While this is longer than our normal posts, it is so worth the read. Can you put your feet up and give us about 5 minutes? You’ll be inspired! Mandy writes from Apple Valley, CA.
Hi Jeff and Anna. When you were wrapping up the workshop at Life Point, you asked us to raise our hands, and commit to doing The Exchange with someone within the next 30 days. While I enjoyed the workshop, and learned through it, I was quite skeptical that actually doing an evangelistic Bible study with someone was going to really “work” out here in the West. I would not commit to that. Just about 2 weeks following the conclusion of your workshop at our church, I met Alyssa at AWANA. She was visiting for the second time that night. After our initial introductions, I asked her if she had a church background? She told me that she had gone as a child, and hasn’t been since. She is currently 25 years old. I asked her if she knew where she would spend eternity, and she said, “No. I know nothing, and would have to start from the beginning.” All giddy inside as I could see the Lord orchestrating and directing this entire conversation, I asked her if she would like to do a Bible study with me? She said, “Really? You would do that?” Attempting to maintain my composure (as I was jumping up and down inside), I said, “Of course. I would love to. She mentioned to me at this time, that her husband would not ever be interested, and that he would never step foot in a church. I began to pray for BJ, and that the Lord would begin softening his heart.
The following Tuesday, we met for the first time, and completed week one of The Exchange, and agreed to meet the following week for Lesson 2. When that day came, Alyssa texted me, and told me that she couldn’t come because she and her husband of a little over 2 years, had just separated. Two months went by, and I would text her every once in a while to tell her that I was continuing to pray for her and her husband.
One Saturday night, as Pastor’s family and our family were together at a park, I got a message from her. She said that she and BJ were back together, and were looking into counselling. I quickly asked Pastor if he would do their counselling, and told him they need Christ. He, of course agreed. When I told her that our Pastor would be glad to counsel them, she again replied, “Really? He would do that?” The next day, she AND BJ came to church, and set up a time to meet with Pastor the following Thursday. That Sunday morning, in the hallway at church, Alyssa asked me when we can start up our bible study again? We met that Tuesday for Lesson 2. She was so open, trusting from the beginning that God’s word is truth. At the end of this lesson, I asked her if she thought BJ would be open to doing The Exchange with Tim, my husband. She said that He would love to, and that he had asked her to find him someone to go through it with him. Wow! What a God we serve!!!!!!
Week 3 came to a close, and as I was going through the part where if they don’t want to wait to be saved, she stopped me, and said, “I have a question…The other night, I was talking to God, and I told Him that I can not do this life without him. That I need Him in my life. Did I just get saved???” We talked further, and she assured me that she had repented of her sin at that time. PRAISE GOD!!!!!!! During that week, she texted me, and asked if I would go through Living The Exchange with her following The Exchange. Hallelujah! Of course!!!!!
We finished up week four, and set the day for the following week to begin Living The Exchange. In the meantime, Tim and BJ had started The Exchange. Again, when the guys finished up with week 3, BJ bowed his head, and right there with Tim, repented, and called on the Lord to save him!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! They, too have been in Living the Exchange for about 4 lessons.
Jeff and Anna, they are both like sponges, and so on fire for Christ. BJ has begun sharing the Gospel with co-workers, and praying for opportunities for he and Alyssa to begin the exchange with one co-worker and his wife, in particular.
I get texts from Alyssa often with questions about Gospel conversations she is having with friends and family. Their son, William, age 6 has since come to know the Lord, and their other son, Gauge, has made a profession, and they are praying to see fruit of a Believer. Alyssa’s mom has started coming to ladies bible study, and her sister has started coming to youth group! They are like wild fire!!!! The Lord is using them and growing them, mightily!
The week we were to be working on week 3 of Living The Exchange, I got a text from Alyssa that read, “Finished week 3! It is time for this Momma to be baptized!!!!!!” My response was tears of joy and thanksgiving! She and I are meeting later this week to go through week 10!
This past October, Alyssa went with us to our Ladies Retreat. While we were there, she was chatting with a gal who has been attending our church, but had many questions about whether or not she was a Believer. Alyssa’s first response to her was, “Will you do a Bible study with me?” The following week, Alyssa and Krissy met, and BJ and her husband, Mondo met. Mondo and Krissy are certain after meeting for a couple of times, that they are, indeed saved, but just need discipled. This Sunday, BJ, Alyssa, their son, William, Krissy and Mondo are ALL following the Lord in Believer’s baptism! PRAISE HIM!!!!!!!!!!! Krissy and Mondo have asked BJ and Alyssa to continue meeting with them, and after they finish The Exchange, if they could move with them right into Living the Exchange! God is so good!
This has definitely not been an easy road for BJ and Alyssa since coming to Christ. Just a couple of weeks after she called on the Lord to save her, a CPS worker showed up at her door with accusations made by BJ’s ex-wife. They have had many challenges with custody battles, and through it all, they have responded in such Christ-like fashion; with such grace, and faith in their God to work in it according to His will. Prior to coming to know Christ, BJ spent the majority of his time, drunk. He has given up the alcohol cold turkey, and is learning again how to speak with words that are Godly, and not cuss words.
In the past month, Tim and I have stopped homeschooling our kiddos, and have put them in our local Christian School. In exchange for tuition, I get to work at the school every morning. Not long after starting, I learned that one of my co-workers is Catholic. I began praying, and asking the Lord for a clear opportunity to invite her to do The Exchange with me. Her name is Melissa, and I was not having any clear open doors to ask her, but my burden for her soul just continued to grow and grow. So I prayed, and asked the Lord for much boldness as I was just going to bring it up out of the blue, and invite her. Last week, as she and I were out on the playground with the grade schoolers, I just asked her. You know what? She said yes, and was so excited!!!!!! God is so good!!!!!!! She and I begin tomorrow morning! I would appreciate prayer for Melissa to see her need for Christ, and to call on Him to save her in repentant faith!
All of this to say, I was dead WRONG! God has done marvelous things with The Exchange Bible Study out here in the WEST!!!!!!!!!
All to the glory of God,