As I reviewed the Bible passage that Mam and I would be covering in our study, I felt that I should invite her to accept Jesus as her personal Savior. But I also felt hesitant.
For the past eight months, I had been teaching Mam English using Thai and English Bibles. I had seen her spiritual interest growing and her heart opening to truth. In our previous study the week before, she had told me she thought it would be good for her to start praying to God at night. However, since the stated purpose of our meetings was for her to learn English, I wondered whether I should make a direct appeal. But I knew I couldn’t talk about John 3, the new birth, and God’s love without at least giving her the opportunity to respond, so I determined that I would make an appeal at the end of the lesson.
As our time was winding down, I said, “Mam, do you believe the Bible is true, especially what we have just studied?”
“Yes,” she said.
“In that case, would you like to accept Jesus as your Savior?” I pressed. My stomach tightened as I waited for her reply.
She thought for a few moments and then nodded. “I would be interested in that.”
Joy and relief burst inside me as I explained the gospel to her in greater detail. After sharing several Bible verses and making it clear that Jesus is the only true God and that salvation is only found in Him, I asked if she was still interested in receiving Him as her personal Savior. “Yes!” she said without any hesitation.
Joy flooded my heart, and I excused myself momentarily to go downstairs and find my missionary teammate Chris Sorensen. I told him about Mam’s desire to accept Jesus and invited him to come upstairs. Chris has had a lot more experience than I in sharing the gospel with Thai people, and I wanted to be sure that Mam understood fully what it means to accept Jesus. I asked Chris to talk with her a little and lead her in a prayer. Chris and I explained to Mam that receiving Jesus is only the beginning of the Christian life, and we need to continue studying even after we receive Him. After praying with her and hearing her confess her sins and accept Jesus into her life, I asked her if it would be okay if I invited our Thai pastor to join the studies the following week. She happily agreed.
As I reflect on this beautiful experience I am reminded of how important it is to give people the opportunity to respond to the gospel. Often I hesitate to make direct appeals to people, but I believe that is just as Satan would have it. However, I am seeing more clearly that once we win people’s confidence and sense the Holy Spirit working in their lives, the Lord will work through us if we are willing to give them the opportunity to receive Him. I praise God for how He is touching Mam’s heart and creating in her a desire to know Him. Please join me in praying for her.