By Lizzy Long | First Published: June 18, 2015
This is a story about Billy Graham Evangelism Association’s Internet evangelism ministry, Search for Jesus (SFJ). Through SFJ, people around the world are exposed to the simple Gospel message online and have an opportunity to connect with one of hundreds of trained volunteers who can encourage them and point them to Christ.
On a Tuesday night in May, a teenager named Daniel logged onto his computer, seeking answers. He wasn’t searching for a video game or sports network. Instead, he wanted to know Christ beyond the facts he learned in church. He knew he wasn’t a Christian, but his friend from school had told him that he could have a relationship with Jesus. That’s what Daniel wanted.
But there was one problem:
How could he tell his non-Christian parents?
Daniel was already bullied at school. And he often felt like a failure for not being able to tell his parents about his desire for a new faith. As he struggled at school and at home, he became suicidal and felt his life wasn’t worth living.
Yet, with just a few clicks of a mouse, he found out his life held value.
Through MyPeaceWithGod.ca, Daniel found answers to the questions that had been plaguing him. By clicking a chat button on the website, he connected with a trained Search for Jesus e-counselor who was ready to answer those questions and offer him hope.
More than 6 million people around the globe have found that same hope for themselves as God has used the online ministry to reach others for Christ. People from all ages and backgrounds—people just like Daniel—turn to the Internet when they can’t open up to someone in person, or when they don’t know where else to turn. Many are connected one on one with someone on the SFJ team who cares for and encourages them.
As Daniel opened up to the e-counselor, he shared how he believed he had to go to church each week and meet a list of requirements to be saved.
But the e-counselor, talking to him through live chat, explained otherwise.
“There is nothing you can do to make you good enough for God,” the e-counselor wrote, “and there is no ritual or activity that you can do that will make you a Christian outside of believing in Jesus and turning, to the best of your ability, from your sin (with His help).”
Daniel was ready. His heart was open for this new life with Christ, free from sin and the confinements of religious practices. Tears began to pour from his eyes as the Holy Spirit entered into his life. He now had a reason to live.
“You have an eternal purpose to let other people know that Jesus loves them and died for them,” Daniel’s e-counselor explained, “so they could have a relationship with the Father, the most awesome relationship there is!”
Daniel made plans to tell his parents of his “new birthday”—the day he received Christ—on his physical birthday. He also made plans to join some of his Christian friends’ youth groups and said he’ll be praying for the salvation of his parents.