Donnerstag, 22. Juli 2010

Testimony from South Africa

I met you and your good wife on a flight from Johannesburg to Cape Town about 7 years ago.
You were in South Africa on a mission trip and I was a businessman that God placed next to you on the plane journey – for good reason.
Thanks to you I gave my life to the Lord that day and I have never thanked you for saving my life.
I hope my testimony encourages you both to continue your missionary work - with strength, conviction and rich harvests – knowing it does make a difference in people's lives!
I hoisted my aluminum Halliburton briefcase into the luggage-bin above my seat. Its weight felt like a trunk of lead ingots.
Somehow I was overlooking its simple message: I was carrying a huge load - a dead-weight of baggage. I needed to lighten up.
Buckling up into my seat I settled into the afternoon’s edition of The Star. Two hours to myself at last!
My heart sank when a beaming, foreign-looking couple took up the two seats next to me.
For the best part of the next hour I managed to avoid their attention by reading every column of that paper.
Wit no more paper to read the inevitable happened. Small talk ensued.
They were nice people I thought - not at all pushy like Bible-Bashers!
“Was I a Christian?” they asked.
“Oh yes”, I volunteered.
“Baptized, Confirmed and..” I stalled “...strayed”. I had fudged the last part of my admission.
It was exactly the opening Mrs. Evangelist was waiting for:
“So what is keeping you away from the church?”
“Work” I replied, knowing full well that this was a sadly incomplete answer to a very pointed question.
“Are you happy in your work then?”
Ouch! - was it that obvious?
Obviously it was because Mrs. Evangelist continued to read me like a book, opening up each unhappy chapter after another.
At one stage I thought there must be a tele-prompting behind my head that was feeding her all this personal information, such where her insights into my plight and state of mind. Or she was a mind reader. Or ...?
Like so many people who profess to be a Christian, I was ready to admit my status (as one does when required to fill out an official form eg. RELIGION: and you fill in Christian/Anglican) but sadly and truthfully I was lost.
I was out of step with the will of God.
And strangely, deep down inside I knew it, but was afraid to do anything about it.
I used every thing I could to mask it out. And business was a good enough alibi.
Who needed God when I was jet-setting around the world four times a year? I was far too busy to go to church and it seemed totally out of step with my own selfish schedule! Yet the unsatisfied yearning was still lurking deep within me. I just kept on burying it under more layers of denial.
Thankfully I had not lost sight of all reality either. But I had betrayed my soul. And it was crying “enough!!”.
I opened my innermost feelings to Mr. & Mrs. Evangelist.
Their timing was perfect. They where good listeners too.
“It is OK to let go” they said.
And I did.
“Do you want to get rid of this burden?” they asked knowingly.
In a faltering voice choked with emotion I said “Yes...”
“Do you mind if we lay hands on you as we pray with you?”
With me?
I was being challenged to accept responsibility for my own redemption? This was something that I had been skillfully avoiding. I was scared...
“Jesus loves you and cares about you” they said kindly.
I believed them.
I surrendered to their genuine love and concern for me - Me, a total stranger who had rudely ignored them for over an hour!
“Pray to God and ask Him to take away your troubles - now”.
Again I was moved to obey their urging.
Obediently I said: “God - please take away my burden”.
In a wave of release and emotion I imploded in a flood of tears.
I began to radiate so much heat that I had to loosen my tie and ventilate my shirt which was now soaking wet.
Was this what they call a baptism of fire?
The overwhelming sensation I experienced was what I now know to be the release of the Holy Spirit on an extremely fortunate being.

How blessed I was! Praise be to God

Mel Miller, Cape Town, South Africa

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