Witnessing to Family Is Like Witnessing to Everyone Else . . . Only More So - page 4


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From the Winter 2014 issue of Knowing & Doing:  

Witnessing to Family Is Like Witnessing to Everyone Else . . .
Only More So

by Randy Newman, M.Div.
Senior Teaching Fellow for Apologetics and Evangelism, C.S. Lewis Institute

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  As Ed packed up to return to graduate school, he suggested that his father might want to call the pastor of the church and see what he recommended for growth in his newfound faith. Never would Ed have expected the program of discipleship the pastor laid out for this now sixty-year-old babe in Christ.
  “Do you read the daily newspaper?” the pastor asked Ed’s father. He replied that he did—every day.
  “I want you to look up the listings of all the people who had babies or announced their marriages. Send them a note of congratulations along with one of these tracts.” He handed him a stack of tracts and sent him on his way. That started the daily writing of notes to dozens of new parents and brides and grooms. It also inspired him to start writing tracts of his own.
  At age sixty-six, Ed’s father married a godly Christian woman, sold his house, bought an RV, and travelled all over the country with his new bride, distributing thousands (that’s not an exaggeration!) of tracts he had written. For eighteen more years, he lived as a fearless evangelist, sharing his story and praying that his words would fall upon soil where “chains could not hold people back” from believing and, ultimately, bearing fruit a hundredfold.
  My highest priority in writing Bringing The Gospel Home was to encourage hope for Christians as they witness to their families. One final story girds me up as I pray for, extend love to, and search for words to say to those I know and love who still don’t know the Savior.
  For two whole years during World War II, the Nazis surrounded the city of Leningrad (now known by its former name, St. Petersburg). They pummeled it with shells, trying to crush the spirit of the people who lived there. Of great concern to the citizens was the preservation of the masterpieces in the Hermitage museum. Before the siege took place, curators and volunteers packed up thousands of paintings and sculptures and shipped them east to be hidden in the rural countryside far from the urban museum. But they left the frames and pedestals where they were, in anticipation of someday reuniting them with the paintings and statues they once held.
  To provide constant protection of the building, many of the staff of the museum, along with their families, moved into its basement. Together with Russian soldiers, they swept up broken glass, boarded up holes in walls, and removed snow that had come through holes in the roof, hoping to protect the beautiful parquet floors.
  As a way of saying thank you to the soldiers, the staff of the museum conducted tours of the building—even though the artwork wasn’t there. Photographs depict knowledgeable curators standing before clusters of soldiers, pointing to empty picture frames and vacant pedestals. You can almost hear their voices describing beautiful works of art they had come to love and longingly miss. From memory, they would point out brushstrokes, marble contours, and the creative genius of the likes of Renoir, da Vinci, Monet, and Michelangelo.
  The staff did this from the dual vantage points of happy memory and hopeful anticipation. They remembered what once was and looked forward to what they hoped would someday be again.3

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