It’s a sign! It’s a sign!
A personal testimony of Glenn Wise about his early fears of sharing his faith in public.
The most fearful day was when I was given 5 Personal Workers Testaments to hand out during an Open Air Witness Event at a city park in Atlanta, Georgia at an International Gideon Convention on July 7, 2007.
I had seldom handed out bibles in a public setting before and was paralyzed by the thought of suffering the consequences of doing it wrongly. I had gone to Mexico to hand them out over there but not often in the States. Ordinary books and papers would be one thing, but God’s word, was another thing all together. Major responsibility. Lots at stake!
About 30 Gideons and Auxiliary were loaded on a bus and taken to the city park where a small band was playing and folks were just mingling around the stage area. The bus stopped and I looked around at the number of Gideons and Auxiliary outside in the area and I decided they did not need me, so I stayed on the bus. Eventually the bus driver told me he had to return the bus so I needed to get off. I did, reluctantly.
So, I just stayed to myself off to the side and watched the others hand out their bibles. There were more Gideons on the scene than regular folks.
Eventually, I noticed a side street coming to the park that had no Gideons on it. So I walked down it and noticed on a plaque that it was significant in the emancipation of slaves in the city.
So, as folks walked by, I offered them a copy of a New Testament and hoped they wouldn’t do anything rash, like yell at me, throw it back or pull my hand out of socket (LOL). I am clueless, to this day, as to why I was so anxious about such a menial task. Here I was a successful business man, survivor of the Vietnam War, an aerospace plant manager and a sought after speaker in the US and Canada on World Class Manufacturing Concepts. And yet, I was anxious about handing out a bible to a stranger on the street.
To my surprise, I handed out four of the Testaments with mixed reactions but nothing hostile or mean-spirited happened. So, I was quite relieved and had one more to go. So I said a little prayer of Thanksgiving to God and asked him what he wanted me to do with the last one.
Then, I looked down a side street and up comes a young black fellow with a knapsack on his back. I offered him a bible and he asked what it was and I told him it was about God and his son, Jesus. Then I asked if he knew anything about God, and he said his grandmother in Jacksonville, Fla told him some about God when he was little.
He then said he was in Atlanta to get a job and was looking for a park to get some sleep before looking for work. I told him that Atlanta was a big place and he needed a friend like Jesus to be with him. Then he said, “ Maybe that’s why I came to Atlanta!”
I then led him in reading the plan of salvation scriptures in the back of the Testament and at the end asked if he wanted to accept Christ as his savior and say the sinners prayer, right there in public on the city street. He answered “yes”.
So as we held hands, he followed me in the sinners prayer. Then, just as we finished, a man in a red pickup truck, who was stopped at the corner stop sign, rolled down his window, stuck his hand up in the air and yelled, “Hallelujah!”
Then little Travon Mitchell exclaimed, “It’s a sign! It’s a sign!”
In all his glory, God stepped down on that day to show a shy little boy from Jacksonville and an anxious older man how marvelous he will work to show his love and power when we step out on faith to do his will to win the lost.
He put all the pieces of the puzzle in place to lead Travon to him and me to a new-found dimension in serving my Lord. Pieces like the five Testaments, a crowded park, the bus route, the lonely side street, a young man alone in a big city and a man who just happened to be stopped at a stop sign and who rejoiced as the angels in heaven do when one lost sheep is found.
We walked together back to the park and I told Travon he should let his grandmother know he was now a Christian.
My walk with the Lord was dramatically changed that day. When I returned to my home in Greensboro, North Carolina, I began aggressively seeking out folks to accept Christ as their savior.
I started hanging out at the Bus Depot downtown and talking to folks around the City Park. I started doing the jail ministry at the County Jail. When I purchased food or other items at a store, I would engage the clerks in a spiritual discussion if willing.
The chains of Satan around my spiritual ankles were gone. I was “free at last!”