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FIRST PERSON: Beach encounter leads to salvation of stranger

PACIFIC BEACH, Calif. (BP)–Before ever arriving in California for TruthQuest, I prayed a whole lot. There is one phrase in particular that I decided to claim — get usable and allow God to wear you out!

I have wanted for so long to be bold in a way that I find hard to describe. I felt that one of my biggest challenges would be the fear of being unsure of my words: getting into a situation in which I couldn’t explain my way out or just not having the answer to a question I was asked. So, it was with all this anticipation and not nearly enough faith that I brought myself out to Pacific Beach.

I woke up July 13 with so much excitement. We began the day working with Evan Lauer, pastor of Coastlands Community Church. He and the people of Coastlands were hosting their annual “Beach Reach,” a great way to witness by passing out free soft drinks and sunscreen along Pacific Beach boardwalk.

At first, I hung back and I could feel God waiting on me. I knew then that God had something very cool he wanted to teach me today. During my first few encounters, I was teamed up with my fellow TruthQuester Cara, which seemed to work quite well.

We came across all kinds of people. So many seemed like they really wanted what we were offering … but some still wanted to hold on to their skepticism.

One of the most rewarding encounters today was with a guy named Larry. Larry was a super nice guy but kind of unsure of himself. It was completely a God thing how he was so receptive to everything we had to say. After going through all of the questions and Scriptures, we asked him if he wanted us to pray with him. It was so awesome. After he prayed and turned his life over to Christ, I thought to myself how the angels were having a party in heaven for Larry … YEAHH!!

We had other encounters throughout the day with people from all different walks of life.

One encounter that stood out was with a man named Mitch. He and his grandson had walked up and inquired about the free soft drinks. After talking to him for a while I learned that he was raised by parents believing they were vampires. He also had no belief in right or wrong. Instead, he said, “All sins are relative.” I talked to him for about 45 minutes and felt like I had gotten nothing accomplished. He went on his way and I felt so drained. I wanted so badly for him to believe what I was explaining to him, but it just wasn’t working out.

By this point, I had already missed lunch and I was in no mood to surf, much less strike up a conversation with another passerby. Then I remembered my heart’s cry for our ministry and God proved faithful once again: I really learned what it means to be spiritually drained yet so replenished at the same time.

In hindsight, it seems so clear as to what it means to relinquish our entire beings to him. How absolutely wonderful it is to be at his feet, surrendering to his mercy and allowing myself be swept away.
Katie Royals, one of 12 teens in the TruthQuest: California initiative of Baptist Press, FamilyNet and LifeWay, is a member of the First Baptist Church, Jackson, Miss. She will attend Mississippi College this fall. (BP) photos posted in the BP Photo Library at http://www.bpnews.net. Photo titles: FINDING FAITH and REFLECTING.

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  • Katie Royals