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FIRST-PERSON: They took it

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (BP) — I never cease being amazed at the spiritual openness and curiosity of people.

On one hand, I hear talk about the deplorable moral condition of our nation. On the other hand, I hear Jesus saying “look,” “go” and “love.” Jesus is not wrong. He sees beyond depravity and sees people lost and without God in the world. He saw me that way.

But where do I find this openness and curiosity? Everywhere! In 2012, God did a work in my heart and life that changed me. I began giving out tracts — one by one. By now, I have given out hundreds of them. Only once has someone declined my tract. Only once.

Rather than rejection, people have thanked me. Servers have read the booklet right there while I explained it. I have had people shake my hand. They have smiled. A few have cried. The reaction has been uncanny. Rejection is rare.

When I tell people about my journey, I tell them about giving away tracts. With each story I ask, “When I held my tract out to them, do you know what they did?” The answer is simple: “They took it.” Time after time, they took it. I never expected that when God launched me on my journey. Without doubt, He has paved the way. He is the reason they took it, not me.

Here are some recent stories of my tracting journey.

I was meeting a friend at a Subway sandwich shop for lunch. I was ready and had prayed, asking God to help me see lost people and give away a tract. As we stood in line, I recognized the prompting in my heart. The lady making my sandwich needed a tract. After paying for our sandwiches, I held out a tract to her. Its bold lettered title was in plain view: “Steps to Peace With God.” “I’d like to give you something,” I said. “This is a little booklet that tells a story that changed my life, literally. Maybe it could change your life too.”

I opened to the back page and continued, “I’ve written my name and email address here on the back page in case you have any questions.” Then I finished, saying, “I know you don’t have time to read it now. Just put it in your pocket and check it out later. Thanks for serving us.”

Then, I did it. I held out the tract toward her. Do you know what she did? She took it. It happens every time.

Another time I was picking up a guest for a Baptist Convention of New Mexico meeting. He flew into the airport. After I met him at the arrival area, we headed for my car. Driving out, I had to stop to pay for parking. I recognized again the prompting with which I have become familiar. I was uncomfortable with the situation — having a guest with me. I hoped not to appear like I was trying to show off. Actually, I was very uncomfortable. Yet I obeyed.

The parking attendant gave me my receipt, and I started. I said the same thing that I said at Subway. The woman smiled. She was appreciative, not dismissive.

Then, I did it. I held out the tract toward her. Do you know what she did? She took it.

At a hotel, during a banquet meal, I recognized the familiar prompting once more. Hotel staff were everywhere. I went looking for one whom I could catch and who could speak English. I approached the serving supervisor. She was harried, but she paused as I spoke.

I said the same thing as I said at Subway and the parking lot. She smiled too. She listened. She did not interrupt or stop me. I try not to take long because most people are busy.

Then, I did it. I held out the tract toward her. Do you know what she did? She took it.

On my 30th anniversary, I was eating with my wife at a nice restaurant for lunch. A kind, attentive young man tended our table and met our needs. He did a great job. I sensed the same prompting. So I got out a tract to be ready when he came by. I did the same thing with him as I had with the others. My approach is not fancy.

Then, I did it. I held out the tract toward him. Do you know what he did? He took it.

I have a feeling they would take it from you too.

    About the Author

  • Kevin Parker

    Kevin Parker is editor of the Baptist New Mexican (http://bcnm.com/bnm-current-edition), newsjournal of the Baptist Convention of New Mexico. The recording of the Baptist New Mexican’s interview with Patti will be released as a podcast at www.bcnm.com/bnm. If you’re interested in having Patti share her story with your group personally, contact the Baptist New Mexican at 505-924-2311.

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