My husband and I travelled to Wiltshire with the children to visit my aunt and uncle in Chippenham. I often thought about the spiritual climate in the South West as it is steeped in new age. This is crop circle country and home of the famous festival, Glastonbury. It was this thought that occupied my mind as we made our way into the town centre after parking the car. The walk is a beautiful one, along the banks of the river Avon, with weeping willows draping their branches over and into the fast flowing water. My thoughts began to shift towards wondering about the church and how much of the body was in the area and what it was like for them to live in such a spiritual climate. Suddenly, I found my thoughts being interrupted by what I thought to be some kind of commotion in the high street ahead. As we approach the noise, to my surprise I found it to be a open air preacher! I knew I had to speak to this man and encourage him.It was like the questions I had just been contemplating were, to a degree, about to be answered. At this point in my Christian life I had never met a street preacher or even witnessed myself. I knew I had to speak to this man and encourage him.
After he finished preaching I introduced myself as a sister and told him what a great job he was doing. He smiled and said thank you and that was that. I then made my way to the shop where my husband and children were waiting. After paying for our goods we came out of the shop when I noticed the preacher off his box completely surrounded by a group of young teenage boys, many on bikes. Now I had never in my life witnessed so what happened next can only be described as a miracle!
My First Witnessing Encounter
After asking my husband if he would watch the children and wait for me I found myself making my way to the group of boys. On hearing one of their questions, all being asked in mockery and trying to catch the preacher out, I opened my mouth only to find I had a answer ready not only for that one question but for them all. There is noway it was knowledge I already had and was sharing with them. I couldn't have known these answers but here I was answering them. If that wasn't enough the boys began to listen intently and their questions became more serious! The one ringleader tried to lead the others astray by asking silly questions but even with him I felt compelled to to speak to him something specific. He pretended to be offended but you could see him thinking about what was said.
One young boy in the group, Matthew, really blessed me. Never before or since have I seen such conviction and thirst in a boy of his age. I knew I had to give him my Bible. As I gave it to him all the boys eyes widened and they looked at the Bible with awe. I mean these are young teenage boys we're talking about here and they were looking at the Bible with such awe. At this point the ringleader had given up trying to get the others to do what he wanted. As Matthew opened the Bible he saw passages I had highlighted and asked why had I done that. So I proceeded to tell him how some had a specific meaning to me that he could do the same and he would know what I meant if he was to prayerfully read it. To this day I wonder how Matthew is doing and he has often been in my prayers over the years.
The boys then began to disperse and soon I find it was just me and the preacher. He told me his name was Joseph and thanked me for helping him out. But I knew it wasn't me. What had just taken place was nothing short or a miracle! From that moment on it was my hearts desire to witness and I could never make excuse: "But I don't know what to say."
do not be anxious how you are to speak or what you are to say, for what you are to say will be given to you in that hour. Matthew 10:19
I never did see Joseph again and upon enquiry no one knew him. Not many words were exchanged between us and I like to think of him as an angel sent from God. Although, Joseph, if you are reading this I want you to know how your obedience to the great commission blessed me and changed my life. Every time I'm in Chippenham I look out for you.