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Seminary student leads mistaken caller to Christ

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (BP)–It was a mistake. It wasn’t supposed to happen. It was just a wrong number.

Each time Robin called, Charles Juma would assure himself of this. Sure, the native of Kenya did not completely mind the interruptions of his busy schedule. He just wondered why.

Why was he the recipient of Robin’s accidental phone call? Why had he suddenly become a counselor for a woman he had never met? Why did he have to listen to her tell her problems? After all, the conversations only started when she accidentally dialed Juma’s number last semester.

A few weeks ago, Juma, a bachelor of arts student at James P. Boyce College of the Bible, the undergraduate school of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky., found his answer. And through God’s providence and through tools he had learned in a worldviews class taught by Boyce College Dean Ted Cabal, the wrong number became right. Juma led Robin to Christ.

Juma recalled the first conversation after Robin had mistakenly dialed his number: “I said, ‘Thank you for calling. Know that the Lord loves you.'”

Juma’s kind manner touched her. They chatted further, and Robin asked if she could call him again. Juma agreed.

And she did call again — sometimes two or three times a week. Each time she would tell Juma her problems — specifically her struggles with depression.

“I listened to her,” Juma said. “I gathered the impression that it made her feel good from her depression to talk to someone who seemed to understand and would at least listen to her.”

Soon, though, the constant calls became burdensome to Juma, who was taking a heavy course load.

He asked a friend, “Am I doing the right thing? I keep on listening to this stranger talk to me about her problem all the time. I don’t even know her. I’m a foreigner here. Is this really good?”

During winter break, the calls subsided. But, on Feb. 5, the phone rang again. It was Robin. This time, her family had accused her of having an addiction to depression drugs.

“It was really weighing down on her — weighing so much on her that she couldn’t handle it anymore,” Juma said. “The Holy Spirit just came upon me and said, ‘Charles, why don’t you for the first time share the gospel with this woman on the phone?'”

He sat down on his bed and closed the door to his dorm room.

“Robin, let me tell you something,” Juma recalled saying. “I cannot pretend to relate to what you are going through. … I imagine it must be so difficult for you — so unbearable.

“But Robin, I discovered something over the years that has been really helpful to me. … I realized that, each time there was misunderstanding, God was the only person that gave that understanding. He understood me each time that people misunderstood me. … And he understood me and still accepted me the way I was.”

Juma asked Robin if she had this same relationship with Christ. “‘I … I … don’t know,'” he recalled her answering. “‘I would think so.'”

After a long pause, Juma posed the question another way. He asked Robin to give a reason why God should allow her into heaven. She answered that she was basically a good person.

“That is where my worldview skills came in,” said Juma. “She was holding a worldview of going to heaven through works. I began using my worldview skills to show Robin that something was wrong with her own worldview.”

In Cabal’s classes, Juma said he had learned different ways of witnessing by undermining non-Christian worldviews in a non-attacking manner.

“I would recommend those classes to almost everyone who is going to go into the ministry,” Juma said, who took both Worldviews I and II from Cabal.

Juma talked with Robin about the seriousness of sin before a holy God.

“I asked, ‘How good are you?'” Juma recalled. “‘We are talking about holiness of God. … You better be good without one spot. Are you really good enough?”

As Juma showed her how the atonement of Christ has brought forgiveness of sins, Robin hung on every word.

“She was taking in everything I was saying,” said Juma. “She asked me on the phone, ‘Can I receive Jesus as Lord and Savior now?’ I said, ‘Robin that is the reason I’ve been talking to you. That is my prayer.’

“On the phone she gloriously, gloriously received the Lord Jesus Christ as her personal Savior. And we cried on the phone.”

Robin thanked Juma over and over. Juma just sang praises to God.

“I told her, ‘Robin, each time that you called last semester, every time that I listened to you and talked to you, I always said that this was a wrong number. It was a mistake. … It was not supposed to happen. But now, Robin, I think I’ve changed my view,'” recalled Juma.

“There was a divine reason why you called. It was not an accident. It was not a coincidence. … There was a divine purpose and that purpose was fulfilled today. And Robin, chances are that I will not meet you face to face here on earth. But, I want you to look for me when we get to heaven.”

Juma is now trying to place her in a strong Baptist congregation that will disciple and care for her.

“When I was coming to America, my people told me, ‘Become a missionary in America,'” Juma said. “I’ve tried to allow the Lord to use me regardless of where I am because this is my mission now.”

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  • Bryan Cribb