We have been travelling much recently. If you meet me and spend a few minutes, or even a longer time, then you will be challenged with the Gospel, maybe you will come away understanding it better, and maybe leave with a Bible or some Gospel literature to pursue and study
I have just returned from Jordan, at the border I happened to meet some Christians going in the same direction and so I joined their ride which saved me some money and left me some extra money for Bibles. I took two New Testaments with me intending on buying more there. My first two Bibles left me very quickly, one to taxi driver in Jerash who was glad to receive it, and the other to a Ukrainian trained doctor in Amman. Out of supplies I then went to buy some more New Testaments from a semi Christian book shop that sells holy water and holy ground. Enquiring politely I asked them if that holy water could save me or bring me to God, the salesman smirked in embarrassment, he knew it was just a gimmick, a ruse to make money, something that is becoming quite a problem in many in many Christian bookshops . If the church was awake and they sold godly books they would have no problem with income but they sell popular books and all they do is destroy faith and produce. Spiritually illiterate Christians, preparing the way for the great apostasy.
In Jordan we had many opportunities to witness, in taxis and supermarkets and on the streets, we were always bumping into people. In a supermarket we met two men, one was from Dubai or and the other from Jordan, They asked me. I replied from Manchester and automatically they said, “Manchester United or City?” meaning the famous English football teams that play from this City. Most people assume you must be a fan of one or the other, so which team they asked me? I said none, I am don’t like football only Jesus ….. we had a further few minutes of conversation in which we offered them both NT but they refused so saying our goodbyes we left and then moved into different part of the store, only to find one of the men who refused us running after us to ask for the New Testament. This is pretty common, I have had it happen before, people are reluctant to take something considered controversial in a group or public setting even if one wants it, I gladly gave him one. The Lord is good to us!
At our hotel there was a group of young men so we began to speak to them asking directions at first, as I was not too orientated to where we were. I asked one young man his name and he said Yusuf , a common Arab Christian name, so I thought he was a Christian (nominal) but it turned out he was a Muslim and we got to speak about the gospel with him and six of his friends! It was a interesting discussion. So many people who have never read the New Testament have their own ideas, taboos and distortions about what it actually says, and hearing about what it actually does say rather than hearsay can be a revelation, this is true for most peoples. These men, after our discussion left telling us that they were curious and that they would read the New Testaments we gave to them.
One of our arguments, which is a good angle when talking with Muslims, is on the Justice of God (which is also a good argument against those who believe in annihilation and deny Eternal punishment in Hell, difficult though it may be) Jordan was good we got to give out lots of literature in the course of our travels, and many taxis drivers too, that’s good ministry. Many missionaries are sleeping, many are told not to evangelize, we tell our people it is forbidden NOT to evangelize. It is an easy natural way to do this, reaching out and sharing our faith should be a natural expression of our faith and ingrained in our lives. There is no special or particular mode of evangelism that should be used, each opportunity comes with its own circumstance and opportunity, sometimes it is minutes, sometimes much more time, sometimes years.
In the Middle East talking about religion is very natural, it comes easily and is normal, it is not confined to private talk only, nor a sign of being old fashioned. It is very much part of the fashion and fabric of life. So getting into such conversations is very easy.
When I went to the border I gave a NT to the driver and then because the border was closed earlier than usual for Friday, I took another taxi to the northern border, and with each taxi ride came conversations ending in me giving them Bibles as gifts, which were all gratefully accepted. At the border I met a Dutch man and we talked briefly of spiritual things, explaining what the gospel actually is. I offered some advice about visa situation (I have crossed this border many a time) He did not believe what I said but checked and afterwards came back and said I was right, I replied , I said I am right about other things too! We shared a taxi to Jerusalem paying 50/50 and on the way we talked more about the Gospel. He explained that his parents are Christians and he himself had made a profession of faith but now he is divorced and lives with his German girlfriend, both are archaeologists of the Ancient Near East. He was interested in talking to me about the Bible and I was able to share some things with him, he still knew some things about the Gospel but his lifestyle choices had made him reject it’s message lest it command him to change his life and repent of his ways. It was easier for him to simply walk away ….. our conversation was cut short as I had to get out of the taxi earlier and going to pay him I found I did not have the exact money, so we exchanged email address and I gave him my number, intending on bringing him the money the next day with a Bible. So far he has not called me. I pray he honestly searches his heart.
An former professing Christian and academia
It is sad but I meet many that are supposedly ex Christians, people who have known the Gospel, and even made a profession at times, there must be many churchgoers amongst them. One girl some years ago came to Israel to study archaeology and came to our meetings for a short time. Knowing the academic climate she was entering which would greatly challenge her faith, I told her that if she had any questions about the Bible she could come and ask me and I would try and help her. There are answers to the questions academia attacks the Bible and Christianity with? She never asked, she just believed her unregenerate professors and their anti God theories. I met her recently and she told me that she did not believe any more, I asked had she not come to me and she said she had gone to another church and asked them, they did not have the answers. I know this church and its very shallow. It was sad to see her choose to go down this path, such a shame, many people go to shallow churches so that they will not be challenged and can then live their own way, their own brand of Christianity, a compromise with their conscience. She would not discuss anything with me and I told her that it was clear that she was never a true believer and at that she got offended even though she confessed to no longer believing. It is sad how much people are open for error and closed for truth, and even refuse even to search and question what they are being taught. Today there is no such excuse to those who really want to know the answers as there is much information available by many qualified and godly people. I pray that she would be challenged to truly search and see.
I have just got back from the US. People are very polite and ask you how you are doing even if they don’t care. How are you? And I answered that I am not too good, and they reply, “Why?”, and so I say because I am a sinner, or because I have not spoken to enough people about Jesus this day, and then I begin to speak about the gospel. I get a variety of responses but always a change to give Him the Glory for this life. We went to Kansas to speak at a church and I spoke on John 4 and gave my testimony. In my spare time we went to witness to people and knock on doors, we spoke to many university students from India. The church here was very concerned about reaching out in their community and they had a real zeal for sharing the Gospel with others, and so we went, out with the young people and the not so young, in town and other areas. It was a joy to see that level of enthusiasm in reaching out to strangers and neighbours in their community and I enjoyed very much helping them in whatever they wanted me to do. When we ran out Bibles we went to a book shop to get some and I even had enough left over to take with us on our travels.
Car Trouble and Sharing along the way…
After Kansas we flew to Atlanta and picked up our rental car ,the rental salesman complained about how when he went to church they passed the offering basket around three times and he could not afford to go to. He had not met many godly pastors. Picking up the car we were undecided which car we wanted to take so we got talking to an Italian man and a woman who advised us, and we were able to encourage them to read the Bible. As soon as we started driving toward Greenville south Carolina to stay with some friends, the steering wheel started shaking like a powerful earthquake. I tried to get air for the tyre (tire) but it not so easy to find in the US ( at least I did not see any around. We ended up doing a U Turn and saw a store selling coffee and a man reading his Bible, waiting; I got to talk to him. He goes to a Wesleyan church so I said its very hard to defend Wesleyan doctrine and at this he got offended. It seems that people do not like any confrontation or challenge, and it turned out that his church is one of these new churches that do not have any strong doctrine , you can believe A-Z and that is fine. This is the problem and that’s why Christianity is on the decline in the US. God’s Truth is so watered down to the lowest common denominator. We called the rental company as air was not the problem and they sent us to a car shop , and while there the man who worked there spoke about lying and I said , “Isn’t everyone in South Carolina supposed Christian? “, he responded right “supposed to be”,and a girl waiting for her car began to speak, it turned out she had been in the Watchtower society and been excommunicated, I I started to explain what the Gospel means, and then yet another man walked in who was from the same group , so we got to present the gospel to them all, and because I have a naturally loud , a voice that travels, I noticed others paying attention to our conversation.
Yet this was not the end of our car troubles. After we started driving on the highway we realized that the problem was not fixed so we moved on to North Carolina and the next day we went to change the tyre, at each place we handed out more New Testaments. I thank the Lord He gave me the best car so we could give the Gospel. I do not get frustrated with problems that take my time; I have learned to use whatever comes as His opportunity and moment. We met so many people and gave out lots of New Testaments.
Blue Grass and Buffalo Burgers in Virginia…….sharing
On our road trip we went on to Virginia and stayed at a old colonial guest house for a few days. They had a open dining hall, usually I don’t eat breakfast but it was a great opportunity to meet and witness as there were new people every day. The owner allowed me to put Bibles in every room. Trying out some flavours of Virginia we went to a Blue Grass Festival and on the way we stopped for buffalo burgers (my first try and very tasty) As I walked through the door a man greeted me and I began to talk to him gearing it to gospel but in the end he said “would you mind my wife and son are Jewish” I replied “So am I” hoping he would ask how can this be?……but he was polite though not so interested in spiritual things. Sitting inside was a philosophy department of some University outing. I saw a very Jewish looking man who was a professor and struck up a conversation with him, open but sceptical in an academic fashion he took a NT from me before he left. At the blue grass festival we spoke to many and one man when I asked him if he was a Christian said, “What, Do you want me to wear Jesus on my sleeve?” Another man a few days earlier had said “I am a Southern Baptist you can’t get more Christian than that!” Neither were true believers. Challenging preconceptions and tradition is a very important part of sharing our faith, letting the blind think they are walking awake is not kind.
Charlotte and straying into a Gay Pride Fair by accident
On the way to Florida we stopped in Charlotte NC for one of the most shocking parts of the trip, we were looking for a coffee shop and we heard loud music which turned out to be a gay pride fair and I had walked in it’s midst armed with New Testaments (which I already had with me in my arms) I saw a small stall which spoke about liberty so engaging them in a conversation on Liberty and choice, I said, well, in the name of liberty….. I actually believe that marriage is between a man and a women, and they got mad with me One common dominator I have always found in discussing with homosexuals is that tolerance is not two ways; it is demanded by one but not given to the other. I did not really want to be here and was looking for an exit but as I walked I could not help but be saddened by all I saw, the audacity and hatred of man for God. At the end of the stalls I saw a women and began to speak with her , the Bible is wrong she said , wrong about slavery, she quoted old Testament law, it says you should be killed for not keeping the Sabbath, and so I tried to explain the texts but after a time, seeing it futile, I decided to go for the main point . Are you good? yes she said. Well the Bible says you, as we all are, are sinners, and one day we will all die and stand before God in the sky and our sin will be silenced, at this point she spat at me, so I graciously said goodbye and walked away.
Other people had labels Christian + Gay = OK and I tried to stop and talk to the people with the labels and others who were obviously rebelling against Gods established order. I asked if they read the Bible and explained a little of the Gospel. While we were in a coffee shop which we finally found after the exit, I met two girls, obviously Lesbian, and began to talk about the Bible, one girl who was more feminine told me she does not believe in God. I answered, that the reason that you don’t believe in the existence of God is not because He does not really exist but because of your lifestyle and because God makes demands of us that many do not want do. The other girl listening said stop talking to her or I will punch you in the face, so I said punch me in the face if you please, but it was all bravado, she did nothing. Now if I had been quiet and said nothing my day would have been much more pleasant but when I get into conversations with people, I cannot lie to make them feel better, especially on so important a matter. The Holiness of God and the very real judgment of God which will soon come to us all demands that I speak the truth with love, but truth to those fleeing it’s grasp is always painful. The week later they had the Democratic Convention here but I did not see any other believers witnessing at the fair which is sad.
Still on our road trip in the US we then went onto Savannah, Georgia, a beautiful historic town. On our way we witnessed when we had opportunity, it was funny how I would say to people hello and they would reply, “How are you?” and if I said not good, well, one young man said “Why what’s wrong?” He actually walked on and then turned round completely to ask me this. I had a opportunity to share the Gospel with him, he was surprised at my reason and smiled. Even getting lost and sent in the wrong direction was good as we got to witness to those who explained to us the way. We saw some people as they came out of their liberal UMC church and asked them directions and the woman asked me if that was a map in your hands? (I was holding a Bible with some papers) I replied yes and when she opened it she said its not a map it’s the NT! So we got to witness to them albeit a few minutes. I had meant the map of life! I was pretty sure they were regular churchgoers……but not sure they were true believers after one minute of talking.
We spent the rest of our time in Florida. There we started our restaurant ministry to the waiters and staff we met ….. and one day I went to the Florida Mall with my Arabic New Testaments and DVDs and Bibles, and was able to distribute many. One particular time stands out, we were in a deli and as we were getting ready to leave we greeted another family leaving, it turned out they were a French Jewish family on holiday, the wife even spoke some Hebrew. They had come down from Miami to Orlando because they had not met any real Americans there and wanted to see real American life. Fortunately for them we were having dinner with two real American couples, both godly people, and I introduced them. One would even have had invited them round to visit his “real” American house but it was their last days. They did get his card for a possible next time. We stood outside the restaurant talking and I got to share a little with them, leaving them with a gift. It just one of those things, they were anxious to talk, we opened our mouths and it produced a few good moments of opportunity.
In conclusion what impression did my visit make? The US is post Christian, people do not like confrontation especially professing Christians. We are so very comfortable in our lives and it is not normal to venture outside our own zone. We can easily live life without talking to anybody we do not know, or minister only to those of like kind.
There is too much nominal Christianity and it seems like many are unhappy with the shallowness and hypocrisy they see. I even met Christians who think that people don’t need the gospel because if they have not heard they will be judged by the light they have! Where is it that written? They don’t have light they have darkness, and sadly they misunderstand Romans 1 which says that the proof for the existence of God and the Judgement of God is the creation and the Heavens, it is not enough to save men but it is enough to leave men without excuse.
We did also meet many wonderful godly Christian men and women and also some good churches and we will pray for the US that the churches, that they will be revived and turn back to the Lord.
We continue to go to Tel Aviv a few times a weeks and when in the US we bought a mini projector and are now showing different films in Arabic and Tigrinya. Through this project we had had many contacts with Israelis of all strips, who upon knowing who we are always curious resulting in many discussions.
The Woman’s house is moving slowly, we just had a pregnant girl with us for a short time. Lately we have had many unstable women, coming and going. One recent lady we had we had to ask to leave as she invited the father of her child to stay having been told only a few days before that this was not allowed. Trying to help these women does not always mean that they really want help, some do not want to change and have habits they want to keep, and want help but only on their own terms. Pray for the woman who comes to us, that we will be truly able to impact their lives.
The Jewish holidays are upon us and there is much opportunity for sharing our faith, and just as in my travels I do the same here. More in my next newsletter.
We have a great need for New Testaments in Arabic and hope to get them printed through the Bible Society (about 5000) , we are also going to get over 100 John McArthur Study bibles to distribute among Jordanian Pastors and Bible Students through Heartcry Missionary Society.
If anyone wants to do ministry instead of a holiday then please contact us.
We are also looking for long term volunteers .
I will be in Romania and the Ukraine from the 19 to the 30th of October, having been invited to speak at some meetings there.
Thanks and be blessed,
Antony And Dona