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Locally Grown: Go Into Your World

By Martha Stoltzfus

Editor’s note: Martha Stoltzfus lives in Jackson, Kentucky. When she heard about RMM’s efforts to help CMC churches engage in local outreach, she sent us this interview of a man from her community who is committed to sharing his faith with those around him.

Ray Mullins and his wife Judy live on Turners Creek, in Breathitt County, Kentucky, where they attend Turners Creek Mennonite Church. Ray is not a preacher or a missionary. However, he takes very seriously his responsibility to proclaim the gospel to his world, which consists of his small community and anyone he meets while on the job. Recently I talked with Ray about his witnessing.

Tell me about your job.

I work for Empire Gas Company, hauling and servicing gas in several counties. And I install gas appliances in houses. I’ve worked for Empire since 1985. It’s a full time job and sometimes I’m on call.

I understand you do lots of witnessing on the job. Why?

It’s my reasonable service. And it’s such a blessing. I meet all kinds of people. Some are Christians; I encourage them. Some are lost. I tell them how good Jesus is, and that they need to be born again. We can do nothing to repay Jesus for what He’s done for us, but we can witness.

How do you know who to witness to and what to say?

Oh, the Holy Spirit. He lets us know where we are needed and what to say. I want to do what I can. Every morning before I go to work, I ask the Lord to use me, and then I look for people who need a word. Once I was making a delivery and I felt the unction of the Holy Spirit telling me to go to Morgan County to see some of my customers. They didn’t need any gas, this was not on my schedule, and it was 25 miles out of my way. But after work I went without question. The lady came to the door and I knew something was wrong. Her husband had died just several days before and she was all tore up. I was able to sit with her and cry with her and sing and comfort her. You know the Bible says to mourn with those who mourn and laugh with those who laugh. And if we do it for “the least of these,” we do it for Jesus.

Did you ever receive a special call from the Lord to witness?

When the Lord saved me, he told me to smile and to sing. People ask me if I’m a preacher, because I get so happy and excited when I witness. The Lord hasn’t “called” me to preach, but if he did, he would put the words in my mouth, like the Bible says. When I witness, I’ll ease into the subject. Once I was talking with a 93-year-old woman and I asked her what life was like when she was young. Then I asked her if she was a Christian, and a big smile came over her face. That was such a blessing! If a man likes to fish, we’ll talk fishing. Then I’ll say, “Jesus called fishermen to be his disciples.” Witnessing is just my reasonable service. People need to know about Jesus. “Whosoever will, let them come.”

Do you have any special training to witness or to preach?

No. No. No. If we have a willingness, he’ll use us. Offer yourself as a living sacrifice.

Does your boss allow you to talk about Jesus on the job?

“We ought to obey God rather than man.” But I try to please her and do my work faithfully, so she doesn’t object when I have a few minutes to witness. She is a nice lady but is all business. Because of the way the economy is, sometimes I worry about my job; will I get laid off? But the Lord will take care of me. By his grace I’ll make it.

Have you experienced ridicule and rejection when you try to witness?

I have, but not a lot. I say a little prayer under my breath, “Lord, use me and you deal with them.” I don’t get mad; I just get sad. The saddest thing in the world is when people reject Jesus, when they refuse the gift of salvation.

What part does prayer have in your witnessing?

A lot. Whatever we pray for, he will give. When I ask God to use me, never doubting, I have confidence he will. He has often delivered me from dangerous situations. Once I was delivering gas to a house up on a bank just above the railroad track. I parked the truck, pulled the emergency brake and placed blocks behind the wheels. But it wasn’t enough. While I was pumping gas, the truck slowly slid down the bank and stopped just two feet from the track. Then I heard a train coming. There was nothing I could do but watch that train go by, and pray. The Lord delivered us that day from a disaster. The only damage was a big hole in the truck’s bumper where the car’s “guns” slammed against the bumper!

The Lord told you to smile and to sing. Do you ever use songs as a tool for witnessing?

Yes! I actually sing, or just say the words. One of my favorite songs is, “Some through the water, some through the flood, some through the fire, but all through the blood.” Then I say, “If I don’t get out of this “holler” tonight, I know I’ve got a better place to go.” Then I’ll tell them about the blood of Jesus, to save and protect. One evening at home, I was watching a local Christian TV program. The preacher said, “There is a woman in our local hospital (he said her name) who is very sick and isn’t saved. Someone needs to talk to her.” Immediately I thought, I’ll go tomorrow. But the Holy Spirit said, “You need to go now.” So I got up from the couch where I was resting, and went. The nurse took me right to her bed and woke her. She was very weak and heavily sedated. I said, “Are you a Christian?” She shook her head. “Do you want to be a Christian?” She said “Yes.” She prayed the sinner’s prayer with me. I couldn’t understand all of it, but God did. Then she relaxed and was so peaceful. Two days later she died.

What word do you have for the church to encourage us to witness more?

Well, you know, just witnessing doesn’t make you a better Christian. But it’s such a blessing! And it’s our reasonable service. Some church people are too comfortable; they don’t want to get out of their comfort zone. But the Lord won’t send you anywhere without preparing the way. Jesus Christ is what it’s all about.