like to have a Bible study, and she immediately said yes. Upon completion of the final lesson, I again asked her to consider what would happen to her when she died. She said, “I know I need to accept Christ, and I want to do so, but I’m just not sure at this point.” My heart was very burdened, but I continued to visit and befriend her and often brought the conversation back to salvation in Christ.

A few weeks after finishing the Exchange study I asked, “So Sharyn, you know you need to get saved, and I’m confused as to why you still do not want to do so.” She said she would answer me after using the restroom. While she was away I needed to get something from my car parked in her driveway. On the way to my car, I fell and broke my ankle. She felt horrible that I had gotten injured in her home, but I assured her everything would be fine. I wasn’t angry but within myself I really wanted to know, “OK God. What am I supposed to learn through this?” The following week Sharyn made the hour-long trek to my home and brought a small wheelchair that was extremely helpful. When we discussed the Lord, she made a startling statement, “I just don’t feel worthy of being saved.” We went through more Bible verses, yet still Sharyn did not want to accept Christ as her personal Savior, but her statement really bothered me. Two weeks later Sharyn again made the trek to my home to pick up the wheelchair since I was allowed to wear a walking boot and did not need the wheelchair any longer. When I brought up her statement of not being worthy I asked, “Please tell me who you think is worthy for the Son of God to die for them?” She was stunned and said, “I never looked at it that way before.” She finally prayed on her own, we both rejoiced over God’s gracious gift, and I got my answer from God of what I was to learn through a broken ankle. As she was leaving that day she said, “You were right – there is a great peace once you accept God.” 

“PATIENT” EVANGELISM

A few years back a woman who had just joined Calvary Baptist of Alachua asked prayer for her unsaved husband, Michael, and her son. When Michael had to go into the hospital for surgery Marty asked if he could pray with him, and he agreed. During Michael’s rehab Marty faithfully visited him each week. As Michael was getting ready to be discharged Marty invited him to do The Exchange Bible Study. He said YES! Several weeks later we got a very excited call from Marty as he was leaving Michael’s home having just led him to Christ. They had just gathered together for a prayer of thanksgiving, and when it came to Michael’s turn he thanked God for his new salvation and prayed, “Lord, please save our son!” A burden for this lost family member was clear evidence that Michael was a new man.

This story reminded us of the need to be patient with lost souls. This man’s heart opened to the gospel when he became a “patient.” Indeed, physical needs often soften hearts. We were also reminded of the power of a praying wife.

SHORT AND SWEET!

Cher is on the left with the hat. Pastor Jeremy and Renee are on the right.

One of our wonderful partnering ministries, Farmington Avenue Baptist of West Hartford Connecticut sent a short, sweet story. But from Heaven’s perspective, stories like this are anything but short. In fact, this is a story which will last forever.

Cher participated in Exchange training in January. She took a friend through The Exchange Bible Study who also began attending the ladies Bible Study Reneé Sweatt led this spring. During the final session of the ladies’ Bible study Cher’s friend gave a clear testimony of salvation. She has been a practicing catholic all her life, trusting in works. Cher is now taking her through Living the Exchange.

 

A SPIRITUAL GRANDMOTHER

Deanna & Jeff Bartlett from Anderson SC

We love getting stories from Deanna. We have many! The latest two include one of her own and a story of someone she trained. Enjoy and be inspired, as are we!

“Just to encourage! I taught the steps of the Exchange to a ladies class I teach at our new church. One of the ladies that took the class leads the Celebrate Recovery program. I challenged them to ask God to send them someone whom He is calling to salvation. She did and at the end of her CR class that night she led a lady to the Lord using the Exchange. She said it gave her confidence to share the gospel.

Also, I spent 3 hours with a new lady at our church this past Sunday. I noticed in her FB posts that she was headed down a bad road. She met with me and her struggle came down to her salvation experience which wasn’t based on the Gospel at all. I went through the Exchange (which I now have memorized 🙂 ) and she said she wasn’t sure of her salvation. She understood the way it was presented and accepted Christ.”

We praise God for Deanna’s faithful gospel witness!

BAD NEWS IS DEPRESSING, BUT THERE’S NOTHING LIKE THE GOOD NEWS!

Peggy

Peggy writes from Colonial Hills Baptist in Indianapolis where we trained in February.

“Yesterday I met with my friend for lesson one of The Exchange. She had done her homework and also read half of the book of John. At the end of the lesson when I read the question, “Would you like your Bible Study leader to show you how to go to heaven now, or would you rather study it for yourself in the next 2 lessons”, she pushed the Bible toward me and said, “Now, please, because I’m pretty depressed by this news so far!” I got out my GPS (presentation tool) and we walked through the gospel together, and she trusted Christ! So exciting. Thank you, Jeff and Anna, for the wonderful Exchange training and the excellent materials. I’m excited for the updated version of the Discipleship program so I can use it with Dana and others!

THE POWER OF A MOTHER’S PRAYERS

Angie was in The Exchange seminar at Berean Baptist in Lilburn Georgia. She was burdened for a 25 year old single mother that she met through the day care she manages. So she invited Crystal to dinner, the conversation turned to spiritual things and Crystal agreed to do The Exchange Bible study with Angie. At the end of the first Lesson it was “Crystal Clear” that she was ready to trust Christ.

Angie writes, “God has been drawing Crystal to Himself without a doubt.  Crystal’s mom became a Christian about five years ago and has been praying for Crystal and has tried to talk to Crystal about the Lord but Crystal didn’t want to listen.

At Christmas time this past year I heard from her daughter’s teacher that Crystal’s restaurant was going to be closed for a couple of weeks for remodeling.  I am the director of the preschool where Crystal’s daughter attends.  The Lord had already burdened my heart for Crystal. I knew she was a single mom.  I offered Crystal a temporary position at the Preschool while her restaurant was closed.  During that time I had an opportunity to get to know Crystal.  Even before I began the exchange, I was looking for an opportunity to share the gospel with her.  I did not know at that time that her mom had been praying for Crystal for the past five years.  It was “crystal clear” to me that God wanted me to do so and that was the main reason I signed up to take The Exchange seminar.  She was the first person on my “Find Five List”.

Thank you so much for all you’ve done in creating and sharing this wonderful gospel presentation.  Crystal told me that it is “so clear” and “easy to understand”.  I am looking for that next person that God brings across my path to begin the Bible study with again!”

TOMATO FIGHT EVANGELISM

Mark Taylor, Right

It all began when Andrew Taylor and some friends had a tomato fight in the neighbor’s garden. As you can imagine, the neighbor was none too happy and stopped by Andrew’s dad’s house to complain! But the Taylor’s not only worked to resolve the conflict, their son, Andrew, took a special interest in the neighbor, helping him out with yard work. As time went by, the neighbor discovered he was terminally ill, so Andrew asked if they could study The Exchange together; however, he declined with many of the usual excuses: I’m ok, my church is helping me, etc. Andrew decided to leave the Bible study with him in hopes that he might just read it.

One day Andrew’s dad, Mark Taylor, was driving out of the neighborhood when he sensed the sudden strong urge to turn around and check on his neighbor. In answer to the doorbell, the neighbor quickly opened the door and without so much as a “hello” said, “It’s not by works! We’ve got to talk!” He had read through The Exchange Bible study and was under conviction. Mark was able to lead him to Christ and then a short time later he led the neighbor’s son to Christ. Within six months, both the neighbor and his son died.

Often people feel they’ve hurt their testimony with friends or neighbors, so they think witnessing is out of the question. Mark’s story is a great reminder that as believers we should resolve conflicts and invest in people’s lives, regardless of how they treat us. This story is also a stark reminder of the urgency of responding to the Holy Spirit’s prompting. May we become more sensitive to God’s Spirit and work to have uplifting relationships with unbelievers.