OK, its been too long! The basketball season was incredibly long thanks to a divinely successful run that took the Jayhawks to the Final Four and the championship game. We lost to Kentucky but the things we won along the way are to numerous to count. Families united in prayer, cheerleaders and dancers joined together in prayer, a witness of faith that to me is far to unique in the world today. We are blessed to be a part of it.
But…basketball isn’t what brings me to today’s blog, although it is certainly the catalyst for all the good that I see. This morning I was reading a letter one of our Bible Study students sent to my husband about this past Thursday night. WOW, what a letter from an amazing young man of God! My husband had issued an amazing challenge to the boys to go out street-witnessing. For those of you who don’t know what that is I will tell you; it is praying for God to lead you to the people He has chosen to encounter and going out into the streets to share the love of Christ with them and others.
It’s a radical way of expressing faith, especially for a bunch of good looking, young college guys, some of whom are known in the community because of the basketball and football teams they play for. I mean they could be out with the hottest girls on campus chillin’ on a Thursday night in the VIP section of the coolest bars…but they were not. They are not. They have laid their lives down for the sake and love of a gospel that is completely ALIVE in their lives. Thanks to their presence on Massachusetts Street in Lawrence, Kansas Thursday night, that love is alive with countless others who, while in the pursuit of their evening, were encountered and changed forever by the love of a Savior who lives and redeems.
AWESOME. The spirit in me has been dancing and singing for joy for days since they came home, in between their witnessing, to eat dinner…they are young, healthy, college boys so food is a must. They were so inspired sharing stories of the people, young and old, that they encountered, that they inspired a car load of girls who had just finished Bible Study in our home to join them also. So we prayed, asked for God to guide the way, and off they went for round two; the late night round-up of souls lost in bars. LAUGH. Love it!
Anyway, I edited a bit so as not to share WHO wrote the letter below, but I think it best describes the evening and the powerful impact of it! It so touched my heart to read it, that, tears of joy have started my day!
First off I hope everything is going well in LA right now and this would have taken more like 500 text messages. Last night Lawrence was on fire with the Holy Spirit. I wasn’t able to go out to street witness earlier in the night because of commitments but I met Jordan around 9 to support Matt while he was being honored at the Navigators meeting. Jordan and I were asked to speak and you could tell how much our words meant to Matt but more importantly the example of Christian brotherhood that we brought. I was able to speak on my faith in front of a large group for the first time which gave me untold confidence and a greater connection with the Spirit within me going into the night.
Jordan, Christian, Dane, and I all went in your SUV to witness to those people leaving the bars and make sure they got home safely. I was skeptical to say the least about how it would work at first with four guys pulling up to random strangers and asking them to get into an SUV with tinted windows. This only grew when the first people we asked could not say no to us fast enough. After the third one I turned inward and check myself and offered up a little prayer that God would help me overcome my skepticism and trust that if it was His will it would be done.
Jordan had been saying since we got in the car that we should go over by one of the Fraternity houses so we moved on from the Hawk and Wheel and drove down to 17th and Tennessee. That is where we found the first person God intended us to encounter of the night. Her name was Hannah and as she should be, she was reluctant to get into a car with people she doesn’t know. Christian dove right in after we had introduced ourselves and asked “So what do you know about Jesus Christ.” She was hesitant to answer but started talking about how she was a sinner and that it was too late for her. We all assured her at that point that it wasn’t, that it is never too late, and we were all sinners. We had moved maybe a hundred yards before we stopped and picked up Kyle, our second encounter of the night. Kyle was distraught from the onset of our conversation. He had just received his third MIP this year and was not going to be able to return to the University in the fall. He had come in with the intention of pursuing a career in Nursing but was afraid, with good reason, that it would no longer be possible. Once we had heard his story Christian asked if he knew Jesus Christ and he said yes but not as well as he should. Kyle said that his relationship had suffered after coming to school because he had gotten caught up in all the pitfalls that surround a college setting. At this point Christian asked if we could pray for him and he emphatically accepted. We finished as we pulled into the Oliver parking lot with him in tears after re-professing his belief and love of Jesus with Christian.
God obviously put Kyle in the vehicle with us not just for his sake but also for Hannah. After he got out of the car Hannah immediately said how beautiful the prayer was and that she had never heard someone pray like that. We continued to talk with her about God’s love and that nothing in this world could ever love her like Him. This seemed to really stick with her and once we got to her house she let us say two prayers over her. Before she got out of the car I challenged her that when she woke up if she found these events on her mind not to just dismiss them as happenings of the night but to peruse information. To seek out God in whatever way the Spirit was guiding her. I believe Christian added her on Facebook and I pray that he hears from her.
As soon as Hannah left the vehicle we rolled up the windows and erupted. Both Dane and I had never done anything quite like this and it was the best feeling I have ever felt. Right then I said that we had to thank God for working through us and for making his Spirit in us reach out to these people and touch them. From that time on the night rolled. It seemed like everyone we asked got in the SUV.
After Hannah we picked up a group of three girls from over by the Football Stadium. We ended up running into them three more times. Two of the girls prayed with me and Christian talked to the other who was Jewish. One of the girls I had prayed with was also Roman Catholic and wanted to continue to pursue Jesus Christ through the Roman Catholic Congregation. I invited her to Church with me this Sunday and have yet to hear from her but I have a funny feeling I will see her there. She had a very similar problem as I did with roots of bitterness towards those who had condemned her and made her feel as if she were not a Christian or like a second class Christian for being Catholic. I believe that the Holy Spirit allowed me to impart some of the wisdom you shared with me onto her and that now it will be less of an issue. Roots of bitterness are dangerous snares on the path that we are all trying to walk with Jesus especially those growing towards our fellow Christians.
Once we dropped them off we had two of the most profound encounters of the night. A young man hailed us as we drove past The Bull on 14th and Tennessee and asked if we could give a girl that was with him a ride home. She seemed sober and just didn’t want to walk home alone after her friends had left her. She turned out to be a practicing Christian looking to further her walk in the Lord. She had participated in other campus ministries but had not found the right fit. We prayed that her walk would be strengthened and that God would show her the way to a fellowship that fit her best. As we were driving her home we ran into John. John was walking through campus with a beer in hand when we picked him up. When we asked about his understanding of Jesus and his walk he seemed curious but conflicted. He had been attending Morningstar these past few weeks so It was no coincidence that he found his way into the car. We took the young lady home and invited her to the Wednesday studies and got her information and what not. Once we had dropped her off I asked John if he wouldn’t mind if we prayed for him and if we laid hands on him. I don’t know why I said it, and honestly that’s ok because it wasn’t a decision for me to make it was something that the Holy Spirit compelled. Christian prayed first and once he was finished I said a prayer for John. Honestly Roger this was one of my most passionate prayers I think I have ever said because despite how we found him the Spirit was pushing me too. I prayed that God would bless John by opening his Mind to the voice of God and the knowledge of the others, to open his eyes and ears that he could see God’s great works and hear God’s words. And finally I prayed that He would open John’s heart to God’s love. By the end of it he was balling and to be honest I wanted to also because I have rarely seen the Spirit work so powerfully through me. God not only did something for John by putting him in the vehicle with us but He did something great for me.
We picked up two other young ladies and talked with them about Jesus and the good news but the next most compelling case came with two young men outside of one of the dorms. Dan and Lee both had been at an event called Miss Phoggy Dog, which is notorious as being a competition for lack of a better way of putting it to see who can be the most promiscuous girl at the bar. They were talking about that and swearing in joy that we had agreed to drive them to the Hawk (another bar). Lee was baptized Methodist but had not been active in his congregation or his faith and relationship with God. When we asked him about his relationship he was quiet and seemed to be embarrassed to answer the way he had to answer. Dan believed in God but did not believe Jesus was his lord and savior. He took a universal approach to this question meaning he did not believe any one person was responsible for our salvation. As we rolled down the 14th street hill we stopped and prayed over them individually and then Christian asked them if they wanted to commit/re-commit their lives to Jesus and acknowledge Him as their savior. Lee prayed with Christian right away and re-proclaimed his love for God and it was obvious the fire of the Holy Spirit had rekindled in some way inside of him. Originally Dan started to pray with Christian but once he said Jesus Dan stopped. Once Christian and Lee prayed, however Dan was moved and he prayed with Christian and acknowledged Jesus as his savior. They got out of the car and were so thankful but something… I’m not sure the other guys noticed… but it struck me, was when they walked away they didn’t walk down the hill to the Hawk (their original destination) they walked back in the direction of the dorms.
We picked up some other people after that but those were the most profound encounters for us last night. It was so clear that everything about last night was of God’s own doing and not ours. Even the guys we had in the car. All of us had different testimonies that applied to each of the people we picked up. Without one of the guys and the Spirit working through him we may not have been nearly as rewarded. Last night touched me in such a profound way it cannot be described with words. I am still on fire from last night even as I’m finishing this up almost a day later. I said this earlier in the story about John, but last night was almost as big of a gift to me and the other guys in the car as it was to the people we talked with. Dane gave me a ride home after we got back to your house and prayed. The ride was spent talking about how we had been skeptical and how we had just been ignited by the Spirit.
I can’t wait to talk about this with you and the rest of the guys when you get back.