How my 88-year-old friend inspired me to share my faith in Jesus

Recently, I called to check on an elderly friend who moved from our city to another. She’s in her late 80’s, and starting to slow down a bit. 🙂

But not in her evangelistic fervour. No, that is white-hot, and I was so inspired by our conversation together that I wanted to share it with you.

Because we weren’t very far into our chat before my friend began to mention people she’s been meeting in her senior’s complex, describing them to me based upon their spiritual journey.

  • “He seems to be from a Buddhist background. I will find out more about that.”
  • “She had some kind of a Christian connection, but it has long lapsed.” 
  • “She likes to attend the local spiritual retreat centre based on the teachings of a New Age guru.”

Before too long, my friend had invited two of them to join her in her room for more spiritual conversation, providing for each of them a booklet which explained the Christian faith more fully and invited them to follow him. And she is praying for them daily.

Wow. 

The truth is, my friend was struggling with the move to this new city. Away from her friends, leaving the church she’s long loved and served in, surrounded by new people and feeling alone–she was pretty down. But, she knew God had sent her there, too. And with that knowledge in hand, she embraced her calling, her commissioning as Jesus’ ambassador to people for whom this will likely be their very last chance to discover the grace of Jesus and enter his life for them. 

Jesus loves those who’ve resisted him all their lives. So much so, he sends them witnesses like my faithful friend.

And that calling compels her–compels her to pray, to invite, to witness, to share, to reach out to new people, to see through the eyes of faith those whom the Spirit is drawing to Jesus.

When I hung up the phone, I was riding high. Her example to me was such an encouragement. As I reflected on it, at least 6 things came to mind.

6 Things I Learned About Evangelism From My 88-year-old Friend

  1. Wherever we are, that’s where we’ve been sent as Jesus’ witness. We might want to be somewhere else, but here–right where we are–can be be engaged in an entirely new way if we understand ourselves as people who’ve been sent by God.
  2. We don’t retire from our truest calling as Christ’s ambassadors. We fill that post until our final breath. It’s who we are, more than what we do.
  3. Compassion for people is the heart of evangelism. It’s only as we really see people with the heart of the Father that we will be moved to share the good news of Jesus.
  4. God is incredibly patient. Jesus loves people so much that he sent yet another witness to himself, to people who’ve spent most of their lives running away from him. Now, people in their 80’s and 90’s are meeting one of God’s very best, and are receiving yet another offer of grace. What a patient Father, who is not willing that any should perish. 
  5. Prayer empowers evangelism. As we share the good news of Jesus, there are many forces which seek to prevent people from finding forgiveness and freedom in Christ. We must fight those forces with prayer, so that people can really have their eyes opened to the love of Jesus for them.
  6. Inviting people to gather, eat and discuss is a key strategy. Whether it’s something as simple as tea in your room or a full-blown Alpha course, this strategy seems to be the classic way God moves among people. My friend took everything up a notch by moving a “chance” conversation in the dining hall forward through invitation to further conversation over tea. Could we get together and talk more about this? Bold, winsome, clear.

I’m thankful for my faithful friend. And I’m inspired by her example and I’m praying for her success.

How did she inspire you?