Doug’s young neighbor, Alex, a friend of his older children, wanted to join the study the next Monday. Same lesson, same result. He surrendered to Christ and has been telling his friends in the neighborhood. There are currently 9 in the training there. Both Riley and Alex were baptized on New Year’s Day.
Doug and his father Rod Sprague had been part of a church benevolence group that put a roof on a poor family’s home. They were later convicted that their witness for Christ toward that family was lacking. They had been the only heroes, and Jesus name was not glorified through the verbal gospel. They went back a asked to do a training in their home. The family accepted. Wes, the husband, is an alcoholic, but he has been involved and the second week, he invited a drinking friend, Paul, who had been in a mental hospital rehabbing for several months. Paul has surrendered to Christ and is telling all of his old drinking friends they need Jesus, who will set them free. Paul will be baptized this week.
I spoke at a church in Painesville 2 months ago. The worship leader, Vince, told me he wanted a kind of discipleship that would enable him share the gospel to win his friends and family to Christ. We have meeting Wednesdays on his lunch hour. Vince did a lesson with his two oldest sons, Nate (22) and Alex (19). Alex was meeting with some of his college friends, home for the holidays, where many of the guys announced they were atheists, and how they could no longer believe in Christ. Because they had just done the first lesson, Nate’s heart was bold to testify before all his friends that he believed in Christ with all his heart and followed the Bible. Since that day, Nate is filled with the Spirit of God in love for his lost friends and prays for them daily.
Last April we started a study at the Lithuanian Center retirement home. Five people have some to Christ since, and they are meeting as a church there. Four months later, they planted a second study at the neighboring Mary Rose retirement center half a mile away. Four more have come to Christ there. Four months later, members of this second group are now starting a third generation group at a third larger retirement center, Parker Place in Mentor.
In every meeting at all our locations, we pray for the loved ones who are far from God in each of our lives. A few answered prayer stories:
I had been praying for the gospel to reach the Queensdale Apartment complex for 8 years, but never got the open door. Eric Heatherly and I pray-walked the grounds over several weeks and then the Lord said “go.” We knocked on 16 doors, had 12 people invite us into their homes for Bible study, and six received Christ – in two hours.
For years Jill and I had prayed “whatever it takes Lord” prayers for our children and grandchildren. One month after we began desperately praying for our son Shawn, he and his wife Tracey became homeless. The Lord directed us to have them move in with us. They were unemployed, hopeless, and “dead” in their hearts. Two months later the Lord opened a door at Faithful Companions to hire her as the payroll Supervisor (she had worked as a payroll clerk and scheduler at Giant Eagle 10 years before). At FC, Tracey joined in with their daily devotions over the next ten months. She was being completely transformed in her person and her heart. In August of this year Tracey surrendered her life to the Lord Jesus.
Also at Queensdale, last month. My co-worker, Ann Spinello and I were doing a study with SW. Ann and I felt Suzanne’s heart was being touched toward repentance. We prayed that I our next study SW would take the step of faith and surrender. Our study was on the two criminals at the Lord Jesus’ execution. SW saw herself as the humbled criminal that needed and savior and she trusted in Christ’s blood as full payment for her sin-guilt before God.
At Seneca this month, we were doing the study on baptism and we had a new visitor “D” for whom Jan and Chris had been praying for months. In the middle of the study, D said, “Wait a minute. I cannot be baptized, I haven’t made a decision about this yet.” The Lord allowed us to complete the baptism study, and afterward, we shared the gospel with D. The Lord Jesus opened her eyes and her heart. She repented and surrendered her life to Christ.
J is divorced from a man who committed a terrible crime and went to jail for years. We prayed for N who had not been in church for over 10 years – too ashamed. J shared a Bible story that week with N. At our next meeting, she told us that he called her and told her he had attended church that Sunday.
R has two sons. One is a pastor and the other is a Buddhist, who has not expressed any interest in Christ for 10 years. We prayed for Rich’s Buddhist son. The next week this Buddhist son called to ask for prayer for his son’s driver’s license process, and the son called as well. They are having regular contact and Rich continues to share the truth about Christ with them.