I Corinthians 3:6- I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase.
There are three people that played significant parts in my decision to accept Christ when I was an 8 year old girl:
- Linda (Darby) Williams was a teenage girl that lived across the street from my family when I was growing up. On occasion she would show up at our back yard and talk to my mom. Inevitably she would turn the conversation to an invitation to attend Loomis Park Baptist Church in Jackson, Michigan. My mom told Linda, "When the triplets are old enough to dress themselves, we will go, but you can take Laurie." I'm 3 1/2 years older than the triplets. I was probably 4 or 5 at this time. My mom did wake me up on Sunday mornings and get me ready, and I would cross the street and wait for Linda to get ready. I remember "reading" the funny papers while I waited. Soon Michael, Linda's boyfriend, would pull up, honk the horn, and we would ride to church together. I attended Sunday school and junior church and learned the stories and songs. I believe the seed of the Gospel was planted during that time.
- My dad got saved when I was about 8 years old. I had stopped going to church because it seemed that all the other boys and girls went with their families, and I didn't want to go alone. My dad got saved in an Assembly of God church, but soon after his salvation he began attending Loomis Park Baptist Church--the church I had attended! Our whole family began attending church whenever the doors were open. One Sunday on the way home from church, we were all piled into our station wagon, and I was sitting in the back seat leaning forward with my chin resting on the front seat between my mom and dad (these were the days before the seatbelt laws). "Laurie, have you asked Jesus to save you?" my dad asked.
My dad was a new convert and didn't even know how to show me how to be saved yet, but I meant what I said, and I knew that in junior church, kids went forward to get saved. My dad's question that day was watering the seed that had been planted by Linda from across the street.
- Mr. and Mrs. Root were a husband and wife team that taught junior church every Sunday morning at Loomis Park Baptist Church. I loved the songs we sang with lyrics like, "I've got the joy, joy, joy down in my heart," and "Somewhere in outerspace, God has prepared a place..." Although I only won a few times, I even loved looking for scripture passages during the Bible drills. My favorite part of junior church though, was when Mrs. Root told a story and used the flannel graph board. She was a masterful story teller and made the Bible stories and kid's stories come to life as she laid her flannel pictures on the board each week. Mr. and Mrs. Root always had an invitation at the end of every children's service, and I remember vividly walking the aisle and looking up to Mrs. Root and saying, "I want to get saved."
Well, I guess had gone through the motions previously, but I told her in all honesty, "I did, but I didn't mean it." Apparently, I had kept my word to my dad and had followed through on "getting saved," but I really hadn't meant it after all.
I'm so glad that Mrs. Root didn't try to talk me into believing that I had gotten saved the previous week! She kindly took me and a couple of other girls to a private room and told me the plan of salvation once again. I remember listening with purpose to every word and then praying the sinner's prayer for the second week in a row--but this time I mean it! I remember that day after church running around and telling anyone who would listen, "I got saved!" That day was the best of the best!
Linda, the teenage neighbor had helped to plant the seed of the Gospel in my life; my dad had watered that seed, and Mrs. Root had the privilege of seeing God reap another soul. Sometimes I feel like if I don't give the whole plan of salvation to someone and see them saved right on the spot, that I have failed somehow, but even in my own life several people were involved in the process that led to my accepting Christ as my Saviour. Don't belittle even the seemingly "small" efforts that you make--you never know that part you will play in planting and watering the seeds of the Gospel.