The Final Invitation

The call came late Sunday afternoon. A distant relative, one we had only met a couple times when he was a child, had moved to Florida and was in desperate need of help.

Ron (not his real name) had fallen on hard times. Living on abandoned boats at a run down marina about three hours away from us, he had taken on the habit of frequently patronizing a nearby liquor store. When he drank his personality changed and before long the folks who had hired him to do odd jobs around the marina could no longer put up with his drunken behavior. They fired him, and twice had to call the police to escort him from their property.

Ron ended up living in a homeless camp conveniently close the liquor store.

That’s when God dropped Pastor June into Ron’s life.

Pastor June had just finished recording her weekly radio program when Ron walked by the station. He was barefoot, smelly, and wore only a tee shirt and threadbare swim trunks. An inside urging pushed Ron to approach Pastor June. “Will you give me a dollar if I play my guitar for you?” He pulled his prized possession from its case.

As Pastor June listened to the talented young man’s serenade, she also listened to the voice of the Holy Spirit. “Tell this young man he needs to go home to his mama.”

She obeyed. For one hour she stood talking to Ron. In that time, she called his mom, took a picture of him, and convinced him that accepting his mom’s invitation to return home was the right thing to do.

Most important, she talked to him about Jesus and his gift of salvation.

Ron did not accept the invitation to pray to invite Jesus into his heart. He claimed he had already done so, but also trusted in Hindu and other false teachings.

That afternoon Pete and I got a call from Ron’s mom. We immediately agreed to pick him up and bring him back to our home for a couple weeks, until we were free to drive him home to North Carolina.

Sadly, by the time we made the three hour drive to Port St. Lucie, Ron had disappeared. We met with Pastor June who told us that her church deacons had been out searching for him, but could not find him.

That night we prayed and fellowshipped in Pastor June’s office for four hours. The time was precious. We were grateful that God had given us an open door to share the ministry of the Fellowship of Christian Farmers. She was excited and invited us to return and share the ministry with her church. Before leaving her office, plans were made to meet in the morning to search for Ron. Despite our objections, she booked and paid for a motel room for us. What a huge blessing that was!

The next morning we followed Pastor June to the radio station where she had first met Ron, but he was not there.

After that we followed Pastor June to the liquor store by the marina. Pastor June boldly held her phone with Ron’s picture up to the clerk’s drive thru window.

The clerk immediately recognized him and directed us to a nearby marina.

It was clear Pastor June had walked this road before.

She was in the business of human rescue.

Pastor June , who also teaches at a nearby college, searching for Ron at the liquor store.

When I hear the word marina I have a certain picture in mind–well tended yachts with polished teak decking, dock masters in creased khaki shorts, and at least one trendy fresh-catch restaurant.

We found none of these things.

Instead, old drydocked boats, dirt-paved paths that served as roads, the smell of motor oil, scattered loose garbage, and scruffy men enjoying early-morning beers is what greeted us.

The Boat Ron had been staying on

It was clear Pastor June was familiar with all of it. And I wondered how many young people this powerful and fearless woman had rescued.

After boldly approaching several men, she directed us to park our car next to one of the nicer boats. Within minutes, the entire back of our car was filled to the roof with stinky quilts and clothes as well as crates of unknown items.

“He stayed on my boat, but I don’t have his cell phone or gun,” the man Pastor June had been speaking with explained. “He threw his phone in the water when he was drunk. Worse decision I ever made was to hire him.”

While we were still apologizing, another man got in the front seat of our car. “Matt is going to lead us to where he thinks Ron is.” Pastor June informed us.

It didn’t seem to matter to Pastor June that Matt’s smoke was blowing in her face, that he was not wearing a mask, or that his clothes looked like they’d been pulled out of a dirty clothes hamper, she stood close to him in a way that said, I respect you. We are equals.

Pete drove, following Matt’s directions. Matt told us about his past, how he’d been a POW and had kicked his drinking and drug problem without help from anyone. We didn’t know what to believe, but took advantage of the opportunity to share the gospel. In the end, Matt claimed he already believed in Jesus…as well as several other powers.

“Pull off here” We’d only gone a short distance when Matt instructed us to pull off the busy road and on to an open spot littered with old plastic bags, broken bottles, and hungry flies. “Wait here,” Matt said. “I have to go get him. It’s not safe for you to go inside the camp.”

We got out of the car and stood next to Pastor June, waiting for Matt and Ron to emerge from an area of overgrown weeds and trees. It wasn’t long before they did.

If you know me, you know I don’t like dirt. My stomach turns and I back away as pictures of cockroaches scratch their way through my mind. But when I saw Ron, God took over. I hugged him as if he was spotless. Even though his eyes overflowed with intoxication and shame, I remembered his eyes.

They were the eyes of someone Jesus loves and died for.

Pastor June and Ron

We brought Ron home that night, gave him our RV sofa bed to sleep on. For over two weeks he did not drink alcohol. He earned money working for Pete, and was the perfect guest. We had no complaints.

But we did have broken hearts.

Sadly, Ron changed his mind about going home, as was the plan he had agreed to. He refused our invitation to attend church as well as an invitation to a Christian concert, even though it was a genre of music he enjoyed.

Saddest of all, when we lovingly shared the gospel with him, he pushed the invitation aside.

A couple days ago we brought Ron to a motel near the place where we had picked him up. His last few days with us, he’d grown increasingly anxious to return.

None of us know when the final invitation before Christ’s return will be given. I think of the words of an old chorus:

Coming again, coming again Maybe morning, maybe noon…Jesus is coming again.

After presenting the gospel, there are times we sadly watch a person walk away from our tent, walking stick in hand, and just as spiritually dead as he was before he stopped by for his free stick.

Was this person too embarrassed to pray in front of friends? Did he believe he had more than enough time to make a decision later in life? Did he feel he had more important things to do that day? Saddest question of all, was the invitation presented that day the final invitation this person will ever receive?

Not one person we witness to is promised another invitation.

As we look back on the days Ron was with us, we are thankful that he had opportunity to be loved and enjoy good food. Pete and I still chuckle because most nights he ate one dinner with us and then another plateful after Pete and I went to bed. He drank gallon after gallon of fresh water.

But sadly, he did not accept the bread of life nor the living water that was offered him. That breaks our hearts.

We pray that the invitations extended to Ron were not his final invitations.

Bill Brown sharing the story with a mom and son.

There is no greater joy than leading someone to Jesus. At the same time, there is no greater sorrow than witnessing to someone who refuses.

We look around at all that is happening in the world today–how quickly things are changing–and we are convinced that Christ’s return is eminent. One day the final invitation will be extended.

How thrilling it is to think that the final invitation God extends could be presented during a small town festival at a booth that’s giving away free walking sticks!

From Genesis, when God invited Noah and his family to enter the ark, to four verses away from the last verse of Scripture, God’s invitations to enter into a relationship with him, are extended and are waiting for our RSVP. The final invitation of Scripture is found in Revelation 22:17b. It reminds me of Ron and all those who have not yet RSVP’d to Christ’s glorious invitation.

“And let the one who is thirsty come; the one who desires take the water of life without price.”

We are thrilled to report that our schedules are getting full once again. Not only that…

Thanks to your generous gifts, we have been able to purchase some very nice Bibles to give to those who accept Jesus as their Lord and Savior at one of our Fellowship of Christian Farmers events. On the inside cover of each Bible is written, A gift from the Fellowship of Christian Farmers and (Donor’s Name). If you are one of our supporters, please let us know if you have a favorite verse you’d like written on the inside of the Bibles you helped provide.

Our next three projects are children/teen and Spanish language Bibles. We are also researching buying a supply of the Gospel of John.

God’s word never returns void!

Feel free to contact us if you would like to help by donating toward Bibles for new Christians and those who have no Bible.

Children’s Bible $5 each

Adult Bible $5 each

Spanish Bible $5 each

Gospel of John $20 for 10

Please pray that God will continue to keep doors open for the Fellowship of Christian Farmers International this season and that He will continue to open even more more as we move into spring and our time this summer in Minnesota.

Here is our schedule thus far:

January

ECHO 7-day mission trip, beginning January 31st.

February

First week of February mission trip to ECHO

Saturday mornings at Shell Factory Flea Market

27-28 Swamp Cabbage Festival in LaBelle

March

4-7 Pioneer Days in Wauchula

4 FCFI Dinner Meeting

6-7 Strawberry Festival in Floral City

13 ECHO Food and Farm Festival in North Ft Myers

20 Pioneer Days in Arcadia

26-28 Flowertown Festival in Summerville, SC

26-28 Manatee Festival in Crystal River

April

23-25 FFA Convention Macon Georgia

June

2-3 FFA Convention in Montgomery AL

July

Fellowship of Christian Farmers Annual Conference. Pete and I will be speaking.

October

19-21 Sunbelt Ag Expo in Moultrie GA

23 High Springs Flea Market in High Springs FL

30 Mt Ephraim Baptist Church Family Day in Arcadia FL

30-31 Pioneer Days in Lake Wales FL

November

6 Dragon Boat Festival in Lake Hernando FL

20 Haven Holiday Market in Winter Haven FL

On a personal note, Pete and I have made an important decision that we believe will have a positive impact on our ministry. We are not free to share at this time, but we will in the future. Until then, thank you to each and every one of you who so faithfully support the ministry with your prayers and generous gifts. We wish we had words to convey how grateful we are. We could not do this without you. Please continue to keep us in prayer. If the Lord leads you to support the ministry, please click on “Giving” at the top of the page or message us. If you give by check, please write “Pete and Sandy Singer” in the memo. Thank you.

We so appreciate your prayers.

  1. Ron’s (not his real name but God knows) salvation.
  2. Matt’s (not his real name) salvation.
  3. Pastor June that God will continue to use her and bless what He has called her to do.
  4. Our upcoming events–that God will prepare us and those we will share the gospel with.
  5. We long for many to respond to Christ’s invitation to come to Him.
  6. Our strength and health–continued protection from the Coronavirus.
  7. That God will supply all our needs according to His riches in glory.
  8. Openings for ministry this summer when we are in Minnesota.
  9. Health of our RV and car.
  10. Safe travel.
  11. Christians serving and living around the world, many in places of great danger.

Thank you again for all you do in support of this ministry. We love you and pray for you daily. When we are at an event in your area, stop by. We’d love to see you.

In His Mighty Grip,

Pete and Sandy

Published by sandramaesinger

Fifty years and counting, that is how long Pete and I have been married. We have two wonderful adult children, seven amazing grandchildren, one terrific great-grandson, and a pug with an inflated ego. Originally from Minnesota, we now call southwest Florida home. I'm looking forward to publication of The Missing Piece, which is the sequel to my first book, All the Broken Pieces. Also keep an eye out for He Came to Me, which places readers in the sandals of the often neglected women whose lives were changed when Jesus came to them. Along with Pete, I have spent my life in ministry, often opening our home to women in crisis and working with lawmakers on legislation that promotes life and family values. Both Pete and I are certified Community Chaplains and since Pete's retirement, we minister with The Fellowship of Christian Farmers International, traveling to festivals and fairs to share the gospel and bringing hope and help to those hit by natural disasters.

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