FIRST-PERSON: After years of prayer and in the midst of pandemic, student’s mother receives Christ as Savior
Being the only child in my family, I find it most difficult to share the Gospel with my parents. They know my sins, my weaknesses, and my failures better than anyone else. In addition to that, based on the traditions of Asian hierarchy, it is disrespectful for a child to call parents unto repentance. However, nothing is impossible in Christ. God continues to do miraculous things through crisis and difficulties, including the current coronavirus pandemic. This Easter, after years of petitioning to the Lord, my mom has received Christ as her Savior.
According to Dr. Matt Queen, L.R. Scarborough Chair of Evangelism at Southwestern Seminary, evangelism is a spiritual discipline. God calls us to be obedient and faithful when we evangelize. After witnessing my mother’s decision to trust in Christ, I just wanted to share what I have learned from God.
First, I must pray without ceasing. As noted earlier, my daily prayers included my mother’s salvation. Also, I have implored many friends across the world to pray for her salvation. Praying without ceasing is something that pleases God. When we come to God with our request, we admit that we cannot save or change anyone. Only God is able to save.
There were times when I felt deeply discouraged and could not see any way my mother would trust Christ. There were more times of rejection than I could remember. However, the more I prayed for her salvation, the more I saw the active hand of God working in my heart and making me see my responsibility to share the Gospel and His role to save.
Often, I was close to giving up. I was completely frustrated at my mom’s stubbornness. Yet, I repeatedly asked God, “Please loosen the soil, please loosen the soil.”
As I continued to faithfully fulfill my responsibility, I began to see the work of the Holy Spirit. My mom began reading the Bible last year. She also attended church with me this past winter break when I returned home. She even started asking questions about the Bible. This process of evangelism to my mom taught me the importance of a dedicated walk with God and the dependable work of the Spirit.
Second, I must show compassion to the lost and love them. One of the greatest temptations while evangelizing to my mom was the desire to educate her, an unbeliever, with biblical knowledge. While this is commendable, it may not be wise and loving. Once, I talked with a professor from another seminary whose expertise is counseling and care toward the elderly. I was convicted by some of his sage advice. He shared that one of the worst ways of evangelism toward loved ones is by trying to overwhelm them with biblical head knowledge. Instead, the important thing is to discover ways to be compassionate and loving toward the elderly.
My mom has been suffering from diabetes for many years. Soon, she will be having a critical and complicated surgery. It is during this season that God has been working in my heart. I have learned that I must show her compassion and care by my enduring patience and love.
Another encouragement I have learned from other mature Christians is that my own life transformation is the best testimony of Jesus’ love before my family. Having seen her child’s change, my mom has felt my vulnerability and has gradually begun to share with me her struggles, worries, and confusion. She also became more open-minded to talk about Christianity.
Biblical knowledge is important, but it is the enduring love, compassion, and patience toward those whom we love that will earn opportunities to share the Gospel.
Third, I must be a minister of God’s Word. “For the word of God is living and effective and sharper than any double-edged sword, penetrating as far as the separation of soul and spirit, joints and marrow. It is able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12). This verse reminds me of the importance of ministering God’s Word to my mom.
Interestingly, during this current pandemic, I have been provided more opportunities to talk to my parents over the phone. Recently, when I spoke with my mom, she shared that she had read through the first 10 chapters of the book of Matthew. I asked her what she remembered from these passages. She replied that she only remembered a woman who discharged blood, who was healed by Jesus. Taking full advantage of this opportunity, I spent a good amount of time going deeper into that story and asked her to pay attention to verse 22, which says, “Have courage, daughter. Your faith has saved you.”
I reminded my mom that she did not have to finish reading the Bible in order to believe in Jesus. I invited her to consider the sick woman in Matthew 9—Jesus not only healed her, but saved her soul.
At first, I did not realize that it was the Holy Spirit’s work for my mother to remember this. However, looking back, I now know that it was God who spoke to her heart through this story. Although I did not ask her to put her faith in Christ at that time, I knew this was an opportunity gained to be a minister of God’s Word.
This past Saturday, the Spirit was stirring my heart again to share the Gospel with my mom and invite her to come to Christ. I was uncertain of her response, but I knew I must continue to try. This time, when I shared the Gospel of Jesus’ love, my mother repented of her sins and received Christ as her personal Lord and Savior.
I never expected this to happen during this Easter weekend. I am still rejoicing at my mother’s salvation. Let us all remember that all things work together for good, according to His purpose (Romans 8:28). The coronavirus cannot stop God’s work of salvation. Doctors and nurses are saving people’s lives in the hospital. We, as Christ-followers, are called to win lost souls wherever we are. All glory be to God.
*Anna Yao is a master’s student from Asia at The Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. Her name has been changed to protect future mission work.