November 16, 2011
A “random” encounter leads to a heavenly selection
By Rob Burns, serving in Macedonia
I passed some hitchhikers on my way to Kochani to pick up Zoki, a national Christian who has a gift for evangelism, before going on to Berovo, a town of 7,500 near the Bulgarian border where we regularly visit believers and seekers. As I approached the city of Shtip, I saw more hitchhikers. After some deliberation, I “randomly” stopped next to a couple young guys, and asked them where they were going. They said, “Kochani, and then on.”
The boys, Noel and Victor,* hopped in the car and said they were high school students, studying in another town. They asked, “What are you doing in Macedonia?” I explained that I was here to work with the Evangelical Church of Macedonia (the national partner church) and to be a blessing to the people and country of Macedonia. I told them that regardless of whether someone calls himself Orthodox, Catholic, or Protestant, the most important thing in life is to have a relationship with God through Jesus Christ.
When we came to Kochani, I asked if they were stopping here, telling them I was going on to Berovo. They were excited, as “coincidentally,” their real destination was Berovo, too, and now they had a ride as far as their town. Perhaps I was even more excited, however, as I thought, “Good, they will meet Zoki.”
Zoki got in the car, and, after learning my companions were students, discussed what it means to get an “excellent” grade in life. He asked them if they believed that was possible without God, to which both replied that they felt it was impossible. Zoki began to share the gospel with them, asking from time to time if they wanted him to continue or if he was boring them. Each time, the students said, “No, please continue!” Zoki shared his own story, the gospel, and the need for repentance.
I prayed silently as I drove. Zoki asked his listeners if they wanted to pray a prayer of repentance and begin a relationship with God. They said yes! We still had several minutes before arriving in Berovo, which was invaluable time as the young men prayed with Zoki, who stressed the importance of fellowship. I related my testimony as well. The two guys, Noel and Victor, gave us their phone numbers, and we promised to be in contact with them. They both seemed interested in that. Zoki said to me, “Shame on me and shame on you for not having any New Testaments to give them!”
“How often does this happen?” I asked my coworker as we allowed the moment to sink in. Zoki said that he was surprised to see so much spiritual openness and warmth, particularly in teenagers. He was excited that they agreed to pray with him a prayer of repentance in the car and then also to give us their phone numbers. Had they not been interested, or just humoring us, they would not have given their numbers.
The following Friday, Zoki and I picked up Noel and gave him a New Testament, which we obtained through someone in his village. We told him many important basics about having a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Zoki and I look forward to meeting again with Victor and Noel, who continue to show an interest in learning about Jesus.
Our first Alliance Core Value states, “Lost people matter to God; He wants them found.” In the case of Noel and Victor, I refer to Jesus’ parable of the lost sheep; we could also say that He wants them brought home. God chose us to give them a ride to their physical home to lead them to their spiritual home.
Please pray for Victor and Noel! I have been encouraged by the warm reception we have received in Noel’s village. I have to wonder if God is preparing this village for spiritual fruit and Noel is just a part of that. Pray that the seed that has begun to bear fruit will result in many people knowing Jesus as their Savior.
Read more stories about Alliance work in the Balkans.
Read additional stories of the worldwide work Alliance ministries supported by the Great Commission Fund.
What You Can Do
Give to the Great Commission Fund. In doing so, you partner with Alliance workers, like Rob Burns, who are lighting the way for people trapped in spiritual darkness.
Pray for Alliance workers around the world.
Check out how your church can begin a Ministry Partnership with overseas Alliance workers.