I met Martin last year. We were attempting to connect with the neighbourhood and decided to launch a series of encounters and talks. To promote it we used social media ads for the first time. One of the talks was called ‘The Bible from A to Z’. It was an introductory talk on the Bible and ended with an invitation to join a course with the same name. Martin was there. He felt overwhelmed with what he had discover that night, so he decided to take the course.
Now, Martin was the only newcomer who actually committed to 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, even after the course. It certainly didn't look like a success for me.
When COVID-19 spread in Chile around April, we decided to start an evangelistic series via Zoom. Around ten people decided to join, among them Martin. His attitude was always respectful, but he was the one putting me on the ropes. He was asking the harsh questions with the same scepticism as before. In spite, he persevered through all those weeks. From recent conversations I understood that from the beginning 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 he 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 wrote to me to ask to join the meetings.
This Thursday we start our series in Mark and we have 13 people signed up. None of them are church members. None of them have studied the Bible. Most of them identify as non-Christians.
Last year was a tough year. I thought all those evangelistic efforts were a failure. Now, as I write this story, I remember our 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.’
Our evangelistic failure or success is not determined by what we see but by what God decides to do with it. Our part is to persevere, knowing that is it our Lord Jesus who will certainly produce fruit in us and through us.
Maybe this bizarre time will become harvest time. Maybe it is sowing time. But it certainly it is not time to quit. Brothers and sisters, let us stand together in our effort to declare the Good News of Jesus Christ to this world. And, if it pleases the Lord, may we be able to see the fruits.
Iglesia Cristo Redentor Vitacura
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