College student overcomes evangelistic apathy
FORT WORTH, Texas (SWBTS) – When asked in May to join another student and a professor as they shared the Gospel in neighborhoods around Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, Arelie shied from the task.
Studying missions in the College at Southwestern, Arelie loves Christ and has long had a passion to share the message of Christ. She loves to join other students at the seminary’s World Missions Center as they pray for the nations each Friday night during the semester. But that day in May, she confesses, her spiritual life looked drab, and her usual flare for evangelism was dim. Nevertheless, she went along with her peers, serving as a Spanish translator—what she thought would be a safe, secondary role.
After visiting a couple of houses, Arelie and her companions came to the home of Anna, a young mother who could only speak Spanish. Despite her hesitance, Arelie was pushed to the forefront of the conversation.
“I kept thinking that it was pointless for us to be there and that we should just move on because it seemed to me like she wasn’t even listening,” Arelie says. “Yet God never ceases to do amazing things, regardless of my terrible lack of faith.”
Soon, Anna realized that she was a sinner, that she could do nothing to save herself, and that she needed God to forgive her of her sins.
“When I invited Anna to accept the message she heard and confess Jesus as Lord, she did,” Arelie says. “She did it with great joy.” Concerned that Anna would ask for forgiveness without truly submitting to Christ’s Lordship in her life, Arelie presented the Gospel message to her once more. “Again, she eagerly said, ‘Yes,’ but this time with a more confident tone of voice.” Arelie then led Anna as she surrendered to God in prayer.
“As I was sharing the Gospel with her,” she says, “it made me realize that we need the Gospel still, even as followers of Christ, to be reminded of God’s grace and everything He did for us on the cross while we were still sinners.”
Arelie’s encounter with Anna revived her enthusiasm for the Gospel. The following month, she volunteered to travel to Phoenix, Ariz., with Southwestern Seminary students to proclaim the Gospel throughout the city as part of Crossover Phoenix, an evangelism initiative coinciding with the Southern Baptist Convention.
Visiting one house, she spoke to a young teenager, Luis. She shared the Gospel with him, and—worrying that he might be bored—she offered to leave and let him play his video games once more. But he wanted to hear more about the Gospel. When Arelie asked if he would like to become a Christian, Luis said, “Yes.” Then she led him in prayer.
Arelie remembers that Luis prayed “God, I just want to thank you for bringing these people to me to share your Son with me and to talk to me about the Bible.”
“This kid understood that God is doing the sending out,” Arelie says, “and that is how God is going to get the Gospel to different people: through us—through believers—sharing the Gospel with people, and then them sharing it with more people.
“That is how God’s kingdom is being built up here on earth.”