What does evangelism look like to you? I believe that evangelism has many forms. God gives his children gifts, and he expects for each of us to use those gifts in evangelizing others. Before coming to Peru I could not give you a specific name of anyone I had “brought to Christ.” Sure, I am certain that I may have influenced people in a positive way. I attended a Christian college, participated in a Christian drama group, purposefully taught middle schoolers with a Christian attitude and perspective. There were many relationships that I wanted to deepen so that I could connect on a spiritual level, but I fell short of investing the time or energy into it. Since being here in Peru I have changed my view on evangelism somewhat.
God took on flesh and dwelt among us. How much more incredible does it get? Not only was he God in the flesh, but he came to serve. When Jesus saw a need, he tried to fill it. He healed, he comforted, he invested time, he had conversations, he challenged. Many times he credits someone’s healing or the action he performed with the fact that the person had faith. People observed him, and they were amazed. They had faith in him.
Jesus didn’t shove his message down anyone’s throat. He actually refers to people as soil. When a farmer plants a seed, it really is up to the soil how it will grow. For the first time in my Christian walk, I have witnessed a little bit of fruit this past week. Let me explain…
When we moved to our community here in Miraflores I visited our closest “bodega” (a mini-mart of sorts that sits on every corner block). Liliana is the bodega owner, and I made an effort to buy things from her when I could. One day a younger woman was running the shop. I introduced myself and came to find out that she was Stephanie, Liliana’s oldest child. I talked to Stephanie frequently, making an effort to practice my Spanish and make a new friend in my neighborhood. That relation- ship turned into us getting together once a week to talk. I referred to her as my Barrio BFF (neighborhood best friend).
I explained to her that we are missionaries and gave details regarding the work. I explained that we host Bible studies and meet in homes. I learned that Stephanie enjoys working with children (she is the oldest of four) and shared what we had go- ing with the library projects. Our once-a-week walks turned into her also coming to help me with the kids’ events at the libraries.
Stephanie and her family attended our Thanksgiving dessert party, but throughout the Christmas holiday we didn’t see a lot of each other. By mid-February I was really disappointed in myself for dropping the ball with her. So I walked myself over to the bodega one day and told her that we needed to start our Thursday ritual again. She agreed and we planned for the next Thursday. Her sister came, we made pizza together, laughed a lot, and agreed to continue Thursdays.
The next time I walked with Stephanie I was very unsettled. I was discouraged for not feeling further along in my relationship to her, but also I felt like she might be disinterested in what we are doing. We walked and I caught her up on all of the library happenings. She seemed excited to help me again--whew. Then she asked a question out of nowhere. “Do the Pintos (our landlords) still study with you on Sunday nights?” I answered yes. “Well, my sister and I would really like to come study the Bible with you.” I couldn’t believe my ears. “Since we came together that Thursday night, my sister has been asking my dad all kinds of questions about why we don’t go to church or ever read the Bible. He told her to read it herself. I mentioned to him that you and Greg study the Bible with people, and he said that we should go study with you guys.” Wow. I was floored.
I am still keeping up my Thursday ritual with Stephanie. She is still willing to help me when I work with the kids at the libraries. But we have now added one more thing. Stephanie and Kimberly are coming every Saturday afternoon to sit down and study with Greg and me. This thrills me to no end. I never once asked her to come, but I really believe that she observed me. She saw what we are about, and she has faith that we are sincere in keeping our ties to her. I am praying that this relationship will blossom into something more beautiful than I can imagine. Please pray for these two beautiful girls as they delve into the story of Jesus. I don’t know what will happen. I am praying for fertile soil.