Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Evangelism (11/01/07)
TITLE: "Is This Your Dog?"
By Tammy Bovee
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One day I am walking and a woman waves me down from her car. “Is that a Boxer?” she asks. “Yes,” I reply as I walk toward her. She opens her car-door and shakes her closed hand in front of Fritzi's face. Instantly Fritzi’s front paws are up on her lap, nosing and gently pawing like a kitten to see what’s inside. “I used to have a Boxer and they love this. They are so curious,” the woman says as Fritzi’s licks her hand. Thus begins a friendship with a woman from the Ukraine, a very special relationship in which we have continued to discuss faith.
Another day I glance out my window and see a group of teenagers gathered out in the street. Some wear black clothes, some regular street clothes. One has a skateboard. I leash up Fritzi and walk out to get the mail. Fritzi instantly attracts their attention as she wags her tail and pulls me into the group. Soon she’s licking a teenage girl as the girl pets her. We talk for a while about what they want to be when they grow-up and then I tell them about how Fritzi pulls me on Skis. One of the boys gets his skateboard ready and I hand him the leash. “Okay”, I yell, as Fritzi pulls him down the street. Soon we’re back with the group discussing their views. I end by asking them to come visit our church’s teen program sometime.
Fritzi loves Halloween. Last year we were Hawaiians complete with floral necklaces; this year she wears a lavender bandana. She sits poised, eager. I’m in the kitchen preparing supper as my husband attends to the trick-or-treaters. “Someone wants to see you,” my husband tells me. As I walk to the door, I see a teenage girl who Fritzi introduced me to. This girl has been a victim of childhood crimes and experienced things no child should. I hug her and talk with her friends as they pet Fritzi and laugh, Fritzi bounds out after them as they start toward the next house. “Come back here Fritzi,” we call out, as we’ve had to each time a visitor comes. And each time Fritzi reluctantly returns.
They say that a gift is only a gift when you share it. That’s why just keeping Fritzi in our house and fenced in her backyard with her own sandbox just doesn’t cut it. We are called as believers to be salt and light… and taking Fritzi out in public opens opportunities to do that. Effective evangelism is about building relationships. And those relationships have a starting point, whether it is by handing out a track in a restaurant, speaking to a crying woman on the curbside, or providing a meal or service to someone in need.
I didn’t always know that. In years past, efforts to evangelize were shrouded by intimidation, wanting to dispense a track and run. But the Bible says that we are not to be ashamed of the gospel, for it powerful to save. Fritzi has taught me a lot about not being afraid. Right now the little evangelist is asleep in her bed, snoring and snorting contentedly beneath her blanket, she’s not afraid of being herself, why should I be?
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