The phone rang some days ago with a message in which we rejoiced. Sandy had led her neighbor Marilyn to the Lord. This story begins over a year ago when Sandy and Jim bought a home. It was a sad little house with possibilities, forlornly neglected by the eccentric old man who had lived there for years and years. Yet it was a bargain if the labor could be provided free of charge.
Another of our church members lived on the same block, and she organized work forces which for two weeks scrubbed and painted and scraped and pounded. Once all this was completed, moving crews carried furniture and boxes and bags into the house, which was definitely a lot happier looking now. It was an example of how we are learning to share lives in our congregation.
Sandy and Jim have many abilities, one of which is a heart for evangelism, as well as an open door. Being spiritually mature, they began their work in prayer, asking the Lord to show them the reasons why they were living in that house, on that block, in that town. They began to take advantage of opportunities to meet their neighbors. And, they began to initiate relationships.
They created hospitable situations: evenings for dinner, sharing birthday parties, attending social functions with neighbors. A Bible study was started and many invited. Through all this they established special communication with one couple in particular. The wife proclaimed herself to be an atheist. The dialogue between them began to center more and more around spiritual things with no rushing on Sandy and Jim’s part, but much prayer which was also borne by others in our household of faith.
One fall evening the women were canning applesauce together and they began to discuss the meaning of being a Christian and the difference this made in one s life.
“I didn’t feel a freedom to press the issue,” explained Sandy. Considering that the clock was creeping toward midnight and they were surrounded by hot-water baths and steaming jars, this was probably wise. But, in the next couple of days, the same conversation resumed, and at this time, in obedience to the prompting of the Holy Spirit, Sandy asked if Marilyn might not like to commit herself to Christ. The response was “yes!”
“You know,” confided Marilyn. “When I saw all those people from your church working on the house and moving you in, I knew you all had something I didn’t have. And when I told you I was an atheist and you didn’t get upset, but just listened and tried to answer my questions without imposing what you believed on me, I was sure of it.”
Karen Mains has long had an interest in Christian hospitality and is the author of the best-selling book, Open Heart, Open Home.
An award-winning author of several other books, Karen continues to write content for her Christian blog, “Thoughts-by-Karen-Mains.” In so doing, she desires to touch the lives of Christian women and men and help them find ways to walk closer with the Lord Jesus Christ. In addition, through silent retreats, spiritual teaching, women’s retreats, Christian vacation opportunities, and other ministry activities, Karen helps each Christian woman and man receive vital spiritual food.
For decades, Karen Mains and her husband, David, have served God through religious communications—radio, television, and print publication. The are the co-authors of the Kingdom Tales Trilogy: Tales of the Kingdom, Tales of the Resistance, and Tales of the Restoration. To find many valuable resources for pastors and churches at the Mainstay Ministries main website, please click here.
In addition, pastors will find special resources to help them create effective, life-transforming Sunday sermons by visiting David Mains’ website by clicking here.
Through her Hungry Souls ministry, Karen serves as a spiritual coach to many Christian women and men, and teaches a mentor-writing class. And, through the Global Bag Project, she is working to develop a network of African women who sew exquisite cloth reusable shopping bags. This micro-finance women opportunity helps provide a much-needed sustainable income for struggling African families. For more information on this critically important project, please click here.