FORT WORTH, TX (BP) – Although Emily Mitchell was excited to participate in this year's Crossover evangelism efforts in St. Louis, she often found herself feeling discouraged and, at times, even inferior. Mitchell has only been active in church for about two years, with God calling her to join a congregation one year and to ministry the next. She just completed her first year in Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary's master's in Christian education program, but struggled with feeling inadequate in sharing her faith compared to other Southwestern students and faculty. As the team began hitting the streets of St. Louis, however, Mitchell had one area of solace.
Prior to the trip, God had spoken to Mitchell's heart at a church service in Illinois. "I love you, Emily," she felt Him saying, "not for what you do, but just for who you are." With this as her foundation, Mitchell, who had never led someone to the Lord prior to Crossover, obediently shared the Gospel with those whom God placed in her path. Over the course of her time in St. Louis, as well as the week after, God used Mitchell to bring three people to Christ. "I never memorized the 'Romans Road,' and others on the trip knew it by heart," Mitchell said of her initial feelings of inadequacy. "But each day, as I shared more and more, I began to be more bold, and God brought verses from Romans I didn't even know that I knew!"
The first person whom Mitchell led to the Lord was a woman she encountered walking down the street. After sharing with her the message of salvation through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, Mitchell asked the woman if she would like to respond at that moment. When the woman said "yes," Mitchell responded, "Really?!" Mitchell proceeded to lead the woman in prayer, and she became a follower of Christ at that time. The second encounter occurred a few days later. Mitchell accidentally left several books she received while attending the Southern Baptist Convention's annual meeting at a nearby restaurant in St. Louis. When she returned to retrieve them, the waitress had them waiting for her. "Thank you for keeping these for me," Mitchell said to her. "Have some! They are Christian books. You're a Christian, aren't you?" The waitress replied, "What is the difference? I don't know what a Christian is." Mitchell shared the Gospel with her, and before she even had the chance to extend an invitation, the waitress said, "I want to be a Christian tonight. I want to make that decision."
Mitchell and the other Southwestern students with her proceeded to explain to the waitress how to become a Christian, and the woman gave her life to Christ. They then prayed over her and gave her a Bible. When Mitchell returned to Fort Worth, she knew she had been changed by her experiences in St. Louis but nevertheless expected to find "the same routine life" she had left. But before leaving work one day soon after her return, she spent a few minutes sharing with a co-worker about her trip and all that God had done. This recounting of events gradually morphed into a Gospel presentation, and the co-worker's response proved that God was not done using Mitchell in an evangelistic way. "I feel something in my heart right now," the co-worker said, "and I am really excited. I want to say the prayer today. I want to be a Christian." "That's three people who made a decision," Mitchell noted. "All I did was open my mouth with nothing rehearsed and nothing contrived -- just the Holy Spirit using me. Even though those precious souls are very blessed with their newfound faith, I know I am so blessed, too, because God chose me in my weakened state with nothing to boast about, and He loved me enough to use me to share His glory. He is really awesome, and I know now without a shadow of a doubt that He loves me and loves us all as we really are."
ABOUT THE AUTHOR Alex Sibley is the senior writer/copy editor for Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.