A Blessed Birthday

A Blessed Birthday...

Mike Barko shares about his recent experiences and reflections. He begins by celebrating his blessed birthday with family, highlighting moments at a cabin, fishing with relatives, and enjoying Alistair Begg sermons. Mike then recounts an unexpected Gospel-sharing opportunity at a gas station, where he had pulled over and engaged in a meaningful conversation with Jasmine, a young African-American woman. He also shares encounters from downtown court square, including a Marine named Brandon who shifted from self-reliance to trusting Christ and Ben's return to discuss how his faith journey had evolved since their last meeting. Mike also describes the uplifting experience of holding the cross on Route 33, including interactions with John, Paul, and Dee, along with sharing the Gospel with a lively Muslim lady. The post concludes with gratitude for prayers and support.


Mike Barko

5/8/20235 min read

Greetings Beloved,


I had a blessed birthday with my family. Here we are at TUPLELO HONEY in Asheville. The fresh biscuits and honey were heavenly...


Right behind our cabin was a nice pond. My brother-in-law Tom and my nephews caught 10 - 15 fish for a nice meal. I caught two. (I will stick to spiritual fishing...lol!)

On the return trip home, my mom told me her favorite part of the trip was listening to Alistair Begg sermons. We listened to four or five. Check him out on You Tube on Truth for Life. (Christ, not man centered, preaching)


On my way home Tuesday, I got to share the Gospel at a gas station north of Roanoke, right off of I-81. I had pulled over because I thought my car was overheating. When I realized the gauge was in the proper place (I was mistaken), I then thought, 'Maybe I'm supposed to share the Gospel?'

A young African-American lady had just pulled in to the spot next to me. My plan was just to give her a track, so as not to spook her too much. However, she received the Gospel tract with such acceptance and joy that I decided to go back to the car and get a bracelet!

As humbly as I could, I asked if she had the time to listen to the message. She eagerly wanted to hear. I was amazed at how well she responded, and how easily our conversation flowed. Being with my family had put extra love and grace in my heart.

Like most people, Jasmine was initially trusting in her goodness. At the end, she eagerly responded with a 'right now!' after I asked her when she wanted to trust in Christ alone.

She then told me, 'He just came into my life.'

God had given me special grace in sharing with a complete stranger off the interstate, so I did not want to make her uncomfortable by asking for a picture. I did give her my email and she immediately sent me a request asking for the five follow up videos! Thank you Jesus!


On Wednesday I met Brandon. Brandon is a Marine from Quantico, Va who showed up to court because of a speeding ticket. He told me He had previously been 100% sure of Heaven when he 'was in it'.

Yes, he initially thought that he was good, and then said, 'I'll do more good', to escape the penalty of spiritual death. He added a few more 'I' answers to the equation.

As Alistair Begg likes to say, 'The only proper response is 'HE!', because 'HE!'..

At the end, after the Holy Spirit had shown Brandon that he had been trusting himself as Savior, he eagerly prayed to receive Christ and told me...

'He helped me realize that I need to be taken out of the picture. I just became an E4 leader in the military where everyone else becomes your responsibility. (Now I realize)...I'm not doing it because I have to, but because someone else did it for me (Christ). (My heart feels)...happy, wonderful, appreciative...100%...It is no longer me...I don't have to do it myself...Most of my life has been that.'



Ben came at the very end and sat down in one of my chairs. I had shared with him on March 9th. Here was his response and picture fromthat day...(Ben is on the right)

'He strengthened my trust. He helped me understand a bit more just by how you explained everything that He did by saving us. (My heart feels)...joyous with love...100%...I trust in Him.'

Ben was now here to explain to me how his life began to change on that day! He had watched all of the follow up videos (the first one brought tears to his eyes), and was very interested in learning more about Christ and growing in his faith!



Paul Collins met John at his church a few Sunday's ago. John came out and held the cross with us on Friday! He even preached some to the cars at the light! Quite a few people were smiling and nodding their heads in agreement.

Paul brought his Peavey Amplifier and we enjoyed the old hymns, the Gaithers, and Michael W. Smith. People were clapping and singing at the stoplight! It was loud!


Dee has been working construction on route 33 for the last several months. He sees us every week, and had previously come by with his wife with a large supply of Gospel tracts for us to distribute.

On Friday, he came out with a sign and stood with us!


Froggy showed up to help at the end. He is my friend from the gym who made me a new cross. It has wheels on it and even a stake to secure it into the ground so i can freely move around!


Froggy got to watch me share with a middle aged Muslim lady (not disclosing name) who was walking across the street. Boy, she was bubbly and full of life! Yes, when asked the diagnostic questions, she talked about how nice of a person she was.

Muslims have a great understanding of the law. This lady was very receptive as I shared each commandment and at the end understood that she had broken all of them. She told me at that point...

'This is really helping me...I'm understanding.'

What would remove the penalty, which she now understood to be spiritual death?
I explained the speeding ticket courtroom illustration...'I'm sorry, I won't do it again, I will change and do better'...'That won't remove the penalty!'

She was nodding her head up and down in agreement...'Yes, I'm understanding.'

Now, the moment of truth. I had shared with a Muslim downtown on Wednesday and I lost him at this point.

I pointed to the cross...'God did it for you!' I then shared John 1:1,14 and the trinity. She was nodding her head up and down in agreement...'Yes, He is God.'

When I gave the invitation, she told me...

'At first I was trusting myself. Now I'm trusting God. I had guilt but He took that away. I want to learn more about Christianity. Thank you!'

She then gave me her email so I could send the follow up messages. At the Russian Baptist Church last night, the Pastor's son Ben told me something...

'I saw you sharing with a Muslim lady as I drove by and immediately began praying for you.'

Thank you Jesus!

Thank you for your prayers and support!

Soli Deo Gloria!