[Names changed for security purposes]
“I just can’t do this anymore, it is too hard.” Marya poured out her heart as day after day she was met with ridicule and discouragement. Marya was eager to serve the Lord and grow in her relationship with Him. She agreed to commit herself to read, pray, worship and evangelize every day for 6 months. She was learning very much through discipleship, but after a few months, she was growing discouraged.
After talking to everyone at work about Jesus, no one wanted to hear more. It was then that together we prayed. We asked the Lord to show her fruit and give her some encouragement. Perhaps no one would come to faith, but we asked for some hope, and that somehow she would be encouraged to continue. Little did we know that the next few days would offer much hope as the Lord had begun to work in the life of one of Marya's co-workers.
Charles seemed like a decent guy, but since he started at the tech company where he and Marya worked, he would ridicule and mock Marya’s Christian faith. He would make fun of her and her kindness, thinking her ignorant and naïve. As he poked fun, she remained composed and addressed his comments in such a way that caused him to ponder and question her faith and, in turn, question his own. Although very confident and composed in the workplace, few people knew the darkness that Charles lived in.
As a youth, he sought meaning, purpose, something to live for. He found some fulfillment in martial arts. Giving his all to training and fighting, he got connected to a rough crowd. As a skilled fighter, Charles was welcomed into the mob and quickly rose through the ranks as a fighter. He finally had meaning and a purpose, or so he thought. His life was filled with violent fights, drugs, women and alcohol. Although confident on the outside, years of life in the dark were taking him to a place he never imagined he would be.
It was at this time that the truth of Marya's comments began to pierce Charles’s heart and he genuinely wanted to know more. He was interested in Jesus but had some serious questions that Marya did not yet feel ready to handle. She instead asked him if he’d be willing to meet with an American man, the husband of her friend and discipler.
When Charles arrived at our home, he was prepared with notebook in hand, ready to try to deconstruct our faith. To his great surprise, the answers that the American was able to give him seemed to be exactly the answers he needed to hear. For several hours, they discussed the authenticity and sufficiency of Scripture, the work of Christ on the cross, and the issue of how a good God could allow suffering in the world. The conversation could have easily continued for several more hours but it grew late and they agreed to meet again in a few days.
One week later, Charles had already committed his life to the Lord and shared everything that he had heard with his family and some friends. Again, with notebook in hand Charles had more questions and again and again, he shared everything he heard with those around him.
The American took Charles under his wing and began walking him through what it meant to follow Christ and how to study the Bible. Charles became a new man. Counting the cost of obedience, he said, “Someone died for me, how could I not give him 100%?” Acutely aware of the risks, Charles left the mob and amidst threats on his life, he stood strong and even shared his testimony and the gospel with all those he used to fight with and work for. He finally found the meaning and purpose he searched for all his life.
Counting the cost of obedience, he said, “Jesus died for me, how could I not give him everything?”
Now Charles shares the gospel with anyone who will listen and is currently discipling 5 men from his old life. It truly appears that he is a “person of peace” as not only has he shared everything he has learned, but those who he is leading in discovery bible study have shared with their families and friends. Charles is now co-leading a small, organic church in his home and growing as not only a follower of Christ but as a leader. Charles has a dream to make disciples who make disciples in his city and to see a city of great darkness become a beacon of light in this land void of hope.
Oh, and it just so happens that Charles and Marya are now happily married.