SALT LAKE CITY (BP)–“I noticed this nice elderly man standing near a trash container,” recounted Dave Newcomer, a volunteer who traveled to Salt Lake City to share his faith during the Winter Olympics in connection with Action Ministries International.
“He was a stately looking man who was slim and trim. I noticed that no one was talking to him or even acknowledging that he was there. As I walked up to him I realized that he was an Olympic volunteer,” Newcomer, of Lafayette, Ala., recounted. “I simply said hello and he seemed to light up with a huge smile. We talked about his life and times.”
Newcomer learned that he was 80 years old, had been retired from engineering for about 15 years and was now working as part of a ski patrol in Wyoming.
“His love was climbing mountains,” Newcomer continued. “I enjoyed listening to and watching Louie as he shared his passion.”
Newcomer subsequently asked if he could share a story, and Louie responded, “Please do.”
“As I shared the gospel with him I noticed tears welling up in his eyes as I finished the story and he said, ‘This is amazing!’
“I asked him, ‘In what way?’
“He told me that two months ago he was climbing a 12,000-foot mountain in Hawaii. As he reached the 9,000-foot level, he hit a wall. Being brought up as a child in the Catholic faith, he had a vague understanding of who Jesus was. As he cried out, ‘Jesus, I need you, please come into my life, help me, forgive me,’ he felt a warm flood rush over him and received the strength to carry on.
“Louie’s comment to me was, ‘Thank you, David, for explaining what God did for me on that mountain!'”
In another encounter, Newcomer told of sharing the gospel with a California man and his son by using an evangelism-oriented Jesus pin akin to the pins traditionally traded among visitors and athletes at each Olympics.
“They were all dressed in their ski gear … ready for the slopes,” Newcomer said. “I was simply asked about our [red Action Ministries] jackets and ‘that neat pin.'” As Newcomer began to share the gospel, the father and son listened intently.
“As I concluded the gospel presentation, I asked them both if they had heard the story before,” Newcomer said. “The son said yes! When I asked him to tell me his story, he told me about the day last summer that he asked Jesus to come into his life. …
“I then turned and said, ‘Dad, what about you, have you made a decision like that?’
“He said, ‘No, I have not.’
“I then asked him if he would like to.
“He then said, ‘Yes, I’ll do it sometime.’
“I then asked him, ‘What is keeping you from doing it right now?’
“His reply? ‘Nothing, let’s do it.’
“We gathered, locked arms and he prayed to receive Christ in his heart,” Newcomer recounted. “As we gave him some follow-up materials and rejoiced in his decision, I looked at the father and said, ‘John, this is now not only your son, but your brother!’
“The two embraced, tears in their eyes as they walked away with a fresh new relationship,” Newcomer recounted.
Additional testimonies by volunteers in Salt Lake City affiliated with Action Ministries can be read at www.actionministries.org.