Alliance News Feed – Working in Tandem to Bring Hope
The following article is composed of excerpts from stories by two women who were instrumental in the faith journey of an Eastern European immigrant to the United States. “Perseverance in Evangelism” is by Sarah*, who ministers with International Students, Inc. Julie Arant, director of Global Friends, an Alliance-affiliated ministry in Omaha, Nebraska, wrote “I Feel Different!”
“Perseverance in Evangelism”
Soon after I moved to a new apartment in Queens, I met a young couple from Eastern Europe, Fatima* and Amon*, who lived below me. We quickly became friends and spent several evenings talking over dinner or refreshments in our front yard. Many of our conversations were about faith and God. Unfortunately, there was no deep, personal interest, and the Bible I gave them went unread.
Within a month of my move-in date, Amon was diagnosed with cancer. My friendship with Fatima and Amon deepened rapidly as we walked through the stages of treatment, recovery, relapse, and eventually death. Amon’s funeral was full of the religious symbolism of the Orthodox church, but there was no hope or joy.
After Amon died, Fatima was firmly disinterested in the things of God. She was angry at Him for Amon’s death and clearly rejected Him. She said she knew she needed something, but she rejected my offers to study the Bible with her or take her to visit my church.
A few years after Amon’s death, Fatima decided to restart her life and move to Omaha, mainly to be near a close friend. I began to pray that Fatima would meet believers in Omaha who would continue to show her the love of Christ.
In January 2018, I vacationed with Julie Arant, whom a mutual friend invited on the trip. Soon I realized two things—Julie is an amazing evangelist with a love for internationals, and she lives in Omaha. I purchased a small gift from our vacation locale to have Julie give to Fatima when she went home.
Once the two met, Fatima thanked me, saying she had just prayed for new friends. She was spending her only free time drinking with acquaintances and felt no hope or purpose in her life. She was ready for something new.
“I Feel Different!”
After an initial connection over a casual lunch, I sent Fatima an invitation to an international brunch at my church, Citylight. Fatima contacted me when she saw it and asked if she could accompany me to church as well. After a dynamic, gospel-saturated Sunday morning worship service, Fatima expressed interest in attending my church weekly.
Two weeks after the brunch, Fatima was invited to a follow-up gathering to watch the JESUS film. She attended and expressed then that she looked forward to future opportunities to discuss spiritual matters more deeply.
The next morning Fatima accompanied me to church once again. This particular service included a baptism with several powerful testimonies. After the sermon, I asked Fatima, “How would you or your priest respond if I asked, “How can I know for sure if I’m going to heaven?”
“You have to try harder and do more,” Fatima replied.
I asked her if we could ask my “priest” what he would say. She agreed.
We approached my pastor, and I restated the question, “Phil, how would you explain to someone how to know for certain that she is going to heaven?”
He smiled graciously. “First of all, God loves you,” Phil said. “We were separated from Him, but He gave His Son for you because He wants to have a relationship with you. Do you want to give your heart to Him?”
Fatima’s eyes filled with tears. “Yes,” she said. After praying to invite Christ into her heart, Fatima paused, thought a moment, and then put her hand over her heart. “Now I feel that I have a sense of purpose—I feel different!”
She had been praying that God would rescue her from her downward spiral, and that’s exactly what He had done. What a beautiful picture of the Body of Christ working in tandem to proclaim His glory!
Source: Alliance News Feed – Working in Tandem to Bring Hope