November 7, 2013
By Tiffany Jothen
Two small TVs in a packed Mexican restaurant forecasted winter weather in the north and flooding in the south. People chatted over plates of black beans and enchiladas. But moments later, it got quiet as The Weather Channel gave way to a different scene: Billy Graham in his quiet, cozy home in the North Carolina mountains.
For the past couple of months, members at Parkway Baptist in Seneca, S.C., have prayed for friends and family who don’t have a relationship with Christ. They invited them to dinner this week at El Alazan Mexican Restaurant and told them about the video they would watch — “The Cross.” The church paid for the guests’ dinner.
Several church members met at church beforehand for a short prayer. Member David Rochester said his three children — 9, 13 and 15 — have been praying for their friends at least twice a week.
By 7 p.m., 15 to 20 guests sat with their friends. Waitresses hurriedly carried out baskets of tortilla chips and refilled drinks. But when “The Cross” began, they stopped to watch. Restaurant owners José and Marcela watched from behind the bar.
Some had tears in their eyes when it ended. One waitress, who had never heard of Billy Graham, said Lacey Sturm’s testimony spoke to her.
Alan Adams, pastor of Parkway, has developed a friendship with José and Marcela over the past two years. Their restaurant is family owned.
“The only way they can be away is to close it,” Adams said. Knowing his busy friends probably wouldn’t see “The Cross” on TV, he asked José if he could show it on DVD at the restaurant. José said it would be a blessing.
The couple speaks some English, and most people who came Tuesday night speak no Spanish, but the video seemed to impact everyone. José said he was impacted by Lacey’s and Lecrae’s stories.
Church member Ron Blair followed the video by sharing his testimony. The Vietnam veteran was a heavy drinker and partier right out of the military and “fell into a life that would’ve made Satan proud.” But Christ gave him a new heart, he said.
Jerry Zapata, a pastor in Greenville, S.C., shared his story in Spanish. He connected with the restaurant owners afterwards and prayed with them in the kitchen. Zapata will give José and Marcela a copy of a My Hope America Spanish video and said the couple is interested in the Hispanic church plant he’s working on.
Church member Sam Anderson said one family “lit up” when he invited them to the event. It’s hard to get people in church, he said, but a restaurant is less intimidating. The family came to dinner Tuesday and said they enjoyed the film.
Another couple who came wants to visit Parkway Baptist soon, and the man has since told his co-workers about “The Cross.”
The four people Larry Burton invited, including two waitresses from his favorite breakfast joint, didn’t show up, but Burton wasn’t discouraged. He will encourage them to watch “The Cross” on TV or give them the DVD.
My Hope was perfect for Parkway’s senior members, Adams said, because it “didn’t require a lot of stamina, … strength … [or] resources.” Many have followed Mr. Graham for decades, and to see him still doing ministry at 95 shows them they can do the same, he said.
Would you like to share a Gospel video with your Spanish-speaking friends? Click here to watch Momentos Decisivos.