A Jump Start to the New Year


We had just gone to bed; it was 10:30 p.m. (unusually early for us). My cell phone rang loudly, causing me to jump a bit. Looking at caller i.d., I saw it was a Missouri number unfamiliar to me. “Probably a solicitation call,” I figured. I let it go to voicemail. Two minutes later, a message came through. I decided I’d better listen to it. “Bro. Rich, this is Dan Kelly, assistant pastor at Faith Baptist in Columbia, Missouri. We are having a teen rally this weekend with approximately 200-300 teens. Our speaker, DaveYoung, had to cancel because his father-in-law passed away this week. Is there any chance you’d be available to preach?” Providentially, I had the weekend open. I called Pastor Dan right back, and we made arrangements for me to fly out that weekend from Tampa to Columbia.
I would speak six times over Saturday and Sunday. There were 200 teens and dozens of adult workers there. Seven teens responded for salvation during the services. One young girl came to enquire about salvation. I smiled when she told me her name: Heaven. “Do you want to know how to get there?” I asked. Heaven said, “Yes,” so one of the ladies from the church joined me as we went through the plan of salvation with her. After a half hour, she seemed to understand the Gospel, but she said she wasn’t yet ready to call on the Lord. I asked if she would be willing to read over a Gospel tract that I gave her. She said yes and took it home with her.

The next morning Heaven came up to me in Sunday school. “How was your night?” I asked. “Fine,” she replied. Then with a wry grin she added, “I read that booklet you gave me, and I prayed.” I asked, “Did you call on the Lord to be your Savior?” She was smiling broadly as she said that she did indeed pray to be saved! She was in church all three services that day, and she said she’d be back in the weeks to come. It didn’t matter that the temperatures were in the teens and we got 2.5” of snow before I left town: it was a season of reaping, a great jump start to a new year of ministry.