I love to travel! Even more so, I love to travel and tell people about Jesus.
One particular summer, I was traveling with a team helping to lead youth camps in the States, Israel, and Poland. Our second stop was Israel. Yes, I said Israel.
Our camp was hosted at the Baptist Village for a small number of local students. I knew very little about their culture, so I quickly went to work learning more about the five campers assigned to me.
My team, “Issachar,” was an eclectic group. One of my students had graduated and was preparing to serve with the Israeli Army. Another was a classical pianist. Some of their parents worked for the government or pastored a church. One of the student’s fathers was an alcoholic.
There was one common thread, however — they each had personal struggles.
Our days were filled with Bible study, time at the pool, worship, and games in the field.
It was our last night of worship, and God’s presence filled the room as we sang, “Shout to the Lord.”
“Shout to the Lord, all the earth, let us sing
Power and majesty, praise to the King
Mountains bow down and the seas will roar
At the sound of Your name”
Roger (our team leader) preached the Word, and during our commitment time several students came forward either to talk with someone or give their lives to Christ. I made my way to the front and began talking to Dona, a camper, when suddenly our conversation was interrupted.
Something was wrong with Mika, and my help was needed. I quickly made my way across the room where I found her sobbing.
Mika, a beautiful, high school girl, was on my team. In our short time together, I learned her school taught there was no God, and that’s what she believed. She was desperately lost.
I sat down beside her and asked, “What’s wrong? No answer. So I asked, “Is there something we need to pray about?” She continued to sob.
For what seemed like an hour, I sat with Mika as she continued to cry. Speechless. Soon the room was empty. All the campers and staff had gone outside to the fire for our evening Afterglow, so I asked Mika to move to a table on the patio.
I wrote in my journal:
“Finally, when she was able to talk, she explained that she did not believe there was a God and for the first time she had experienced His love. She was so overwhelmed that she could not speak.”
Overwhelmed by God’s Love
Wow! Do you remember the first time God overwhelmed you with His love?
“This is real love–not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins” (1 John 4:10).
With the Holy Spirit’s guidance, I began to explain from Scripture how much God loved Mika (Ephesians 2:4-5 a) and that His Son, Jesus, sacrificed His life so she could be forgiven (Romans 5:8) for her sins (Romans 3:23). She understood.
I asked Mika if she was ready to pray and accept Jesus Christ as her Lord and Savior. She was not. My heart broke.
I prayed for her and then promised I would not ask her about this again. I did not want Mika to feel pressured to make a decision. However, I assured her I was available to talk anytime she had questions.
Overwhelmed by Lostness
We hugged and then walked down to the campfire to join the rest of the group. When the students left for the evening, I sat down on an old tree stump and began to sob.
God broke my heart for Mika. She was lost, and I did not want her to spend eternity separated from Him in Hell (Romans 6:23).
Our team gathered round me and prayed over Mika. God was drawing her to salvation. Would she say yes?
“No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him” (John 6:44).
The next morning we loaded our things on the bus as we prepared to leave the Baptist Village and travel for four days. Mika came on the bus to say her goodbyes. My heart was breaking — there was still no answer. She hugged me repeatedly and continued to say goodbye.
Finally, it was time to leave. As the bus pulled away, tears streamed down my face. I began talking to God, “Why did she not choose You as her Lord and Savior? She understood. How could…?”
Overwhelmed by Obedience
Quietly, God spoke to my heart, “Kathy, it’s not your work.”
God taught me a huge lesson that day.
“And then He told them, ‘Go into all the world and preach the Good News to everyone’” (Mark 16:15).
It’s not my works or words that save people. I had been faithful to share the gospel with Mika, but I could not bring her to salvation.
By the Holy Spirit’s leading, she had to choose to follow Christ.
Our group visited several holy sites that day and stopped to spend the night at a kibbutz by the Sea of Galilee. It was a beautiful evening, and after dinner we gathered on the shore for a time of worship. Lights were twinkling in the distance, and it was so peaceful as the waves crashed along the shoreline.
We shared praises from our time at camp and personal stories of how God was working in our hearts. At some point Roger, our team leader, looked at me and explained that before leaving camp he asked Mika if she had accepted Christ as her Lord and Savior.
And she said, “Yes!”
The tears began to flow again. Tears of joy.
“In the same way, there is joy in the presence of God’s angels when even one sinner repents” (Luke 15:10).