This is our third year in a row with Pastor West and Memorial Baptist Church. We’ve greatly enjoyed getting to know these people, their church, and their community. As we’ve gotten to know each other better, there is so much more I know I’ve appreciated about them all!
This year, our big prayer request was that God would give us open doors to the high school around the corner. The last two times we’ve been here, there have been huge roadblocks to recruiting there. Many people in the church were specifically praying for this. Well, of course God did it! Friday afternoon, the Lord gave us clear openings to recruit the many young people right there. We had many come from that specific time of recruiting!
When Saturday arrived, God brought us a smaller crowd, but many of them were from that particular high school. We saw several saved that night, but our hearts were burdened for many who left lost.
On the second night, to my surprise, many of those who had left lost returned and were fully engaged in the competitions. In fact, our crowd grew! I actually expected them to get saved that night, but only one person responded in the invitation to trust Christ. I was honestly a bit discouraged by this, but God was about to encourage my soul.
While I was dealing with the young man who had come back, I overheard Ben, the Navy captain, dealing with a big old boy named Havier, who he had brought into the counseling room because he wanted to get saved. What I overheard thrilled my heart and told me God wasn’t done yet. He said,
If you guys hadn’t come to my school, I never would be back here getting saved.
Well, on the final night, the group from the high school returned with even more friends. I preached my guts out to them, and at the invitation several responded that we have been praying for! One of them, a young man named Zach, said,
While you were speaking, God was talking to me, telling me to go back. I told myself that I didn’t care what my friends thought any more. When I stood up, it was like I blacked out. I could only see what was right in front of me.
After Zach had talked to us and trusted Christ, he went out and brought one of his friends back in to me. His friend told me that he thought my preaching was too harsh, but after a few minutes, he realized he needed to trust Christ and to stop trying to earn his way to heaven. After he had gotten saved, when I asked him what Jesus had done for him tonight, he said
Tonight, I learned that it’s not about how you live, it’s about how you trust.
I was excited. As I was finishing my talk with this young man, another one came around the corner. I felt as bold as a lion. I began to talk to him about the message, and a few sentences into it, he said, “I just got done talking to Charlie [the Army captain] and I got saved!” Praise God!
As we all fellowshipped together, reveling in what God had done for us all tonight and what He could do through us in the future, Zach piped up and said,
If everyone in the world knew about this, it’d be a very different place!
I couldn’t have said it better myself!
All in all, 71 teens heard the gospel and 10 trusted Christ! Praise be to God!