10/1/11 Noemi and Esther, both in their 20's
Many churches like to sponsor days of community service and outreach, and these can be wonderful opportunities for evangelism not just to the people we are reaching out to, but to the volunteers these kinds of events often attract. That was the case today as I led three volunteers in the streets to witness, one of whom was a young lady named Esther. Esther and I went into a Dunkin' Donuts where I asked another young lady, Noemi, who was there with her father (he only spoke Spanish) if she would be willing to talk with us. Noemi agreed, and as we talked I found out that she was "saved" at her parent's church (though she wasn't sure what that meant) at an early age, has long since drifted away from church and the Bible, and now believes that her good works will be what allows her to go to heaven. Before the conversation, I had explained to Esther of the need to "prepare the stony soil" of people's hearts with the law before planting the Gospel seeds of grace. I was doing just that with Noemi, using the Ten Commandments to help her see she is not the good person she believes herself to be, when suddenly Esther felt sorry for her and jumped in with comforting words of grace - prematurely, I believe. She talked about Jesus to Noemi, but it felt like she was just throwing seeds on stony ground that hadn't been prepared for planting. She hadn't done the work of an evangelist, preparing the soil. In fact, she wasn't sure of the gospel herself, and as we talked later she said she believes a person is saved when they confess their sins and God sees the sincerity of their heart - another works or self-righteous based belief system, I think. If she is in fact a believer she is very confused about her own faith, and there's nothing like getting involved in witnessing conversations to help bring clarity to one's own beliefs.