Here’s a great story from an I am Second Expedition.
“Our team gathered in a home in rural India. We first shared about Malaria using the MalariaCube, and then split the group to do Second groups. One went to the back of the house and the people that remained in my group were four old women, none of whom could read. One of the young girls that could read translated and also participated.
“As I looked around the room, I thought to myself that maybe we should just find another house and a younger audience, as obviously these four “old women” wouldn’t understand. Because they were hard working women, we read the story of Martha and Mary. The four chatted among themselves and didn’t seem to be paying attention. I began feeling this effort was in vain. Each time as we asked follow-up questions about the story, the women chatted with each other – and chatted – and chatted. Oh boy – why bother?
“Despite my expectations, when we asked the old women how they would share what they’d learned, they responded that they had plenty of opportunities to connect with others while working in the field. Because they couldn’t read, I figured they’d only be able to tell part of story, and probably only once. That’s where I had it all wrong.
“The group hushed as one woman,(I call her and “Indian Martha,”) recounted the Bible story in great detail, adapting for their culture where appropriate and applying the story to their real lives. They may not read, but they had amazing listening and memory skills! It turns out all the chatter was simply them having discussions about the scripture, and there was no need to include me. WOW!
“God once again was glorified as He showed our team that the same Holy Spirit that lives in us, lives in each of these old women. I learned (again) to never underestimate the power of the Holy Spirit!” – Mary W.
Recently my husband and I headed out for some dinner and conversation. On a “whim” we chose to go somewhere we’d never been before. It was a cool place – part bar, part restaurant.
A few minutes after we arrived and were seated, an older gentleman came in and sat a few seats away from my husband at the bar. We continued our conversation while the gentleman sat by himself.
Then, clear as day, I heard: “talk to him.” My husband heard it too, “talk to him.”
I fought it, but the message on my heart was insistent. “Talk to him.” Finally, my husband reached over and introduced himself to the man. He was receptive and mentioned that he was a former helicopter pilot for the Marines. We had a nice chat, but it didn’t seem important, yet. Then, the elder man’s son and daughter-in-law arrived. The son had waist-length, jet-black hair and wore shades indoors. The woman was dressed in a suit, but also had wild hair, piercings and tattoos. They sat next to us and we exchanged introductions.
I was born in Puerto Rico in a private clinic, because my mother was hiding her pregnancy. Shortly thereafter we moved New York City and my life of struggle truly began. At the age of 5, I was hit by a car and later molested. At 6, I was physically bullied to an inch of my life. My mother and stepfather sold drugs and neglected my sister and I, so we were shipped back to Puerto Rico to stay with my elderly grandparents, who already had custody of several of my cousins. Instead, we turned to the streets.
I caught my first case (I was arrested and prosecuted) at the age of 10. As a young teen, I’d already started having sex, smoking, drinking and doing drugs. I cursed God for abandoning me. After joining a gang and being arrested time after time, I became the most wanted fugitive of my town, and fled to the United States.
Satan had a grip on my heart and my downward spiral continued. I jumped back into gang life, drugs and guns. The arrests continued until I was facing 5 to 10 years in prison – when I was just 17 years old. In jail, a pastor brought me a Bible, telling me that all my life’s answers were inside. With anger and self-pity I challenged God to prove His love by providing me another chance at life, promising that if my prayer is answered, I would sing His praises for the rest of my life. I’m sure I’m not the only incarcerated person to try and make that deal.
Miraculously, a month later a judge granted me parole. I’m convinced it was God’s hand. On the outside my “old life” came calling right away, but I remembered my prison pastor’s words, “the moment you step outside of this place, that’s when you’ll discover if your decision for Christ is real.” God protected me in His own ways. When I was 21 years old, I started my walk with Jesus.
Now for HIS glory, I can say, I am a happily married man and the father of three wonderful kids. I have a good job, I am a teen pastor, a teacher of His word, a basketball coach, and I am involved in the I am Second movement here in NY. Take it from me, no one is beyond God’s redemption. While I do not deserve it, I happily accept His grace. My name is J.M. and “I am Second.”
What struggles do you face? Guess what – you’re not alone.
Like many young married couples, David and Bria Bickerstaff were going through life distracted by the daily needs of their blended family. With two young children and one teenager, life was full of activity but meandering in meaning. Up until two years ago something was clearly missing.Then they both attended I am Second’s 2nd birthday celebration, at which they encountered uplifting stories of how God had and was continuing to work in the lives of people through I am Second’s outreach. From the music of Matthew West to the appearances of 32 “seconds” from the website, the Bickerstaff’s hearts were drawn towards the movement. What’s more, at that event, Bria began a relationship with Jesus with night by accepting Him as her Lord and Savior.
From that point on Bria’s life reflected a major change. She radiated joy, filled with a passion for God and the desire to share him with others whenever she had the opportunity. The couple attended more I am Second events and began to bring its principles into their family.
Never was this more evident than throughout 2011. One tragedy after another came about- loss of family members, accidents, other near-death experiences. Yet their faith held. And became even stronger as Bria battled breast cancer. In February, 2012 Bria lost the physical battle, but entered heaven for her eternal reward.
At her memorial service her pastor said, “The most comforting thing we know for sure is where she is right now. When Bria took her last breath, she didn’t leave home, she went home because of her personal relationship with Christ.”
In her final years Bria encouraged everyone to know Him and become Second. Today, she continues to serve as an example. What a blessing she decided to follow Jesus in time.
Don’t delay. Learn what it means to become Second.
“I devoured the stories in about two days. The thing is, when I got to the last few pages where it talks about Jesus dying for us – I didn’t expect what was coming next. On Easter Sunday, right there and then I opened my heart and ask God to come in and be with me.
Holy smokes, Batman – what a feeling! I have been truly blessed. He sure works in mysterious ways. Now to live it the rest of my days. My life is changed.”
“Pastor Gireesh was skeptical. Since he had never used I am Second methods before our team arrived, he wondered if it would work in the the villages there in India. But soon his doubt turned to delight!
“Each morning, our e3 Partners Expedition members, local believers, and interpreters met Pastor Pastor Gireesh and his wife, Shobha, along with their two sons, Aaron (14) and Asher (10), to participate in a Second group before we headed out for the day. I was on a team with 10-year old Asher. One day, when it came time for “Live and Tell,” Asher spoke up confidently announcing, “I am going to tell my friend about Jesus. I will use my mom’s phone and call him tonight.”
“The next morning, 10 year-old Asher led our I am Second group. After everyone finished sharing how they had lived out the commitments made the previous day, I asked Asher if he had called his friend. He boldy answered, “Yes! I called my friend and told him about Jesus.” Afterwards, the friend’s father got on the phone and thanked Asher for telling his son about Jesus – and asked for directions to their church. That Sunday, Asher’s friend came to church with his father and mother. All three prayed to receive Jesus that day! The father told Pastor Gireesh that he had long wanted to come to a church, but wasn’t sure how to go about it.
“Asher was obedient and kept his commitment. God was gracious and gave Pastor Gireesh a new family of believers to shepherd!
“Pastor Gireesh gushed about the spiritual growth of his own family as well, during the e3 expeditions and I am Second group meetings. He quoted Joshua 24:15 several times, ‘But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.’
“May we all be as faithful and bold as young Asher!”
OK, admit it. As you read the title to this post, you were wondering if this is an “R” rated post? Right?
Well, it does have an “R” rating… but “R” in this case stands for “Redemption.”
Jake, a high school student from Texas, spent his Spring Break on an I am Second Expedition to Lima, Peru. Half a world away, Jake teamed up with local church members in a middle class neighborhood in Lima to talk to people about Him who is First.
A glance down the street hinted at fear–there were iron bars covering just about every door and window in sight. Like her neighbors, Hester relied on those bars to separate her and her casita (little home) from those she feared.
But Jake was not deterred. His translator told Hester that Jake had come from the U.S. to share some good news. That led to chit chat, which developed into a spiritual conversation. As she showed interest, that progressed to an explanation, using the EvangeCube, of how to put Jesus first in her life. Hester decided to receive Jesus as her Savior.
Along with his translator and local church members, Jake returned to Hester’s casita to help her learn how to follow Jesus. Jake and his team used an I am Second group to do this. It was exciting to see Hester discuss the Bible the church members, breaking a pattern of isolation that had separated her from the local church.
Equipped with his pre-trip training and preparation, Jake overcame language, culture, age, gender, socio-economic, and even iron barriers. Perhaps one of the few stories about “Spring Break, women and bars” that has a happy and healthy ending.
“I teach United States history to 11th graders at our local public high school. My classes are filled with diverse groups of students. I take my responsibility to prepare these young adults for state testing and graduation very seriously. I also believe real teachers present more than just academic educational materials – we have a God-given platform to reach the next generation and help them break life’s chains. I also take that opportunity very, very seriously.
“I have been showing an I am Second film each Friday in my classes. I pray all week about which one I should feature. God has been faithful to impress upon me just the right one.
“Many of my students listen to hip hop music, so one of the first films I screened was about Lecrae. I have 2 boys that started listening to Lecrae, and they are now learning about Christ through his music’s message. Our school is known as an athletic powerhouse, so the videos from well-known athletes are particularly relevant while presenting positive role models that themselves have become Second. As we came upon the holiday commemorating Dr. Martin Luther King, I showed the Ken Hutcherson film. What a powerful testimony about how hate and prejudice can be tamed by Christ. You could have heard a pin drop in my classroom at the end.
“Recently I screened the Ashley Rawls I am Second film. When it was over, my students started asking questions about Jesus and salvation, about grace and mistakes . . . . Wow! At their request I shared the gospel of Jesus with that class.
“I can clearly see God is working in my students’ lives. I Am Second is helping me share about He who is First in a greater way!”
– A “Second” 11th Grade Teacher
Are there people you “teach” formally or informally? It’s easy to share I am Second films via Facebook, Twitter, and the Email App. Just click “Share This” on the bottom right corner of each film page at iamsecond.com.
Chaplain Albert started an I am Second group in one of the pods (dorm rooms) at the Dawson State Jail in downtown Dallas, Texas. We were privileged and inspired to join them as he presented certificates to more than 25 brothers in Christ who had participated in 10 group sessions. In his humble orange jumper, one young inmate revealed, “Finally, I have something that my kids can be proud of their Dad for.” Tears welled in his eyes and his voice cracked with emotion. Hard time. Hard life. Hardened hearts penetrated by the grace of God.
Prison missionaries? Yes! Each is challenged to start their own I am Second groups as they are moved to other pods, and some to other prisons around Texas. The Spirit of the Lord will not be kept outside walls made by men. Pray for God to “grow them in wisdom and stature and favor with God and man.” (Luke 2:52)
Newlyweds Sarah and Hugo attended Bible college together in Argentina. There, they learned of God’s love and character, growing closer to Him and to each other. With passion for the Lord and reaching others for Christ, the Liborio family became missionaries abroad in the Dominican Republic.
Hugo found the I am Second movement to be a powerful tool for sharing his faith and wore the wristband everyday. Though a young and healthy man, while home on leave he suffered an aneurysm during a pickup basketball game.
Unconscious and in critical condition, his wife fished out a simple black bracelet beneath the many hospital bands on Hugo’s wrist. In white writing was his lasting statement: “I am Second.” Wrought with grief Sarah thought,“maybe it was God speaking to me in a voice that I could be comforted by.” As her husband’s earthly body slipped away, she felt him reassure her, “If God needs my life… it’s O.K. because I am Second.”
The inside of Hugo’s wedding band is engraved with “I am Second.” Today Sarah shares what she calls “the I am Second night I had with Hugo.” Her loss becomes a legacy of gain as Jesus Christ is glorified and others are inspired to share, to connect – to become Second.
As she says, “No matter what the cost, I will serve God.”
In life, the One who is First gives purpose. In death, the One who is First gives comfort.
Sarah and Hugo’s story and his legacy of Second is celebrated in her book and website.