My Pansol Experience

Waiting in line

I noticed him looking at me from the corner of my eyes. He held a cane with his left hand as he sat alone on the foundation of one of the iron pillars of the covered court. His hair had turned gray with age, and his face was lined with wrinkles.

He seemed detached from the world around him. The noisy teens playing basketball and the sweltering environment did not affect him the least. He was still and quiet but had a piercing glance.

The first time I passed by Lolo Elias, I felt a tug in my heart. I had been scanning the area earlier for bystanders who might have the time to listen to the Gospel. So far I could not find the perfect person because everyone was on the move.

The teens were playing in the court. The mothers were busy chatting near the Sangguniang Kabataan Hall, waiting with their sons who enlisted in the free circumcision program of our church. “If only I could muster enough courage to share to a big group,” I thought to myself.

I tried sharing to the boys waiting in line but they were not in the mood to listen to spiritual talks. My guess is they are nervous of the operation.

This brought me to the covered court, looking for someone to talk to. I walked past Lolo Elias the first time as I went for a drink at Ate Linette’s house. When I came back, he was still there talking to no one and sitting as still as he was the first time I saw him.

This time, however, I could no longer resist the tug in my heart. As I approached Lolo Elias, I could feel the familiar pounding starting to grip my chest. I don’t deny that I’m afraid of witnessing to strangers, but when I feel like not doing it, I remember the Great Commission and how Jesus left us with the privilege to “go and make disciples of all nations…”

After uttering a shot prayer, I sat beside him and said, “Lolo, I’m giving away free reading materials from our church. Do you have time to read?”

“My eyes can no longer read,” he said, “In fact, my left eye has gone blind.”

“Do you have cataract lolo?” I inquired.

“No. This is not just cataract. The doctors said it’s caused by something else,” Lolo Elias added.

At this point, the Lord gave me an opening to share the Gospel. Because he might not be able to read the tract I was giving out, I offered to tell Lolo Elias the story of Jesus’ gift of salvation to which he agreed.

“Are you familiar with the story of Jesus?” I opened.

“I’m already old and  I’ve forgotten many things,” came Lolo Elias’ answer.

This took me aback because I had never personally met a person who didn’t know the story of Jesus.

“God came as a man in Jesus Christ to die as a sacrifice for our sins,” I continued, “Because all men are sinful, we are supposed to die as punishment for our sins. But in God’s grace and love, He took the punishment upon Himself, giving us the gift of eternal life instead.”

I paused and waited for any response. In my heart I’m not sure if Lolo Elias understood what I said. Aside from failing eyesight, he also could no longer hear well. After a minute or two of silence, I continued my explanation.

“Jesus is giving us the gift of salvation, of forgiveness of sins and cleansing for free. We receive it by putting our faith in Him.”

At this point, I’m not really sure if he heard what I said. I wanted to continue explaining but I felt that he would be able to understand the Gospel better if he could find time to read the tract I was giving him. I pulled a copy of the Gospel of John from my bag. I inserted the tract and gave it to Lolo Elias.

Lolo, if you have time, you can review what I said about Jesus in this tract. You can also ask your grandchildren to read this booklet for you. It’s the Gospel of John and it tells us the story of Jesus’ life,” I said.

I bid Lolo Elias farewell and in my heart I prayed that the Lord would supply what was lacking in what I shared. I wanted to be able to follow him up, and so I agreed to come in the post-circumcision check up next week, praying that God will give me the chance to meet Lolo Elias one more time.


That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong. (2 Corinthians 12:10)

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