I met Martin last year. We were attempting to connect with the neighbourhood and so launched a series of talks. The introductory talk was called ‘The Bible from A to Z’ and we ended it with an invitation to join a course with the same name. Martin was there. He felt overwhelmed with what he had discovered that night so decided to take the course.
Now Martin was the only newcomer who joined the course after the initial talk. If you have ever organised an event or a course you will know that only one person after all that work can be quite discouraging. Besides, he was not particularly keen on Christianity and identified himself as a Buddhist. It certainly didn't look like a success for me.
But then, when COVID-19 spread in Chile, we decided to start an evangelistic series via Zoom. Around ten people came, including Martin. He was always respectful but kept asking harsh questions, with the same scepticism as before. Despite this, he kept coming. He says that he felt something captivating about the biblical preaching on Jesus.
Then, about two months ago, Martin decided to identify publicly as a Christian.
Martin is a film maker and invited me to host an online streaming of one of his movies, followed by an online conversation about it. Around 20 people joined the event. I understood then that he had not just been a Buddhist but a Buddhist teacher. Most of the people who attended the event were his followers and students. After the movie, Martin said to all of them that he had discovered Jesus and was now a Christian. He asked me to explain the gospel to his friends and invited them to come to our new series of conversations on the Gospel of Mark. Seven of them took up this offer and we have just started the course.
The example of Martin is a great reminder to me. Last year I thought all my evangelistic efforts were a failure. But now I remember the Lord's words in Mark 4:26-29: ‘This is what the kingdom of God is like. A man scatters seed on the ground. Night and day, whether he sleeps or gets up, the seed sprouts and grows, though he does not know how. All by itself the soil produces corn – first the stalk, then the ear, then the full grain in the ear. As soon as the corn is ripe, he puts the sickle to it, because the harvest has come.’
My evangelistic failure or success is not determined by what I see but by what God decides to do with it. My part – our part – is to persevere, knowing that the Lord Jesus will certainly produce fruit in us and through us.
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