The Pocket Full of Quarters Lady
Again, I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything you ask for, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven. Matt 18:19-20 NIV
How about 90? I’m thrilled with 89 but I’d love to make it 90. Could you send me just one more person before I go home?
I felt foolish about the prayer. The 2010 Pocket Full of Quarters Missionary Journey was ending the next day. I’d been on the road 4 months, had traveled 17,000 miles, and visited 30 states. 89 people praying to receive Jesus in 4 months was more that I’d ever personally experienced. Plus, I’d participated in events where hundreds had come to faith. Surely, I should happy. Still, 90 would be such a nice even number.
I called to tell Bob about my prayer. I didn’t learn until later that Bob began praying for God to send at least 1 more person.
I arrived at the book signing 30 minutes late feeling disorganized and embarrassed. It’s hard to get out of a campground early and Tom Tom, my GPS, gets as lost in Indiana as I do. I quickly set up at my table, which was right next to the front door, and began greeting people.
In walked a woman with her two teenaged grandsons. We introduced ourselves and began talking. Not wanting to leave the young men out, I turned to the oldest, an 8th grader, and asked, “Jacob, Do you go to church?”
“I go to two churches,” he muttered.
“He goes with his mother and with me,” his grandmother said. “He goes to our youth group.”
“Have you been baptized?” I asked.
“No,” he said, sounding defensive.
“It’s a problem,” his grandmother said quietly. “He hasn’t been ready.”
“Jacob,” I asked. “If something happened to you today and you didn’t live through the rest of the day, do you know where you’d go next?”
“I don’t,” he answered, waving his arms in the air. “That’s the problem. I really don’t know. I just don’t know.”
“Do you know what the Bible word is for making mistakes?”
“Sure,” he said. “Sin.”
“Aha,” I said. “You know some Sunday School answers. Have you ever sinned?”
“I don’t like Sunday School answers,” he said.
“Good for you for being honest,” I said. “That takes courage. So, have you sinned?”
“Yes,” he said.
“You’re in good company,” I said. “The Bible says we all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. It also says the wages of sin is death. It sounds like the reason you don’t know where you’re going when you die is that you know you’ve sinned.”
“The good news is that the gift of God is eternal life. God loved you so much that He sent his only son, Jesus, to die on the cross and pay the price for your sin. Do you believe in Jesus?”
“Yes,” he said. “I do.”
“Do you believe in the dying on the cross and the resurrection thing?”
“Great. That’s the hard part. Believing that someone rose from the dead is hard to believe but I suppose God wouldn’t be much of a God if He couldn’t bring the dead back to life.” Jacob laughed.
“You’ve just confessed that you’ve sinned and that you believe. The Bible says all who call on the name of Jesus will be saved. All that’s left is for you to call on the name of Jesus. We could do that right now and you could be sure you’re going to heaven. Would you like to do that?”
“I don’t know,” he said, looking at his grandmother.
“Are you OK with this?” I asked her.
“Of course,” she said.
“Jacob,” I said. “The Bible also says that the angels celebrate when someone prays to receive Jesus. We could give all of heaven an excuse for a party if you decide to follow Jesus and invite Him into your life right now. There is no party like an angel party. How about it? I’ll make it easy. I’ll tell you exactly what to pray.”
Jacob took a deep breath. His grandmother and I held our breaths. Long seconds ticked by as we waited. Finally, he said, “Sure, why not.”
I took one hand and directed his grandmother to take the other. I looked at Jacob’s younger brother. “You could do the same thing if you want.”
“No,” he said backing away. “I’m good.”
“You’re not ready yet but maybe you will be soon.” I prompted Jacob, line by line. He carefully and solemnly repeated the words:
“Dear Jesus, I believe you died on a cross and rose from the dead for my sins. Help me with the parts of me that doubt this. I confess that I have sinned and ask for your forgiveness. Please come into my life and be my Lord and Savior.”
“Congratulations, Jacob. When some other strange lady asks where you’re going when you die, I want you to tell her that you’re going to heaven because you asked Jesus into your life.” Jacob grinned.
“Here is a Christian tract that will explain what you just did. I want you to tell your church what you did and tell them you’re ready to be baptized. Maybe your grandmother can help you figure out what church to do that in.”
“Can I have two tracts for my brother and sister?” he asked. “They need to do this.”
“Absolutely,” I said. “Go home and lead them to Christ.”
I was about to burst with the good news. I thought about the angel party that was going on and needed someone to celebrate with. I walked over to the bookstore owner and said, “That young man just prayed to receive Jesus. I’d had 89 people pray to receive Christ on this journey. The journey ends tomorrow and this morning, I asked God for 1 more so the number would reach 90. God gives me the delights of my heart.”
“Now you need to ask for 95,” he joked.
The next day, I cried as I read the following e-mail:
“There are never any words big enough to say thank you when you have changed someone's life. I came home from work last night and found that my son, Jacob, had been saved. He met you yesterday at Tree of Life in Greenwood, Indiana. We have been praying for him and my husband for many years. Jacob has been involved with youth camps, church, and volunteering in the children's ministry. He just never gave his heart to Jesus. I thank God for answering that prayer through you. Your loving sister in Christ, Amie”
Amie had been praying for her son Jacob. Bob and I had been praying for a 90th person to lead to the Lord. All of our prayers intersected in Greenwood, Indiana where Jacob met Jesus. What a way to end the 2010 missionary journey.