When I think of sharing the gospel with others, I picture a door. A lot of the time, sharing the gospel requires much listening and discernment in order to sense where the “open doors” are. Sometimes, the doors stay closed. Sometimes we just need to stick our foot in the door, and slowly open it as others open up to us as we try to find connection points to the gospel.

Sometimes, we simply have to knock, and the door is swung wide open and the person invites us into a “gospel conversation,” in which case, we can’t deny that God truly is sovereign as He draws people in. The story I want to share with you reminds me that God moves powerfully beyond the limits we put on Him. He uses us for his purposes–often in the most unexpected ways.

This past year, I was able to befriend a group of Buddhist monks who have been living in the U.S. for the last two years. Every two years, a new cohort of monks shows up in Atlanta to participate in a university program. I was able to meet them through the international coffeehouse ministry I have been a part of, which focuses on learning about other cultures in an open and welcoming environment.

During our months of meeting, I had the opportunity to have several gospel conversations with them. We talked about God and his plan of salvation through Jesus. We talked about Buddhism and their beliefs in reincarnation and the process of eliminating suffering from your life. We asked questions, we listened, we learned.

As their time in Atlanta was coming to a close, I could feel the burden to share the gospel becoming heavier and heavier. They were leaving to return home, and I didn’t know whether I would ever see them again. Would they ever think about Jesus again after they left Atlanta? Would they ever get to hear the gospel again once they were back at the monastery? My burden felt heavy and urgent.

During our last meeting together, there was a group of us talking with one of the monks, discussing a Bible story with him. He proceeded to ask us to share with him a summary of the central message of Christianity, so that when he goes back home he can share with the other monks what Christianity is all about.

I think my jaw must have hit the floor! God had clearly been working in this man’s heart, stirring in him a curiosity about the gospel. We cannot know exactly what his intentions were, but it was a wide-open door to share one last time the story of God’s love for all people, and his salvation that is offered through Jesus.

We shared with him the story of God’s plan of redemption for all people, completed through the work of Jesus on the cross. We showed him how Christianity requires nothing of us; nothing we can do will bring us to salvation. It is only Jesus that provides salvation. And the only thing that we have to do is to believe. Jesus willingly suffered, went to the cross and suffered the consequence of our sin so that we would not have to. We shared with him what good news this is!

Essentially, we have guided this monk on how to share the gospel! We can’t know what he has done with this information, and whether he has shared what he learned. I do know that God’s Word does not return to him void, but it accomplishes the very thing it was sent to do (Isaiah 55). So we pray and believe that God is continuing to work in his heart through the gospel we have shared with him. And I am praying that God is using this monk and others to spread his gospel to the ends of the earth!

God is continually showing me that HE is the one who is drawing all people to himself. He is revealing himself to people, and he will use even us to accomplish that.

About the Author: Lauren (name changed) has been on the mobilization team for OMF for the past two years, and currently lives in Clarkston, GA serving the refugee and international communities. She loves getting to be part of God’s mission in different ways and seeing people use their gifts and abilities for His Kingdom. In her free time Lauren loves to be outside, or trying out a new hobby!

She has written two other stories about her experiences as part of the Train & Go Apprenticeship: Saying Yes to God and Yes to Missions and God Uses Our Words More Powerfully Than We Could Ever Imagine

Learn more about OMF’s partnership with Global Frontier Missions and the Train & Go Apprenticeshiphttps://omf.org/us/apprenticeship-program/

(Photo credit: Mick Haupt, Unsplash)

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2 months ago

I loved each of your stories. You have a gift to be clear, honest and even transparent as you share. God bless and continue to use. Thanks for blessing me.

2 months ago

awesome~ thank you for sharing.