John S. Torell
As a minister of the Gospel, I never know how God is going
to move and use me on a daily basis and we just recently had a very
touching event that I want to share with you. To protect their privacy, I
am going to call the couple involved Jim and Annie.
Toward the end of January, a letter came in from this
couple who have been supporting our ministry financially for a number of
years. Jim is 92 years old and Annie is a little younger. Both are very
sharp in their minds and very active on a daily basis. Jim expressed a
desire for some fellowship, so I called him up and after having talked for
a while I said, “why not come to church this coming Sunday and after
church, we can go out for lunch.” Jim told me that this was a great idea
and he said, “See you Sunday.”
about one hour away from our church location and it happened to be raining
on this particular Sunday so we thought that most likely this elderly
couple would not go out in such nasty weather. However, when we came out
from the prayer meeting to start the morning worship service, we were
pleasantly surprised to see them sitting in the sanctuary.
After church was over, we suggested a restaurant close by
that we knew was not too noisy and told them to meet us there. When we
arrived at the restaurant, they were sitting in the lobby waiting for us.
Jim wanted to sit in a booth and we asked for the quietest place; we ended
up being seated in the back corner of the restaurant. We had not met this
couple for about 38 years so it was time to get acquainted again. As we
were eating and fellowshipping, the Lord moved upon me to ask Jim if he
had ever been born again. To my astonishment he told me that he did not
quite understand the term, so I explained it to him. At this time I took a
look at his wife’s face and saw that she was listening intently to the
conversation. Both had come out of old mainline denominations, then got
trapped for many years in a false religion, before they found out the
truth and got out. They had attended church here and there, went to all
kinds of Christian meetings, but no one had ever asked them the question,
“Have you been born again?”
Here we were, sitting in a restaurant without our Bibles,
and people all around. At this time, since I had done a lot of talking, I
was the only one still eating. The Holy Spirit told me to ask Aina to go
to our car, pick up our two Bibles.
Using the only paper available, which happened to be the
back of the sermon outline I preached that morning, I laid out the plan of
salvation step-by-step, holding my Bible in front of Jim, while Aina held
her Bible in front of Annie. I had Jim read from John, chapter three, the
book of Acts, chapter two, Romans, chapter 10 and Ephesians, chapter two.
When we were all done, Jim said, “I don’t have much time since I am over
90 years old; I want to be born again right now and here.”
We are used to praying for salvation in a private place,
but there was no place to go. Not wanting to be disturbed by the waitress,
I asked for the bill to get that over. Then I told the couple to hold
hands, and repeat after me, as I led them in the sinner’s prayer. With
great seriousness Annie spoke out loud, when she finished Jim repeated his
words. It might have taken us some five minutes to go through this prayer,
and when I looked up I noticed that we were almost alone in the
restaurant, no one had disturbed us.
This was a divine appointment for an outgoing elderly
couple who had lived a good life, raised their children, been known as
“real nice people” and always ready to help people in need. However, no
one had asked them the question, “Have you been born again?” If God had
not brought the four of us together that Sunday afternoon in a restaurant
in Sacramento, they would have gone to hell when they died, and later to
the Lake of Fire.
I gave the invitation in the church that morning no one responded in the
church, but little did we know that we were going to point two precious
elderly people to Christ that afternoon and be able to be with them as
they were born again and written in the Book of Life.
As we left we could see that something had happened to
them; they were happy, almost dazed at times and hugging us warmly and
thanking us for caring enough about them, that we risked making them
angry, by asking, “Have you been born again?” Many people get angry when
asked this question, but this couple was prepared by the Holy Spirit and
received the truth about Jesus with gladness in their hearts. This was a
personal highlight for us during the month of January.
Volume 3, 2008