“Tell him you’re a Christian!” said a little voice in Paul Bodor’s head.
“I’m not telling this guy I’m a Christian,” thought Paul. It was Paul’s first year as a literature evangelist and he was showing a collection of health books to the man.
The man he was talking to had a shaved head and a mohawk and was covered in tattoos, including skulls on the backs of both his hands. He looked very intimidating.
“Tell him you’re a Christian!” The impression was stronger this time.
“No,” Paul argued with himself again. “I’m not going to do it.”
The man said that he was generally interested in health, but not interested that day. Paul thanked him for his time and turned to leave.
“TELL HIM YOU’RE A CHRISTIAN!”
Paul couldn’t ignore that still small voice any longer. He turned back to the man. “Sorry, mate, I don’t know why I’m telling you this, but I need to tell you that I’m a Christian.”
The man stared at Paul for a moment and then opened his door. “Come inside. I want to talk.”
As it turns out, Joel wasn’t a scary biker. He told Paul that he had attended a Catholic school when he was young and considered himself Catholic but didn’t go to mass or live a Christian life.
“I want to know more about the Bible,” he told Paul earnestly. “But I don’t want Bible studies just yet.”
Paul introduced Joel to Today, Tomorrow and You by Arthur Maxwell. Before he left, he asked Joel if he could pray with him. Joel agreed.
When the prayer was finished, Joel said he had never heard anyone pray like that before. “This is a little embarrassing . . . but I felt all warm inside when you prayed,” he confessed.
Paul returned to visit Joel at least half a dozen times or more each year. Joel went on to purchase other books and DVDs from Paul.
After one visit, Paul said his goodbyes and was ready to leave, when Joel told him seriously that he had forgotten something. Paul patted his pocket. He had his keys and his phone in his pocket and was carrying his prospectus. “What am I missing?” he wondered.
“You always pray for me. You haven’t said your prayer!” Joel said. Paul felt guilty and thanked Joel for reminding him.
Over the years, Joel told Paul that he didn’t have a Bible but that he wanted one. Paul gave him a Bible, but Joel had difficulty reading it. Paul showed him the Bible storybooks by Arthur Maxwell, explaining that although the books were written for children, they would be a good introduction to the Bible. Joel loved the idea and bought the set.
“When I visited, I noticed that the Bible storybooks weren’t there anymore and I asked what had happened to them,” reported Paul. “Joel said he had finished reading them and that he had stored them at his mum’s house. He lived in a rough neighborhood and people often broke into his house or stole his things. He kept the things that he cherished most at his mum’s house.”
In January 2021, Paul ran into Joel at the shops. “I have a story to tell you!” Joel exclaimed. One day, Joel had heard someone crying outside his home. He went outside to investigate and found his neighbor in tears. Joel normally wasn’t comfortable with people crying, but found himself asking, “What would Paul do?”
This thought led Joel to approach his neighbor and ask her what was wrong. As she shared her story, he again found himself wondering, “What would Paul do?”
Joel then remembered Paul instructing him on prayer and saying that he just needed to talk to God as a friend. He prayed for his neighbor.
In the same conversation, Joel shared that someone had recently asked if he believed in God. “Yes, I believe in God!” Joel responded enthusiastically. “I believe in the God that Paul believes in.”
“What faith are you?” the person had enquired. Again, Joel told the person that he had the same faith as Paul.
“What faith are you again?” he asked, turning to Paul.
“Seventh-day Adventist,” Paul replied.
“That’s right! I am a Seventh-day Adventist!” Joel declared happily.
Eventually Paul and Joel began having Bible studies together. But one day, when Paul knocked on Joel’s door, there was no answer. And when he rang Joel’s mother, he found out that Joel was dead. Tragically, he had been hit by a car while riding a motorcycle.
“Joel used to ask, ‘What would Paul do?’” says Paul. “I’m not comfortable with that. It wasn’t really me that Joel was becoming like—it was Jesus!”
Paul hopes and believes that he will see Joel again at the Second Coming. “I asked Joel if he wanted to give his heart to God, to confess the sins he had committed and to ask God to help him to live a life that reflected Jesus,” he recalls. “Joel said yes! This was the last time that we got to speak.”
Joel and his daughters
Paul is humbled by how God was able to use him to connect with Joel.
“I cared about my own embarrassment so much. I almost didn’t tell Joel that I was a Christian, even though I was impressed to do so,” he admits.
(Photos: Joel and his daughter, Stock photo of a Biker)
Paul Bodor is a Literature Evangelist in Australia
Snapshots of Hope is a monthly publication that aims to share
Literature Ministry stories with people around the world.
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