Shawn Bateman, Misionary to Argentina
Last Thursday the Lord opened up an opportunity for me to witness to three different men. Carlos #1: Carlos is a plumber who came by the house to modify some of the pipes so we could install a dishwasher. When he had finished his work, he and I talked for close to an hour. I gave him a tract and explained the purpose of our move to Argentina. He is a Catholic but greatly respects “Evangelicals” which is a term used here to describe everyone that is not Catholic. Then he went on to say that he doesn’t drink or do drugs and that he is a hard worker. Basically this was his way of saying “I’m trying, and I’m a good person.”
Carlos #2: This was the taxi driver who drove us home from the midweek church service that night. I sat in his car thinking, “I need to share the Gospel with this man but I don’t know how to start the conversation.” Until this moment, I had been riding quietly in the taxi and hadn’t made any attempt at conversation. As I was debating on how to start, I had to give him some directions on how to get to my house. I then took a deep breath and then asked him, “Have you received the gift?” He processed the question for a few seconds, looked at me like I was crazy, and said, “I have no idea what you are asking.” I smiled and started explaining Ephesians 2:8-9. We sat outside my house for around 30 minutes as he listened intently to my explanation of grace and salvation from Ephesians, and the new birth from John 3. I gave him my card and told him we are Baptists. He was excited to hear this as his grandfather was a Baptist who had migrated to Argentina from Germany. I invited him to church and encouraged him to think about the things we had discussed.
Jorge: No sooner had I exited the taxi than Jorge approached me. I had met him once before and had spoken to him briefly. This time, at 9:00 at night, he was in the mood for a long conversation. I was tired and ready to go inside but talked to him anyway. Well, I mostly listened. He talked about everything from politics to cars, while I looked for some opening to start talking about spiritual things. He began to tell me about the benefits of knowing history and reading books, and I saw my opportunity. I told him that the best book to read is the Bible. To this he replied that he doesn’t read the Bible; he believes it’s just a man’s book, as opposed to being divinely inspired. Jorge is perhaps one of the most self-righteous men I have ever met. He thinks the vast majority of Christians are hypocrites, an assumption based primarily on the lousy testimony of his sister-in-law, a Pentecostal. I told him that the scriptures speak about hypocrites and showed him what the book of James has to say about this. He dismissed everything I said. He told me about when he and his son stood outside a huge Pentecostal church here in the city and watched as the congregants exiting the building ignored the many poor people who sat outside the church asking for alms. I don’t think it occurred to him that the poor probably wouldn’t be there in the first place if they weren’t receiving something and that perhaps many of the church members had given before they went inside. He then told me, with an air of superiority, that he gives to the poor. Please pray for Jorge. Only the Gospel can show him “there is none righteous.” Pray that I might have another opportunity to speak with him and that he would listen.
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