In 1984, I was seated next to two men on a plane on our way to Hong Kong from the Philippines. As I was leading one to the Lord, I saw that the man by the window was watching but not saying anything. When we got off the plane, I briefly talked to the man who was watching and asked, “Can I do anything for you?” “No.” Was all he replied before he walked away.
About five months later, it was Christmas time in the Philippines and I was a part of an evangelism group called FEET (Far East Evangelism Teams.) We were performing some dramas in the park when I saw that man from the plane again! He introduced himself as ‘Jon' (I’m using a pseudonym for safety reasons) and explained that he was only here for the weekend and was due back in Saudi Arabia for business. He pointed to the stage and asked, “What does this drama mean? I don’t understand it.” Despite the protests from those around me—everyone was trying to concentrate on the skit—I felt that I was supposed to share the gospel with Jon. I caught him up and explained that Jesus was taking on the sin of the world. He responded with a both puzzled and troubled look on his face, “I know about Jesus but I didn’t know that it was MY sin that put him on the cross." I felt to open the Bible and share about ‘the deeds of the flesh’ from Galatians 5 with him and that’s when he started to bawl.
Jon was gasping for breath as he saw Jesus, who was actually my future husband, Jeff, being crucified. Through ragged breaths he explained that he was a religious man but did not have a personal relationship with Jesus. He simply wanted a new life. I invited my leader over and then encouraged Jon to speak out the strongholds and sin in his life. He opened his mouth and a river of repentance came out, not finishing until he knew that his heart was right before God. I could tell that this was a genuine hearted salvation and I began to cry tears of thankfulness; this was definitely a divine appointment.
Seven years later, I was in India with my husband, Jeff, and the Holy Spirit told me to pray for Jon. I got out of our bed made of rubber bands, knelt on the marble-like floor, and began to cry out for Jon. After I said his name in my prayer, Jeff exclaimed, “I know him!” I asked him how that could possibly be and he answered, “When you left, he ended up joining FEET and then did a DTS! I was his staff before he went back to Saudi Arabia.” I was overjoyed! I went back to praying but this time it was full of thanksgiving and praise.
We were in Australia a few weeks later when I heard that my friend had just returned from Saudi Arabia. I asked her if she knew if a man by the name of Jon Ku was still in YWAM and she responded, “Don’t you know who the leaders are? Jon is now the biggest church planter in Saudi Arabia!” I could hardly believe it; the Filipino man that I had heard from God to pursue was now a leader with YWAM in one of the most anti-Christian nations! He has led over 10,000 locals to the Lord and has planted about 600 churches!
This experience has humbled me greatly. God is so faithful and has bigger plans for us than we often realize. In conclusion, I urge you to always say ‘yes’ to God; you never know what He has in store.
*The real name of the Filipino leader and evangelist is not mentioned here because as far as I know, he has been in prison in Saudi Arabia for several years.
-Jennifer Ray with Faith Yoder