Healing And Salvation In The Middle Of The World
(I recently read this article at Charisma News about being bold in sharing the gospel of salvation with others. Here are some of my experiences.)
Learning To Share The Gospel
When I was born again, it felt like heaven opened over me and a great weight of oppression lifted off of me. As a young Christian, I often felt the importance of sharing the message of salvation with others, but it seemed so extremely difficult! Even if I knew what to say, if felt like I had little authority to back it with. Sometimes I would cry, because what God had done in my life was so special, but I felt like I didn’t know how to talk to people to make them understand the reality of salvation. I would imagine myself talking to people about Christ, but I was timid.
When I did step out, I knew that what I was saying was true because I had experienced it. Yet I felt like when I was talking to others I was telling them something that sounded crazy, with no way to prove it. So even though I really tried to share the gospel sometimes, it was with very little success.
When I got into healing and supernatural ministry, at first it was mostly ministering to people who were born again. But eventually, one thing led to another, and I was soon laying my hands on people I met on the street or wherever I went, and miracles were happening to unbelievers.
I also learned to show people a sign. I would pray for people and they would feel God’s glory tangibly, often like a weight on their hands or shoulders. When people were healed or felt the weight of God’s goodness on them, it began to become easy and natural to share the message of the gospel. I spoke of what Jesus did for us, whether I was talking to believers or unbelievers. Even then, it seemed very difficult for me to ask someone if they had received salvation, or if they wanted to. There were even some times that dramatic miracles happened to unbelievers yet even if I talked about the gospel, I never asked them if they wanted to receive Christ.
The Center Of The World
Soon after moving to Brazil, I traveled with my wife to visit her relatives in another part of Brazil. We went to the northeast of Brazil, to the state of Paraiba.
When we drove deep into the interior of the state, I began to strangely feel like I was in the middle of the world. It was a feeling that is hard to describe, but maybe the above photograph will give you an idea of what it was like. Much of Paraiba is very rural, and we passed miles and miles of fields and mountains, with small villages in between. It just felt like it was in the middle of everything. We finally arrived in the town of Remigio, where many of Beth’s relatives lived.
In Remigio, we visited one of Beth’s aunts. She was very obese, and very depressed. I asked her if she needed to be healed of anything. She did. She had a lot of pain and several physical problems. Beth said to me “I don’t have faith for her to be healed. She is just too fat. She needs to lose weight.” But I was confident that the Lord wanted to heal her.
I prayed and commanded the pain and depression to go. In a few minuets all the pain that she had been feeling was gone. She felt God’s presence touch her, and her whole countenance changed. She was filled with joy. I explained how this happened-Jesus carried our sins and sicknesses on his body. Jesus made it possible for us to approach the Father, righteous because of his blood, free from sin. But I didn’t ask her if she wanted to give her life to Jesus. We returned to the house where we were staying.
The next day she came and visited us. She told us that she had a dream in which she needed to talk to me. Now it was obvious that God was saying I needed to talk to her about salvation and giving her life to Jesus! There was no mistaking it. Yet the whole time that she was there, I didn’t. I kept thinking that I was going to say something, but then someone else was talking about something else. It felt like it was hard to get a chance to speak to her about this, and even when I did, I didn’t jump on the opportunity quickly enough. She went home, and I thought, “Wow, I really missed it there!”
It felt so difficult to talk to her about embracing Christ. But I really needed to act. The dream that she had made it clear. On the last night of our stay in Remigio, I told Beth “We need to visit your aunt again. I need to share the gospel with her. That’s why she had that dream.”
We went to her house late that night, and with tears, I explained the gospel to her again and asked her to receive the Lord. I was very moved, because when I share the message of the gospel, I remember how God delivered me and I think of all that God has done in my life. Her daughter was there on the side with her baby, and I saw that her daughter was weeping as I spoke about the gospel.
She received the Lord! What glory and joy! It was the first time that I prayed with someone to receive Christ, and felt confident that they understood and meant it with all their heart. I am sure that it is so obvious to all who are reading this that I should have also asked her daughter, who was standing nearby and weeping, if she also wanted to dedicate her life to Christ. But I didn’t.
Six months after being born again, Beth’s aunt died. I pray that the seed sown in her daughter’s heart bears much fruit.
Listening To The Holy Spirit
Once I was cooling off in the swimming pool and saw a man talking with people in front of our house. I began to imagine in my mind that I was sharing the gospel with him, and in my mind’s eye, I saw him giving his heart to Jesus. Tears came to my eyes as I imagined this.
This just felt like it was my own thoughts, but remembering how God needed to prod me into sharing the gospel by giving Beth’s aunt a dream that she needed to talk to me, I decided I should take this as God speaking to me. If felt so difficult, but I just had to do it.
This man had been healed twice by God before, of different problems. The second time after he was healed, even though I said nothing to him about salvation, he began to weep and he said “I would become a Christian, but I can’t give up drinking and smoking.” I should have talked to him more then, but I didn’t. That was the previous year.
I found him sitting near his house, sat down beside him and said “I believe that God spoke to me about you. Have you received God’s free gift of salvation? Just like when you were healed, it is a miracle. God will give you a new heart and a new nature.” It wasn’t nearly as hard to talk to him as it felt like it would be.
He said “Glory!” Then he broke down weeping and said “The greatest miracle is that you came to talk to me. Yesterday I wanted to kill me son.” I asked if he wanted to be saved, and he immediately said “Yes.”
It’s a little embarrassing for me to admit to you some of these situations where I should have been bolder to ask someone to give their heart to Jesus. I mean, my wife’s cousin was weeping hearing the gospel, and I didn’t ask her if she also wanted to come to the Lord!
At times, I have been extremely in bold approaching people who were in need of healing. It felt really scary and difficult at first, just like if felt to ask someone to give their heart to Jesus. But once I got started I was on a roll. I even once commanded a man “In Jesus’ name, get up and walk,” and I boldly told people “Jesus is going to heal you right now.” Yet even though I have stepped out very boldly before, sometimes it still feels really hard to talk to someone I see on the street who needs healing. It’s like Nike’s motto. You need to “Just Do It!”
Maybe to some of you it would seem strange that I had already been so bold with ministering healing, yet it seemed like it was so hard for me to ask someone to accept Christ. The thing is, when you are on a roll with healing the sick, it’s not like you have to ask them to believe anything. You are just there to show them something. When you are asking someone to accept Christ, you are asking them to make a decision about their life.
But I find when I feel so afraid and I decide to “Just Do It” and do it now, I speak and act with great boldness. I feel like this recent experience of obeying the Lord and sharing the gospel has really encouraged me so that I will be quicker to jump in and “Just Do It” in the future, when I have an opportunity to invite someone to be born again.
I am sure that many who are reading this can relate to my struggles with sharing the gospel when I needed to. May these testimonies be an encouragement to you to “Just Do It” as well! And by the way, if it is hard to share the gospel, learning to heal the sick will really help you and make it easier!