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Friday, March 25, 2011

Worldwide impact of a humble street preacher lives on today

By Peter Wooding
Europe Bureau Chief for ASSIST News Service

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA (ANS) -- Little did street evangelist Frank Jenner realise the ongoing worldwide impact of his commitment back in 1937 to speak to ten people a day about his Christian faith on George Street in Sydney in Australia.

Street evangelist Frank Jenner

But today churches across the world continue to hear the amazing story of how one man’s dedication to challenge at least 100,000 people about where they stood before God, would literally result in a cycle of changed lives across the globe.

According to Christians Together, Frank Jenner’s story first emerged a number of years ago in a Baptist church in Crystal Palace in southern London.

The Sunday morning service was closing, and a stranger stood up in the back, raised his hand, and said, “Excuse me pastor, can I share a little testimony?” The Pastor looked at his watch and said, “You’ve got three minutes.”

And this man proceeded. He said, “I just moved into this area, I used to live in another part of London, I came from Sydney, in Australia. And just a few months back I was visiting some relatives and I was walking down George Street, you know where George Street is in Sydney. It runs from the business hub out to the rocks of the Colonial area.”

And he said, “A strange little white-haired man stepped out of a shop doorway, put a pamphlet in my hand and said, ‘Excuse me sir, are you saved? If you died tonight, are you going to heaven?’”

He said, “I was astounded by those words. Nobody had ever told me that. I thanked him courteously, and all the way on the flight back to Heathrow, this puzzled me. I called a friend who lived in this new area, where I’m living now and thank God, he was a Christian. He led me to Christ. And I’m a Christian, and I want to fellowship here.”

Everyone applauded and welcomed him into the fellowship.

That Baptist Pastor flew to Adelaide, in Australia, the next week. Ten days later, in the middle of a three day series in a Baptist Church in Adelaide, a woman came to him for counselling, and he wanted to establish where she stood with Christ.

And she said, “I used to live in Sydney. And just a couple of months back, I was visiting friends in Sydney, doing some last minute shopping down George Street, and a strange little white-haired man, elderly man, stepped out of a shop doorway, offered me a pamphlet and said, ‘Excuse me ma’am, are you saved? If you died tonight, are you going to heaven?’”

She said, “I was disturbed by those words. When I got back to Adelaide, I knew this Baptist church was on the next block from me, and I sought out the Pastor, and he led me to Christ. So sir, I’m telling you that I am a Christian.”

Now this London Pastor was now very puzzled. Twice, within two weeks, he’d heard the same testimony. He then flew to preach in the Mount Pleasant Baptist Church in Perth. And when his teaching series was over, the senior elder of that church took him out for a meal.

He said, “Mate, how’d you get saved?”

He said, “I grew up in this church from the age of fifteen through the Boy’s Brigade. I never made a commitment to Jesus, just hopped on the bandwagon like everybody else. And because of my business ability, grew up to a place of influence. I was on a business outing in Sydney just three years ago, and an obnoxious, spiteful little man stepped out a shop doorway, offered me a religious pamphlet and accosted me with a question, ‘Excuse me sir, Are you saved? If you died tonight are you going to heaven?’ “He said, “I tried to tell him I was a Baptist elder. He wouldn’t listen to me.” He said, “I was seething with anger all the way home to Perth.” He said, “I told my pastor thinking he would sympathize with me, and my pastor agreed. He had been disturbed for years, knowing that I didn’t have a relationship with Jesus - and he was right. And my pastor led me to Jesus just three years ago.”

Now this London preacher flew back to the UK and was speaking at the Keswick Convention in the Lake District, and he threw in these three testimonies. At the close of his teaching session, four elderly pastors came up and said, “We got saved between 25 and 35 George Street years ago, respectively, through that little man on George Street giving us a tract and asking us that question.” He then flew the following week to a similar Keswick Convention in the Caribbean, to missionaries. And He shared the testimonies.

At the close of his teaching session, three missionaries came up and said, “We got saved between 15 and 25 years ago, respectively, through that little man’s testimony and asking us that same question on George Street in Sydney.”

Coming back to London, he stopped outside Atlanta, Georgia, to speak at a Naval Chaplain’s convention. When his three days of revving these Navy Chaplains was up, over a thousand of them, in soul-winning, the chaplain general took him out for a meal.

And he said, “How’d you become a Christian?”

He said, “Well it was miraculous! I was a rating on a United States Battleship, and I lived a reprobate life. We were doing exercises in the South Pacific, and we docked in Sydney Harbour for replenishments. We hit King’s Cross with a vengeance. I got blind drunk. I got on the wrong bus - got off in George Street.

“As I got off the bus, I thought it was a ghost. This elderly white-haired man jumped in front of me, pushed a pamphlet into my hands and said, ‘Sailor, are you saved? If you died tonight, are you going to heaven?’” He said, “The fear of God hit me immediately. I was shocked sober, and ran back to the battleship, sought out the chaplain, the chaplain led me to Christ and I soon began to prepare for the ministry under his guidance. And here I am in charge of over a thousand chaplains and we’re bent on soul-winning today.”

That London preacher, six months later, flew to do a convention for 5000 Indian missionaries in a remote corner of north eastern India. And at the end, the Indian missionary in charge, a humble little man, took him home to his humble little home, for a simple meal.
And he said, “How did you, as a Hindu, come to Christ?” He said, “I was in a very privileged position, I worked for the Indian diplomatic mission. And I travelled the world. And I am so glad for the forgiveness of Christ, and His blood covering my sin, because I’d be very embarrassed if people found out what I got into.”

He said, “One bout of diplomatic service took me to Sydney. And I was doing some last minute shopping, laden with parcels of toys and clothing for my children, walking down George Street. And this courteous, little white-haired man stepped out in front of me, offered me a pamphlet, and said, ‘Excuse me sir, are you saved? If you died tonight are you going to heaven?’” He said, “I thanked him very much, but this disturbed me. I got back to my town, I sought out the Hindu priest, and he couldn’t help me. But he gave me some advice. He said, ‘Just to satisfy your curious mind, nothing else, go an talk to the missionary in the mission house at the end of the road.’ And that was fateful advice.” He said, ”Because that day the missionary led me to Christ. I quit Hinduism immediately, and then began to study for the ministry. I left the diplomatic service, and here I am, by God’s grace, in charge of all these missionaries, and we’re winning hundreds of thousands of people to Christ.”

Eight months later, the Crystal Palace Baptist pastor was ministering in Sydney. And he said to the Baptist minister, “Do you know a little man, an elderly little man who witnesses and hands out tracts on George Street?” And he said, “I do. His name is Mr Jenner. But I don’t think he does it anymore, he’s too frail and elderly.”

The man said, “I want to meet him.” Two nights later, they went around to this little apartment, knocked on the door. And this tiny, frail, little man opened the door. He sat them down and made them some tea, and he was so frail that he was slopping tea into the saucer as he shook. And as he sat with them, this London preacher told him all these accounts over the previous three years. This little man sat with tears running down his cheeks.

He said, “My story goes like this.” He said, “I was a rating on an Australian warship and I lived a reprobate life. And in a crisis, I really hit the wall, and one of my colleagues whom I gave literal hell, was there to help me. He led me to Jesus and the change in my life was night to day in 24 hours and I was so grateful to God. I promised God that I would share Jesus in a simple witness with at least ten people a day - as God gave me strength.

“Sometimes, I was ill - I couldn’t do it, but I made up for it at other times. I wasn’t paranoid about it, but I have done this for over forty years, and in my retirement years, the best place was on George Street. There were hundreds of people. I got lots of rejections; but a lot of people courteously took the tracts.” And he said, “In forty years of doing this, I’ve never heard of one single person coming to Jesus until today.”

Now I would say, that has to be commitment. That has to be just sheer gratitude and love for Jesus to do that. Not hearing of any results. Margarita did a little count. That’s 146,100 people that simple little, non-charismatic, Baptist man influenced somehow to Jesus. And I believe that what God was showing that Baptist minister was the tip of the tip of the tip of the tip of this iceberg.

Goodness knows how many more had been arrested for Christ and were doing huge jobs out in the mission field.

Mr Jenner died two weeks later. And can you imagine the reward he went home to in heaven? Nobody except a little group of Baptists in southern Sydney knew about Mr Jenner, but I’ll tell you his name was famous in heaven. Heaven knew Mr Jenner, and you can imagine the welcome and the red carpet and the fanfare that he went home to.

To read the full story of Frank Jenner go to:

www.christianstogether.net

 


Peter Wooding is an award-winning TV, radio and print journalist and media consultant under the name of Peter Wooding Productions (www.peterwoodingproductions.com). Having previously spent 10 years as news editor with UCB Radio in the UK, he has travelled extensively reporting from countries including Russia, Serbia, Ukraine, Dubai, South Korea, Zambia, Gambia, Mozambique, Croatia, Israel and India. He now reports regularly for CBN News, ASSIST News Service, GDOP London, Russian Ministries, Whispering Word and Sorted Magazine. Peter and wife Sharon live in North Wales, UK with their three children. Passionate to see God’s Justice and Mercy impact lives, Peter is director of a new UK ministry Mercy Projects International (www.mercyproject.org.uk) to help at-risk young people in Ukraine, Russia, Armenia, Kosovo, the Middle East and beyond. Contact Peter for consultation at: peter@peterwoodingproductions.com or tel. +44 1244 549167/+44 7500 903067

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