Going Across the World to Lead My Neighbor to Jesus

You've probably heard it said before that we should first look to be missionaries in our own backyard. I believe we should be diligent and willing to be the gospel and share it with our neighbors. But, how about when you travel halfway across the world to share the gospel with your neighbor? That was a unique opportunity I had recently.

Ironically, several of my neighbors are deployed with me. It's nice having a part of home with me in this war-torn land so far away. However, I can honestly say that I've met people out here that I didn't even realize were my neighbors back home. Sadly, it has made me realize that I need to be a better neighbor and get out and meet more of the folks that live around me. God, in His infinite wisdom, did give me a cool opportunity though. I encountered a man out here that I had never met. He's not in my unit. He simply works as a civilian contractor in Afghanistan. I quickly learned after meeting him that he was in turmoil. He misses his family and things in his marriage aren't going well. I talked with him extensively, gave him some resources and advice, and prayed with him. But, I couldn't help but feel God prodding me to do more. After talking to the man some more, I discovered that we are actually neighbors. Our houses practically back up to each other. I couldn't believe that I had traveled 6,000 miles across the globe and met a neighbor. I invited him to attend one of our chapel services, not really expecting him to attend. However, on the next Sunday, he showed up. It wasn't planned by me, but God knew what He was doing. It just so happened that on this particular Sunday, I was scheduled to preach out of Colossians 3 on the Christian home.

Colossians 3:18-25:

18 Wives, submit to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord. 19 Husbands, love your wives, and do not be harsh with them. 20 Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord. 21 Fathers, do not provoke your children, lest they become discouraged. 22 Bondservants, obey in everything those who are your earthly masters, not by way of eye-service, as people-pleasers, but with sincerity of heart, fearing the Lord. 23 Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, 24 knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ. 25 For the wrongdoer will be paid back for the wrong he has done, and there is no partiality.

After the message, my neighbor walked up to me with tears in his eyes. He simply said, "thank you", shook my hand, and walked away. I wasn't sure what would come of it, but a few days later he sent me a message and wanted to talk. The morning I was to meet with him, I got up and went for a 5-mile run. During my run, I couldn't help but pray about my upcoming meeting with him. I overwhelmingly felt God telling me to be extremely deliberate with sharing the gospel. I prayed for wisdom and boldness and for my neighbor to have an open heart.

When we got together that morning, I could immediately tell he came with a receptive heart. One of the first questions he asked me was, "Did you purposely preach on the family for me?" Honestly, I said, "no". It was a part of a planned sermon series that had been outlined a month earlier. It was all God. An hour into our conversation, my neighbor bowed his head and closed his eyes. In his own words, he asked God for forgiveness, Christ into his heart, and said that he wanted to follow him. I was overjoyed and overwhelmed.

I don't know all of the reasons why God sent me to Afghanistan again to be away from my family. However, I do know that if nothing else is ever revealed to me, that God wanted me here to share His truth with my neighbor. Too bad it took traveling halfway across the world to do it. But, it's okay.....I'd travel around the globe a million times to see someone come to Jesus.