Fourth-grader Seth Stertzbach, of Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio, has been sharing his faith with classmates at Richardson Elementary School since kindergarten.
Seth’s mother, Annette, recalls how Seth would ask a friend if he had Jesus in his heart, and when the friend replied, “No … What does that mean?” Seth would tell him a bit about it and then say, “Well, my mom can pray with you.”
But now the 10-year-old doesn’t rely on a grown-up to be around when he shares his faith.
Mother and son had been praying for the ministry of Franklin and Billy Graham for a while when BGEA’s Dare to Be a Daniel information arrived in their mailbox. Eager to be better able to share his faith, Seth signed up for the evangelism training program for 9-14-year-olds. He went through the material before bed and began memorizing Scripture–and his confidence in talking about Jesus began to grow.
He became more intentional with his friendships, especially with two boys who joined his class in the middle of the school year. “Every day I would try to say hi and ask, ‘How are you doing?'” Seth invited Randy and Darian to join him to play football at recess time. “Darian came from Akron, and Randy came from Cincinnati, so there was no one really close to them,” Seth says. “I started praying for Darian the first day he came because he was getting into trouble with the teachers.”
One day Darian and his two sisters rode their bikes to Seth’s house to play, and a friendship between the four of them grew. Seth invited the siblings to the Good News Club that met after school, and all three came.
After they attended a couple of weeks, there was a time when children could raise their hands if they wanted to receive Christ. “If Darian raises his hand, can I pray with him?” Seth asked his mother, who helped with the club. Annette agreed, and sure enough, Darian and his two sisters raised their hands.
Seth prayed with Darian, and he still remembers his friend’s question afterward: “Am I actually going to heaven?” Seth started setting aside allowance money to buy Darian a Bible and helped him get started with a devotional book.
The D2BD dog-tag-necklace, imprinted with key Scriptures, the Steps to Peace With God and a salvation prayer, has been a confidence-booster. “During the prayer,” Seth says, “if I need help with something, I can look at [the tags] and–when I draw a blank–they really help.”
Randy was also new to school last year. “One day when I was doing my devotions,” Seth recalls, “all that was in my head was Randy’s name; it kept going: ‘Randy … Randy … Randy.'” Seth’s heart went out to the boy. “He didn’t say much, so not a lot of people really knew him.” Seth had a sense that he was not happy. “I could tell Randy wanted to change … but there was nothing he could do. He didn’t know how.”
Seth invited Randy–along with Seth’s whole football team–to a “Harvest Party,” held Oct. 31, at church. One of Seth’s football teammates and Randy both received Christ that night.
According to Seth, Randy’s life has visibly changed. “He’s nicer and he finally got a lot of friends.”
Seth says that he still gets nervous when he is about to share his faith, but that developing friendships first by showing kindness helps to make witnessing conversations natural.
Seth’s mom was within earshot when Seth prayed with Darian to receive Christ. “I was cheering on the inside,” she says. “Seth realized, ‘Hey, I can do this myself.'”
For more information on Dare to Be a Daniel, go to billygraham.org/D2BD.