Stories are always great, but this one about Mr Genor seemed to really hit home last Sunday at the end of the first 'Just Walk Across the Room' sermon. So many people have asked me about it that I have copied it below. I read the story from the book 'Fire Evangelism' by Che Ahn.
A number of years ago in a Baptist church in Crystal Palace, in south London, the Sunday morning service was closing, and a stranger stood up in the back, raised his hand, and asked the Pastor if he could share a testimony.
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 when 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 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 now I’m a Christian.
That Baptist Pastor flew to Adelaide, in Australia, the next week. A woman came to him for counseling, and he asked her 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 there, 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 Adalaide, 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 a fortnight, 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. And he asked him how he became a Christian.
He said, “I grew up in this church from the age of fifteen through Boy’s Brigade. 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 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.”
“I was seething with anger all the way home to Perth. I told my pastor, thinking he would sympathize with me, but my pastor agreed with the man! 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 U. K. 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 years ago 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 Convention in the Caribbean for missionaries. And He shared these 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.”
returning via Atlanta, Georgia, to speak at a Naval Chaplain’s convention the Pastor spoke to over a thousand Navy Chaplains. The Chaplain General took him out for a meal and he asked him how he'd become a Christian?
The Chaplain relied, 'I was living a reprobate life on a US Battleship. We were doing exercises in the South Pacific, and we docked in Sydney Harbor 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.”
This London Pastor, six months later, flew to do a convention for 5000 missionaries in a remote corner of northeastern India. And at the end, the host took him home for a simple meal. The Pastor asked him, “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 traveled the world. One bout of diplomatic service took me to Sydney. And I was doing some last minute shopping, walking down George Street, when this 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. He to go and talk to the missionary to satisfy my curiosity - that was fateful advice. 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, this same pastor was ministering in Sydney. He asked the Baptist minister, “Do you know a little manwho witnesses and hands out tracts on George Street?” And he said, “I do. His name is Mr. Genor, 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, and this tiny, frail, little man opened the door. He sat them down and made them some tea. The 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 on an Australian warship and I lived a reprobate life. And in a crisis, I really hit the wall, and one of my colleagues led me to Jesus and the change in my life was so amazing and I was so grateful to God that I promised 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. In forty years of doing this, I’ve never heard of one single person coming to Jesus until today.”
It has to be deep love for Jesus that enables a man to keep this up over the long haul without knowing any of the results. This is more than could be sustained by simple commitment, this is a love for the lost that flows from a love & gratitude for Jesus. That's over 146,000 people that this simple little man provoked about Jesus. Goodness knows how many more had been impacted for Christ.
Mr. Genor died two weeks later. Nobody except a little group of Baptists in southern Sydney knew about Mr. Genor, but I’ll tell you his name was famous in heaven. Can you imagine the fanfare he went home to?