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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Evangelism (11/01/07)

TITLE: Notches in Your Belt
By Joy Bach


I became acquainted with Paula when I got a new job. What an unlikely pair we were. I came from a strict religious background that had a list of sins. Paula had no “thou shalt nots”. She lived with Joe, an arrangement that was in its fourth year when I met her.

We shared stories. She had married at the age of 16, had two little girls and widowed by the age of 19. I had married at 17, had three girls and then my preacher husband left me.

Many of our talks centered around my beliefs as a Christian. As we explored together, I came to the realization that my list of rules did not constitute being a Christian. Paula wanted to know more about this “Jesus” guy. She purchased a Bible and sent Joe packing. I began to understand that judging others was not my mission in life. Our growth continued.

My church announced a women’s retreat. It took me days to decide that maybe Paula would like to go with me. We talked it over. After many questions, she agreed to go.

Free time on Saturday and Paula wanted some time to stroll around the campground. Several women gathered around the fireplace in the lodge…….and I joined them. The talk turned to evangelism. One lady in particular, Gloria, was being very vocal about what she thought. Finally I could contain myself no longer. I quietly talked of caring about the other person…..getting to know them…..where they were coming from. Gloria returned even stronger. Our duty was to bring them to the Lord…..by knocking on their door or cornering them on the street. I requested that Paula be allowed to just get used to being around a group of Christians……to allow her trust to grow.

Sunday morning……the final service. Once again, Paula wanted to sit near the back. It was a pleasant time and drawing to a close…….with an altar call. Oh no!

Heads were bowed. Suddenly Gloria appeared at our row and pushed her way past several ladies to stand beside Paula.

Not at all quietly, she told Paula it was time for her to come to the front of the chapel and accept Christ. Paula whispered “no”. Gloria loudly urged her…..this time taking her hand and pulling on Paula’s arm. Paula whispered “no”. I wanted to stick my fist in the Gloria’s face.

Finally Paula gave in to the pulling……and allowed herself to be led to the front. I followed along behind, not knowing what to do. Loudly Gloria prayed and told Paula what to say. My thoughts were such a jumble. Why had Gloria done this?

Gloria decided Paula was through…….and stood to smile at everyone. Paula and I quietly walked to the back of the chapel….and Paula kept on walking. I grabbed our purses and left too.

Paula was very quiet. Too quiet. What could I say?

“Paula…..I’m so sorry. I had no idea someone would do that”. Still silent, she pulled out her suitcase and began to pack. I copied her actions. She rolled up her sleeping bag. So did I.

Soon we were in her car, bouncing down the gravel road. As we drove onto the highway and picked up speed, her torrent started. She became a little, dark volcano…..spewing everywhere.

“Why? Why? Why did she do that? Did that make her feel like a big shot? I told her no. Why did she keep pulling? I went with her just to get her to shut up. Does she have ears? I SAID NO.”

The miles and the words kept flying by. “I felt like a notch in her belt”.

Sounded like a good analogy to me.

The trip took three hours and she was still spewing when we got home.

As Paula let me out at my house, she said, “Don’t ever ask me to go to church with you again.” And she drove off. Gloria had destroyed so much.

The next Sunday, from my place on the front row of the choir, I looked directly into the smiling face of “Gloria” sitting in the front row of the congregation. The pastor talked excitedly of the reports from the retreat……and of a major victory in leading an unchurched person to Christ. I felt like throwing up……as Gloria smiled and nodded.

There is no wonderful end to this story. Paula and I were never close again.

Evangelism is not about “notches in your belt”.

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This article has been read 777 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Janice Cartwright11/10/07
What can I say except this is unfortunate. I agree the lady acted unwisely. Jesus never approached people this way but He can transform anything to His good purpose. If this is a true story I hope you will continue to pray for your friend and seek ways to renew the relationship. She is not beyond His reach for with God nothing is impossible. By the way, you write very well!
mick dawson11/11/07
I agree with the previous two comments, this is bad.
I will pray for your friend.
I hope that you haven't elected to go to another church.
It would be a good witness to Paula that Christ is the reason you go there, not the people.
Therese Witkus11/12/07
Great story and the sadness of the reality will always be with us.
Your writing brings the idea to life.
terri tiffany11/13/07
A sad story but written with passion and a style I enjoyed! Good pace and good emotions shown!
Gerald Shuler 11/14/07
Your writing style is very effective. I know this is true because it ignited emotions I haven't felt for far too long. Every Christian makes choices whether they be good or bad. If this is a true story perhaps Gloria will become a Faithwriter and read this story. It would do her good.
Catrina Bradley 08/13/09
Something similar happened to a friend of mine, and seriously derailed my attempts to show her Christ. It's a tragedy. I like the ending of this one too, you just tell it like it is.