Two and a half years of witnessing bears first fruit of salvation
Ryan Thiessen had been faithfully participating in Southwestern’s weekly evangelism efforts for the past two and a half years. Sept. 8, however, marked the first time he saw a person pray to receive Christ at his invitation. The experience was richly rewarding, Thiessen says, especially after he knocked on so many doors for such a long time.
On Sept. 8, Thiessen, a Master of Divinity student, teamed up with fellow M.Div. student Sharon Ngai in order to bring the Gospel from house to house in a neighborhood near Hulen Street. When Thiessen and Ngai reached their third house, a man came to the door and told them that he already attended a Methodist church. When Ngai asked him questions about salvation, however, the man, whose name is Clayton, responded with works-based answers.
Trying to ensure that Clayton actually understood the true Gospel, Ngai asked him, “Do you know for certain that you would go to heaven?” When confronted with this direct question, Clayton gave an uncertain answer. He responded, “Well, I hope that I would. I think that I might.”
Thiessen realized that this was an opportunity to challenge Clayton to accept Christ into his life. He asked, “Would you like to know for sure?”
When Clayton affirmed that he did, Thiessen explained that human beings cannot do anything to merit salvation, and that he must accept Jesus Christ as the only Savior and Lord of his life. While commending Clayton for trying to be a better person and joining Bible studies at his church to learn more about God, Thiessen explained that these works alone cannot grant him eternal life.
After presenting the Gospel, Thiessen asked Clayton if he would like to receive Christ that day. Clayton answered “yes,” and Thiessen guided him through a prayer to profess faith in Jesus. Afterward, Thiessen offered Clayton his contact information and encouraged him to speak to his pastor about what had happened to him.
“In two and a half years, that was my first conversion, and it was super encouraging,” Thiessen says. Referring to missionary Adoniram Judson, who waited for seven years before seeing the first convert in Burma, Thiessen notes that although it did not take him as long, Clayton’s profession of faith was an exciting reward after years of faithful witnessing.
“I know it wasn’t me who did the saving,” he says, “but it sure is a good feeling. Praise God that He could use someone like me.”