Dear friends, Last week I asked you to pray for several people, Tyler, Edwin, Kevin, Patty, and Dennis. Of these, Edwin has returned, at least twice this week while I was out. Other believers witnessed to him. He seems to be drawn by the Word and the kindness of the saints. We have invited him to Bible study.
We have a Friday night Bible study at our home, which is near Oasis. Some of the saints come for dinner prior. I emailed an invitation for dinner Friday. Pray that he would join us. He seems lonely, depressed and troubled.
The Lord provided a good time of witnessing at USU last week. The weather was much warmer than forecast (low 60's Mon & Wed. instead of high 40's as forecast). Monday there was a steady stream of conversations until 5pm. Tuesday was cooler, cloudy and fewer students were out. Wednesday was sunny and students seemed eager to stop and listen to Eli preach to the crowd. Several atheists have been regulars with us on the plaza over 20 months. One, Ryan, said that he skipped two classes on Monday to stay. He was back with us at length on Wednesday. He has read many of our books.
When the atheists hang around, the active Mormons have more freedom to stop and listen, and some stay for conversation. The atheists sometimes do this intentionally to draw crowds for us. Three of these atheists, John, Ben and Mike, have been in weekly Bible study, since September, with Eli in the Gospel of John. Pray for them and other regulars, especially Kevin and James, who are a bit argumentative. Kevin said that the Atheist/Agnostic/Free-thinker club has 120 members, most from a Mormon background.
On Wednesday we were at USU until 7 pm. Eli spoke at length with another Mike, who was in despair, having no certainty in his life. Pray for him to heed Eli's words and find his certainty in Christ. Many returned Mormon missionaries came by the table to talk. A new tract, Amazing Grace, drew several into conversation. Jeremy listened attentively and really liked what I told him. This was refreshing as most Mormons mock at the idea of free grace.
Several Christian students were at the book table helping in the conversations with unbelievers--nearly all of whom are returned Mormon missionaries. Derek & Elsey, new from SC & TX, who play on the football team, and who want to be witnesses, stopped by. They were able to observe a bit. We talked at length about the cross and how to witness to Mormons. They have not really connected with local believers yet. Pray for them.
Blake, a freshman, said that he has witnessed to 17 Mormon Missionaries this year. Jade, an older student who is regular with us at the table and who seeks to encourage the younger brothers, witnesses often. Both had witnessed to LDS missionary, Metcalf, who wanted a modern Bible. He was discovered and transferred. Shayla, Darin & Blake helped witness at the table, especially to Justin and Kyle, two Mormons. Justin and I had a long talk last fall.
Two of our objectives are to encourage the few Christian students to be unashamed, bold and kind witnesses to the Mormons, and to grow together as students of the Word. There are 3 to 5 small Christian groups on the USU campus of 20,000. It is easy for them to be intimidated here. This year their vision has been noticeably rising. Pray for them.
Pray for John, a Iranian student in his 50's, whose brother in Iran is a believer. John left Islam, but is hesitant because of possible persecution. His brother spent 5 years in prison--some of it for being a Christian. Reza, a young Iranian student, said he would come by Oasis to get the dvd testimony, Escape from Darkness, of an Iranian Jihad trainer who now preaches Christ. On Thursday a brother called and asked if any of our contacts from witnessing at USU had come by Oasis. I said no. Five minutes later, Ross, a USU freshman, walked through the door and with emotion asked if there was anyone available to talk to him as he had some questions. Ross reminded me that he and I had spoken on campus in the fall and said that Eli had spoken with him on Monday. He looked troubled. He said 1) that he had tried Mormonism and it had not worked, 2) that he was empty, and 3) he was reading the Old Testament and could not see what we had told him about the Law. He knew that he was a sinner and knew that Jesus died, rose again, is God, and is the total sacrifice for his sins. But, he added that he lacked sincerity and confidence to believe Christ. I sought to help him notice that his sincerity was worthless to God and that now was the time to look away from himself and trust Christ. He seems very close to the kingdom. I forgot to mention Bible study to him. Please pray.
This week is and will be cold and snowy. Pray for next week's weather. We would like to be on campus Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, (3/31-4/2) all day if possible.
INSIGHT: Mormonism teaches that a man must offer God a broken spirit and a contrite heart, otherwise God will not fully accept him. Techincally, this is evidenced by stopping all sins and living in perfect obedience, to all known commands, always. Since that seems overwhelming, nearly all Mormons lower the standard. This translates into a gripping focus and conversation on striving to be sincere.
The Bible teaches that the only offering God accepts is the blood the Lamb, which God provided. We do not need to be sincere; we simply need to rest in the sacrifice of Christ. "Trying to be sincere" is all about self. This is an important distinction to help folks like Ross realize. He cannot rest in Christ while searching inside himself for sincerity or confidence. He has been tricked to look in the wrong direction for hope.
In our faithful Lord Jesus Christ ,Brad Scheelke