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Monday, October 15, 2012

Encouraged to Evangelize

By Cheryle M. Touchton
The Pocket Full of Quarters Lady

Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing. 1 Thess 5:11

Our friend John Turnburke has followed the adventures of Pocket Full of Change Ministries since Day 1. He was the first to encourage me to go into full time ministry. When we became a non-profit corporation, he agreed to serve on our Board of Directors and encouraged our growth by being the first to contribute monthly. Over the years, his encouraging e-mails, voice mails, Face Book posts, and telephone calls to Bob and me have carried us through the ministry valleys and celebrated with us during the mountain moments.

Up until last week, John had never seen the fruits of his encouragement in action. On Thursday night, he and a group of his friends joined me in mall evangelizing.

As an encouragement to come evangelizing, John bought everyone dinner. I trained the group over dinner, we prayed, and went out to tell the mall about Jesus.

We had walked about 200 feet when we had our first encounter. It was quick, powerful, and the presence of the Holy Spirit rocked all of us. A woman wept and asked Jesus to be her Lord and Savior. We were stunned by what had just happened.

As we continued through the mall, we led 2 more people to Jesus. Both encounters were unique, powerful, and moving. We gave the gospel about 10 times in under two hours. Several more were under conviction and we knew they would pray to receive Jesus soon.

It was getting close to mall closing time. “This is your first time,” I said to the group. “Being in the presence of the Holy Spirit snatching a soul for eternity can be overwhelming. I could do this all night but I know you might be tired. Are you ready to stop yet?”

“No,” they said in unison. “Let’s do this for a little while longer.” I didn’t have to be asked twice.

We walked over to two young women eating at the food court. One beamed as she declared Jesus as her Lord and Savior. The other got tears in her eyes as she admitted she had no idea where she would spend eternity.

As we gave the Gospel, the Christ Follower encouraged her lost friend. “This is what I’ve been talking about. They are saying the same thing to you that I have been saying.”

“Have you been praying for her?” I asked.

“I have,” she said.

“Your prayers brought us here,” I said. “For the rest of your life I want to you remember the power of your prayers.” I turned to her lost friend and invited her to meet Jesus. She agreed and tearfully asked for forgiveness of sin and invited Jesus to become her Savior.

After the salvation prayer, her faithful praying friend looked at us and said, “You have no idea how glad I am that you were here. Thank you.”

“Your prayers brought us here,” I reminded her.

That night, we were encouraged to evangelize by John Turnburke. Four people met Jesus because John encouraged an evangelism event into a reality. Many have met Jesus because John encouraged me into ministry. Having people in my life with the spiritual gift of encouragement is essential for my life and ministry. To everyone who has encouraged me and others to evangelize, I want to say, Thank you. Encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing. The angels also thank you because every time someone prays to receive Jesus, the Bible says it is party time for the Heavenly Hosts.

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