I love to hear the amazing God stories that our InFaith staff around the country share with us. I’m thankful for the mission of our Field Director for Southern California, Keith Stringfellow, who shared the following story recently:
Great plans were laid for an Easter outreach in Sunshine Summit, a family activity to share the events of Jesus’ final week. The various stations, crafts, game supplies, BBQ, and volunteers were poised and ready to greet the many or few who would show up in the impoverished little trailer park. This ‘Amazing Race’ was supposed to begin at 10 on Saturday. By 10:30, still no one showed interest from their shrouded trailer windows. I, Keith, began to feel discouraged, even angry, that all this effort was for naught; and how embarrassing to the team of volunteers who gave their time and heart to reaching kids for Christ. Then God said, “Do the race anyhow, make it fun and special” for the three church kids who were there with their parents.
So, the “race” began with a junior high and high school boy racing against the Young family. This family team included a 10-year-old, his Dad, and his two older siblings, including Jacob whom I had never met. I couldn’t help but notice the pure happiness that this family was experiencing as the 10-year-old and his siblings in their 20s were mutually encouraging each other and cheering on their Dad. At the final station, “the empty tomb,” they all sat attentively on the ground as I shared the resurrection of Jesus and hope we have today. We enjoyed the BBQ lunch; it was like an old fashioned, country town church picnic. I got to know Jacob a bit as he shared about his experience as a college student and lack of any church participation. The next morning, the Young family sat in the front row, and Jacob seemed so attentive. Linda then had the opportunity to speak with him after the service. We didn’t think much of it but looked forward to seeing him next time he would be in town visiting his parents. “Next time” never came.
Two weeks later, we received word that Jacob was killed in a motorcycle accident. We since learned that though he had prayed to receive Jesus and been baptized in his youth, Jacob had not been walking with the Lord. But Easter weekend, his parents observed a change as he started talking about spiritual things and even ordered himself a new Bible. All of us who were part of the ‘Amazing Race’ began to realize that event was for Jacob, the 22-year-old who we didn’t even know would be there that day. Over time, God provided several signs to assure the family that Jacob is with the Lord today. Linda and I had the blessing of joining the family and friends for the memorial near San Luis Obispo, CA and sharing the hope we have in Christ with many there.
We praise the Lord for every opportunity God gives to share his love and truth with others!