For 23 years, Matt Sistrunk has been friends with Dale, an “exceptionally irreverent” character he loves like a brother. When Sistrunk was tasked with sharing a Gospel tract with someone, Dale was the first person he thought of. He figured it was as good a time as any.
Sistrunk recently took BGEA’s Christian Life and Witness Course (CLWC) in El Paso, Texas, a city that will host the Franklin Graham Festival of Hope April 5-6. After living in El Paso for 26 years, he has noticed a real “spiritual battle” there.
Sistrunk asked Christ into his life at 19 when he was at home in Ohio, on leave from the Army. But just the last few years, he has felt a greater need to share his faith. In preparation for the April Festival, he recently joined 72 others from his church in taking the CLWC where each person received two “Steps to Peace” Gospel tracts—one to keep and one to share.
Sistrunk’s mind went to Dale.
The two friends are a lot like El Paso itself. El Paso is right on the Mexico border and sees two cultures collide when it comes to industry and politics. Sistrunk and Dale also clash but have kept mutual respect for each other.
Sistrunk has talked to Dale many times about faith and salvation, always being careful not to “preach to him.” He always felt like Dale harbored some animosity toward church and Christianity.
Then a couple of years ago, Dale had a stroke that left him bedridden.
“I’m seeing him kind of wither away and stuff and it’s just really, really bothering me,” Sistrunk said. He visits the nursing facility often to see his friend. Although Dale is still “his same ornery self,” after receiving the two tracts, Sistrunk thought it was a good time to share the Gospel again. Dale let his friend read the tract to him.
“He was much more receptive to it than I thought he would be,” Sistrunk said. At the end, the two friends prayed together and Dale decided to accept Christ as his Savior. Sistrunk knows it was the Holy Spirit at work.
“God can use anybody at any time to reach anybody at any time,” he said. “It’s really not for us to determine who and when and where and why and how, but just to be obedient and faithful and just let the Holy Spirit do what the Holy Spirit does.”
After watching his friend accept Christ, Sistrunk is even more fired up about the Greater El Paso Festival. He’s inviting people on Facebook and hopes the Festival draws friends and neighbors whose lives could be changed by Christ.
Meanwhile, Dale wants to learn more about Jesus.
“And that has me very excited,” he said.
Do you want to learn how to share your faith like Matt Sistrunk? BGEA offers an online version of the Christian Life and Witness Course which teaches participants how to share the Gospel in daily situations and how to care for new believers. Click here.