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Enlarge My Vision

I never intended to become a Christian

I never intended to become a Christian. I met God while enrolled in a public boarding school. Actually, I met a girl whom I wanted to date. I got up the courage to ask her out, then went to her study hall to charm her into dating me. I knew she was a Christian, but that didn’t bother me. When I entered the room, I found her reading a pamphlet. I sat down beside her and asked her what she was reading. She offered me one of the pamphlets, and I pretended to read it just to impress her. When I asked her for a date she gently declined, but asked me to keep the pamphlet. Later that evening I sat down and read it. It was a Voice of Prophecy lesson about hell, and it worried me. I hardly slept that night.

I was often in trouble because I frequently broke school rules. On Saturday morning, the day after I had asked this girl for a date, I went to the administration building to see if I had been caught breaking any rules that week and had been assigned campus duties.

An Invitation

As I was reading the list a guy came up beside me and invited me to come to a worship service with him in the auditorium. I wasn’t interested in religion, but for some reason I accepted the invitation. We walked across campus to the auditorium. Little did I know that the girl I had asked out the day before was an Adventist.

I had two dollars in my pocket that I had planned to spend drinking on Saturday night. But when the offering basket was passed, I surprised myself by giving the two dollars. Later I realized that this action saved me from drinking that weekend.

While I hadn’t accepted the invitation to attend church because of the girl I wanted to date, I was glad when I saw her there. She befriended me and helped me feel welcome at the church meetings. But she still wouldn’t go out with me.

From the first day I attended church I decided to stop smoking and drinking. Thank God, I never smoked or drank again. When I broke away from old friends, they gave me trouble about my new religious interest. They begged me to go drinking with them, and did everything they could to get me back. But I refused. I made new friends in church. Several months later I gave my life to Christ and followed Him in baptism. I was 17 years old at the time.

A Sober Realization

After completing high school, I worked as a literature evangelist for three years. One day I visited a hospital, and there I saw someone who looked familiar. I barely recognized him, but it was one of my former drinking buddies, my childhood friend. He was dying of TB and AIDS. I stared at him in shock as he lay there unconscious. It was too late for me to share Christ with him, but I couldn’t shake the realization that if I had resisted God’s call, it could have been me lying there. My former friend died a few days later. This experience deepened my conviction that I must answer God’s call whenever and wherever it comes. To put it off could mean death.

I planned to be a literature evangelist for the rest of my life. After all, it had been the printed page that had influenced me to consider Christ. But the local field called me to pastor three churches. I had no training as a minister and had never thought about doing this kind of work. I struggled to decide whether to take this call, because it was not in the direction I thought God had been leading me. Nevertheless, I finally accepted the call.

After I had been in ministry for several years, the conference sponsored me to study at Solusi University in Zimbabwe. During school breaks I held evangelistic meetings wherever someone asked me to go. Word spread that I was willing, and more invitations came. I discovered that this is what I love to do.

Don’t Limit God

During an evangelism field school a speaker challenged us to expand our vision of how God can use us. “Don’t limit yourself,” he said, “and don’t limit God.” The speaker’s words challenged me. But how could I expand my vision of what God expected of me? He had already done so much more than I thought would ever be possible!

Several months later I received a call to hold evangelistic meetings in South Africa. I looked at the calendar and realized that the dates they gave me were the dates of my final exams. Because of my prayer for God to expand my territory, I didn’t tell the people in South Africa of my dilemma, but I fasted and prayed that God would make it possible for me to go. I believed God would open the way. I knew that the dates for the meetings were not changeable, and I knew I could not change my exam schedule. God went to work on my behalf, and I soon learned that my exams had been moved up a full week!

The meetings were such a blessing. Nineteen people gave their lives to God. Surely God has increased my territory, enlarged my vision, and made a worthless sinner into a willing instrument of God’s power. I completed my studies at Solusi and am now serving as an ordained minister in Zambia.