Editor’s Note: this story was sent in to us by Corneliu, who took part in the GO21 month of prayer and evangelism during May.
Recently, I had my iPhone up for sale on Gumtree for $1,000. A young man contacted me, telling me that he wanted to buy my phone. We arranged a time and the young man arrived at our house to have a look at the phone with a friend. While I was holding the phone out to show him, the young man snatched it out of my hand and bolted towards a car which was parked about 100 meters up the road. I was surprised and shocked at what just occurred.
As this young man was sprinting towards the getaway car, his own phone dropped out of his pocket. He stopped and hesitated for a moment, but took off again towards the car as I chased after them, yelling not to bother turning back to pick it up. He got frightened and took off.
I picked up the phone that he had dropped — it was just as new as the one he stole! These young men got into their car and sped off with my phone.
My wife and I decided to pray for these teenagers. We prayed for their salvation — that they would be so convicted by God for stealing from us, His children, that they would repent of this behaviour, and that they would apologise and return the phone.
I went to the police station to make a report and to hand in the phone that was dropped. As I was waiting to be seen, by the grace of God, I was somehow able to access this young man’s phone contacts — most importantly, his mum, sister and brother. To be honest, I wasn’t 100 percent certain that it was his phone, since it, too, could have been stolen from someone else.
While at the police station, I sent through the contacts to my wife. In the middle of making the report, my wife got in touch with the boy’s mother! Not knowing my wife at all, the woman said to my wife, “Sister! I’m at a prayer meeting!”
My wife explained the situation to her. This mother was so distraught and begged us not to report the incident to the police. An agreement was reached: she would come over the same night with her son to return my phone and apologise. The police were in support of us trying to resolve the incident between ourselves, before making it a criminal matter.
On the same night, about three hours later, the mother, her eldest son, and the young man who stole my phone arrived at our doorstep with my phone. Wow! Praise God for His unlimited grace and answer to prayer! But that’s not all God had in mind.
We invited this family inside our home. We sat down and I looked at the boy and began to tell him that what he did was not right, and that I sincerely forgive him. I then went on to tell him the Gospel of Jesus Christ and how God saved me from the mess I was in. I told the young man that when I was 16 years old, I happened to be in a police station waiting on my parents to pick me up. The police lady on duty said to me, “Young man, if you steal a bag of lollies today, later on you will steal a car!” And few years later this is exactly what I did.
I asked this young man sitting in front of me, “Do you want to end up in jail like I did? Because if you keep doing what you’re doing, the crowd around you will lead you there.” I pleaded with him to come to repentance, to turn away from his sins and turn to God, and that God is faithful to forgive him and save him like He did with me.
We prayed for him right there and then in our living room, leading him through a prayer of repentance and forgiveness, and we rebuked the schemes and plans of the enemy. We claimed this child for God’s kingdom. The whole time this was happening, the boy’s faithful mother was crying out to God in worship and praise.
We learned a lot about this family, their struggles, and her hope in God as a single mother of five children whose husband had passed away many years earlier. She told us that this whole incident was an answer to prayer from God.
We have made friends with this family and they are very keen to connect further for Bible discovery meetings, prayer and continuing to build our fellowship together in God. God is forever faithful and just. His Word is eternal and true.
God answers prayers even today. My iPhone is now returned, and more souls are coming to know Christ Jesus. God is in the business of saving lives. He is the same yesterday, today and forever!
“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose.”
— Romans 8:28