It’s always something worth celebrating when someone comes to salvation through Jesus Christ! Personally, I’ve never been there to witness or encourage someone when they have this desire and feel that conviction…until today.
On the last Saturday of each month, we gather at Wiphan Inshila meeting. I have explained this before, but to give a quick recap: Wiphan’s Inshila program sponsors children who are in government secondary schools. Wiphan schools end with grade seven, so children must go to public schools to complete their education. Each month, these students gather together so that Wiphan staff can make sure these teens are doing okay at their schools and at home; and also to disciple them.
In previous months, we have divided boys from girls and had our own separate conversations mainly centered (at least for the girls) around struggles in their lives.
During these previous meetings, these kids had also filled out forms on which (among other things) they stated their belief on what saves a person. My parents read each form and realized there were many misconceptions regarding salvation. Therefore, this month they decided to share the full gospel with the Inshila kids. They shared how going to church, doing good things, reading your Bible, praying, and even just believing in God….NONE of those things are what save you! Those are ALL good things and things which come as a natural desire to a believer, but ultimately those things do not save you.
Then, they shared what DOES save you…The quick answer is: Jesus Christ! He says, “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life. No man comes to the Father but through Me!” The blood of Jesus Christ is what saves us! HIS payment for our sin!!!! As is often used as a parallel, my parents compared what Christ has done for us to a man on trial: A man is guilty, condemned by the judge for his crime, but suddenly someone steps out and says, “I will take the punishment for this man’s crime!” This is what Jesus did for us. He took the punishment for our sins! When we realize our need for Jesus and recognize the gravity of our sin, the Holy Spirit gives us a great love for God and a desire to please and serve Him above all else because of what He has done for us. Only then, only through Christ, can we be saved from the wages of our sin!
My parents shared this message with the students today. Two of the Inshila boys, Luke and Ringson, asked a couple questions before the session was over, but as it concluded I gathered they still had unanswered questions. I could also tell they were in serious, deep thought about the things being said…
Following the closing of the meeting, I found Luke and Ringson outside. We greeted each other; I thanked them for stepping out and asking questions, and asked them if they understood the answers given or if they still had more unanswered questions.
Luke quickly replied that he understood, but Ringson said, “No. I do not understand.” A third boy began to laugh at him giving that answer.
Ringson looked a little uncomfortable and said, “Well…If I am being honest…I don’t understand”
I quickly said, “No! No! I’m glad you are being honest! Please, ask whatever you want and I will try to answer if I can!”
The first question he asked was, “What should I do to be saved?” I followed up the question with another: “Why do you want to be saved?” We discussed what salvation is, the desire for which comes from the Lord alone. Which is why I asked the question I did…
He asked SO many questions! Some of them were not easy to answer and took some thought. Only by God’s grace was I able to answer their questions, and I pray I answered them thoroughly. Just when I would begin to have trouble putting my answer in words, my mom or dad happened to walk by and were able to help me!
We discussed all kinds of questions! Here are some that Ringson asked me….
– “So I hear ‘God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit’; Who are they? Like 3 Gods? How are they different [from each other]?”
– “What do you mean ‘the Holy Spirit lives in Christians’? How does that work?”
– “Does the Holy Spirit live in a thief?”
– “Why does God allow bad things to happen?”
– “If we ask God for something, will he give it to us?”
– “So how does the Holy Spirit come to live in my heart?”
– “WHAT saves us exactly?”
– “I hear people talk about purgatory…What is purgatory? Is it real?”
– “Is stealing a sin? What about lying?”
It was a REALLY good discussion! I was SO glad he was open to ask questions! I was happy to see he had a real, true, genuine desire to understand God, His word, salvation, and His plan for our lives!
Luke wasn’t the one who asked the questions, but he did participate in the conversation and listened intently. A few other boys would listen for a bit and then go. At the end of the conversation, a boy named Patrick was with us. He never spoke a word, only listened to the discussion…
After talking through all of these questions, Ringson asked what he should do so the Holy Spirit would come into his life, and then he asked me to pray with him! I told him he had to pray too, but I would be happy to pray with him…After asking, he said he didn’t want to pray alone, but he wanted to pray silently and me to pray aloud.
The four of us, Patrick, Luke, Ringson, and I, joined hands and I said a short prayer aloud. I was silent for a few minutes and we all prayed our own prayers in silence, then I said “Amen” to finish the prayer time. Ringson had this look on his face like I had interrupted him… I felt really bad..=P
I asked Ringson if he needed more time to pray and he said, “I think I do. Can you pray for me out loud please?” I told him I would pray aloud for him, but he had to also.
We closed our eyes a second time, and I prayed specifically for Ringson that as He was about to pray, God would reveal Himself to him and make Himself known in Ringson’s heart.
Following my prayer, Ringson prayed a very sincere prayer asking God to make him His servant. He asked the Holy Spirit to live in his life, asked God to forgive him of his sins, and acknowledged his need for a Savior.
He closed the prayer and we all looked around at each other. I don’t know what took place in the minds and hearts of Luke or Patrick as they prayed. They were mostly silent. Ringson looked like his mind was somewhere far away. He shook his shoulders around and said, “Wow…I feel…I don’t know…like a different body or person or something…Something is changed and different…”
I was teary eyed…It was a beautiful scene! What he experienced today, I believe was real! He WANTED to know the truth! He wasn’t afraid to be honest and ask questions! He truly desired to know more about God an understand salvation. He accepted the gift Christ Jesus offers us freely! He joined the family of God and became His child! What could be more beautiful!!??
I told these boys I would pray for them and Luke said, “Yes! Please pray for our education that we would get good marks [grades] and finish school!” I told them I would and also said I would pray for them as they are new in their faith; that God would speak to them and they would grow closer in their relationship with God!
Ringson stuck out his hand; pinky outstretched, and said, “You have to promise that you will pray for me!” I locked my pinky in his and said, “I promise to pray for you every day!” Luke, Patrick, and I did the same and they all promised to pray for me also! As they left, we shouted to reiterate our promise to pray for each other every day!
I don’t think any of us wanted our conversation to end, but Ringson had somewhere to be. He said he had more questions and promised to write them down and give them to a teacher for me, or to ask me next time I saw him. In the meantime, I intend to keep my promise to pray for them every day and pray we will be able to have more conversations in the future; and maybe I can even have similar conversations with others too!
Patrick in the back, Luke on the left, Ringson, then Me! =)