Planting seeds in Syria, harvesting fruit in the US

By May 4, 2018
hands, prayer, talking Photo by Jeremy Yap on Unsplash

United States (MNN) – e3 Partners has a group in the United States who works with refugees in the DFW area. The group regularly delivers food, baby items, and anything they can to meet the needs of these refugee families. But in the process of meeting physical needs, a gate is thrown open for building relationships through which faith stories and the Gospel are lovingly and respectfully shared.

Answering Needs, Building Relationships

An example of this happened a few weekends ago when an e3 Partners team was delivering baby items to a Syrian family of eight. The teammates, Andrew and Kathy, had grown close with this particular family over the last several months, and were invited in for dinner. In fact, they’d even call each other friends.

(Photo courtesy of e3 Partners)

“Andrew started sharing a story of Jesus raising the only son of a widow from dead, from Luke 7:11-15. So it’s a short story, but it’s powerful, especially to Muslims,” e3 Partners’ Jeff Johnston shares.

“They believe that Jesus raised people from the dead and though they don’t believe that He died on the cross, they believe that He ascended into heaven. So they believe that He is alive and that He’s there now, and so in this manner, Jesus is completely unique among their prophets.”

This story led to a conversation which went a little something like this.

“If Jesus had power over death, and is the only prophet you believe is alive in heaven, wouldn’t you want to know what He said about how one might get to heaven?” Johnston explained.

This question was loaded with the opportunity to share the Gospel in a natural conversational progression. And through the three circles technique, Andrew did just that.

Planting Seeds, Bearing Fruit

“And so he starts sharing the three circles method and the father of the family said, ‘Oh yeah, Elias shared something like this with me back in Syria,’” Johnston says. “And at first Andrew just said oh yeah, that’s cool. There’s a lot of people in Syria named Elias and so he wasn’t really thinking anything of it.”

However, the father of the family continued to point what Andrew was saying back to what this man named Elias had taught him. Finally, when the father said this a third time, Andrew realized God was trying to tell him something. That’s when he stopped, thought back to the man he knew by the name Elias and asked the obvious.

“He asked the man, “Is this Elias? Is he actually from the United States?” And [the father] said yes. [Elias] had come from the United States, but he was living in Syria at the time,” Johnston explains.

After asking further clarifying questions, it became clear to Andrew that this Elias being talked about was the same man Andrew knew 20 years before.

“What [Andrew] realized was that Elias had planted these seeds, these seeds of sharing the Gospel, in this family eight years prior. And now, Andrew and his wife Kathy were getting to see the fruit of what Elias had shared with [the family] before,” Johnston shares.

“It’s really a testimony to what it says in Scripture about how one man will plant the seed and another man will harvest it. Elias got to plant that seed and Andrew really got to then see the fruit of that himself. And so, that family at the end of that day actually accepted Jesus into their lives.”

Johnston says Andrew described this moment as being one of the greatest things he’s even been able to witness. And it started in Syria when a faithful believer listened to God and obeyed.

Be Prayerful, Be Active

e3 is now following up with this family to disciple them, love them, and to help them grow in their newfound faith. But this family’s story of coming to Christ is also a great reminder of something else.

(Photo courtesy of e3 Partners)

“As much lostness, as much need as there is to share the Gospel abroad, there’s that same need here. There are plenty of people here that haven’t heard the Gospel or need to hear it again,” Johnston shares.

The takeaway? Plant seeds for the Gospel every opportunity you get. Because there’s no knowing how God will harvest them.

So please, pray for the people evangelizing, for God to give them the energy, strength, and boldness to keep proclaiming His name.

Pray also for boldness in your own life to share the Gospel when opportunities present themselves.

“They present themselves a lot more often than we realize. There’s a lot of opportunities, I would say probably almost every day, for us to share the Gospel with someone,” Johnston says.

And finally, pray for those hearing the Gospel to have open hearts and come to a saving faith in Christ.

Learn more about e3 Partners’ training resources to share the Gospel here!

 

(Header photo courtesy Jeremy Yap via Unsplash)

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