Music and work were the shared experiences that drew these two Starbucks baristas together. Mary Shumate, an accomplished musician and university-age student, got to know Diana at work and discovered that they were both music lovers. Mary shared how a couple in her church make it possible for her to spend every Sunday afternoon with them so that she can participate in the music at Northwest Valley Baptist Church. Diana had an amazing response to Mary’s invitation to church: “I’ve been searching for a year to find somewhere to study the Bible. I want to know, what does the Bible teach? –not what is someone’s interpretation of the Bible.”
They worked out a plan for Diana to come to Mary’s house to do The Exchange Bible Studyfollowed by a music lesson. Between the first two lessons Mary was able to give the entire gospel to Diana, focusing on the truth that we can’t do anything to earn favor with God. The lights began to go on as this young woman with a religious background said, “So, this necklace with the crucifix doesn’t do anything for me?” Mary affirmed her conclusion. Diana said, “Well, then I’m not going to wear it!”
They met for dinner before studying Lesson 2 on God’s justice. Mary’s dad was able to share his testimony and explain the gospel. On January 13 we met Diana at Northwest Valley Baptist. After Sunday School she shared with me that she really enjoyed my stories – stories of believers giving the gospel and the amazing transformation God does. This thought crossed my mind: “I think you’re going to be my next story!” Diana joined us for Exchange training that evening and on the way home in the car with Mary she expressed her obstacle. She felt she wasn’t good enough. There was “this one thing” in her life that she had to get over before God could accept her. So, as they were driving down the road, Mary got out her GPS (a gospel presentation tool) and explained the amazing love of Jesus and what He did when He exchanged places with us. It clicked for Diana, and she placed her faith in Jesus Christ!
As so often happens with new believers, Diana immediately went through a significant trial, but she trusted God through it all. She’s been telling her family and a coworker about Jesus, and soon Mary and Diana hope to do The Exchange Bible Studywith their coworker. She is studying Living the Exchange with Mary and is growing, growing, growing!
Mary is making time for the gospel – making time to talk after work, inviting her friend to dinner, to Bible study, and to church. The awesome thing is that her investment is paying off. May we all make time for the gospel. From eternity’s perspective it will be worth it!