Just how important is it to sow the seed? “Is the seed yet in the barn?” (Haggai 2:19) As we distribute Scriptures during our campaigns, it does not take long to discover that not everyone wants one. Sometimes a person will take a John/Romans, and once they see what it is, they may set it down on a park bench or window sill as they walk. They may even just discard it on the sidewalk or street. The following is a story of one such discarded John/Romans that took place in the country of Lithuania, and how it affected one who found it. We will call her ‘Janina.’
It was in September, and the day was just as mundane as any previous day that Janina had experienced as she trudged home from work. For months now, she was experiencing great periods of depression and was just so discouraged with her life. As she lifted one foot at a time, heading home, she stared at the sidewalk, averting her eyes so as not to make eye contact with anyone passing by her. About halfway home, she noticed a dust-covered booklet lying in the gutter of the street. She thought, “I wonder what that is?” So she stopped, picked it up, and wiped off the dust. As she did so, she read the words on the front to herself, “The Gospel according to John and Romans.” This booklet seemed to just draw her in, so she placed it in her purse and hurried home, because she was curious about the booklet.
Once home, Janina prepared herself a little something to eat and then sat down with the booklet to read. She first read in sequence the marked verses. Once completed, she read all fifteen questions placed in the back of the booklet, looking up the related verses in the John/Romans. At that point, she began reading, starting in the first chapter of John, right on through to the last page of Romans. She read into the wee hours of the morning to finish the whole booklet and said to herself, “I need this!” Janina then bowed her head and asked the Lord to save her. She fell asleep with a feeling of great peace in her heart.
The next day, while she was at work, she kept thinking, “I want to know more! Where did this come from?” Something kept impressing upon her heart and mind to go to the train station. She said to herself, “I don’t want to go to the train station, because I am not going out of town! Besides that, it is crowded there, and pickpockets abound.” She wrestled with the notion all day at work. Upon completion of her workday, she finally gave in and made her way quickly to the train station, wondering if she was daft to go somewhere that she did not need to be.
Low and behold, when Janina got to the main outside entrance to the station, two blonde ladies were handing out the very same booklet that she had found discarded (the ladies were my wife Laura and my sister-in-law, Tricia). She raced up to them and rapidly began to tell them in Lithuanian what happened to her. They calmed her down and got a translator there to interpret for Janina. After Janina told them about finding the John/Romans in the street and her salvation experience, her question was, “Where can I go to learn more?” It just so happened that this was Wednesday, and the interpreter, who was a member of the Lithuanian Baptist Church, had a tract with the address and invited her to the service that night.
That evening Janina came to the midweek service and brought a neighbor with her. They seated themselves and listened very intently to the singing and the message. At the close of the service, announcements were made; and then the missionary opened it up for anything he missed, announcement- wise. At that point, the missionary noticed a lady he did not know, with her hand high in the air. It was Janina, and the missionary asks how he can help her. She replies, “I need to be baptized!” The missionary asked her how she knew she needed to be baptized and her response as she pulled the John/Romans out of her purse and held it up was, “It says right in here!”
Yes, it was discarded, yet found—by a seeking soul! “So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.” (Isaiah 55:11)