BUFFALO GAP, Texas (BP)–Steve Joiner was reminded “how easy it is to come to Jesus” during an evangelistic mission to Taiwan.
Joiner and several others from the congregation he pastors, the Abilene-area First Baptist Church in Buffalo Gap, were part of a Partnership Evangelism campaign that was “one of the most exciting and uplifting events of my life.”
Partnership Evangelism is the organization W.H. (Dub) Jackson founded in 1968 to encourage pastors and church members to venture overseas to help lead people to faith in Christ alongside each country’s pastors, church members and missionaries.
The 81-year-old Jackson’s desire is unwavering: “to win every person on earth to the Lord,” said Joiner, who is pastor to Jackson and his wife Doris.
“His passion [rivals] that of 100 churches,” Joiner said. “He bleeds evangelism.”
But Jackson was only the catalyst for what Joiner experienced in Taiwan.
“On many occasions, we would enter a home [with] incense burning and idols to their different gods,” the pastor recounted. “We would walk in with no previous notice but, under the leadership and power of the Holy Spirit, in 10 minutes you see a new life being born of the Spirit.”
It underscored to Joiner “that if we would walk in the guidance of the Holy Spirit in our local community, we would also see lives changed. We do not need ‘friendship evangelism’ as much as we need “Spirit-led evangelism.'”
For Joiner, the most memorable day in Taiwan in the town was the campaign’s last Sunday in the region where he and several other volunteers had worked.
“The church had three morning services and held about 400 people,” Joiner began. “At the first service the place was full and people were standing at the back. When we gave the invitation both aisles were full, from the front to the back door, and people just kept coming down.
“I was excited about this and then the second service began. Again the place was full and people were lined up outside trying to get in. They opened the basement and put a camera on me so that people could see. During the invitation both aisles were lined up outside the door as people kept coming down. I was told the same was happening in the basement.
“At the third service the church was full, people were lined up outside and it overflowed into the streets. I had never experienced anything like this. During the invitation, again, both aisles were full and flowed outside the doors. Truly the Holy Spirit came down and struck this place. It was not me, as I am not a professional evangelist. It was the movement of the Holy Spirit in a town where idols and Buddhist temples were on every corner.”
Joiner noted, “Reality struck me one night as to how much we have taken things for granted in America when I was in conversation with some of the local workers. One of them asked me, ‘What generation Christian are you?’ I asked, ‘What do you mean?’ Then he replied, ‘My parents are Hindu. I am a first-generation Christian.’ Then the second person and the third person all said the same thing.
“I responded, ‘Well, my parents are Christian and my grandparents and great-grandparents.’ Then I stopped and said, ‘I guess I never gave it that much thought; my family has had a Christian heritage going back 300 years or more.’
“They all looked at me like I was someone very special, mouths were opened and they all said, “Wow.’
“I was so convicted. As I entered the car in leaving, I prayed, ‘Dear Lord, forgive me for taking my Christian heritage for granted. You have blessed me so much with a wonderful family who helped me to find Christ.’
“These young first-generation Christians in Taiwan taught me so much about the Lord. They showed me excitement and an eagerness to learn all they can about the Bible. I came back a different person, with a new understanding of how much of a responsibility God has given me to do His work.”
Describing the Partnership Evangelism campaign as “well-planned and Spirit-filled,” Joiner said, “I would highly recommend that anyone go on these trips.”
Partnership Evangelism campaigns — open to volunteers from any church across the country — are slated this year in Spain from July 19-31 and in France from Oct. 11-23. In 2007, partnership efforts are slated in Germany, May 30-June 11, and Korea, Oct. 31-Nov. 13. In 2008: England, July 30-Aug. 11, and Japan, Oct. 1-13.
Any interested pastor or church member can contact the Partnership Evangelism office at (325) 698-8480 or Jackson at (817) 481-9888 for further information. The mailing address is Partnership Evangelism, 4400 Buffalo Gap Road, Suite 0275, Abilene, TX 79606; e-mail, [email protected]