Trek 2008 - Lighthouse Evangelism
Trek 2008 – Lighthouse Evangelism
By Cheryle M. Touchton
The Pocket Full of Quarters Lady
When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, "I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life." John 8:12 NIV
The light from a lighthouse stands blinking on a shore, a light so bright that a ship can find its way, even through darkness and dense fog. Jesus is the light of the world. When we invite Him into our lives, we have the potential to have His bright light burn through us, continually blinking, showing the way for lost and troubled souls. When we let the light of Jesus shine, people notice, they look up, and find themselves wondering what it is they see. Lighthouse evangelism is giving a name for The Light.
People say they witness by their lifestyle. What I think they mean is that they live well but do not do what I call “Cook-book Evangelism,” (yet another effective evangelism technique, which I’ll write about later.) A lifestyle can draw people to Christ if we let the light of Christ shine through us and are careful to give the name of the Light.
When we surrender to Christ and walk in His continual presence, fruits of the spirit (Galatians 5:22-23) burst forth with vivid colorful blooms. When we know the living Christ, His presence fills any room we enter. That Living Christ will draw to us people needing and/or seeking Christ. The demon possessed will bolt from our presence. I call this Lighthouse Evangelism instead of lifestyle evangelism because it is only effective when we let the Light shine brightly and give credit to the Light.
I stopped at the Visitors Center in Grand Tetons National Park. I’d already prepared through morning prayer, meditation, and Bible Study. Thrilled to be there, I was praying continually. (1 Thessalonians 5:17) People that might need to hear the name of the creator of the magnificent snow capped mountains filled the room and I was in awe. I buzzed from corner to corner, snapping pictures of displays and meeting people. I noticed how many children and teenagers were in the room. I asked someone to take a picture of me and told them it was for a “Christian” website. The Light grew brighter by simply speaking His name.
I noticed a tiny female child in a stroller. Her pale translucent skin looked angelic. Her long naturally curled eyelashes blinked as her large eyes occasionally opened and rolled upward. Yes, I knew she was severely disabled but all I could think of was the perfection of her beauty.
“She’s beautiful,” I gasped to her mother and grandmother.
“Isn’t she,” the grandmother beamed. “Did you see the lashes?”
“I did,” I said.
“She’s a twin,” the grandmother said. “That’s her sister.”
I looked over to see a much older looking blond child reading one of the displays.
“They are 11,” the grandmother said. The child in the stroller looked 3.
I told the mother, “You have a special calling.”
This young mother, a thin hollow eyed waif, had been watching me the entire time I’d been in the Visitor’s Center. I’d tried to figure out how to start a conversation and the grandmother rolling this beautiful child to her had opened the door. Now she looked like she might faint because I had spoken to her.
“I guess I do,” she said sadly.
“She’s a good mother,” the grandmother said.
“Is she your mother?” I asked, pointing to the older woman.
“No,” she said quietly. “She’s my mother-in-law.”
“She’s the outlaw,” the grandmother said. “I’m 92 years old.”
“Wow,” I said. “I’m impressed.”
“How many children do you have?” I asked the mother.
“Four,” she said. "My son is about to get married."
“You don’t look old enough to have a son getting married,” I said.
Normally, that’s a complement but this young women looked downward and I felt I’d said the wrong thing.
She whispered, “He’s 20.”
“Are you Latter Day Saint?” I asked. God put those words in my mouth and the mother and the grandmother both looked surprised. Looks passed between them.
“No,” she said a little too quickly.
Feeling uncomfortable about something I couldn’t define, I turned to the grandmother. “What is the secret to how well you’ve aged?”
“I eat right and practice Our Word of Wisdom.” Since I thought that was a Latter Day Saint term, I was really confused. The grandmother walked off to look at a display and I looked back at the mother.
“She is LDS. I’m one of the wives of Tom Green. The one that went to jail."
I vaguely remembered the story and suddenly understood her dilemma. Her husband practiced polygamy and probably considered himself Mormon. The official Mormon church would disagree.
“How many wives are there?” I asked.
“Four. We are all here together on this vacation,” she whispered.
“I hope you all get along,” I said.
“We do,” she said.
“Is Tom out of jail? Is he with you?”
“Yes, he got out a year ago,” she answered.
“Have you been involved in this religion all of your life?” I asked.
“Yes,” she answered.
“Then you have not known any other life. It must confuse you about why a country would put your husband in jail,” I said.
She sighed. “The issue was our age. We were all young when he married us.” She gave a furtive glance at her 11-year-old daughter and I suspect we were both thinking the same thing.
She was holding a walkie-talkie and suddenly it blared orders for her to return to the car. She looked frightened and called the children. I looked around the room and noticed others leaving.
The other twin walked over and I said cheerfully, “I already met your sister. Are you having fun at the Grand Tetons?”
The child stared blankly and didn’t answer. I repeated the question, wondering if she too was disabled. Finally, she looked down and said, “Yes.”
Embarrassed, the mother said, “She just had to think.” Her other two children walked up.
They were about to leave and I panicked because I had not spoken the name of the true Christ. I touched her and said, “If you’ve been in this religion all your life, you may never have been exposed to the true Jesus.”
She gasped and herded her children. “I have to go. Jesus is the cornerstone to our beliefs. We just keep the old ways.” She bolted to the car like a scared deer, probably wondering why she had said so much.
I followed and noticed a large van pulling a wagon filled tents, sleeping bags, and tables. Behind it was a mini-van. This mother quickly strapped her disabled daughter in the minivan, ran around to the larger van and climbed in. Other vacant eyed women and children poured into the waiting vehicles and I realized that many of the people I’d spoken with in the Visitor Center were related to Tom Green. (See pictures – Wyoming – Tom Green Family) As I watched them, it dawned on me that the 92-year-old grandmother was the mother of the infamous Tom Green, who had had a child with a 13-year-old child.
My problem with Lighthouse Evangelism is that it leaves me wondering if I did enough. I repeatedly rehashed the conversation, second-guessing every word. Could I have said more? Was she asking for help? Would her children or mother-in-law repeat the conversation and get her in trouble with her husband? I decided to have faith in the Light and my ability to hear and be obedient to the Light. I’d walked through the only open door offered by listening to her story, showing compassion without judgment, and speaking the name The Light. Lighthouse Evangelism forces me to have faith that the Light is bright enough to call the lost.
Cheryle M. Touchton is the Director of Pocket Full of Change Ministries. For more information or to schedule a speaker for an event, go to www.pocketfullofchange.org or call Gail Golden at 904 316-5462.
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