Considering all the effort expended in reaching people via the church’s media ministries, it is a special day when someone actually writes in for Bible studies, completes them, and marks that they want to keep the Sabbath, be baptized, and accept Jesus as their personal Savior. So it is with fear and trembling that a card is sent from the media ministry to a local church in hopes that the church will follow up and minister to the candidate.
While I was pastoring I received such a card from the Voice of Prophecy regarding a 16-year-old girl who had checked all the boxes. Now the VOP was asking if I would visit her. My wife had recently given birth to our first-born daughter and was not able to accompany me. So I found myself driving from Lake Havasu City, Arizona to a housing community between my two churches where the young lady lived with her parents.
A chilly reception
When I knocked on the door and identified myself as the local representative for the Voice of Prophecy radio broadcast, the mother addressed me from inside without inviting me in or even unlocking the screen door. She knew about the lessons and told me that she and her husband were atheists. However, they tried to keep an open mind regarding their daughter’s questions regarding God and Christianity; therefore, they allowed her to take the lessons. But they were not in favor of her becoming a Christian. With that clear understanding, the mother stated that if I wanted to find their daughter she was at the high school playing in the volleyball tournament.
Soon I found myself driving on to Parker—the location of the other church in my district. But how was I going to find her? All I had was a card with her name on it. I was too intimidated now to go back to the house and ask to see the daughter’s picture. So I drove on. The high school parking lot was filled with cars and buses. Walking into the gym, I was overwhelmed with bleachers packed with enthusiastic teens and parents.
What a dilemma! If I went around asking people for a girl I didn’t know, I could be arrested for being a stocker. If I told people I was a pastor searching for a girl who wanted to be baptized, I would look ridiculous and no one would help me anyway.
Without having a clue of what to do next I simply walked into the stands, sat down in the bleachers, and began to pray. “Dear Lord, what can I do? Nothing. I don’t know who this girl is or how I am going to find her. If anything is going to happen, You have to do it.”
So God takes charge
Soon a young man with a camera hanging around his neck came up to me, sat in the space on my right side, and said, “Hello, Pastor. What are you doing here?”
I had never seen this young man before. “You don’t know me,” he continued, “but you came to my house recently and prayed with my mom. She is a member of the church but hasn’t attended for a long time. You didn’t see me because I was in the back of the house, but I could see you. I want to thank you for visiting my mom and praying with her because she was so appreciative and seemed at peace because of your visit. So, Pastor, why are you here at the high school?”
After thanking him for introducing himself and asking about his mother, I said, “Do you know who this girl is?” and showed him the name on the card. “She completed a Bible study course and I need to find her.”
“Yes, I do know her,” he reported. “She is one of my best friends. And the reason I’m wearing this camera is because I am taking pictures for the school annual. This tournament is a big event for the district of schools and we’re doing a big spread for the annual. That’s how I know that she was in the earlier games. But they are over and I haven’t seen her since. I think she’s gone.”
“Could you check again, and see if you can spot her?” I asked.
“Sure—let me look.” With that he scanned the large gym. Two games were in progress and it was very, very loud. “No, no I don’t see her,” he commented, while scanning the opposite side of the gym. Then he proceeded to search our side of the gym. “No I still don’t see her anywhere … she must be gone … wait a minute … I just spotted her!”
“Pastor, she is sitting on the other side of you!” I quickly turned to my left and saw two girls, obviously friends, sitting together just a few feet away from me.
“Here, let me introduce you. Then I need to keep taking pictures,” the young man said. Quickly he scooted around between us and said to the girl, “This is my pastor. He was just looking for you. Now I have to go.”
So I had the opportunity to talk with her right there in the grandstands in the midst of the cheering crowd.
“Yes, Pastor, I love the Sabbath and want to keep it,” she shared. “I also want to be baptized like I learned in the Bible studies. And I want to give my heart to Jesus and serve him. But my parents are against it. It is not a good idea for you to come over and visit because that would only make matters worse. In two years I will be out of the house and going away to college. I will have to wait until then to keep the Sabbath and be baptized.”
That being said, I knew I needed to inform her that my family and I would be moving away soon and, therefore, I would be gone when she finished high school.
Then I asked, “Although I won’t be here to help you, will you promise me that when you can—wherever you are—you will seek out a church and be baptized and begin keeping the Sabbath?”
“Yes, I will,” she said.
And a prayer
“Wonderful,” I continued, “but there is something you can do today—right now—if you want to. Do you feel the time has come for you to give your heart to Jesus Christ and accept Him as your personal Savior?”
“Yes, I do. I would like to give my heart to Jesus now.”
“Why don’t you repeat a prayer after me,” I suggested.
So right there in front of God, the angels, and in the midst of hundreds of cheering fans we closed our eyes and she repeated each line after me:
“Dear, God, I believe that Jesus died for me on the cross. I accept Jesus Christ as my personal Savior. I believe that my sins are forgiven. I believe that I have eternal life. Thank you for your free gift of salvation. Now fill me with Your Holy Spirit. And help me live my life for you. In Jesus’ name, Amen.”
When we opened our eyes it seemed like the crowd of cheering fans was being joined by the angels of heaven and transforming into a grand choir returning praise to God because one of His daughters had just said yes to Him! It seemed that God and the angels were embracing the entire throng with His glory.
Wiping tears from my eyes, I shook her hand in congratulations as we both wept tears of joy and gratitude. I will never, ever forget that day as long as I live.
To be continued…
Someday I am planning on seeing that young lady again. Someday I will hear the entire story of how God led in her life and her decisions.
The Bible says, “Seek and ye shall find.” That day I saw God remove a mountain and cast it into the sea so that one of His children could be found. I learned that I can trust in the Lord and His promises.
What mountain do you need God to remove for you?