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A 'Son Shine' Story

By 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.”

They live 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.

When 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