Then The Lord Touched My Mouth (part 2)

Note: Thanks to all, for your for your feedback via comments, email, or twitter. I'm truly appreciative, and  I am considering all your thoughts. I respect even the differing ones. This is very much a journey for me that is not over yet. I fail more than I care to admit, at sharing the Gospel and taking every opportunity. The least I can do is share the experiences I've had, in hopes of encouraging others.
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There's so much I want to say. Please bear with me.
With the undeniable realization that I needed to be a bolder witness, came feelings of inadequacy.  Not the sort that bring feelings of failure necessarily, but rather the kind that motivate. Because of this and multiple other ways that God was leading in, my parents and I began praying more about me attending Shield of Faith Missions Int'l discipleship program. The decision became final as the Lord worked in providential ways for me to go. I moved to Oregon for 7 months. [obviously, nobody needs to go to this extent to be "qualified" to share the Gospel--this is just how the Lord led].
In the first couple of weeks of the training program, my classmates and I were to go door-to-door witnessing. My initial thoughts before we went the first time were that though it sounded awkward, it was something I had signed up for. So I would attempt it whole-heartedly. I wondered though, wouldn't people just lump us in with religious groups that were known for going door-to-door? We are so very different, yet here we are doing something the others are known for.
My prayer was that the Lord would impress on my heart, that He wanted me to do this. It being something the Holy Spirit must lead in, I didn't want to go along with it as merely as a "class requirement".
Obedience
The first time we went, I was not expecting the feelings of dread that washed over me. It physically weighed me down. I puzzled over it and tossed thoughts back and forth in my mind, in between knocking and doors being shut in our faces.
Am I afraid of what people are thinking?  Is this what spiritual warfare feels like?  Is it God, telling me this isn't the way it should be done?  Is it because I'm "showing up" without calling first? Am I trespassing?  Is it because I'm an American and they are Americans, and this is simply not appropriate in our culture? Isn't it a bad testimony to do as the Mormons do?
I wracked my brain for verses to support what we were doing.When we finished that day, I was sick to my stomach. I was still confused about some things, but sure that "Thou shalt not go door-to-door" should have been the 11th commandment. Moses had fallen down on the job.
I went home that evening and begged God that if this was of Him, I needed to see it in His Word. I opened my Bible. I didn't open it to where I had been reading in my daily reading, and with no previous thought of scriptures that might apply to the situation, my hands opened to and my eyes rested on the passage where Jesus tells a couple of His disciples "Follow me. And I will make you fishers of men." Over the next week, I studied how the disciples followed Him.
 I also talked to my accountability partner (part of the program, but also a woman who was to become one of my dearest friends) and expressed my struggles. She nodded her head knowingly as I spilled, but then asked "What if you had baked some bread and offered it to every one of those people, instead of the Gospel?" She asked me if I would have felt like I was trespassing then. It finally hit home-- and shook me up a little over the next few days. The quality of my faith was being tested. If I truly believed those people were going to Hell if they didn't receive Christ, then what is a loaf of bread compared to CHRIST?!
The call was clear. The way was still blurry. I prayed for grace to obey. I went door to door several more times. It still  didn'tseem to be my personality. But it got "easier" each time. I read and read and read the Scriptures. God taught me about fear of man vs. fear of God. I learned about how prayer alters attitudes and perspectives. Not to mention circumstance and conversation.
 At first I simply did it out of obedience to the call. God taught me that it is enough to follow Him. and  that He will make me a fisher of men.
Reward
I wish I had time to type all the stories of people we met. We usually went out on a  bi-weekly basis (one day on the street downtown, another going door to door.) We didn't promote a church or denomination. We promoted Jesus. We had tracts that we offered to everyone. Our goal was to use them as a tool to initiate conversation and provoke thought, should we not be given a chance to speak. In the entire 6 months, we never had someone 'pray the prayer'. Because we didn't encourage it. Our goal was to turn their hearts toward a God and his Word Who could answer their questions and could save them from the road they were on and the devastation it leads to. We weren't looking for emotional decisions, we were looking to plant seeds, and yes harvest, but only if the fruit was ripe. Basically, this is what I say to people (many, of whom are Christians) who accuse us of "shoving Christianity down someone's throat".
 Because we were in an area where athiests and new-agers were more common than professing Christians, we often would start the conversation with "do you believe in God?".  Sometimes the curt reply was followed by the door being quickly shut in our faces. We heard some of the undoubtedly lamest excuses ever for being too busy to talk. (ok, yes we've all made them :)
And then there were those people who said "I was just thinking about this", or "my buddies and I were just having a discussion about God the other night" and incredible conversations would follow.  We experienced the work of the Holy Spirit when we said things and found scriptures, we didn't even know we knew. I remember one time in particular when, after we had stated our reason for being on their porch, their jaws  dropped.They had just been talking to each other about how God was drawing them, and they knew they had come to a fork in the road and must decide. The timing of God leading us to certain doors, left us in awe. Week after week we had assurance that God was in what we were doing.
 Please note. There is a wrong way to go door-to-door. It is not my goal in this post, to teach someone how-to. But just as we tell Athiests not to let a bad experience prove there is no God, so I ask you, if you've had a bad experience with door to door-ing, don't brush off the potential that remains.
I could go on. And on. But I shall close with this. Its very important and must be grasped for you to understand where I'm coming from. Going 'door to door' isn't the crux of the matter. Speaking the Gospel is.  I just figured the example of us trainees standing on street corners with huge Jesus signs would be  a little much. ;-) My point is, however its done, wherever its done, is mostly irrelevant to the topic that is really on my heart to share with you. Our actions do speak so think about this: You know your self, your weaknesses and failures. If your friends or acquaintances only see your actions, but never hear of your God, where do you think they are going to spend eternity? Though its something we daily strive for as Christians, I know my actions aren't enough to reflect the perfect Son of God.
If you talk about everything and everyone else you love, why not Jesus?
 Jeremiah 1 
6Then said I, Ah, Lord GOD! behold, I cannot speak: for I am a child. 7But the LORD said unto me, Say not, I am a child: for thou shalt go to all that I shall send thee, and whatsoever I command thee thou shalt speak. 8Be not afraid of their faces: for I am with thee to deliver thee, saith the LORD. 9Then the LORD put forth his hand, and touched my mouth. And the LORD said unto me, Behold, I have put my words in thy mouth.

 

2 Reflections:

Melinda said...

Wow. Thanks for sharing part of your testimony. It was so encouraging.

And, I'm very, very glad you went to Shield of Faith's discipleship program, 'cause I got to meet you because of it. :-)

love,
Melinda

Kathy said...

Really good post, Kaylene. So much truth here. Thanks for sharing!




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When I am faithless, He is faithful.
When mine fail, His plans prevail.
When I fail, His mercy endures.
Without Him, I am nothing.


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