Like most churches, we have visitor's cards available for our visitors to provide us with their information and any requests they may have for us. Dan* had visited our church a few times and finally he filled out a visitor's card. I noticed on the card he indicated he would like a pastor visit so I made an appointment with him to visit in his home.
He welcomed me into his modest home and we exchanged pleasantries before talking a bit about the church. Dan said that he really enjoyed coming to our church and he was thinking about joining. But he wanted to tell me about himself and he said that if I didn't want him to come to our church anymore, he would understand.
Dan told me about a life spent in alcohol and drugs. He was a big guy and he loved to fight. Every Saturday night he would get liquored up and pick a fight with somebody. He spent more time in jail than out of jail. Then one day, he was accused of murder. Dan was arrested, charged with murder, and was in jail waiting on his trial. He began attending chapel services and gave his life to Christ during one service. After 18 months in jail, Dan was released when another person confessed to the crime.
He had a fresh start and was trying to live right. He told me that he stopped drinking, drugging, and fighting. He was ashamed that he was living with a woman with whom he was not married. He said he knew that wasn't right and he wanted to make it right. After he finished his story, he again said that if I didn't want him to come to church anymore, then he wouldn't come. I explained to him that no one was worthy of salvation or worthy to come and worship Christ, that it was all based on grace. I told him that he was welcome to come to our church and I would be proud to have him there. Dan asked, "What about your people? Will they let me come to church?" I assured him that the people of our church would welcome him with open arms. Dan broke down crying.
Dan and his girlfriend became regular attendees of our church. Soon they joined the church and I baptized both Dan and his girlfriend. I also had the privilege of conducting their wedding ceremony. Later, Dan went with us on our mission trips for prison ministry and was able to witness to some of the men with whom he had been in jail. Even though I have been away from that church for several years, I know that Dan continues to be a faithful member there.
If you have a testimony about how God is working in the life of real people, write it up and send it to me at email@example.com. I'll be glad to publish it on this blog.
*not his real name.