Friend’s persistent Gospel witness bears fruit
Throughout the past four years, JT, a family friend of Bachelor of Science student Heath Van Zandt, often expressed interest in church and learning Scripture. For a time, he even attended church with Van Zandt, although he stopped after only a few weeks. In spite of JT’s curiosity and desire to learn more, he felt he did not understood enough about the Bible to be able to give his life to Christ. On Sept. 13, however, when confronted with the Gospel again, he realized that he did not want to wait any longer.
Van Zandt and JT had been friends for about four years but eventually lost touch. However, in recent months, Van Zandt was compelled to reach out to his friend again. The two quickly reconnected and began communicating through text messages.
JT is partially deaf, so, even with his cochlear implant, which allows him to have a better sense of sound, text messages often proved to be a more effective form of communication. Van Zandt says, “The cochlear implant makes communicating with him a little bit difficult, but God always opened doors for us to be able to talk with one another.”
JT quickly expressed an interest in attending church again, so he joined Van Zandt at church the following Sunday, and Van Zandt used this opportunity to share the Gospel with his friend. However, JT was still hesitant to give his life to Christ, wanting to first learn more about Scripture. “He did not understand that you do not have to understand every little detail about the Bible to be saved,” Van Zandt says.
A week later, JT returned to church with Van Zandt, who had recruited a mentor of his to help share the Gospel and be available to answer questions. They found a room away from the chatter and noise of the church in which JT could ask further questions. Because JT was unable to hear much of what was being discussed, they utilized the whiteboard in the room to write their questions and answers.
After answering several of JT’s questions, Van Zandt asked him if he wanted to know how to make Jesus his savior. When JT confirmed that he was ready to learn how to be saved, Van Zandt presented the Gospel to him once more and says he could see that JT was “slowly getting it.”
In his written account of the experience, Van Zandt reflected, “When he had a grasp of everything, he recognized that Jesus died for our sins (John 3:16), we all fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23), sin is death (Romans 6:23), the only way to heaven is through Jesus (John 14:6), He defeated the grave and was resurrected from the dead (Acts 17:3), and you must profess by mouth (Romans 10:9).” After this final presentation of the Gospel, and after he had reflected on the meaning of each verse, JT wrote that he was ready to pray for forgiveness of his sins and give his life to Christ.
“JT talks to me sometimes, but it is very hard for me to understand what he says because of the effect of his cochlear implant,” Van Zandt says. “But when he was praying and asking God to forgive his sins, I could understand every single word that came out of his mouth. If that does not show you the power of God, then I don’t know what would. That is a miracle in itself.”