My first time hearing the Gospel was like a snowball that rolled into an avalanche.
I was eighteen years old and had grown up in a Buddhist home. I grew up participating in Buddhist prayers, temple visits, and traditional rituals, sleeping at night surrounded by idols and altars. Yet I never found Buddha to be a real living god. Along with that, I had absent parents, anger issues, and several other vices that I could get into. What you really need to know is that I didn’t know Jesus, and I was at my edge--desperate for love and purpose.
My “why” for sharing the Gospel begins here. Even though I seemed really far from God on the outside, my heart was ready for him. And though I sometimes made fun of Christians and their God, I was very close to following him myself--I just didn’t know it yet.
One day, I tagged along with my friend to church. For the first time, I heard about Jesus, and there began the snowball. It felt like the sermon was written for me—it cut to my heart, and I couldn’t shake it. The love and purpose I had been looking for was being offered through him. After the service, I cornered the pastor with questions and went home in search of answers about who this God was.
A month later, I talked to God for the first time. I told him that I was ready to try following him, and I accepted Jesus right there, by myself, sitting in my car.
I wish I could tell you it was happily ever after from that point on. It was in some ways, and it wasn’t in others. But what I can tell you is that I felt new. I thought differently, and I was full of love and joy for Jesus. I was excited to read the Bible. I wanted to tell everyone about him, that God is real and he is good!
I tell you this part of my story not because it’s just a nice story, but because embedded in it I find a reality that points to something so important. It is this:
there are people out there who are ready to hear the Gospel and be invited into the kingdom of God.
This may seem like a far-fetched idea in the Northwest, and especially in Portland, which was recently ranked the #1 most self-identified non-religious city in America according to Huffington Post. But have you ever considered that perhaps there are people ready to hear and accept the Gospel in our city? What if they live next door to you, and you never took the time to find out? It is true that we live in an area that doesn’t seem all that keen on Christianity, and it is true that people do reject the Gospel, but it is a bold face lie to think that the Gospel is not attractive, that it is not valuable. Consider it the work of the devil that we automatically assume no one would accept the Gospel, and thus excuse ourselves from ever trying.
You are needed in this.
In Matthew 9:37, Jesus says to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few.” The ready people are the harvest, but there are few workers going to them. Portland’s population has exceeded 600,000, and in that number there exists a great harvest. But what if “few workers” means really really few? My point is, you are needed in this. The harvest could be at your work, at the grocery store, or living in your neighborhood. And they are waiting to hear this message of hope and grace. They are waiting for someone like you to walk alongside them and invest in their process.
Wherever you’re at, I challenge you to step out and try. It could be as simple as pausing to have a conversation with your neighbor, or it could be taking a bold step to share the Gospel story with someone. It could look like you joining your church or an organization in their endeavors, or perhaps it’s talking to the next stranger you meet.
Whatever it may be, step out and try something, for there is a harvest ready to be reaped.
I am living proof of it.
Rachel Fou is the Northwest Divisional Field Director for Stonecroft Ministries, where they work to bring the Gospel to women where they are as they are through their outreaches. She has her M.A. in Biblical and Theological Studies from Western Seminary, and currently lives in Portland.