Friends, here is a powerful testimony I heard recently. Teresa and her husband, Dr. David Ritter, know the urgency we have before us. Consider — and be challenged by — their story.
My brother, Benji, was only 3 when he died. He was the baby, and our whole family — my two sisters, my Mother and Daddy, and I — loved him so much.
Benji and I were playing with a turtle outside one day, not knowing how dangerous it could be. Turtles can seep disease through their skin, and he contracted encephalitis from that turtle. He became very ill, and we had to take him to the hospital. We believed he would get better but he got worse, and they had to put him on a breathing machine.
Then the doctor called my sisters and me to the hospital to say good-bye to Benji. We thought he was coming home, but he was still on the ventilator and when we grew older we realized that he was brain dead. I still remember where his crib was in the ICU and the doctor and nurse's tears when they had to tell us he was gone. In my mind, I pictured Jesus taking him to heaven, but my heart was still terribly broken.
My daddy was so hurt and angry that he wanted everything that reminded him of Benji out of the house. My mother just cried. My friends got tired of me talking about him. I had no one to talk to except Jesus.
The next year, Billy Graham led a revival in Birmingham, Alabama. As we sang the words: Just as I am without one plea, but that thy blood was shed for me, Billy Graham said, "Just come" — and I did, giving my life to Jesus.
After I was saved, I lived at church. Whenever the doors were open, I was there. I have such fond memories of choir trips, GA's, and Sunday School with Mrs. Jarman. She showed me so much love. When I grew up, I became a nurse, and when she came down with breast cancer, I was able to minister to her as she died.
All of those experiences prepared me for the ministry the Lord has given me now. I married David, a medical doctor, and we work together at the Melanoma Center of Hope — where we work for Jesus.
Prayer is central to our care of patients. When I meet them, while I'm taking their blood pressure, I pray for them. I hear their hurts. I can feel their hurts, because I had such a huge hurt when Benji died.
And I'm able to present the Gospel to so many of the patients. I have been blessed to see fifty-five people receive, or rededicate themselves to, Christ over the last ten months. Just last week, two Catholics, ages 87 and 83, received Christ. This week a Muslim prayed to receive Jesus. Last night, a man at our potluck supper prayed. Today, a deacon's nephew received Christ. I don't know why, but I am still shocked when they say "yes."
One new member on my FAITH team presented the Gospel by phone to her grandmother and her grandmother's friend. Both prayed to receive Christ. Recently, my husband saw a patient and his wife and then told me, "He's ready for his pre-op and to hear the Gospel." The Lord prepared them, and they, too, accepted the gift of salvation!
What if everybody shared the Gospel at their workplace? Can you imagine? When we pray for God to save, He does! Sometimes my head spins and the same thought keeps coming: "Hurry, hurry, hurry!" Time seems so short.
God has blessed us so much. Recently, we shared how the Gospel changes lives at a World Congress of Melanoma Doctors. Can you believe it? They listened! What a blessing. God is truly at work.
I really believe that Christ is pouring out His grace upon His people. But we must be ready, prayed up, forgiven, and forgiving. We must ask to be used, we must want to be His servant, and we must listen to the King.
I believe the Lord is preparing hearts in these difficult times to receive eternal life. Keep your ears, eyes, and hearts open to share with someone at your workplace or in the most unlikely place you might imagine. Be ready — in season and out.