UpBuilding Men, Women, and Children in Practical Christianity

January 2009 Monthly Letter

"Pray that God may open to us a door for the Word." Colossians 4:3. On December 16, I phoned Bill W. at his home. On December 25, I phoned Ruth on her birthday. She expressed a desire to hear me speak on January 18 but stated she no longer drove. I said I would immediately call Bill who lived in her vicinity.

To my surprise, when I called Bill, his voice was low and slow! I asked if he was okay. He stated, "No, I just got home from the hospital. I had a heart attack!" I said I would not keep him but asked if I may pray for him on the phone and call him tomorrow. He agreed and I did so.

After hanging up, I began to question if that really was he or not. I called Helen A. and told her of my interchange with Bill. She questioned whether my information was correct and looked up the number of his son to call him to investigate further. There were many men who had Bill's same last name listed in the Cincinnati phone book. We were not able to determine which might be his.

She then verbalized Bill's number as 542-6776. I said, "54 what?" She stated, "542." "Oh Helen, I called 541. I called the wrong man!" Little did I know that God was opening to a door for the Word!

The next day I called the 541 number, introduced myself as "the guy who called you last night and prayed with you." We conversed. He appreciated the call and shared his name is Peter and his life's history: Grew up in a small church-hasn't attended for years- painfully watched his first wife emaciate from cancer- crushed when their oldest son died one month after his wife- disabled from a fall in 1999-remarried- since divorced-lost his home-and just moved into an apartment in North side (where Bill used to deliver papers as a boy!) with Olin, a man he's known for 42 years to share expenses.

Every few days I would continue to call, befriend, and pray with him. Since I was scheduled to come to Cincy in January, I asked if he would be open to an actual visit from me, accompanied by the "real" Bill and Helen. He agreed. We came; he met us at the door; we gave him a new Bible, shared the Gospel, and helped him pray a prayer of rededication of his life. God used Bill and Helen in a powerful, personal, and particular way as they shared their stories of faith and the struggles they too had encountered.

I talked to Olin, his friend. He prided himself that he had not gone to church because, as he stated, "All the church wants is your money and I didn't fall for that trap." I said, "Isn't that interesting! Bill, Helen, and I came to visit your friend, Peter, who before today was a stranger to us. We came as a part of the Church of Jesus Christ and rather than ask for his money we just gave him $100 in cash!

Olin was stunned and speechless! I sensed that the Lord was opening the door of his heart a little! Since follow-up is important, I called Reverend Erwin (who Godcidentially lives 2 blocks from Peter and Olin) who said, "This is interesting Ron. Our church just decided to be a more missional to our community." He called on both of them. Peterrevealed to him he had once sung in the Navy's choir-well, that may be "the next door" the Spirit uses to bring Peter back into the fold! The minister of music will join Erwin on his next visit. Stay tuned. What door is God presently opening for you?

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