I met on a Saturday morning with my church’s evangelism team. We studied Scriptures and prayed for God to provide opportunities to share the gospel at the park. Then we broke into small groups to meet with people and point them to Christ.
As we strolled along the concrete sidewalk, I saw a lady playing ball with her son in a large field of grass. I felt the Holy Spirit prompt me to speak to her. I told her we wanted to encourage people. She said, “Thank you.” Then I tried to tell her about Jesus, but she shook her head. I started to walk away when a man from my group asked her to church. She announced that she didn’t speak English.
The accent sounded familiar, but I couldn’t place it. My friend then asked which language she spoke. It was one I had studied in college.
Still, I wanted to leave. I hadn’t used the language in years, and my skills were rusty. I was embarrassed. I tried to justify that if I couldn’t speak clearly, it would reflect poorly on God. Yet, the Holy Spirit wouldn’t let me depart. My feet stuck to the ground until I shared about Jesus.
I wound up having a five-minute gospel conversation in a foreign language with the lady. I felt like I suddenly had the gift of tongues because I understood her and also recalled Christian vocabulary. Amazingly, she grasped my poor grammar and complimented my pronunciation. My mouth gaped in shock. Definitely a work of God.
She said her mother prayed for her. I responded that was nice but not enough. She needed a personal relationship with Christ.
I told her God wanted her to know He loved her so much, that He sent me to share that love in words she could comprehend. She took it as a sign from God and indicated she would look into reading the Bible. I showed her where to download the Bible app to get her language and recommended the book of John.
As I finished my blog series on the “I Am” statements of Jesus, I realized that His story doesn’t stop there. Because of who Jesus is, our lives are changed when we believe in Christ. My encounter at the park reminded me of Paul’s words in Romans 1:16, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek” (NKJV).
Jesus didn’t die just for English speakers. He died for all nations, tribes, and tongues (Revelation 7:9). Salvation is for everyone who believes, for the Jews first and also for the Greeks. The Gentiles. People like me. Like the lady on the sidewalk with her little boy. Who knows, maybe one day I will rejoice in heaven standing beside this woman and her son. What a joy that would be. I can’t let shame of unused language skills make me ashamed of the gospel. As a believer, I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ. I pray that God will empower you to be unashamed too.
Joanna Eccles has led Bible studies for over twenty years and completed the year-long C. S. Lewis Fellows Program. She is passionate about discipleship and helping people grow in Christ. Joanna enjoys coffee and reading, and currently lives in Florida.