In Mark 16:15 (NIV) Jesus said, “Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation.” Below is a true story from 1986 that involved myself and a girl from my church, who by the grace of God, did exactly that. We were aged twenty and nineteen respectively.
“Nap attack!” I exclaimed as my head hit the table.
“You’re not Garfield the cat, you know,” Sarah laughed.
Rubbing my forehead, I glanced at my watch, “Thanks for the hot chocolate, Sarah, but it’s nigh on midnight so I’ve got to run. Big day tomorrow.”
Sarah showed me to the door, “Thanks for the lift home, Simon.”
I gave her a quick hug and hurried for my car. I took Sarah home every Saturday night after youth group, but this was the first time I had stayed back for a drink.
I climbed into my old Mazda Capella and gunned the engine, about to follow my normal convoluted route home. Yet on impulse I hung a u-turn, and drove east instead. Five minutes later I spied a barefooted teenage girl hitchhiking on the side of the road. I glanced closely at her as I drove past, and did a double take when I saw dried blood covering her blouse and bare arms.
Now I have to point out here that spontaneity and I are strange bedfellows. I’m the sort of guy who needs days of advance warning before a major situation arises so that I can work out how to best respond. It was therefore too much to expect me to react in a meaningful manner since this situation was thrust so suddenly upon me. In a couple of days, I’m sure I would have concluded, “Oops, sorry Lord, perhaps I should have given her a lift home?"
So I kept on driving until I reached a break in the divided road, whereupon a gentle, soft voice said, “Go back and get her.”
Thinking this to have been my imagination, I kept driving. Yet when I reached another break in the road, the voice repeated somewhat louder, "Go back and get her."
Being somewhat slow on the uptake, I kept on driving. However, when I reached a third break in the road the voice thundered with the power of a waterfall, "GO BACK AND GET HER!"
Finally getting the hint, I went back to pick up the hitchhiker. She got in without hesitation, and I winced when I saw deep slashes on each wrist.
“Thanks for picking me up, I’m Cassie.”
I introduced myself and asked for her address. It was only about six kilometres away so I headed off. “Are you okay?” I asked.
Looking at her wrists she said, “My boyfriend dumped me tonight, so I tried to kill myself. He took me to the hospital, but when they weren’t looking I ran away.”
Seeing the I Love Jesus sticker on my glove box, she said, “Are you a Christian?”
“Yes, I am.”
“Hey, there’s this lovely girl, Alana, who sits next to me on the train every morning. She keeps telling me all about Jesus.”
“Really? Her last name wouldn’t be Bonfield, would it?”
Cassie looked at me in surprise, “How did you know?”
“She’s my friend. We go to the same church.”
“What a small world. My mum’s a Christian too, you know. She goes to Bourne Assembly of God.”
“That’s the church Alana and I attend!” I exclaimed.
I shared the gospel with Cassie for the rest of the drive, and when we reached her house, she said she wanted to become a Christian. So I led her in a prayer to give her life to Jesus.
Before making sure she was safely in her home I said, “You know, Cassie, one day in the future you will have an amazing testimony to share.”
The next day after church I grabbed Alana Bonfield and we went to Cassie’s house. She was pleased to see us and spent the rest of the day with us, even coming to the Sunday evening church service.
The next years were difficult, but Cassie kept pressing into Jesus. Today she is not only a fully ordained minister, but is ministering in that same church. I heard that one service she preached a sermon about a young girl who tried to kill herself, followed by years of hardship. She then stunned the congregation by concluding, “And that young girl was me.”
(Names have been changed to maintain confidentiality.)
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