An Interview with Naomi Yu (AR09)

by Grace Wu

Which barrios (neighborhoods) did you go to do door-to-door evangelism?

This year, God gave me opportunity to return to Juan Pablo and Smata. This was my second time in both of these neighborhoods.

What was your time in Smata like?

I really enjoyed my time in Smata because I got to see three of my contacts from the previous year! There was this one lady that my translator and I spent a lot of time with last year. She struggles a lot with depression and being paranoid. For example, her reason for not trying out the weekly Bible Studies is because she is afraid to leave the house, even though the meeting place is just across the street for her. She worries every morning when her husband goes to work, filled with anxiety that something bad will happen. She tries to keep her kids home as much as possible to keep close watch over them.

Wow, so how did you minister to her?

Well, last year my translator and I listened as she shared with us fear after fear that consumes her thoughts. Our only response and remedy for her was the gospel. We told her that she needed Christ and the hope that He alone can provide. Her sins have already driven her to spiritual death, but Christ came to give life to those who would believe and live for Him. After going back to visit her this year, I found that she still struggles a lot with anxiety and paranoia. She still is afraid to leave her house but one neat thing is that the church has been following up with her! One of the older ladies of the church has been going to her house to meet with her on a weekly basis. Together, they read the Bible and pray for this woman’s heart to trust in Christ.

That’s awesome to hear! Were you able to see any of your other contacts grow in their understanding of the gospel?

Yes I was! There was another lady who I also met the previous year. Although she claimed to be a Christian, she wasn’t active in going out to church. She seemed kind of stagnant in her faith when I talked with her. However, this year, when I went to visit her, I noticed that her demeanor had changed. She shared with me about how her family has been consistently attending a local church around the neighborhood (not IBM, but a solid church I hear). She’s been growing and even trying to share the gospel with those at her workplace. She shared how difficult it was because the message of the cross isn’t appealing to her coworkers, and she feels like they see her as a fool. We were able to spend some time looking into 1 Corinthians 1 together, where Paul talks about the cross being foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved, it is the power of God. It was neat seeing and hearing of how God’s grown this woman’s heart this past year. The gospel was no longer just a distant message and Christianity was no longer just a label, but to see her actively living out her faith despite the trials that come was such a blessing!

How about your time in Juan Pablo? Was it similar to what you experienced the previous year?

My experience in Juan Pablo this year was very different from the previous year. I felt like God gave me opportunities to be involved in a very different type of ministry than before. Last year, my translator and I were assigned a block of the neighborhood, and we went to each house with one goal in mind – to preach the gospel! However, this year, I was paired with Monica Lizzaraga, one of the elder’s wives, as my national. Monica and her husband Julio are very involved in the neighborhood of Juan Pablo and have built many close relationships with families there. Because of that, our time was spent very deliberately to visit those families. Many of them, I learned, had gone out to the church at some point in their lives, but due to the circumstances of life or their hardness of heart, were unwilling to go anymore.

Can you share with us in more detail about one of these cases?

There was one particular woman we met with who had a very difficult time respecting her husband. According to her, he says one thing and does another. And the reason she has been hesitant to go out to church was because the last time she went to a women’s meeting, she heard a message about wives needing to submit to the leadership of their husbands. It drove her away from the church because she felt like she couldn’t submit and that she would be looked down upon for not wanting to abide.

How did you handle situations like this?

What was different for me this time around was that I found myself doing a lot of listening. People’s circumstances like submission issues, broken marriages, or dealing with disobedient children were some of the hardships they had to endure. The hard part was that these people that we went to visit had already been exposed to the gospel. It wasn’t like they were hearing it for the first time. However, at the same time, their hearts were so hardened. Instead of finding hope in Christ, their difficulties drove them further away from Him. This was hard for me to see, but God used this experience to teach me so much. I learned that in his Great Commission, Christ commands us to go and preach the gospel. However, he also commands us to make disciples, and this entails so much. It isn’t a one-time thing of helping people to understand the gospel so that they can be justified before God through Christ. Discipleship is a lifelong process of helping people to be sanctified in living for Christ. Through Monica’s example, I saw the need to keep persevering in coming alongside people who are struggling. She taught me how to listen, to comfort, to gently rebuke, and to help carry other people’s burdens.

It sounds like God taught you a lot during your time ministering in the barrios. Thank you for taking the time to share with us what you learned!

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The Beacon is the monthly newsletter for Lighthouse Bible Church in San Diego, California. It covers a variety of subjects including LBC events, church history, current events from a Christan perspective, ministry profiles, and messages from our pastors and elders. To join the Beacon ministry, please contact Stephen Rodgers.

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