By Chris Meehan and Sean Connolly
Julius, a 6’3’’ man with broad shoulders, wearing sweatpants and a hoodie, was pacing back and forth in his Evansville, IN, living room on a recent afternoon. He kept turning over a Scripture verse in his mind, hoping to understand it--John 3:5: “Unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.”
As Julius was pacing, missionaries Gianna Priolo, David Zimmel and Ann Raway were parking their van in front of his house and walking up to the front porch. It was their first stop of the day. They knocked twice and got no answer. Then they saw that the van door was open, so they hurried back to the street to shut it. “We were so excited to begin our mission work that we walked off and left the van door wide open,” Gianna explains. That’s when Julius opened his front door and looked out, so the missionaries rushed back up to his porch to meet him.
“We’re Christian missionaries, and God wanted us to knock on your door,” David said. “Well, come on in,” Julius replied quickly, opening the door wide. David noticed two Bibles on Julius’s couch, one lying open.
The missionaries began by sharing the word the Lord had given them to speak that day, that fasting was a way to draw near to God. “I receive that word,” Julius said with a gentle voice. He went on to tell them that just six weeks before, after years of falling short of an earlier commitment to the Lord, he had turned back to God and started going back to church. “But the Lord wants me to do something more,” he added. “I don’t know what it is, and I really want to find out what it is he wants.”
When they asked him what Scripture verse he was reading, Julius mentioned John 3. He’d been asked to run a Bible study on the passage, but he didn’t know what to say because he didn’t understand what Jesus meant by “born of water and the Spirit.”
David asked Julius what he knew about the Holy Spirit and the spiritual gifts, reading the list from 1 Corinthians 12. Julius listened closely, and said he had already been asking God for two of the gifts: knowledge and wisdom. They explained at some length about baptism in the Holy Spirit, and offered to pray with him on the spot. “I would like that,” Julius said.
“Julius dropped down on one knee and bowed his head for us to pray with him,” David recalls. The missionaries led him through a prayer committing himself to God, renouncing the attractions of the devil, and inviting the Holy Spirit into his life. They shared several words from the Lord for Julius, and after each he responded, “I accept that.”
As the missionaries left, Julius told David, “I believe God sent you. It’s not an accident what you said; it came from the Lord.” He and David exchanged phone numbers and have been in contact several times.
David said that the missionaries hadn’t been to Julius’s neighborhood for a year or more. Julius’s house, on the corner, was the first and only one they knocked on in the area that day.
Chris Dietz says:
October 31st, 2012 at 4:49 PM
Sounds ALOT like Acts 8:26-40 to me! Praise God!
Mary Kay Gleason says:
October 31st, 2012 at 5:13 PM
I love that story! God is asking many of us to knock on doors and not to be afraid. He is sending us and will put his angels around us to protect us. Thanks Gianna, David, and Ann for sharing this encouragement!
Carmen Fraga says:
October 31st, 2012 at 6:01 PM
What a wonderful Lord we have! Way to go in the Holy Spirit!
Thank you for your witness and story! We pray for your work and mission always!
Chris Urbanski says:
October 31st, 2012 at 7:28 PM
God continues to pour out His Spirit on His people. Lord help us to be open and ready to share your word and the power of the Spirit. Glory to God!
Linda Simpkins says:
October 31st, 2012 at 7:46 PM
Jo Zimmel says:
October 31st, 2012 at 8:43 PM
Wow! God is so good. Thank you for sharing this story. Praying for all of you and your work in Evansville.
Linda Coney says:
October 31st, 2012 at 11:40 PM
Amazing story. I love that The Lord works like that!
Mike Rosener says:
November 1st, 2012 at 12:02 AM
I heard about this story for my brother Dan Rosener We have just gone out to witness on street ministry for Halloween. We pray that Papa would send those who have a "Devine appointment " with him through us. He sent a young Moslem man and we asked him if we could pray with him to meet Jesus. He stated that he as not sure it was allowed. We prayed that Jesus would reveal himself to him in a dream or vision. To experience his peace & love.
Karen Heintzelman says:
November 1st, 2012 at 8:16 AM
What wonderful and encouraging news of the Holy Spirit!
Mike McFarland says:
November 1st, 2012 at 9:08 AM
sue kelleher says:
November 1st, 2012 at 10:40 AM
Wow, thank you for being so open to the Holy Spirit
Kim Doffing says:
November 1st, 2012 at 10:52 AM
Lord, You are so faithful in hearing the cries of your people! Thank You Lord!
Jim Sgroi says:
November 1st, 2012 at 11:26 AM
Glory to God!
HAIDY BUSEKRUS says:
November 1st, 2012 at 12:28 PM
Loved the story! It is so energizing for us when Our Lord uses us in such a tangible way to love his people.
Jocelyn D'Eon says:
November 1st, 2012 at 12:45 PM
I accept that!
Nancy Grams says:
November 1st, 2012 at 6:06 PM
What wonderful encouragement from the Holy Spirit! Thank you missionaries for saying "yes" to the Father and seeing the Kingdom being built before your very eyes.
Mary Dohrman says:
November 3rd, 2012 at 7:37 PM
Thank you, Jesus!
Renee Long says:
November 4th, 2012 at 12:32 PM
This story gave me hope! Thank you, dear brothers and sisters. Come Holy Spirit!
MARY DUDDY says:
November 6th, 2012 at 12:28 AM
That is a beautiful story. Thank you for sharing it.
Tom Caneff says:
November 6th, 2012 at 12:24 PM
A truly inspiring story. So much to learn from it. I love how it starts.....from Julius's perspective, not "ours". The reader is first in his living room. And the missionaries had a word THAT DAY for him -- a true word of the Lord for that man that very day. Had they not sought that day, they may not have had that word.
Glory to God.
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