After meeting the twelfth atheist in a row I started to get pretty agitated. “Does anyone on this stinking campus believe in God?” I muttered under my breath in frustration. Sam heard what I said and in his wise rhythmic voice said, “Don’t worry, Dorrell. This is exactly where we need to be. People need to hear about God’s love.”
We had been on campus at the University of Chicago for more than two hours in 29 degree weather. I was disheartened that every person I met with to do the God test was an atheist. When I would tell them the truth and present the gospel they would either mock me or curtly say, “No thank you.”
You have to be full of faith and want people to give their hearts to Jesus on mission trips, but the only thing I wanted at the moment was a hot chocolate and to sit and defrost in a heated room. Tracy texted me a couple of minutes later; She and Audrey Kay (Sam’s wife) weren’t doing too well either.
I told Sam we were going to link up with Tracy and Audrey Kay, find a building on campus to warm up, regroup, and go back out there together. We met up in the quad and I’m glad we did. We started walking and found the closest building to warm up in, Wieboldt Hall. What happened next became one of the defining moments of our entire missions trip.
We sat on a bench inside the hall tired, cold, but grateful to be in a heated room. A couple of moments later a guy walked into the hall. His demeanor seemed hard. We were just planning to rest for a bit, but I was compelled to engage him. I approached him, asked him his name, and if he’d like to do the God test. His name was Jonathan and he was down to do the God Test. I asked him the first question of the test, “Do you believe in God?” His answer, much to my chargrin was, “No.” What made it worse was that he began to mock me. He said, “I heard that your God used to show himself in the past. Through pillars of fire and parting seas. We’ll, I don’t see any of that now. You’re God doesn’t show himself. I don’t believe in your God. I want proof.”
Ouch…I was going to just continue with the questions, but the Holy Spirit spoke to me in a very clear way “Stop with the test. You tell him that I have revealed myself in a way that was far more powerful than any earthly element. I revealed myself to the world through the unfailing love and kindness of my son.” I was amazed at what I heard from the Holy Spirit. I told him exactly what I heard from Holy Spirit. That Jesus came in the form of a man and gave His life as a sacrifice to cover your sins and mine. This was all a gift from our heavenly Father who loves us so very much.
After I said that the Holy Spirit gave me two scriptures to give to him. The first,
So the Word became Human and made his home among us. He was full of unfailing love and faithfulness. And we have seen his glory, the glory of the Father’s one and only son.
The second scripture I said to Jonathan was,
Christ is the visible image of the invisible God.
What happened next was a miracle that took place right before my eyes. As I was giving him this message of life, talking about the love that the Father has bestowed on all mankind, Jonathan’s countenance began to change. The hardness that he previously had slowly melted away and his demeanor changed from being calloused to sensitive. His eyes softened and his heart grew warm. I finally asked him, “Would you like to receive this incredible gift of salvation that your heavenly Father has given to you?” He was silent for a couple of moments as he stared into my eyes and softly said, “Yes.” A miracle.
Sam, Trace, Audrey Kay, and I prayed for him to receive Jesus Christ as his Lord. He confessed his sin and placed his faith in the Son of God. We continued to talk to him for a little while. Tracy had a prophecy for him and told him that he would be a light to the nations. That he would travel all over the world on foreign missions.
Five minutes later a couple came in. We went up to them and asked them their names and if they would like to do the God Test. Their names were Luke and Navia. They had been dating for a couple of months and were leaving a class. Both of them said that they believed in God, but weren’t sure they would go to heaven. Tracy and I articulated the good news to them and asked them if they would like to give their hearts to Jesus. They both said, “Yes.” Luke was on the verge of tears as he confessed Jesus as Lord. It was a powerful moment.
These two stories in Wieboldt Hall are powerful examples of God’s love. I’ll never forget that place and how God transformed the lives of Jonathan, Luke, and Navia.
I’m Harold Dorrell Briscoe. Thanks for reading.
Quick recap of what we were doing besides witnessing. (Props to Ryan Daly for the video)