Kayla Krynski was nervous about sharing her faith through evangelism on the Race. Then finally, she decided to just do it—and experienced the transformation of seeing God work through her in an amazing way.
I’m walking down the street with a handful of Christian tracts clutched tightly in my sweating palm, repeating internally over and over, “just do the dang thing.”
If you’d asked me five months ago if I was an evangelist I probably would’ve shifted uncomfortably, sidestepped your question, and given a sugary answer about how Jesus loves everybody. If you’d asked me three days ago, I probably would’ve done the same thing, since I managed pretty well to avoid evangelism so far besides a few halfhearted attempts at door-to-door evangelism in the month before.
Yet our host handed us tracts, with a big smile on her face, set us lose in the city for FOUR HOURS, and told us to evangelize on the street. She might as well as have asked us to jump into a snake pit with all the uncomfortable looks my team exchanged with one another.
I imagined the evangelist who used to visit my University every single Wednesday for the years I was there. He would stand outside with a microphone shouting about how all of us were going to go to hell because we believed in science or drank beer or refused to recognize that God is an angry God.
That’s not me at all and I never want to be that. I knew there were other ways of evangelizing, but still, why would I ever want to bother anyone? Why would I want to just throw a paper at them about Jesus and send them on their way?
This was the framework my mind operated in as me and two other teammate set off into downtown Bulawayo. I intentionally get in a group with Daiva—my teammate who is so stinking on fire for God that she preaches the Gospel with nearly every word she breathes. My flesh thought that I could probably hide behind Daiva, endure an awkward four hours, and get this part of ministry over with.
And yeah, I hid a bit for the first little while we were out. Daiva had no fear and no shame about grabbing people who were walking down the street, asking them questions, praying for them, and then sending them off with a tract. Seriously, she’s amazing to watch. Even Erinn, who was, like me, hesitant at first, jumped right in and started helping Daiva.
I would chime in every now and then, but mostly I let them take the reins. However the Holy Spirit started convicting my heart. It felt like his finger kept poking me in the chest like, “Kayla, I see you. Kayla come on” yet I was still struggling to open up and do it.
Soon our walking led us to the open air food market. We walked down the first row of stalls and I heard a voice call out to me, “lady, lady over here!” I’ve been shopping in markets for five months now, but I still fall for this sales trick every single time. I turned my head and a kindly looking woman was waving me over. Holy Spirit’s poking me in the chest got even more insistent.
Do the dang thing, Kayla, I told myself, bouncing the tract in my hand.
“Hello, lady, you buy my banana,” The woman said as I approached her rug covered with fruits and vegetables.
“I don’t want to buy a banana, but can I sit with you?” I asked, surprising myself.
The lady had a younger friend sitting at the stall next to her. They exchanged looks with one another and then waved me closer. I stepped over their fruits and vegetables and sat down on a wooden pallet wondering what I’d gotten myself into. I could see Erinn and Daiva looking at me curious from across the street. I just shrugged to them.
I asked the ladies their names, the older one was Florence and the younger was Beaut, and offered them mine. They asked where I was from and what I was doing in Bulawayo.
“I’m a Christian missionary from the USA here for one month,” I hesitated, the tract heavy in my hands, “in fact, we’re going around today talking to people about Jesus. Do you know Jesus?” and I handed the tract over.
Florence’s face lit up as I handed it to her, “Of course I know Jesus!” She said with a genuine toothy smile.
Relief washed over me, but the Holy Spirit’s poking hadn’t stopped. They already knew Jesus… wasn’t that what I’d come here to tell them? I asked if there was anything they needed prayer for and Florence closed her eyes and nodded while humming.
And just like that, she started telling me her story. She has four children, two still in Bulawayo and two in South Africa. Her children fled to South Africa to find better work since Zimbabwe is still in a financial crisis. She hasn’t seen them in years and she worries about what they are doing there, if they are still following God. She worries about what happens when her other two children finish school, if they will leave her behind too or if they will stay in Zimbabwe. Her husband cannot work because he lost his eyesight in an accident and her business in the market is not thriving like it once did.
“I know Jesus. I know God. He provides, but I worry.”
In that moment, it didn’t matter to me that other people were watching or that I had awkwardly jumped into the topic of Jesus or that this wasn’t “what I do.”
A woman in need of hope and uplifting sat in front of me pouring out her heart and that’s all that mattered. So we prayed, because as much as I want to correct every injustice, heal every disease, and fill everyone with joy… I can’t. I can only offer hope, and true hope is rooted in the Gospel. So we prayed.
Florence was the first I truly ministered to that day, but not the last. Once I broke the barrier, I wanted to talk to everyone. I learned that evangelism isn’t about shouting on a street corner, at least it’s not for me. God sees people personally and intimately and if I’m to be like Jesus, I want to see people and let them feel heard.
So I stopped at stalls along the way down the market street. I asked about families and dreams, worries and hopes. I hugged and shook hands and, yeah, I passed out Jesus tracts. But with each person, I tried to do more listening than speaking and I sure tried my hardest to speak but not preach.
All this to say, when you just do the dang thing it’s not nearly as scary as you think it’s going to be. My heart has been transformed in the area of evangelism, especially with the thoughts I had only a few days ago. How can I not ask people’s stories and offer them Jesus in exchange for the life they currently live? And I’m forever honored to have been able to hear so many people’s stories, pray for them, and speak truth over their lives and identities.
Had I let fear—and Satan because he’s the one who stirs up that fear— stop me, I wouldn’t have been so blessed or been able to bless in return.
That’s a powerful lesson I’ve realized for life: not to let fear stop me from doing the will of God, whether that’s from how I live, something I say, or something I do.
*photos by Sara Tate and Allison Hultquist
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