Two Southwesterners were evangelizing in the Rosemont Park neighborhood near the Southwestern campus when they learned an important lesson: sometimes, evangelism means nurturing seeds that have already been planted. In other words, people may be ready to accept Christ, but they need someone to help them take the next step into salvation.

Mark Leeds, registrar at Southwestern, and Master of Divinity student Michael Kim* were sharing the Gospel in the community, Sept. 1. At the first home they visited, they met a young woman who was visiting for the day to help a family member.

“Michael took the lead and introduced us as visitors from the big school just down the street,” Leeds says. “She said she’d heard of Jesus but wasn’t able to come up with a reason as to why God should admit her into heaven if she were to die that day.”

Despite a garbage truck rumbling through the neighborhood, making conversation difficult, Kim shared the Gospel. “She listened intently, and when asked if she would like to place her faith in Jesus alone for salvation, she said she would,” Leeds says. “I led her in the sinner’s prayer.”

The evangelists learned that the woman lives near Travis Avenue Baptist Church. “She had attended services there a few times before drifting away,” Leeds recalls. “We secured her phone number, and she was excited to have someone from Travis follow up with her to help her grow in Christ.”

The evangelists asked if there was anyone else in her home with whom they could share. A relative was there who spoke only Spanish. “Michael and I both encouraged her to share with her relative what she’d just learned and done, and she said she would,” Leeds says.

The two Southwesterners saw a second profession of faith that same day from Gabriel, who said he was Catholic but did not attend church. “Gabriel knew that he had to believe in God to enter into heaven, but he did not understand the need to believe in Christ alone for salvation, not just a generic God,” Leeds says.

“We shared the Gospel and asked if he had ever settled the matter of where his faith rested for salvation. He said he had not. We asked if he would like to settle it right then, and he did.”

Gabriel then prayed to receive Christ by faith. He shared his phone number with the evangelists so they could pass it along to local Stadium Drive Baptist Church, which will follow up with him in discipleship.

Though neither of these two people with whom Leeds and Kim connected knew the full Gospel before these encounters, the soil of their hearts had already been tilled and seeds had already been planted. They only needed someone to take them the rest of the way in knowing the full truth of the Gospel, and when an invitation was subsequently extended, they accepted. As a result of these witnessing encounters, their eternal fate is now secure. 

*Name changed to protect mission work.