Learning to Read and Pray

This story by Crystal Phillips, a Compassion Boston Bible Worker.

Last week, I started studying with Isabelle. (I previously told the story about how I went to her back door.) When I got to her house, she told me, “I need you to teach me how to read the Bible” (specifically how to find the different books of the Bible), so I showed her how to use the index to look up the books until she got more familiar with it. Since she’s grown up Catholic, she hasn’t really read the Bible much.

Next, she told me, “I need you to teach me how to pray.” Being Catholic, she recites prayers from her prayer book. I told her that next time I came, we would do a study devoted to prayer and what that should/shouldn’t look like. After I prayed, she told me, “That was wonderful—I want to pray like you!”

Isabelle has a desire to talk to God and use her own words, something she’s never done before. Her enthusiasm is electric. It’s so rewarding to be able to help someone that is so excited and ready to grow closer to our Heavenly Father.

The Back Door

This story written by Crystal Phillips, a Compassion Boston Bible Worker.

Monday, I was going door to door in an area where the townhouses are so intermingled that it’s hard to determine front doors from back doors. I wasn’t having much success when I knocked on one particular door. A woman answered the door, and when she opened it to tell me that she didn’t want to do my survey, her cat ran out the door. I knew that I had to chase the cat because it was partially my fault that it escaped. I was able to get the cat and give it back to it’s owner. She was so grateful that she invited me in and told me that she’d do my survey. I was able to get her to open up and she told me all about her upbringing and her journey coming from El Salvador to the States. She is Catholic and showed me her prayer books. We were really hitting it off. She said that she wanted to study her Bible more and signed up to study together. She asked me how I came to knock on her door and I told her that I was just going door to door knocking. She said “I ask, because you came to my back door and the only people who come to that door are my kids.” I told her that I was so glad that she opened it today. I got her address and told her that I would come to the front door next time. She told me, “That’s okay—you can come to that door again.” I was so glad that I went door to door that day.

He Won’t Need His Scooter Anymore

This story by Crystal Phillips, a Compassion Boston Bible Worker.

These past couple weeks have been difficult for me. The week before last, I found out that my study contact Larry (I’ve mentioned him in a couple stories in the past) died. I had actually stopped studying with him two weeks prior to hearing the news. While he was a wonderful man and enjoyed our visits, he was not as interested in studying the Bible, so with a heavy heart, I had to end our studies together. I felt a little guilty about it, but I knew that I had to be the best steward of my time. I can say that Larry wanted to follow the Lord and keep listening to him so that he could stay ‘on the ride side of the tracks.’ I had been eagerly looking forward to attending his memorial service last week; however, I was horribly sick and couldn’t make it. Karen was able to go and said that several of his family members expressed happiness and gratefulness that he had been studying his Bible and drawing closer to the Lord. I hope that some day I will get to bump into Larry in heaven. It’ll be nice to see that he won’t need his scooter anymore.

Someone in a Wheelchair

This story written by Crystal Phillips, a Compassion Boston Bible Worker.

I thought this incident was neat. I was waiting for the bus tonight. When it pulled up, I had to wait a minute because the driver was letting the ramp down to let someone on a wheelchair get off the bus. As I was waiting, I recognized the man in the wheelchair—it was a man who had sent in a Bible study request card; someone with whom I have a study scheduled this week! After he got off the bus, I said hello and told him that I’d be by this week. It was so amazing to me to see how God works out his perfect timing. What are the odds that I would run into this man? God is good!

Couldn’t Get to the Door

This story written by Crystal Phillips, a Compassion Boston Bible Worker.

My story for this week made me jump up and down!

A man named Jose mailed in a Bible Study Request card in January. My fellow Bible Worker Richard had been trying to find Jose at home for a few months, but had no success. He gave me the card hoping that I’d be able to find him home. I kept trying the address—multiple times at varied times and weekdays—but could never catch him.

One day this week, I decided to try again. I was surprised when Jose answered his call box. He let me into the building and when he answered the door, he was in a wheelchair. He remembered mailing in the card and was still interested. He said that he remembered hearing the call box being buzzed a few times, but that he had been in bed with no way to answer the door because he's a quadriplegic. He was interested to learn more about God, and I very much look forward to studying with him.

Prayers Being Answered

This story written by Crystal Phillips, a Compassion Boston Bible Worker.

My story this week is exciting! I started studying with Sharon a couple weeks ago. She had never really read the Bible before. She didn’t even have one when we started studying. The first study that we did I brought her a Bible, showed her how to use the index to find the books, and showed her how to look up the chapters and verses. She recently moved into a new building and money has been tight for her. We’ve been praying that God will provide while she’s transitioning.

Last week, she told me that after we prayed for her money situation, she went to her mailbox and her last building had sent her security deposit back! She was so excited to see God working and her prayers being answered. She also told me that she’d like to get baptized and find a church to attend. Praise the Lord for the way he’s working in Sharon's life!

On the Same Street

This story by Crystal Phillips, a Compassion Boston Bible Worker.

I’ve been studying with Charmaine for the past five weeks. When I signed her up for bible studies, I consulted my list of church members who’ve volunteered to go on studies with the Bible workers. I noticed that one of the church members lived on the same street as Charmaine. This church member, Tabitha, had only signed up to go on bible studies on Friday evenings. Charmaine wanted to study on Sundays. I figured it wouldn’t hurt to call Tabitha and just ask her if she’d be willing to come since they are on the same street. Less travel involved, right? I contacted Tabitha and she was blown away that someone on her street had signed up and said that she was willing to come along.

The first week, I agreed to meet Tabitha at her house and we’d walk to the study. Not only was Charmaine on the same street, there was only one house in between their two residences! The three of us hit it off immediately, especially Tabitha and Charmaine. Charmaine is such a loving person who is not shy about sharing her faith in Jesus. It’s been a blessing studying with her. Each week, when we leave her house after studying together, I feel energized and revived. Charmaine told me this week how much she loves “these little books”—the Bible studies. Charmaine invited Tabitha and I to a tea at her church this weekend. We attended and had such a fun time. For me, this is about more than a Bible study; it’s a friendship that I hope will continue on through to Heaven. 

Not Quite Time to Stop

This story by Crystal Phillips, a Compassion Boston Bible Worker.

I have one person that I study with, Larry, and lately he’s been a little flakey: not wanting to study or not being home when I get there for the study. I felt like the studies weren’t really progressing and that with my full schedule, I needed to end the studies and have a church member visit him; someone who knows him and is in his building weekly, who could deliver the studies to him to do on his own. This would allow me to focus on the people who really want to study. This was a matter that weighed heavily on me, so I was prayerful in the decision.

So, on June 1 when I arrived for the study, I was prepared to give him the news that this would be my last visit. When I arrived, he was downstairs waiting for me and wanted to study. I noticed that his demeanor was different: he was ready to study. Most of the time, he wanted to chit chat, but this time he was ready. We didn’t make it through the study—he had a lot of questions, some on topic, others not so much. I told him that we’d finish it the next week.

When I showed up again the next week, he was waiting for me and was ready to study with even less chit chat. It was amazing to see how much his focus has changed over the past few weeks. I guess God was telling me that it’s not quite time to discontinue the studies with Larry. Praise the Lord for his leading and making his will clear in this situation.

She Was Already Explaining

This story written by Crystal Phillips, a Compassion Boston Bible Worker.

This past week I studied with one of my favorite studies, a woman named Lourdes. She had told me the previous week that her sister-in-law and her husband would be in town and that they'd be sitting in on our study. She was really looking forward to it.

We studied the lesson on Heaven, and everyone really enjoyed the study and learned a few things, too. At the end, I appealed to them asking if they wanted to “live a life in preparation to spend eternity in heaven with God.”

Lourdes’s sister-in-law, Morna, commented that it was a really hard thing to do, especially when there are so many people who publicly claim to live for Christ, but their personal lives are the opposite. Before I could reply, Lourdes was already explaining how we have to take it one day at a time, how our relationship with Christ is a journey, and that we can’t do it on our own. These were all things that Lourdes and I had discussed at length in previous studies. It was wonderful to know that everything had been absorbed and taken in and that she was already sharing the things that she’s learning with others. The Holy Spirit was truly working!