TWM Prayer Letter – Spring 2019

Third Watch Ministries, NFP, P.O. Box 1283, Wheaton, IL 60187-1283                                                                                                                                         Bob & Ellen Bollow                                                                May 29, 2019

Truly, truly, I say to you, an hour is coming and now is, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live.”  John 5:25

Hey Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

Well the school year has ended, though someone forgot to tell the western suburbs of Chicago to warm up. It’s nice today as I write, though rain is predicted again. The seasonal pond in the yards behind us has ducks. The Cubs were all still wearing head socks in the field at night until a week ago. The school year went well as a whole, and 151 students prayed to receive Jesus after hearing the Gospel from me. This school year I have survey cards for 410 students I went through the Gospel with, though sometimes I go through the Gospel without doing a survey. Many of these students were professing Christians already. Some changed their mind, from hoping they would be good enough to saying they were trusting in Christ for salvation by the time our conversation ended, and yet did not pray with me. So I am hopeful for others whom God may have drawn to Himself as we talked, without their truly realizing it in the moments after. I am hopeful these too realized the truth for the first time and placed their trust in Jesus. There were days God lead me to someone through a prompting in my mind to go to a certain place on campus when I first arrived at school. But for the most part, I just got blown around by the Spirit until I could find someone to talk to about Christ. As John the Baptist says in the Gospel of John, A man can receive nothing unless it has been given him from heaven.”  I worked hard. Hundreds of students turned me down (usually politely enough), uninterested in a conversation about God or too busy. I pretty much ran myself into the ground from conversations by the time the year had ended. But apart from God’s power, no one would pray with me to receive Christ. So I feel like it was kind of God to use me and hear your prayers for the work. About a half dozen students told me they would pray later in the evening and then later on I bumped into them and they said they had prayed. Several after checking with a parent about if what I had said was true.

This spring, a guy I had first talked to over in the BIC building, called out to me later over in the science building. He introduced himself and I said I remembered him and where we’d been sitting and what he’d been wearing. I said I’d been praying for him each night. He thanked me by saying that our contact had made a huge difference in his life. He was grateful. This is what I wrote of him back on February 11th:

Sam was on the second floor where I felt nudged to go when I first got to school. He was just killing time on his phone, waiting for his class to begin directly across the hall. He was wearing running clothes; heavy nylon sweats and a jacket, and a red and blue winter hat pulled down so I could not see his hair. He had a boyish face with skin like a kid. He had been to a Lutheran Church growing up and now had begun to get back into Church and go with some couples he found at school. I warned him there were cults at school, since I did not know who his new friends were. I asked him what he would say to God if he died and God asked, “Why should I let you into Heaven?” He said, “I don’t know to be honest. I don’t think there is a right answer I could give that would be good enough. It’s really in God’s hands. It would just be begging at that point.” He was nonetheless certain he would go to Heaven. I began to go through the Gospel with him and he knew Jesus had died to save us from the consequences of our sin. He understood the Gospel better as I went through it and really liked the illustrations I used and related to them. I asked him in the end if he would want to be forgiven for his sins and have God live inside him. “I would want to be forgiven.” So I began to ask if he had been trusting in what Jesus had done for him to be forgiven. It turned out he had not really been thinking about it at all. “I really just pray a lot,” he explained. I explained the difference in having a relationship with God as his creator and being in a relationship with God as his Savior. He talked about his friend who was engaged at the age of 20 to a girl of the same age. He said his friend had said the first thing he did when he got up in the morning was to text her. His friend went on to say that he should be doing that with God, the first thing in the morning he should talk to Him. I said that was great, but getting back to their relationship…the reason he could text her was because they were engaged. If I started texting her first thing in the morning, that would be creepy. Their relationship made that texting meaningful. I said he had not been sure there was anything he could say to God that would get him into Heaven. But God had told him what he could trust in to do just that. I said he could not have been trusting in that truth, that Jesus was God, had died for his sins and rose from the dead, if he did not understand there was such a truth. Sam agreed, and so I said if he wanted to trust in Christ there was a prayer he could pray. I finished explaining it and asked if he thought he’d like to pray it. “I like it,” he replied. Then checking to see if it was OK to do so silently, he prayed to receive Jesus. We talked some more about providence and I quoted Ephesians 2:10 to him. I explained the Christian life was walking by the Spirit. I gave him a Bible study and 20 Things God Can’t Do writing his name, the date and “forgiven” in the front. I also wrote “By the Spirit’s Power” and explained asking for help in all things. He thanked me and asked about the Bible study again so I am hopeful he will come. We had a great talk right up to the minute before his class began and then he took 6 steps across the hall and went in.

I often do not bump into students again, so I was touched that Sam had called out to me after I was 20 steps down the hall past him.

The weekly bible study we have on campus to disciple students was pretty well attended and we made some new relationships and friends.  Several of those students will be transferring to other schools in the fall, and we will miss them.

We can’t fully express to you how much your prayers and gifts to help us do ministry have meant. I have acquired some physical infirmities with sciatic nerve pain and  a recurring neck pain that have drastically limited my ability to do painting work on the side and through the summer. I can still do small stuff where the physical side is less demanding. Ha, maybe I just got old. But the Lord is still guiding students to talk with me on campus and bringing them to be discipled a bit by us at bible study (Ellen of course looks much younger, so that helps I’m sure.) So we are truly grateful for your financial help so we can keep on ministering the Gospel on campus.

We have, however, reached a point where the gifts to the ministry are not sufficient to cover the expenses.  Third Watch runs on a shoestring, and we are always trusting the Lord to provide for our needs.  Drawing a modest salary the past several years is depleting our surplus funds, and it is likely they will be exhausted this year.  All of Ellen’s administrative work is volunteer. Our efforts to continue in this ministry will be at a cross-road.  If you know someone, or a group of friends, that we might share our ministry with in order to bring more partners alongside us, we would be grateful for an introduction. Or if you have a bible study or small group that would be interested in hearing how to do a Gospel presentation.  Over 1300 students have prayed with me to receive Christ since we began this ministry in 2002.

These are the 151 students who have prayed to receive Jesus this school year. (An * means they committed to Christ, saying they would pray later and I have not yet found out if they did.)

Maya, Paul, Alec, Nashoana, Daniella, Jackie, William, Alexis, John, Mariana*,Justin, Nick, Mark, Jada, Sebastian, Frank*, Celeste, Nick, Sam, Irima, Christian, Joaquin, Dylan, Luis, Mike, Derick, Bridget, Christina, Demya, Tamera, Jalissa, Chamar, Ryan, Patrick, Angelo, Sydney, Adi, Cody, Alyssa, Jane, Zeke, Joey, Kamaria, Drey, Colin, DJ, Stephanie, Jesse, Kyle, Patricia*,Anthony, Cind, Chuck, Nick, Stephanie, Sean, Jessica, Jocelyn*, Nickie, Jaslynn, Malcolm, Tanner, Nataly, Emily, Lekayla*, Lauren, Oscar, Issac, Patty, Nino, Alec, Mia, Jalen, Grant, Alex, Stephanie, Brian, Josh, Jack, Lionel, Anthony, Jose, Nick, Jada, Bre, Lucien, Janet, Charley, Leidy, Jessica, Charliene, Tika, Connor, Gaetano, Leondra, Ben, Dylan, Nicole, Sam, Tavarus, Anthony, Cameron, Lupita, Joe, Flora, James, Roben, Jaden, Jacob, Kaela, Michael, Juana, Aislinn, Nas, Yadi, Joe, Mirijam, Chris, AJ, Dom, Alex, Noah, Akire, Carter, Mike, Matt, Xavier, Matt, Ariel, Dawnnette, Danni, Mari, Dorian, Zac,Thomas, Jerry, Brianna, Michael, Tom, Byron, Arturo, Jacob*,Mike, Erik, Alex, David, Julio, Anjelica, Lea, Storm, Eddie, Grace, Melanie, Salma, Alex, Florin, Christian

Therefore they said to Him, “What shall we do, so that we may work the works of God?” Jesus answered and said to them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He has sent.” John 6:28&29

In Him,                                                                    

Bob & Ellen