Pastor Jack Hyles' Favorite Soul Winning Experiences
by Pastor Jack Hyles (1926-2001)
"I DON'T WANT TO GO HOME"
Our church is located in the downtown district of Hammond. Thousands of transient people walk by the doors of our buildings. One Sunday night during the song service I looked back and saw a man in rags with his nose pressed against our plate-glass doors looking longingly into our beautiful auditorium. One of our fine men went back and invited him in. He was amazed that he was welcome in such a lovely place.
Timidly he had a seat on one of the back rows. He listened intently as I presented the claims of Christ, and during the invitation he came forward to receive Christ as His personal Saviour.
After I had baptized, I went to my office to fill some appointments and do some counseling and then started home. For some strange reason I felt compelled to go back to the auditorium. This I did, only to find the old ragged man sitting on about the fourth row from the front. He was alone. He had a songbook and was singing.
I approached him and told him that no one was left in the building but the custodian and me and that he must leave so we could turn out the lights and lock the doors. The old man began to tremble and tears flooded from his eyes as he said about these words: "Reverend, I don't want to leave. Don't make me go! Don't make me go! Don't make me go! Please, reverend, let me stay."
Then he raised a trembling finger and pointed toward the darkness of the night through the back doors and said, "Reverend, out there I found nothing but heartbreak, emptiness, and misery. In here I found love, happiness, and joy. Please, Reverend, don't make me go. Don't make me go! Don't make me go!"
Then I thought of the rescue mission that our church owns and operates. I told him that he could stay there for awhile. As the old man walked out in the darkness of the night, I wondered how many millions of others are in that darkness, uncared for and unloved. Oh, that the churches might reach them with the Gospel.
This reminds me of an event that took place not long ago in Hammond. I went by the hospital one morning to visit one of our men who was having surgery that day. I talked with him briefly and prayed for him. I needed to rush to the office to conduct my morning broadcast.
As I walked briskly from the hospital room, I heard a quivering voice say, "Reverend, Reverend, O Reverend!" I turned and saw an old man in the bed beside my member. He was crying. He put both of his hands around mine and said, "Reverend, please pray that prayer for me. That same prayer you prayed for him, would you pray it for me?"
As best I could, I prayed the same prayer that I had prayed for my member. Then the old man, weeping and trembling, said, "Thank you, Reverend. I am over eighty years of age, as far as I know, you are the first person who ever prayed for me." He was easy to win to Christ.
O dear reader, there are millions for whom no one cares and whom no one loves! May we reach them with the Gospel of Christ and show them God's love for sinners.
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