Witnessing ... I have greatly enjoyed Sara's rendition and experiences with that topic ... after I was saved, I too was in a pentecostal church and learned first-hand how they attempted to scare people into getting saved. I believed that for awhile too. As I grow older I understand that it's love that draws people to the Father ... the love I have for them relates directly to how I see the love our Father has for us.
My salvation experience was one of the scariest I know of and yet, on the day I accepted Him into my life and meant it, it was love that won the battle. It took me many years to understand that I couldn't save anyone .. and as far as witnessing, I felt like a 5'10" failure.
I don't have the gumption or the gifting to walk up to a stranger and begin talking about heaven, hell and eternity. I will however, stand near them, as I did today in the grocery store as we waited in the check out line, and pray for God to bring them to Himself, if they're not already there. I ask God to work in their lives for their good and His glory. And I smile.
There have been folks who have come to faith because of my life and my testimony. During the time I was dealing with severe asthma and all that led to, our next door neighbor knew us and saw all that went on. After I was home and recovered, she & I were talking over the back yard fence one day. She said "I have to admit something to you." As I wondered what on earth she was talking about, she then said "I've been watching you Louise, since you got home from the hospital and told me you had been saved, I've been watching to see if it was real and it is." I was then able to talk with her further and we ended the conversation in prayer. She prayed for the Lord to forgive her and come into her heart.
She attended church with me for awhile, but her husband wasn't happy with the changes in her and he let her know it. She couldn't drive and was dependent on me to take her to church. One day we got home and she saw suitcases on the front stoop of her house. Her suitcases. Her husband had warned her that if she left for church that morning, she'd find them packed & waiting for her when she got home. I felt badly for her, and angry at him. I should have pitied the man but I was young and too quick with words way back then.
He eventually opened the door and let her in the house, but just a few months later I learned they had to move. This man had deliberately stopped making house payments just to get her away from me and my church. What he didn't realize when they moved, was that they were moving even closer to 'my' church. I smiled and told her not to worry, she'd be on my way and I could pick her up if she wanted me to. She did. And he became angrier.
Not long after all this, she told me they were moving again ... this time out of state. I thought to myself "He can take her from me and the church here, but he'll never get her away from God". For a time it seemed he had won as I didn't hear from her for a couple of years and when I did, it was to learn she wasn't going to church anywhere. He refused to take her.
This story began in 1979 and I'm pleased to tell you that she and I reconnected and we now talk about once a month; she's still living out of state; and she's rededicated her life to Christ. She's a woman of prayer and reads her Bible openly in their apartment, because as she said, "The place is too small for me to have a place of my own, so I read at the kitchen table and he hasn't said a word". Better yet, he will now take her to church when she asks him to; but, as he told her, "don't ask me to go down front, sitting back here is just fine with me". The man who did his best to run from me was really trying to run from God and hopefully he's learning he can't do that successfully. I still pray for him and their children and trust the Lord to bring them to a saving faith in Christ.
One other thing, her words "I've been watching you" have never left me and serve as a reminder that people watch what we do to see if our actions line up with our words. I am so very thankful mine did for her and I'm careful to walk as befits a child of God yet today.
No, I'm not an in-your-face witness-er type person. I'm more of a love my neighbor as myself; bake & share cookies with them; send uplifting emails & tell them I'm praying for them; invite them to church and do a lot of smiling type person. I send or give cards and books too. And when the door opens, tell them about the love of Jesus that transformed my life. And then, trust that God will indeed bring to faith those whom He has called to be His.