I will be eternally grateful for stepping into Arnold Road Boys’ Club that night in 1984. Don Baker – one of the leaders – was just a regular guy. When I first met him, he was working at a local pit in Nottinghamshire. After that, he became a school caretaker. As far as I’m aware, he didn’t have an outstanding education, a theology degree or any formal evangelism training. But he had a story of how Jesus had changed his life – and a real enthusiasm for sharing it.
Don was the first person to tell me the good news of Jesus Christ – me and many others!
The thing with Don was, he didn’t just tell us about his faith, he lived it out. He became a family friend and I know that he prayed for me regularly for many years. It was probably getting on for ten years after first meeting Don before I finally submitted my life to Christ. Throughout all that time though, Don kept in touch, kept inviting me to church, and kept praying for me (he and his wonderful wife, Janet). Eventually, his endeavours paid off.
The true impact of his investment may never be truly known this side of eternity. There is a ripple effect, a greater legacy to Don’s commitment of time, prayers, faith and persistence. As a result of Don sharing his story of God’s grace with me, my parents became Christians and my own children are growing up in a Christian home – and I hope will themselves one day live for Christ. In addition, there are many in my workplace that I have shared my faith with, who may not have heard the gospel message had I not been there.
The ripple effect from Don’s faithfulness can be multiplied many times over in many lives.
All this is a result of one man who simply had a story of how Jesus had met him and changed his life, and was willing to share it with those around him.
Don presents a challenge to all of us who claim to be Christians. We have a story to tell. Are we willing to share it? Then we, too, will leave a legacy of amazing proportions that will have a ripple effect stretching into eternity.