Testimony from NWers Cheryle and Ray Atwater
Within the last week we have seen two glorious examples of the Holy Spirit’ s manifestation and the divine work of the Lord of the Harvest. On Saturday, we attended the wedding of a subcontractor who worked for Raymond when he was a home builder more than ten years ago. Gary and his girlfriend had lived together for more than 15 years and have a teenage son but had never married. We recall praying for them years ago to become lawfully wedded and to know Jesus as their Lord and Savior. We rejoiced a few years ago when Gary called Raymond and told him they had been baptized and they were seeking fellowship in a local church; and now we have seen our second prayer answered: their wedding. The wedding ceremony was replete with Biblical encouragements and a charge to create a God-fearing home and ministry together to the Glory of God.
As happens in many cases, our prayer was not immediately answered: we planted the seed in faith and it remained in rich soil for many years. Another watered and harvested and eventually the prayer was gloriously answered.
On Monday, Dec. 5th, while we were awaiting an appliance repair man, I prayed that we would be bold and speak the Good News to everyone we encountered. Our dishwasher, less than 2 years old, died last Thursday and displayed a constant error message. We followed the manufacturer’s advice to cancel/restart and “reboot” by turning off the power source and then turning it back on. When these repair steps failed, we turned off the power to the machine and scheduled a repairman. Imagine our surprise when upon the arrival of the repairman, the dishwasher started and worked perfectly-void of the previous error message. When I asked the repairman if he was celebrating “the reason for the season,” he asked what I meant and confessed he was “trying” but was not perfect. Upon further discussion, it was clear he had very little exposure to the gospel but wanted to have a Godly home and care for his live-in partner and their 3 year-old twins. I told him he came to our home by “divine appointment,” since we actually had a fully functional dishwasher, and that God was pursuing a relationship with him. After a brief discussion of salvation, redemption and how to be born again, he confessed that the gospel we presented was resonating with him. In this Christmas season, it is a natural metaphor to compare the free gift of salvation with the gifts we give our children. We stressed that God the Father wants us to come to Him as we are by faith, then he will forgive our sins past, present and future and help us live a more holy life.
Before he left, I told him he did not have to wait to be born of God at a church, but that he could make a decision today and asked him to “choose you this day whom you will serve”… and he did! Without hesitation, he closed his eyes and said, “I choose Him!” I led him in a prayer of forgiveness and salvation.
Undoubtedly someone else sowed and watered this seed of faith, but today God used us to glean the Harvest.
I gave him our contact information, how and when to attend our weekly church services, and encouraged him to visit. We also offered to discuss salvation with his partner, guide them in discipleship, and provide or arrange premarital counseling.
What a joyful Advent season!