A few years ago while serving on a jury, I got to go out to lunch with the jurors and talk with them everyday. I spent most of my time with a young Catholic woman (about 24) who was expecting her first baby. We made friends and the Lord gave me the opportunity to share the entire gospel with her, and give her the gospel to take home to read. I shared my testimony with her, emphasizing the part about works-righteousness (trying to earn your salvation) vs. the work of Christ on our behalf.
Once I was getting lunch at my local taqueria and I started chatting with my friend Manuel, the manager, who was taking my order. We had already established a friendly ‘customer’ relationship. I looked over his shoulder and pointed to the framed photo of a priest, asking him what that was. It looked like it was taken in the 50’s. He told me that the other owner wanted it there; that it was “Father So-and -So” who is a “saint” from Mexico, and the other man wanted it there for “good luck”. I just said, “oh”. Then, amazingly (there was nobody in line behind me) he started asking me all kinds of questions. I had witnessed to him before in small ways over the years (giving a Christian greeting and message in holiday cards given to him, for example) so he knew I was someone he could bring up the topic with. He expressed confusion about the Roman Catholic religion (I could also see it on his face) as he told me he did not understand it; it seemed so confusing, and he does not know if he is ‘ok’ with God, doing all the Catholic requirements. He told me he did not believe in the many superstitions of his relatives, and the beliefs about Mary (being co-redeemer) but his relatives do, and he was really confused. This was an awesome opportunity the Lord set up.
With some people eating lunch, and people in the kitchen behind Manuel, I told him my Catholic testimony of trying unending good works to earn God’s favor, and how God saved me through Jesus Christ. We stood there at the counter and the Lord gave me time and words to tell him the entire gospel. I find that my conversations with Catholics are just like my conversations with Muslims; addressing who the true God is, teaching about sin, righteousness and judgment, and focusing on the person and work of Christ, and the fact that it is God Himself, (and not us) who has done all the work to save us, out of His love and grace. Manuel had never heard this before, in all his fifty plus years of being a Catholic, and He listened intently, and asked questions. Next time I came in I gave him a Spanish bible, and some gospel messages I wrote, including an apologetic on ‘Mary’ contrasting her claims to deity vs. the scriptures. May God continue to save Catholics and may they ‘come out of her My people’, to worship and serve the Lord Jesus Christ.
Once I was walking through the mall with my daughter; she needed a pair of shoes. There was a well dressed man, about sixty five or seventy, sitting on a chair in the common area, reading a little book with many words in it. I thought that the book had to be either a Bible or a Koran. I just had to know which it was, so we went over and I said hi, and asked him what he was reading. He was studying the English dictionary! He told me he had just moved here to America, and while his wife was shopping, he was working on his English vocabulary. How interesting.
Well we started chatting and it turns out, he is a retired Brigadier General of the Egyptian Army! I asked if he had a card and he gave it to me. He has addresses in Egypt and here on the Peninsula. We had a very interesting conversation about his home country and about living here in America. I asked him why he moved here, and he said he thought it would be interesting to live in America; he said this is a good place. He had a thick accent so I had a hard time understanding some of what he said. He talked about his wife and three adult children, his grandchildren and his country. The Lord led me to not speak of Him to this man, in this conversation, but just establish a friendship only, welcoming him to his new home. I told him I would write to him to say hello, and he agreed, and we parted with respectful well wishes.
Later on I got an Arabic/English bible from a dear brother. He is my main source of foreign language bibles and I am so blessed by his ministry and leadership/discipleship influence in my life over the last 20 years (yeikes!) So I got this Arabic language bible from him, and wrote a nice note and mailed it to the General’s Peninsula address. I have absolutely no problem with this kind of witnessing, in fact it is near and dear to me, as this is exactly how I got saved; someone mailed me a bible that God used to save me. I have also heard of stories of many Muslims who find a bible somewhere, read it, and by it, become a child of the Living God by God’s grace.
I was at another park one day with my younger children. A lady came up to me selling popsicles for 25 cents each. She was new to our area from Central America. She did not know one word of English, so I tried very hard to communicate with her in her language. It was frustrating not to be able to communicate. I asked God to help me speak to her in the little Spanish I remember from school. I tried sharing the gospel with her in Spanish. Again, there are so many Spanish speaking Roman Catholics who do works to earn salvation. We need to reach them somehow, while they are still learning English. I wish I had Spanish material to give her.
Once I made an appointment for a carpet cleaning company to come to my house. A teen boy showed up; he was about 19 years old. When he was done with the carpet, we started chatting as I was writing the check for the work. His family owned the business, and they all worked together. Three generations lived in the same home, and they all worked in the business together, except for the children. They had just been in the country a short time, like a year or two. I think they were from Iran (or somewhere around there.) He knew English from high school, but most of his family at home were still speaking Arabic (or Farsi) only.
As we chatted, I casually handed him a gospel message (written for Muslims) to take home. He started asking me questions about God. He said he was very worried and afraid because in his religion (Islam) a person has to work to please God, and this made him afraid, since he did not know how he could ever do enough to please God with doing good. Again, the Lord amazingly opened up another opportunity to proclaim Christ as Lord, and the mercy and grace and love of God, in being the one to come down to us, to save us Himself, and to bring us to God, through His good work. He heard the complete gospel standing in my doorway, and he said he never heard that before and was greatly relieved to find out that we need not remain under the burden and fear of works-salvation to please “allah”. He told me he was going to go home and tell his family what he heard.
For though I am free from all men, I have made myself a slave to all, that I might win the more. And to the Jews I became a Jew, that I might win Jews; to those who are under the Law, though not being myself under the Law, that I might win those who are under the Law; to those who are without law, as without law, though not being without the law of God but under the law of Christ, that I might win those who are without law. To the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak; I have become all things to all men, that I may by all means save some. And I do all things for the sake of the gospel, that I may become a fellow partaker of it. 1 Cor.9:19-23.