Hey Georges Creek family! Greetings again from Provo Utah.
Over this past week, I and the others on the team have spent our time engaging in conversations with people in the city of Provo and the surrounding area. I wanted to share a story from conversations I’ve had for two reasons. First, I think this story will help everyone understand the work here and how you can be praying. Second, I think this story will be an encouragement to all of you for the work of the gospel back home in South Carolina. Thank you again for your prayers for the work so far! I firmly believe that many of these open doors would not have been possible if it had not been for your prayers in dependence upon the Lord. Thank you! I haven’t seen much fruit from the work that’s been done, but it is evident that the Lord is working through his word. Please keep praying!
A Conversation with a Cowboy
This past Thursday, I sat down on a bench outside in downtown Provo to write in my journal about a conversation I had just had with two Jehovah’s Witnesses in the area. As I was sitting and writing, an older man in a large cowboy hat came by and asked if I was writing a journal. After I told him that I was, he began to tell me about his own journal that he had written and was soon to publish. It’s not been often that people have approached me to begin a conversation rather than the other way around, so I was excited at the chance that the Lord put before me. He had mentioned that he used to be a performing cowboy before becoming LDS, so I asked him some questions about his experience becoming a Mormon. He began to wax poetic about the LDS church and how it had helped him clean his life up and was eager to tell me that I should join it as well. Since I had asked some questions about his religious experience, I was hoping that he would ask me some about mine. Sadly he didn’t so as he began to state that he was about to leave, I was frantically trying to think of another question to ask that would allow me to share at least a portion of the biblical gospel with him. I’m not the fastest thinker on my feet, so he began to walk away before I could think of a new question.
Rather ironically, he turned around and began to tell me more about his own experience and religion. This happened twice. He kept talking, but didn’t give me much of an opportunity to talk about what I believed. He exclaimed that he wished there were some LDS missionaries around to explain things to me better. I groaned to myself, understanding that he really didn’t understand why I was trying to talk to him and wouldn’t give me the opportunity to explain it to him. Only a minute later, I groaned to myself in my head even louder as I saw two LDS missionaries riding on bikes about to pass us. His back was turned to them, so I was hoping that he wouldn’t see them until they passed. I didn’t want to get into a debate with LDS missionaries, especially if he was going to give them the impression that I was exploring becoming LDS. Of course, he did see them and called for them to come over. He told them that I was someone who needed to know more about the LDS faith and then walked away without another word.
Two Mormon Missionaries Come to Chat
The two “missionaries” (two guys who looked about my age) asked me what we had been talking about and why I was interested in things of their faith. I was pretty frank with them and explained that I was not studying their religion to become LDS, but to dialogue with LDS and share what I believed with them. They were a bit surprised with my answer, but were definitely intrigued. I asked them if they’d ever encountered evangelical Christians. They said they hadn’t, so I took that opportunity to explain the differences between what we believe and what they as LDS believe. They were intrigued, they had never heard the idea that faith isn’t something that we conjure up within ourselves, but is something that God gives us so that we can follow after him (Ephesians 2:1-10). We dialogued back and forth for about 20 minutes in a friendly way. One of the “missionaries” was definitely surprised by the biblical gospel, but remained unshaken in his confidence in the Book of Mormon. The other guy seemed genuinely intrigued, and it seemed like the message of God’s word had left him something to think about. They explained that they needed to go, and after some pleasantries, they rode off.
Reflections and Encouragement
This story stands out for me because of how obvious it was that God was at work orchestrating this conversation. I didn’t sit down trying to have a conversation, but God brought one to me. I didn’t want to start a conversation with LDS “missionaries”, but God brought them to me. I didn’t think the conversation would do any good, and I still don’t know what exactly God was doing through it, but there was just something about how everything fell together that I knew that this was something orchestrated by God through prayer. As an even louder confirmation of this thought, one of the pastors of the church I’m with here in Provo texted a picture of me talking to these very “missionaries”. I had been sitting just outside of the church offices and he saw me out the window and prayed for me as I was talking with them. I don’t know exactly what kind of impact that conversation will have in the future for those young men, but I truly believe that something that had such a mark of the hand of God really will have a big impact. Pray for these young men! I wasn’t able to get their names, but God knows.
For everyone back home, I hope this serves as an encouragement to you as you go about your days living as a servant of God and his Kingdom. Oftentimes it’s hard for us to get into conversations about God and things of the faith. I hope this story has encouraged you all with the impact and power of prayer. If you feel the weight of God’s call to share about God with unbelievers, may this story encourage you that you are not the one who orchestrates the conversations you have. You can try with all your power to do better and work harder for God so that you can be a part of his work, but you will quickly find that this strategy won’t work. You’ll end up more convicted of your shortcomings than ever. This is what separates us from the LDS faith. We believe that God has called us not to use his power to become a more powerful version of ourselves, but to become humble, to become completely dependent upon God for everything. If you are struggling with evangelism and being faithful to the great commission of Matthew 28, find rest in God rather than your works or your strength (Nahum 1:7). Pray that God would work for his glory and that he would use you according to his will, that you would receive none of the credit or the glory for his work and his power, but that all majesty, glory, and power would be ascribed to him. John 15:7-8 says: “If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples.”