Every now and again something happens in one of our stores that reminds me how we in CLC are fulfilling our purpose of making evangelical Christian literature available to all nations so that people may come to faith and maturity in our Lord Jesus Christ. More often than not, our ministry focus here in the USA is on bringing believers into a deeper and more mature walk with the Lord. What a blessing it is then when I hear stories of God drawing people to Himself for the first time in one of our stores. Just this past week, such an incident occurred in our Chestnut Hill store. The story below is told in the words of store manager Frank Falzone:
It was on Thursday, February 4, that we saw a new believer enter into the family of God. It was just past 3:00 p.m. that day when a distant voice in the store announced a call to prayer. That voice was our very own front-liner Yvonne Little. About two or three weeks ago, we had decided to not only have early-morning staff prayer and devotions, but also afternoon midday prayer with our customers. And so it went that as the staff was going about their business, the call to prayer came, and we stopped what we were doing and rallied for prayer. At the time, there were only two customers in the store: a woman at the listening burn bar and a gentleman named Howard. Howard was looking at Bibles and reference books; he responded to the call to prayer and headed toward me to lead the way.
As we were standing there, Howard proceeded to tell me that he had a request or a confession to make, and I said, “Well, that is what we are here for. Would you mind sharing it with us so we can pray about it?” He graciously admitted his confession, stating, “I don’t know if I am saved or not.” After asking him several questions, I sensed that perhaps he was not, knowing full well, of course, that only God can know the true essence of a man’s heart. The gospel message, as plain as can be, was given. First I spoke a few words, then Yvonne shared, and then I spoke again, and soon we went into prayer. I led the prayer, Yvonne then continued, and then she invited Howard to join in by saying the sinner’s prayer of salvation. . . . Needless to say, he did. Our prayer session was brought to a close.
The look on Howard’s face was a sign of relief, as though he had been carrying this burden for a long time. His eyes welled up with tears of joy. Hugs and handshakes were soon given, congratulating Howard as we welcomed him into the family of God. What a time we had. . . . I offered Howard a complimentary copy of the book More than a Carpenter; he was so appreciative, while still in awe. Curt then offered to show him how to study the Bible, and they searched for a new Bible for Howard to purchase. With a commentary handbook already in his hand, we could tell that he meant business and was serious about his decision to follow Jesus. Yvonne then spoke with him afterward to get him a little more grounded in what had just taken place.
During our prayer session, we spoke about baptism; I asked him if he had ever been baptized. He said he hadn’t. He told us that he had not been brought up in church. So this step with Yvonne was crucial in getting him to understand that fellowship with other believers and going to church was indeed important. After visiting wit Yvonne for a while, Howard chose a Bible, with Curt’s help, and purchased it. When the staff told me that he had just bought a new Bible, I offered to have it personalized with a complimentary imprint of his name. He accepted and was deeply gratified for the love and care that was given to him. I was very proud of my team at the Chestnut Hill store—it made going to work that day all the more special as we set out to fulfill God’s Great Commission (Matthew 28).
May we see this kind of thing happening more and more in our stores here and around the world. To God be the glory—great things He hath done.