From Kay Meyer's column in the St. Louis Metro Voice newspaper from 1994 to 2013.
“Kay, I had an opportunity today to witness to a young, pregnant, single woman that I see several times a week at a local store near work,” my husband, Tjaden (Chad), told me when he got home from work a few months ago. “Today instead of being behind the counter she was stocking shelves. I walked over to visit with her after I’d paid my bill and asked how she was doing.”
She said softly, “I’d like to talk to you outside.”
When we got outside she shared, “I wanted to tell you that I’m going to have a baby.” My husband, knowing she was single asked, “How does your boyfriend feel about the pregnancy?” She responded, “Well, we’ve been going together three years and even though he doesn’t live in St. Louis I hope he’ll be supportive. And, hopefully, we’ll get married. But even if we don’t, I want the baby.”
She continued, “The only other people I’ve told besides my boyfriend are my parents. I was afraid they would be really upset. But they both cried when I told them. It looks like they will support me.”
“I don’t know why,” she continued, “but when I saw you walk in I wanted to tell you about the baby. You’re such a nice man [My husband said she wanted to say nice ‘old’ man, but she didn’t] and you’re always so friendly. Most people just walk in, pay for what they have purchased and walk out. They barely talk to me. They certainly don’t see me as a person, but you do.”
My husband took the opportunity to ask about her faith. He learned she had no church background, but it was obvious that she believed God existed and was very open to learning more about Him. She asked Chad, “Are you a religious man?”
He responded, “Well, I’d like to say I am, but I’m also a sinner who needs God’s forgiveness every day.”
“How can you be a religious man and sin every day? I don’t understand that,” she responded.
He explained briefly what he meant and told her he’d share more about the forgiveness the Lord offers us at another time. He encouraged her to look to the Lord for help during her pregnancy.
After my husband had shared this encounter with me we talked about ways we might continue to work with her and help her. I suggested, “Why don’t we give her a gift for the baby and one for her too.” During the next few weeks my husband visited with her a few more times. On one of those visits he learned her boyfriend was not interested in continuing their relationship. She was upset about this, but still happy about the baby. Another time he saw her she told him, “I had an ultra sound. It’s a boy!”
Later, my husband and I wrapped a gift for the baby, and a gift for the woman (a God’s Word for Life Bible). I also assembled a list of names, telephone numbers, and web sites of agencies that offer assistance to women with unplanned pregnancies in our area and attached a business card.
She was really excited about the gifts and asked, “Why do you and your wife care about me?”
Chad continues to encourage her to find a church near her home and to read the Bible. We both keep her in prayer. Would you pray for her too?
If this young woman visits your church, how will you welcome her? After my husband shared the story about his encounter with this woman, he told me a little more about her. “Kay, she has three hair colors—one is purple. She has tattoos on both wrists, and several pierced nose rings. Although she has been a partyer in the past, she told me that now that she is pregnant she has stopped drinking and partying. She really wants to get her life together.”
Have you ever seen someone at your church and shied away from speaking to that person and wondered, “Why are they at my church?” Churches are places for us to worship the Lord and are for all people. I’m sure the prostitute Jesus befriended may not have looked like everyone else. The rich, poor, middle class, black, white, and yes, even those who have three hair colors and tattoos are welcome in God’s house. My encouragement is to be friendly and welcoming to everyone who attends.
One simple way you can open up opportunities to share your faith and talk about the life issues is by being friendly with those you meet in your daily life. You never know what doors the Lord will open and how He will use you!
by Kay L. Meyer