It has been a couple of weeks since we last went out Treasure Hunting - Saturday 26th March being that date. I didn't write up about it because honestly I didn't think much had really happened. I personally had very few conversations and certainly didn't find the people I believe I'd been looking for.
And yet yesterday, at Hope Church, Alexander, a Russian man in his late 50's comes along with Lena. Lena had been with us on the 26th, her first time doing a hunt. She herself is new to the church, not even yet a member. We'd had her around for dinner the weekend before and I'd talked all about why we go out onto the streets and was therefore encouraged to see her turn up that following week.
But there were not many of us then. In fact, the truth be told, the best conversation had by anyone was Lena's with a man by his front door. They talked for about 20 minutes. And it was this man, Alexander, that came with Lena to church yesterday - and after the meeting, prayed the prayer of repentance! Praise God.
The gospel of the salvation and grace of Jesus Christ is still at work, so powerfully, today!
We will now pray for this man that we can help grow him in his faith - we are starting an Alpha course in a couple of weeks so will encourage him to go on that too. Because salvation is not the end of things, it's the beginning. Saved & Added is how the New Testament church counted things and that is how we need to view things as well.
And yet I am still amazed that we have seen this much fruit already. Alexander is the fourth person to have responded to the gospel in the last six months through the street work alone. I know many far more faith-filled groups going out regularly, seeing healing's and having amazing words of knowledge, longing for salvation.
But it's the 'added' bit that I'm praying about - our first three treasures quickly disappeared (one guy, who prayed on the streets for salvation, didn't actually come to church!). Now we need to start praying for Alexander, the latest man to find his way to Jesus, that the word takes root in his life, that there is good soil, and that we see a rich harvest of grace and love in his heart.
I'm such a novice - if the truth be told, I felt after the last time like it would be my last time. I've still yet to have any real encounters in English, so am always struggling through language, as well as needing to sometimes keep my distance from things (due to visa regulations).
And yet I see where we are going. I see in my mind the church on the streets of the cities, healing the sick, casting out demons, bringing freedom where there are captives, life where there is only death. This is the power of the gospel - power to take us, once dead, but now made alive in and only through the life & victory of Jesus Christ - the one true Lord and Saviour of all - God himself.
So we will press through - we will face hardships and disappointments. We will face mockers and those that run from us. Because only through the church pressing forward can we take ground from the enemy. Only through the church can we see people set free from fears as we declare the gospel, the life of Jesus. Only through Him can the dead be brought back to life.
So we will not stop. We will go - and whatever it takes, whatever the cost, we will go!