Crossover San Antonio: New beginnings abound at Genesis Baptist Church
By EVA WOLEVER
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SAN ANTONIO (BP/FBW)—Anthony, a 16-year-old boy standing on the streets of a San Antonio neighborhood, tried to hide a cigarette from a 65-year old woman walking by.
"There is no use in hiding that," Margaret Rosco said to the boy. "Jesus is not blind and He is not deaf. He sees everything."
Rosco, a member of Genesis Bible Baptist Church in San Antonio, shared God's plan of salvation with Anthony and asked if he had ever accepted Christ as his Savior.
"The Lord had him ready," Rosco said. "The Lord gave him conviction. He dropped the cigarette and he repeated the Lord's prayer from Romans 10:9, the salvation plan."
New beginnings abounded at 13-week-old Genesis Bible Baptist Church June 9-10.
Witnessing some of those new beginnings were Bobby Welch, past president of the Southern Baptist Convention and now the strategist for global evangelical relations with the SBC Executive Committee; David Burton, director of evangelism for the Florida Baptist Convention; and Greg Davidson, associate pastor of First Baptist Church in Naples.
As they traversed the modest neighborhood surrounding the Genesis congregation near downtown San Antonio, they encountered 22 people who were responsive to turning their lives over to Christ during the course of two days.
"This is going to be fun," Welch said at the outset as Genesis members gathered inside the small white church.
Joe Cantu, a 20-year-old man sporting a tight-fitting U.S. Marines T-shirt, was talking to Welch, a decorated Vietnam veteran, when Burton burst into the church.
"Bless you, bless you," Burton called out exuberantly as he entered the church, unwinding a roll of his trademark fluorescent orange stickers proclaiming only "one way" to heaven.
Gathering the group in a circle, Welch, pastor emeritus of First Baptist Church in Daytona Beach, and Burton shared how they usually try to ask people how the church can help meet needs in their family or community. The goal is to lead people into a conversation in which they will be receptive to the Gospel, Burton said, referencing Luke 12:12 which promises that God will put the right words in a believer's mouth at the time when they are needed.
"Look 'em eyeball to eyeball and just love 'em in Jesus' name," Burton advised.
Ten teams of two to three people crisscrossed streets lined with small homes with lawns ranging from pristine to overgrown, with Welch's words ringing in their ears:
"The Lord has already got somebody. Somebody is going to see somebody get saved today. I pray that the Holy Spirit will get loose in this community, moving in our skins."
Davidson walked up to a tiny duplex where a woman in her early thirties answered the door. Talking to the woman, Davidson discovered she had been reading her Bible and praying that God would show her the right way.
"I took her Bible and showed her that Jesus died for her and rose from the dead and just shared with her how much God loved her," Davidson said. "I told her if she would repent and believe in the Lord Jesus that she could have everlasting life, abundant life—and she was so excited to pray and receive Jesus."
Burton and newlyweds Nacho and April Rodriguez knocked on the door of a larger house; a small girl came to the door, quickly followed by her grandmother. As the older woman retrieved her mail, Burton and the Rodriguezes asked her if there were any needs in her family or community with which the church could help.
Admitting she needed much prayer, the woman allowed the team into her home. As Burton gave out the stickers proclaiming only "One Way" to heaven, April knelt by the couch and listened to the woman talk about her daughters' problems.
The woman was joined by her two daughters and four children—leaving three children rolled up in blankets asleep on the floor—as Burton shared the story of salvation using an EvangeCube.
"It was just a real sweet experience," Burton said.
One of the daughters was "very touched" by the presentation, at one time getting up to retrieve tissue for her teary eyes, April recounted.
All seven of the group said they wanted to have Christ in their lives. Repeating after Burton, they repented of their sins and asked Jesus to come into their lives.
"You could tell they were relieved," April said of the group. "That was such a blessing."
God's work during the day showed the young church that they can make a difference in their community as they share Christ, Burton said.
"They were able to see because of their praying before we arrived, people were prepared to hear the presentation of the Gospel at their doorsteps," Burton said.
"They're out there; they're all around," Burton continued, referring to unbelievers. "[The church members] just need to go get 'em."
At church the next day, Burton and a number of SBC visitors encouraged neighborhood first-timers while Welch preached from Judges 16:20.
Following a tambourine-shaking, bilingual worship service, Welch asked anyone who wanted to know Christ to come forward and pray.
At the end of the invitation, five people ranging from 16-year-old Anthony to an elderly woman stood at the front of the sanctuary, declaring their decisions for Christ.