Saturday, December 5, 2009

Martin of Oxford Street in London: A Modern Christmas Miracle

By Pamela Schuffert presenting investigative journalism from a Biblical Christian perspective-

Once again, it was the Christmas season round the world. It was 1998. I had just finished traveling, lecturing and touring throughout Israel. The beginning of my long flight home back to America had finally begun. I planned to stop for a week in London, England joined with my wonderful Australian Christian friend, Joy Heasman. Everything was decorated festively for the holiday season.

When I prayed about what to do while visiting London, the Holy Spirit told me that there was one person in particular He wanted to me to minister to. When I asked how to find that person, He told me that He would lead me to the person. So I continued in prayer every day, seeking God's leading.

One night, I felt impressed to take a cab and go over to Oxford Street in London. Oxford Street is to London what Park Avenue is to New York City. Colorful lights sparkled everywhere. Music with old familiar Christmas carols poured out of the busy stores and at various intersections. I noted how most of the people all seemed to be dressed very fashionably, in expensive brand name clothing items, as they walked up and down Oxford Street.

Taking a deep breath and looking down the long street, I prayed as I began to walk the city blocks, asking God to lead me to that one special person He had brought me to London to meet and minister to. I had never been to London before in my life, and felt the challenge of braving the unknown.

Finally, after walking many blocks on both sides of the street, I noticed in the shadows a young man sitting on the cold ground, in an entrance to one business that was closed for the evening. A worn and dirty blanket covered his legs. He appeared to be only about 17 or 18 years old. I prayed and asked God, "is HE the one you sent me here for?" The Holy Spirit immediately indicated YES.

I was no stranger to street ministries, and had performed such outreach in many big cities in America: Washington DC, Atlanta, Chicago, Rochester, and many more. I had learned how to deal with people who showed signs of being on drugs, or alcohol, and to see through the lies of those panhandling who actually needed more money to support a drug or alcohol habit.

I slowly knelt down next to this young man and began to talk to him. He immediately looked up, seemingly amazed that someone would take the time on busy Oxford Street to talk to him. He told me his name was Martin, about 18 years of age.I asked him why he was out here on this cold winter night.

He began to pour out his heart to me, about the terrible situation in his home. Marital strife filled his home constantly. His mother had a mental condition as well. He suffered much abuse. Unable to deal with it any longer, he attempted to leave home and find a new place to live. But jobs were difficult to find, and he could not find one at that time. And so, he was forced, as many homeless, to sleep outdoors in any location he could find to protect him from the elements.

As I listened carefully to him, I noted by observation that he evidenced none of the signs of alcoholism and drunkenness, or drug addiction. I have been trained in the past to look for such signs. His clear blue eyes, filled with sorrow and pain, cried out for compassion and understanding. The Holy Spirit then said, "It is now time to tell him about the love of My Son for his life..."

I began to share my testimony with Martin, about how Jesus Christ saved me from great family strife and abuse and pain in our home, and how Jesus Christ came into my life and healed my body as well of many illnesses that my two doctors could not cure after years of treatment. Martin listened intently as he looked at me.

I then said, "Martin, has anyone ever told you that Jesus Christ really IS real, that He died for YOUR sins to be forgiven, and that He loves YOU and can change YOUR life and your family and home life as well?" Instantly, Martin replied, his eyes looking intently into mine, "NO! NOBODY ever told me this!"

England is NOT America. They do not have the intensity of multitudes of Christian outreach and ministries throughout their nation, to the extent that America does. Martin was being completely honest with me when he said this.

I then said, "Would you like Jesus Christ to come into your life and change it forever, and give YOU eternal life?" He almost shouted as he said quickly, "Yes." He reached out for my hand to hold it as we then prayed. How utterly sincere Martin was that night as he prayed for Jesus Christ to come into his life, to forgive his sins, and to give him a new life from that night on! My heart was deeply moved that night as well. We prayed also for his family and his mother, and for their salvation. Finally, it was over.

As I rose up from my knees to begin my walk back to the Salvation Army hostel for travelers in London, the Holy Spirit spoke to me once again. He reminded me that it is NOT enough to simply TALK about the LOVE OF GOD through Jesus Christ, without manifesting it in practical ways to people we minister to. GIVE him something!

I reached into my wallet, and handed Martin a 50 pound note. (This was worth at that time, about $150 US dollars.) He could not believe it! He then began to thank me over and over. I stopped him.

"You will NOT thank me! You WILL instead stop and thank JESUS CHRIST , Who told me to give this to you so HE could bless you. IT IS FROM HIM!" Martin immediately began to thank Jesus His new-found Savior. Springing up from his previous position on the cold sidewalk, he continued to praise God, and told me he was now getting a nice warm meal, finally. And, that he was returning home to share his salvation experience with his family as well. We parted into the night, both of us going on on way rejoicing.

And the Holy Spirit impressed on me that my assignment was completed there, that night in London, and it was time to go home.

I will never forget that encounter with Martin in London, and I continue to keep him and his family in my prayers.

Dear readers, perhaps God has that special person or people, that He wants YOU to encounter this season, with His love and message and wondrous salvation and the love of His Son, Jesus Christ.

Remember: God works through each one of us to bring the love and compassion of His Son to a lost and dying world. EACH ONE OF US is important to God's plan to touch the lives of others in this world!

May God send YOU to YOUR local "Martin of Oxford Street" figure, to reach with His love, both at this time and ALWAYS as we strive to become the salt and light in this dark and suffering world we live in, through Jesus Christ the ONLY true LIGHT OF THE WORLD.

-Pamela Schuffert

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