This week Aïda - my wife - set up two appointments with two women involved in our Biblical Evangelism course that we're currently offering to university students in Niterói, Rio de Janeiro. One of the women, Brenda Ticiane, studies on a local private campus, Plinio Leite University (UniPli). Aïda met her on her campus and they approached two different students over the course of the hour they had scheduled to do evangelism.
Both girls were open to conversing, especially after Aïda demonstrated for Brenda how to use the Ten Commandments to appeal to the person's conscience. With questions like "Have you ever told a lie?" in light of the ninth commandment ("Thou shalt not bear false witness.") and "Have you ever taken something that didn't belong to you, including downloading or photocopying things without paying? in reference to the eighth commandment ("Thou shalt not steal."), Aïda was able to show the women she and Brenda had approached that they were sinners ("...sin is the transgression of the Law" - 1 John 3:4 KJV) and subject to an eternal and painful penalty for their crimes (Rom. 6:23; Rev. 21:8; 1 Cor. 6:9-10). One student had claimed to already be a Christian, but knew nothing about the Bible and demonstrated an very unbiblical worldview. She was left with the challenge to "repent and believe the gospel" (Mark 1:15), thus ensuring her conversion and salvation. The other student didn't decide to abandon her sin and place her faith in Jesus as the only one who "... died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures..." (1 Cor. 15:3-4), but at least both left understanding their need for Jesus Christ and what they needed to do to benefit from his sacrifice: repentance and faith.
After her appointment at UniPli Aïda went to meet with Michele Estarneks, a Business Administration student on The 8-32 Movement's main campus, Fluminense Federal University (UFF). Michele had asked a Christian friend of hers to tag along and learn how to do biblical evangelism from Aïda, so the three of them first approached two women. They asked questions related to God's Law, but one declared, "I don't believe that God would send a homosexual to hell who only does good to his fellow man while allowing a horrible person who supposedly converts on his death bed into heaven!" Recognizing her comment as an attempt to flee the implications of breaking God's Law, Aïda wisely directed the student back to her situation before a holy God. Both had to head off to class, but not before hearing of the solution God offers in Christ.
Aïda, Michele and Michele's friend then approached a group of five women in the Biological Sciences area. All claimed to be Christians, but Aïda decided to verify their conversions using our biblical evangelism questionnaire. All but one of the women confirmed they had repented of their sins and were trusting in Christ as their Savior and Lord, so it was good that Aïda decided to take them all through the questionnaire. The one student who wasn't truly converted now understands her true situation before God and what she needs to do to remedy it. Both Michele's friend, who was exposed to our approach for the first time, and two of the women in the group of eight that was evangelized in the Bio-Sci area of campus decided that they want to join our class every Monday afternoon! Aside from the obvious benefits to the unsaved - of Christians doing evangelism - our outreach efforts can be used by God to motivate Christians to "hit the streets" after getting properly equipped!
Meanwhile, after being out all of last week at an excellent conference for pastors and leaders (an annual conference put on by one of the better evangelical publishing companies here in Brazil - Editora Fiel [English site] - that publishes books by John MacArthur, John Piper, Al Mohler, Joel Beeke, Steve Lawson, Puritan authors, etc.), I was back at UFF this week preaching the gospel via my apologetics banner on "The Trilemma of Christ" (see Oct. 7th post) and training new disciples like André Orsi (Telecommunications Engineering-UFF) and freshman Filipe Gonçalves (Physics) in biblical evangelism.
One guy André and I approached was a former church member who had fallen away. After taking him through the Law, I asked him if he would be found innocent or guilty on Judgment Day for having broken God's Law. He said, "Guilty." I then asked him if he'd go to heaven or hell? He said, "Hell." I asked him if that made him worry, to which he answered, "Yes. A lot!" I asked him if he knew what God had done so that he wouldn't have to go to hell when he died. He said he didn't know, so I explained the Good News of Jesus dying for our sins, being buried and resurrecting on the third day. I told him that, in order to benefit from Jesus payment for our sins on the cross, he needed to repent of his sins and place his faith/trust in Jesus as his Savior and Lord. I then showed him Psalm 51, had him read it and asked him if that expressed what he was wanting to say to God. He said it did, but because I sensed a bit of reluctance on his part to talk to God in front of us, I encouraged him to follow repentant David's lead and get right with God ASAP.
Meanwhile, André invited him to his church because he lives relatively close to it. Let's pray for Márcio... that he would truly repent and believe and get plugged into a good church like the one André is a member of.
All in all Aïda and I preached the gospel to 54 students this week - primarily at UFF. At least two of those were "ripe for the pickin'," and the others clearly heard who they were in God's sight (i.e., law-breakers and sinners under condemnation), what God did so that they wouldn't have to spend an eternity in hell (i.e., 1 Cor. 15:3-4) and how they could benefit from what God did (i.e., Mark 1:15). In addition, each was given evangelistic materials to mull over after. And hey, we recruited at least three new students for our biblical evangelism course in the process... while giving hands-on training to some of those already enrolled!
Not a bad week, I'd say. Not a bad week at all!