7/8/10 James and Lena, about 50
While out on my bike I saw an older African-American man (James) standing outside a factory door, taking a break from work, so I stopped to talk to him. James attends a Pentecostal church and said he has been a believer for about 12 years. He prays for the Holy Ghost and the ability to speak in tongues. He said his wife does have the gift of tongues and is about to be ordained as a missionary evangelist. I asked how he knows he will go to heaven, and he said you have to follow the Ten Commandments and repent of your sins often. I asked "What happens if you die with unconfessed sin?" and he reassured me that "When your time comes, you will know, and you must repent then" It sounded to me like he bases his salvation on repentance and good works rather than faith in Jesus so I began to ask about this but just then his wife drove up. She looked at me suspiciously so I explained what I was doing and asked her the same questions. Her husband deferred to her as the religious expert, but she wasn't too sure herself and answered the same way as he did. She didn't seem to like being questioned in front of him, so I switched from my questions to sharing my testimony which is less confrontational. I told about the changes Jesus has brought to my life, especially emphasizing that neither good works nor repentance can "earn" salvation, but that faith in Jesus will lead to both. It's not for me to decide if these two have saving faith or not, but if Lena is to be an evangelist for her church I pray she will clearly share the faith she has.