Thursday, March 10, 2016

Adding Virtue to Listening

Jesus had set an example for us on how to listen. That is, to patiently listen. We may find it hard especially when we are put into an unpleasant situation, but it still pays to exercise it.

A lesson from PAFCOE’s Friendship Evangelism class puts it this way: If we are willing to patiently listen, we will be tapping into a natural resource. If we show respect and courtesy by listening, we will find others will begin to reciprocate it back to us. When we win their hearts, we will win the right to be heard.

Such lesson, if put into practice by a soul-winner will bring a remarkable result. And such was Elfeujun’s experience, a 3rd batch graduate of PAFCOE’s Bible Work program.

San Juan mini park, where Elfeu and Mark's Bible studies were mostly conducted
“One day, I was looking for tatay Godofredo in the mini park of San Juan City. When I found him, we sat in the side way, studying our Bible lesson while the people were passing in front of us. Halfway in our study, a man came with a barber’s electric hair trimmer in his hand. He sat beside me and listened to our discussions. The Bible study was over and tatay Fred left, yet the man stayed. I made friend with him using the FORT method and learned his name. He was Dante Sales, a retired seaman. I found out that his wife died last year and had no one to attend to him because almost all of his children had families of their own,” recounted Elfeujun.
                He went on to say, “After knowing him for that brief moment, I inquired of his Christian life and found out that he was a Catholic. I invited him to know more of the Bible by studying it together, but he refused because he had, as he thought, enough knowledge of it. I tried to say to him that he could increase his knowledge of the Word of God, but he insisted that he knew already those things. He began discussing to me about Genesis. He talked about God creating Adam, and Eve taken from his side. He talked of how they sinned by eating the forbidden fruit and were sent away from paradise to till the ground; and he went on talking….”

                “I felt that I was just wasting my time listening to him, but because I had only 25 minutes left before lunch, I decided to listen to his discussions. I really wanted to talk also, but for some reason, perhaps the Lord held my tongue that I just managed to listen until he discussed about the lamb being slain and its blood which was placed into the door posts of the Hebrew houses so that the angel of the LORD will just pass by and leave the firstborn alive,” he continued.

Elfeu and tatay Dante having Bible study lesson

                Convicted by the Holy Spirit, he finally spoke. “I asked tatay Dante if he knew what the lamb symbolizes of. He couldn’t answer so I took courage to present Jesus. I told him that the Lamb was Jesus as stated in John 1:29, “Behold the Lamb of God that taketh away the sins of the world.” Surely, the Holy Spirit worked into his heart because he listened carefully. I told him that Jesus—the begotten Son of God had to die so that the firstborn of humanity symbolizing the descendants of man will not perish. I presented that in the same way, we also needed a Savior because we are deeply plunged into sin and cannot save ourselves; we knew what is wrong but are powerless to resist it. We needed more than human power, we needed a Savior, and that is Jesus, the Lamb of God,” he narrated.

Sensing a wonderful way to minister to the needs of tatay Dante, he showed some flyers he brought with him. “That time, Sir Kevin was about to conduct the Prophecy of Hope Seminar in Quezon City. I discussed to him the flyers,both the Prophecy seminar and Health Expo. The Lord made him interested in the Health Expo because he wanted to avail the free services especially the massage. I invited him and praise the Lord he came with us!”

Truly,when you listen with the patience and love of Jesus,
opportunities to share Him will be opened.

“He listened night after night and learned many things. He told us that he knew Jesus is coming again but he did not know that the Bible clearly indicated the manner of His appearing. He also liked the food we gave him every night because it was vegetarian. He said it was good for his health for he had diabetes. I really got thrilled what would be his reaction when he would learn about the Sabbath. And when that topic was presented, he agreed to it! Praise God! But two weeks after, we felt his absence. I was thinking maybe the truth got too much for him. I contacted him and learned that he went to the province to make some work in his properties. I felt sad because he couldn’t finish the seminar,” he told with sadness.

Elfeu’s dying hope was brought back to life when, “After a week, tatay Dante came back, yet it was the last few days of the seminar. During the last Friday night, Sir Kevin asked those who wanted to be baptized to stay. To my surprise, Tatay Dante stayed.Oh no! I was thinking, ‘No, we can’t bring some unconverted man into the church!’ Kuya Mark told me, ‘Well then, this is the time that the Clearing Sheet is much needed. Just clear him and show him that he lacked the essential truths.’That Sabbath morning, tatay Dante brought with him his clothes because he wanted to be baptized. I took time to do the clearing and told him that he should not feel bad if the Pastor would not permit him for baptism that Sabbath day. Good thing there was another scheduled date for baptism which would be two weeks after and he gladly consented,” he reported.

Dante Sales (not in baptismal robe) with the candidates for baptism
“Kuya Mark and I studied with him daily to cover the topics he missed which were of great importance. He received the truths openly and listened and discussed with us with joy. Two weeks had passed, kuya Mark cleared him again and by God’s grace we found him ready for baptism. When tatay was immersed into the watery grave, my heart was pounding with joy. Praises be to God that He is patiently working into tatay Dante’s life. We even praise God all the more that He is patient to us and caused me to be patient also in listening to him. This experience taught me that,Evangelists should not just talk all the time. They also need to listen, and sometimes to patiently listen,”ended Elfeu.

We praise the LORD for the wonderful lessons
He had taught to His soul-winners. Indeed,
adding a virtue to listening proves to be effective.

Friday, March 4, 2016

Batch 9 Students: First Reaching Out Experiences

         It’s all done! The orientation, door to door survey and tips, even the classes in Personal Evangelism which proved to be very needful to be taught prior to Batch 9 students’ first outreach afternoon had already been discussed. The Outreach kits which had long been prepared before they came were finally handed to every team. At last, the time had come where they were to leave the classroom and put into action what they had been taught of. 

That first outreach afternoon, while the instructions were given, we could see the excitement in their faces, as if anticipating wonderfully exceptional experiences in the field. Or perhaps, a mixture of emotions for some countenances somewhat look worried and afraid at the same time.

Needless to say, off they went with maps in their hands—just making sure not to get lost! Their Outreach area is in Barangay Galas, where the training seminar (Prophecies of Hope) will be held, and its neighboring places. We have 7 teams doing the groundwork—preparing the soil, bringing people to the knowledge of the truth.

Here are testimonies from the students’ first outreach afternoon:

“Call unto me, and I will answer thee….” Jeremiah 33:3

When you are so excited for outreach yet you have a runny nose, it pays to bring a handkerchief. But what if you forget to bring one? Would you just rather stay and rest? Jaiza, who was suffering from runny nose that afternoon, failed to bring her hanky. Not wanting to stay, she uttered a simple prayer. “Lord, kindly stop my runny nose and just make me feel okay.” 

Grateful enough to know that the God she serves heard her request, Jaiza recounted how He answered her prayer, “While in the field, I didn’t have a hard time wiping or cleaning my nose. The outreach went on smoothly and I was able to approach and survey many people without being bothered by it. Surely, God loves me that He fulfilled His promise.”

 “My soul cleaveth unto the dust: quicken thou me according 
to Thy word.” Psalm 119:25

What would you do if after knocking number of doors, telling people your wonderful purpose, still they don’t show any interest in what you are offering? Would you quit and go home? Anjo, who felt so disheartened because of the rejections he received, did something copy worthy. “I decided to stop doing the survey and look for a place where I could read my Bible and claim His promises. I then feel refreshed and comforted. With renewed strength, my partner and I continued on approaching people with confidence that He will perform what He had promised.”

Experiencing the same thing, Shiela and Jeremy also did something worthy of copying, “After three consecutive rejections, we stopped and prayed for a while. Then we went forward with blessed hope that the people living in the next houses would accept us. And true enough, they did!” God really hears. In 1 Kings 9:3 He assures, “I have heard thy prayer and thy supplication, that thou hast made before me….”

“For God so loved the world….” John 3:16

The love of God is made manifest everywhere. You have seen it. I have seen it. And, of course,our PAFCOE students have their share as well! 

“In every inch of our journey, I’d seen His love. We didn’t know what kind of people we met in the field, yet because of His love; protection came all along the way. And not only to us, but also to those people whom we had met and talked to. Out of their responses, it showed that God’s love was in them. And even for those who refused, still the love of God was with them.”—Jahziel James

“Despite of my sinfulness, selfishness and weaknesses, He gave me a chance to reach out other people that needed Him in their lives. In my outreach experience, I saw His great love to them which are lost.”—Solomon 

“When we started to do the survey, I felt discouraged because some people told us that they were busy enough to entertain us. Some got angry at us. But God reminded me through the Holy Spirit to be strong enough to meet those challenges rather than to grow weary. I praise the Lord that He encouraged me to go forward.”—Reymart

“Learn to maintain good works for necessary uses, that they be not unfruitful.” Titus 3:14

Whenever the sun sets in the west, there are those who would take time to sit and glean lessons throughout the day’s work.I count myself in. How about you? or how about our PAFCOE students who spent their afternoon in the field seeking the lost? Sure enough they had learned vital lessons out of their outreach experiences. 
“I realized that I should never look on the outside appearance and not to choose the people that I am going to approach.”—Rowena  

“I had learned that I needed to be a smiling and happy interviewer. Also, I learned that I needed to interview all the houses earnestly in order to have lots of Bible students.”—Christian
         “I learned that patience is needed in reaching out others for Jesus. I also learned that I needed to encourage the people I surveyed to accept the free Bible lessons and always hope for positive response.”—Kenelyn

“But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our LORD and 
Savior Jesus Christ.” 2 Peter 3:18

One of the precious things that Outreach has to offer to the students is giving them room for improvement. Below are the areas they have seen that needs to be improved for better outreach experiences:

“I need to have more confidence in God’s work. I should always pray before leaving the area or before leaving the person I approached. I had to study the word of God so that I will know what to say to the people. I must submit myself to the LORD for He will direct my path.”—May Dafodile

“I have fear in approaching people. I think I should remove first this prejudice in my mind to draw more people to Christ.”—Royco

“Push forward and trust God’s providence more. Giving up easily with rejection and closed door experiences will not totally help me to improve. I needed to be more patient in knocking door because inside it might be those who are hungry for the spiritual food. Develop more the attitude of trusting in God more than in self-effort.”—Shiela

“Be confident enough to smile, to talk, to knock, and in making conversation with the people in order to meet their hearts and to gain their trusts. Study ahead every lesson in order to be prepared whenever there are willing people that will accept the Bible study. In that way, I would be able to answer the questions they may have as well. Lay all the worries upon God and always seek for divine guidance.”—Gaspar

As you have read this article, I hope that you will keep these students in your prayers as they continue to dig for gold nuggets in their outreach territory. Also, may their experiences not only inspire you, but cause you to partake of the work divinely appointed to every one of us.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016