FROM THE PROFS: Opportunity to reach the world is here in our community
An evangelism visit to an international food mart proved that reaching the nations is possible right here in our own community. “Three continents were represented in our conversation,” says John Massey. “Christians from America and Nigeria were sharing Christ with two ladies from Nepal.”
Massey, associate professor of missions at Southwestern Seminary, and Mattias, a Nigerian student at Southwestern, headed to an African food store during the spring semester to talk to the owners and share Christ with them. When they found the store closed, they headed to an Indian food store in Fort Worth instead.
Happily, they were the only customers, giving them a chance to speak at length to the two Nepalese women who operate the store. “I told them that we were from Southwestern Seminary and asked if any of our Indian students shopped there, and [one of the women] said they did,” Massey says. “After I picked up a few of my favorite Indian food items, I began asking about her religion and what she thought about God.”
She identified herself as a Hindu, Massey says, “but she declared that she does not go to the temple or believe in reincarnation. She also offered that she believes that no one should ever say a negative thing about another religion. All religions are equally valid, she said.”
Massey shared his testimony and quoted Jesus’ words in John 14:6: “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through me.” The woman immediately responded, “Our gods would never say that! I disagree with that!”
“She understood the force of what I was saying yet seemed to contradict her belief in never saying something negative about another’s faith,” Massey says. The woman countered by saying that Hinduism is older than Christianity, and that even Jesus borrowed from Hinduism.
“[But] I shared with her that Jesus existed before the Creation, because all things were created by Him and through Him,” Massey says. “He precedes all man-made religions. She fell silent when I said this.”
Massey recalls that the woman was very open to talking with him and Mattias and listening to the message of the cross and resurrection of Christ. Although she did not make a profession of faith while they were there, Massey says their encounter reminded him how open people can be to talking about spiritual things.
The evangelists asked how they could pray for her, and Mattias prayed for her there in the store. “I was reminded of how demographics have changed so quickly in America, and how God has brought the nations to our doorstep,” Massey says.
A Nepalese church in the area is following up with both women from the store. The evangelism experience is a joyful reminder that opportunities for international evangelism are right here in our community.