An encounter with a stranger
God will use each and everyone of us if we make ourselves available, writes Cathy Buntin
A few years ago one of our members had a vision to put Good News, the evangelistic newspaper, through the doors of the community around our church at Laird Street. We didn't get any response until one day I had an encounter with a stranger.
Coming out of church one Sunday morning with my sister I was just about to get in my car when a man walked across the road towards me and started engaging in conversation. I noticed he had a bandage on his arm and asked him what he had done. He explained that he had been laying new grass in his garden and had injured himself, then he invited my sister and I to have a look at the garden.
He lived just across the road from the church. As we walked into his garden his wife was there and she made us very welcome, asking if we would like a cup of tea. I thanked her and said we were meeting my daughter for lunch but would love to come back one day and have a cuppa with them. She said we would be welcome any time.
She asked me if I went to the church across the street and were we the ones who delivered the newspapers through their door. I said we were and she thanked me and said how much she looked forward to receiving them and reading the stories and couldn't wait for the next one.
We had to go but I promised I would visit again. Two weeks later I went back and was really welcomed into their home. We had a lovely chat and she asked what goes on in the church you all look so happy going in and coming out and we see the guitars going in. I said, 'Why don't you come along and see for yourself.' I explained that we were very friendly and non threatening. I said if they preferred, they could join us after the service for tea/coffee.
She promised she would come. A few months went by and we didn't see them, but I kept praying that God would bring them along.
We had a film night one evening showing God's not Dead, and I took the opportunity of knocking on their door and inviting them along. Praise God they came, then the Sunday following they came to church and have been coming ever since.
They love the services, they love the music and on Christmas Eve they brought their family along to the carol service. The wife told me that their family noticed how she and her husband had changed and looked happier since they had started coming to church.
Just before Christmas we had been down at church one evening and I felt prompted by God to visit this couple, so called on them. They invited me in and offered to make my tea, but as they were both unwell I declined. As I was leaving the wife said, 'I have so many questions to ask you about God and your church.'
I took the opportunity of asking if she would come on a Christianity Explored group after Christmas. She was delighted and could not wait. Each Sunday she asked me when it was starting.
I invited her along to the course which started on Thursday 16 February. I asked her husband if he was interested and he said he wasn't. As his wife didn't drive he said he would be happy to drop her off and I said we would arrange a lift back when he suddenly decided if he was going to bring her up he may as well wait for her.
We had an amazing evening and before we even started the course his wife had so many questions. Such a privilege and honour to share the gospel with people who are searching and an honour to serve Jesus.
During the evening the wife said, 'Cathy, I don't believe my husband spoke to you by chance I believe God led him to you.'
As they left her husband said he had really enjoyed the evening and couldn't wait to come back next week. Seeing the Holy Spirit at work was so encouraging.
Never despise those chance encounters. What if I hadn't stopped because I was rushing off to meet my daughter - what a missed opportunity that would have been.
I can't wait to see what God does with this couple.
God will use each and everyone of us if we make ourselves available. If God had given you vision and nothing seems to be happening keep on believing keep praying God is at work but we do not always see what is going on.
If these two come to faith in Christ it will be worth all the trudging round doors in all weathers delivering Good News.
Praise God that he calls us to partner with him, all we have to do is obey his call on our lives, share the good news and his Holy Spirit will do the rest.
Cathy Buntin is the minister of Laird Street Baptist Church, Birkenhead