Guam’s Coronavirus restrictions remain in effect. It seems like humanity is “muzzled,” masking facial expressions, hindering conversations, and inducing anxiety beyond reason. Only a few church members have stayed away from church, concerned about contracting the virus. Others have switched from attending morning to evening services to avoid the larger groups of people. Others are still afraid to leave their houses due to COVID-19. Thankfully, a faithful core still assembles, masked and respectful of each other’s “space.”
These have been the most challenging days of my “soul-winning life.” House-to-house visitation has paused, and approaching people has become more precarious. Still I find ways to personally win people to Christ, and He has blessed with people wanting to hear the Gospel, to receive it, and to be willing to pray openly and receive Christ into their hearts. One such occasion became a significant soul-winning experience during this time.
A man I have lived next to for the past 20 years, now a septuagenarian, is not a “respecter of persons,” to say the least. Over the years, I have talked to him about the Lord and the Gospel, but he always seemed too preoccupied with his life to consider it seriously. Recently, his mother died and was cremated, per COVID protocols, which shook him up, making him feel guilty for “burning” her. This caused his attention to be drawn Heavenward, always apologizing to his mom for her cremation. (I had already led his mom to the Lord, and he knew she was in Heaven.) One evening, he explained a series of situations that turned out positively for him that he attributed to God. At that moment, the Lord impressed upon me, “Now is the time to talk to him.” This time, explaining the Gospel to him was like talking to a completely different person. He willingly listened to the Gospel, acknowledged that he understood and believed it, and then prayed with me to receive the Lord Jesus Christ into his heart as his personal Saviour. When we finished praying, he initiated a handshake and sincerely thanked me. He sure seemed different; and I have not been the only one who has noticed it since. Only the Lord can prepare a heart for the Gospel and then change that heart after it receives Him.
Island Baptist Church suffered a loss; one of our faithful members died. Though characterized as “quiet and someone who kept to himself,” this member continued to grow in the Lord and in faithful church attendance and service. He reminded me of Revelation 2:19, “I know thy works . . . and the last to be more than the first.” The day of the funeral, a representative of Guam’s Department of Public Health and Social Services was in the parking lot watching us (a sign of the Orwellian-like times in which we live, where the government monitors funerals for mandate violations). We were compliant; no citations were issued. A positive result came from our member’s passing; his sister now attends our church, and she drives her brother’s widow to church as her personal “ministry.” We miss our deceased member greatly, and though it seemed like he had “just begun to fight,” I suppose it is better to “go out on top.”
We remain faithful during these uncertain and challenging times and thank you for remaining faithful as well in prayer and support. May the virus confusion and concern end soon.
Please continue to pray for our health and safety, Island Baptist Church, Guam, and Micronesia.
In His harvest field,
Dan Rothwell and Family