Recently, a friend asked me how I came to know my Lord and Savior and I couldn’t help, but smile because my salvation story is quite different than what most people are used to hearing. Usually, people find their salvation through a message in church, a conversation with their pastor, a friend or family member, God speaking to their heart for a long period of time, church camp, a tragic/life-changing event among many other things. Me? I came to know God by way of cotton balls and paper cutout sheep. Yep, I came to know Jesus Christ through cotton ball paper sheep. I promise you’re not delusional. You’re reading this right. My guess is, you’re probably making the same face many people do. You know, the “Whaaaa???” face? Yeah, that one, haha!
For those who know me or read my blog, I talk about my best friend and sister in Christ, Rachel, most of the time and with good reason. The road to my salvation began with an invitation from her when we were in high school. In 2003, she invited me to her church to help build scenery for a children’s play during my junior year. After meeting her mom, I was given instructions on how I could help. My job was to glue cotton balls to A LOT of paper sheep that were scattered down long tables, similar to the picture you see above. Considering the fact that I love to get my hands dirty (I blame daddy for all those years of putting together furniture), you can imagine my disappointment when I learned that all I was going to do was glue cotton balls to paper. However, I saw it as a time to get in touch with my crafty side, so I really wasn’t that disappointed.
After we were done, Rachel invited me back a few days later so I could see my “work” and watch the kids perform. I couldn’t say no because I love seeing children act and just be themselves (you know the one or two who just stare at the audience while a few wander off the stage? Yep!) and let’s face it, I wanted to see if I did a good job with the sheep! After the mini production, I stayed and listened to the message that night. What Rachel didn’t know was that I grew up a Buddhist and became agnostic just a few years prior so I was still looking for an answer that would make sense to me. After listening to the message that night, everything finally came together for me. It was the night that God planted His seed in me. I knew Jesus was the answer and not long after, during one of our youth group meetings, I got saved and a few years later, my best guy friend and I were baptized on the same day.
I’m glad Rachel listened to her heart and overcame her fear of rejection. Doing work for God is hard, but her need to tell me to come to church that day to help overpowered her fear of rejection because if she hadn’t (and I wasn’t willing to listen), I would’ve never found God nor would I be praying for my mom’s salvation for the next nine years only to help bring her to Jesus on daddy’s would-be 57th birthday in 2011. I’ll never forget that day. Mom bowed her head and said the sinner’s prayer in broken English and in Vietnamese because she wanted to make sure God understood her, hahaha! A few months later, an old friend from high school messaged me about needing Jesus and I helped lead him straight to our Savior by way of text message 30 minutes before Wednesday night church.
My points to you are, saved or not, be willing to listen to others no matter what you think they’re going to say to you. Don’t ever assume that you know what their “plans” are because if I had jumped to the conclusion that Rachel had her own agenda, I would be forever lost. Secondly, to be a true ambassador of God, you must see that not everyone is going to work to build God’s kingdom the same way you do. God has different plans for each of us and He has also given each of us different talents. He knows how it’ll all play out, so don’t think that you can’t help God’s kingdom if you’re not a pastor/preacher or a missionary. He gave all of us abilities that others don’t have like singing, public speaking, teaching, working with youth, crafting, writing, painting, etc. Something as small as making blankets for the church can add to God’s kingdom. How about this? Just being a friend to someone can bring him/her to Christ, just like Rachel was to me all those years ago. Little things like having a conversation with a friend may go unnoticed in this world and dismissed by others, but not with God.
Many of us know the story of Mary’s reaction when an angel named Gabriel came to tell her of God’s plans. Her response? She didn’t believe him. Gabriel’s response? “For no word from God will ever fail.” – Luke 1:37
or if you want it in modern day language,
Lastly, it’s true. Nothing is impossible with God. He can show himself through anything and can use anything and anyone to fulfill and bring His plan to life. I’m living proof. How you say? How many people do you know came to Christ Jesus by way of cotton ball paper sheep?
Tell me, what’s your salvation story? I’d love to know!