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Student Crossover participant leads elderly man to Christ

TAYLOR, Utah (BP)–Sitting alone on his weather-beaten front porch in the rural town of Taylor, Utah, Jose rocked in the early afternoon sun on June 6. His only companions were the chickens and rabbits clucking and scampering haphazardly around the shaggy front yard.
Sandra English — cramped from sitting in a crowded van, but enthusiastic about sharing her faith — asked the elderly gentleman to remove the long rope loosely strung at the entrance of his pock-marked gravel driveway to allow her to come in and visit.
Recounting a life of ostracism and discrimination as a Mexican-American Roman Catholic living 40 miles north of Ogden, Jose told English he was lonely and tired. English, a student at Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Kansas City, Mo., could relate to Jose’s faith in that she comes from a Catholic background.
It was Jose’s loneliness that grabbed English’s heart. “He said he was an outcast in his own neighborhood since his mother brought him from Mexico City as an infant following the shooting death of his father,” English recounted.
“When I told him how God can heal him and give him the faith he needs, he prayed to accept Jesus. His big smile was so awesome,” said English, grinning broadly. She said she downplayed church affiliation in sharing with Jose, while emphasizing Jesus’ love for him.
English said Jose told her no one had ever attempted to speak to him about Jesus Christ.
In Ogden, English and other seminary students are sprinkled among the 500 college students involved in Crossover ’98, a week-long activity sponsored by the North American Mission Board.
This year marks the first time students coordinated through National Student Ministries of the Sunday School Board assisted in Crossover, an annual evangelistic thrust prior to SBC annual meetings in which convention messengers join forces with local Southern Baptists to host block parties, witness door-to-door and survey residents about their faith backgrounds and church attendance.
“I think the experience has been more than I expected,” English said, smiling through tears. “I really didn’t know what the reaction would be to us, and the whole experience became real when we got to talk to the people and understand how really lost they are.”
English is preparing to be a career missionary with the SBC International Mission Board. She said her Prayer Warrior group at the seminary has been praying for months about her experiences in Utah.
“[Crossover] has already affected my future and made me more aware of the false religions,” English said. “Whether it’s Islam, Hinduism or Buddhism, it’s made me think and challenge myself to study and prepare.”

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  • Joni B. Hannigan