God is AMAZING! During Slaying the Giants week, we all set goals for evangelism; how many conversations we wanted to initiate, how many gospel presentations we would do, and one extra "giant" that we wanted to slay. On Saturday afternoon, I went out sharing with a friend of mine on project by the name of Dan. We talked to quite a few people, and at first Dan did the initiating and going through the gospel, but since I only had one more person to go through the gospel with to reach my goal, we started looking for some girls that I could initiate and share the gospel with. Within minutes, dark clouds swept over the sky, blocking out the sun. One of the sudden downpours that never cease to amaze me by their sheer randomness was on it's way. People began packing up and leaving, and we weren't finding anyone. Thunder rolled, and I glanced up at the sky. It looked like it would start raining any minute.
"Lord, don't let it rain until Emily shares the gospel with one more girl!" Dan prayed. We kept on walking. There was an exodus of people heading back to their hotels, and no groups of girls anywhere.
Thunder rumbled again, and discouraged, I told Dan, "I don't think we're going to find anyone Dan, and it's going to rain any minute. "
"If you pray with faith, God will answer!" He then prayed, "Lord, thank you for holding back the rain until Emily can share with one more girl!"
Could God really do that? I wondered. Yes, He could, but would he? I took a deep breath and prayed silently, "God, please hold back the rain, and give me one more opportunity to share the gospel. I believe you can if you want to." I remembered the passage in Mark that I'd read recently for Bible study. "I do believe, help my unbelief!" I looked up the beach, and there, sitting absorbed in a magazine, oblivious to the threatening clouds overhead, sat one college-age girl. "Dan! Look over there!" I could hardly contain my excitement.
"Go for it!" Dan really didn't seem too surprised.
We introduced ourselves, and explained that we were with Campus Crusade for Christ and were doing surveys on the beach. "I do not speak much English," she replied with a thick accent. "Could you say that again?" Oh man, I thought, how can we share the gospel with someone who doesn't speak English? Then again, God, you led us to her, help her to understand! Slowly, we worked through the survey questions, discovering that her name was Carol, and that she was an exchange student from Brazil. In response to the last question, "On a scale from one to ten, rate your desire to know God," she answered a ten. As I pulled out the gospel booklet, the dark clouds above us rumbled threats of an imminent downpour. I looked at Dan, silently begging him to pray. He smiled back, totally undisturbed. I don't know how we got through the booklet exactly; I can't explain how she was able to understand it in English when her native language was Portuguese; all I know is that we went through the entire gospel with Carol, and SHE UNDERSTOOD. At that point, she wasn't ready to make a decision, but we exchanged phone numbers and invited her to church the next morning and our weekly meeting on Thursday. As Dan and I were walking away, a few raindrops hit the sand around us. When I arrived at the apartment and shut the door behind me, the skies opened, and the rain poured down.
Talk about incredible! We prayed in faith, and even though mine was weak, God heard and answered! But the story doesn't stop there! That night I called Carol to see if she wanted to come to church with us, but she said it was too early in the morning for her, but she would call me Thursday and maybe come to the weekly meeting. I was skeptical. I assumed that was the last time I'd hear from Carol, and just prayed that God would use our conversation on the beach and the booklet we'd given her to continue to work in her heart.
Thursday afternoon, I was astounded to receive a text message from Carol! Unfortunately, she had to work on Thursday night, nannying the children of her host mom. But, she still wanted to get together again. One day I was in the office, and on the rack of booklets, I found some that looked like Spanish, but I found out they were actually Portuguese!
On Friday, I was exhausted after a long and difficult day at work, so I texted her and asked if she'd be available Saturday or Sunday afternoon to go get ice cream. She responded that she had to leave early Saturday morning, and this was her last day of vacation here. I felt completely drained, but I prayed that God would just give me the courage and the energy to meet with her that day, and it worked out for both of us to meet an hour later. We went to the donut shop where I work and ordered ice cream, and since I'd asked her to bring pictures of Brazil, she brought her laptop and showed me pictures of her family and friends in Sao Paulo and Rio de Geniero on her laptop, and I showed her pictures of my family and friends from Iowa from my digital camera. Her pictures were WAY more interesting! At least, they were to me, but she really enjoyed the pictures of my last family vacation to South Dakota. We talked almost three hours, and then she remembered that she had to be back at her hotel for dinner at six. I was able to give her the Portuguese booklet and take a picture with her before we parted ways.
So, continue to pray for Carol! Pray that God continues to work in her life, and then uses her to reach her family and friends at home in Brazil, her school in Pennsylvania, and in Australia, where she hopes to study in the future.
Well, there's much more I could write about, but I think I'll save it for another blog!
Thanks for your prayers!