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Sunday, January 13, 2013

Race For Eternity

By Cheryle M. Touchton
The Pocket Full of Change Ministries

Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart. Ps 37:4

“It is not a race,” someone said as I lamented over being six people short of our ministries’ 2012 salvation goal of one person for each day of the year.

It was December 31 and I had done my best. I wondered if I was being silly by trying to reach a number. After all, evangelism wasn’t a race…was it? It was 2:00 PM and I was feeling time pressure. It would be another hour before we could start the 14 hour drive back to State College, Pennsylvania. Bob had to be at work at 9:00 AM on January 2nd. It seemed like we were out of time for 2012.

At the beginning of each year, I ask God for knowledge of His will and the power to carry that out. I create a yearly prayer list and write specific goals based on what I hear God saying. At the beginning of 2012, I'd heard God say to reach one person for every day of the year. It was a Leap Year so that made the number 366. I'd wondered if that was possible but decided to say yes to a goal that was higher than I'd ever reached before.

It wasn’t as if we hadn’t tried. When Bob and I left for Jacksonville, Florida two weeks before Christmas, the number was at 359. During the frantic two weeks before Christmas, we’d given the gospel and had one salvation. At 3:30 PM on December 31st, Bob and I climbed wearily into Halleluiah to begin the long familiar drive.

“What are we going to do?” Bob asked.

“Someone told me evangelism wasn't a race,” I said. “We tried. Maybe we are making the numbers too important.”

That sounded good. Neither of us wanted to stop. We rode in uncomfortable silence for about thirty minutes.

“Bob,” I said finally. “That number came from God. God says He gives us the delights of our hearts. Six more people would really delight me. Can we stop again?”

We turned off of 95 at the exit for the lovely Jekyll Island, Georgia. We spent two wonderful hours walking through shops, talking and praying with people, and giving the gospel. One woman, who looked like she was about to deliver her first child any minute, prayed to receive Jesus. If we hadn’t have been trying to reach 366, we would have felt good about our time there but we climbed back into Halleluiah a little discouraged.

Since campgrounds are usually full on holidays, we decided to spend the night in a Wal-Mart parking lot. I pulled up my Wal-Mart iPhone app and found us one in South Carolina. At 11:00 PM, an exhausted Bob and Cheryle pulled in knowing we were going to try one more time to give the gospel in 2012.

We walked through the parking lot behind two women on a mission to prepare for a busy evening. They shivered because their low cut blouses, short skirts, and black fish net stockings gave no protection from the cold damp night air. Their heavily made up faces sparkled with New Years Eve glitter. We could hear the clomping of their high heels as we walked.

“You look like you have a busy evening planned,” I said as we walked into the warmth of the store. Even though I desperately needed to join Bob as he headed to find the rest rooms, I kept talking. “It is a dangerous night. I hope you plan to be careful.”

“That’s why we’re here,” one of them snapped. Her comment and attire gave me an idea of what they were shopping for.

“Are you from around here?” I asked.

“I don’t have time for this,” the one in the shortest skirt said as she stormed off. The other woman stopped to answer my question. I followed it by asking the important question, “If the worse happened and you didn’t make it through the night, do you know where you would go?”

“I know where I want to go but I just keep making mistakes,” she whispered as tears filled her heavily lidded eyes.

“We’ve all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God,” I encouraged, taking a trembling ringed hand. “The Bible says the wages of sin is death but the gift of God is eternal life. All who call on the name of the Lord Jesus will be saved. That word “all” can include even you.”

“Really?” she asked. “I went to church as a child but I’ve given up trying. I keep messing up.” We prayed together, inviting Jesus into her life. We prayed for healing for her and for a new start. When we finished, she threw her arms around me and sobbed on my shoulder. I knew my shirt was going to contain the precious stains of makeup-filled tears. “Thank you,” she whispered as she left to find her friend.

“We are at 361,” I cheerfully said when Bob returned from the rest room. It was 11:20. He waited for me to visit the facility and we headed to the most popular Wal-Mart isle on New Year’s Eve – beer and wine.

Then flood gates of heaven opened. Every encounter was blessed. First, we led two young men who had a cart full of beer to Christ. They reported that they were heading to a New Years Eve party and eventually to hell. When we finished the encounter, they might still be headed to a New Years Eve party but they were not going to make it to hell. The next three people we gave the gospel immediately prayed to receive Jesus.

Now can I go to bed?” a tired Bob begged after the 366th person said yes to Jesus. It was 11:45 PM. I started to say yes and noticed 3 girls I had seen earlier.

“Sorry, Bob,” I whispered. “I’ve noticed them several times and have felt drawn to them each time.” He sighed, nodded, and followed me without argument.

“I don’t see beer in your cart,” I joked to them.

“No,” one of them giggled. “We like to eat, not drink.” It was an open door to share how God had released me from the stronghold of gluttony. They listened intently to my story and seemed moved by it. Two already knew Jesus and by the time we left, the third had met Jesus.

“Now, we can go to bed,” I said to Bob. I didn’t have ask him twice and we bolted for the door.

As we walked, he grinned. “God gave us 366 people and one to grow on.” Yes, God had given me the delights of my heart by allowing us to lead 367 people to Jesus in 2012. I realized it was race – a race for souls for eternity. Satan was racing to kill and destroy. Jesus came to save for all eternity. Those six people who met Jesus that night were partying on the most dangerous night of the year. Numbers matter when sent by God, especially when each number represents a person saved for all of eternity.

"So, God," I prayed on New Year’s morning. "What is the number for 2013?"

"400," He whispered in that still small voice.


Cheryle M. Touchton, the Pocket Full of Quarters Lady, is the Director of Pocket Full of Change Ministries. She and the Missionary Dog Belle travel the country as leading people to Jesus. For more information or to schedule a speaker for an event, go to

Pocket Full of Change Ministries

This ministry exists because people like you fund the work of the evangelism. To help keep Belle the Missionary Dog and the Pocket Full of Quarters Lady on the road leading people to Christ, you can donate at


Copyright: Pocket Full of Change Ministries

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