More Encouraging Stories...

More Encouraging Stories...

Join Mike Barko on his upcoming journey to Ocean City, Maryland, where he aims to share the gospel with unwavering dedication. Mike humbly requests prayers for divine guidance, wisdom, protection, and the anointing to touch lives. In this heartfelt blog post, he recounts powerful stories of encountering souls along his journey. Last week was a mix of encouragement and privilege as Mike engaged with diverse individuals. From Montavius, who learned the depth of Christ's grace, to Kayla, who discovered salvation beyond personal efforts, each encounter echoes the gospel's profound impact. Young hearts, like Jordan, Jayden, and Alex, grasp salvation's simplicity, and Mike continues to remind all that salvation rests solely on faith in Christ. Amid these narratives of transformation, Mike emphasizes the enduring power of gospel sharing and the incredible transformations it brings.


Mike Barko

6/20/202010 min read

Lord willing, I will be heading to Ocean City, Maryland next week, Monday - Friday, to preach the gospel. PLEASE PRAY FOR ME: God's love, anointing, wisdom and protection. Please pray for other evangelists I will be joining as well. THANK YOU DEAR SAINTS!

Yes, last week was another great week of sharing the gospel. Yes, when people respond favorably it is certainly a great encouragement, but whether favorably or unfavorably, what a joy and a great privilege to share His wonderful words of life!

Perhaps you remember Lecritia. She was an African American woman with whom I shared a few weeks ago. She was holding a sign on the side of the road asking for assistance.


Well, this past Wednesday, I got to share with her 'old man', as Montavius so described himself. His smile was such that I thought he already knew the Lord. His answer of '100% sure' because 'I believe in the Lord' was almost confirmation that he did.

I say 'almost' because I had not asked him yet to clarify what he meant by 'believing in the Lord'. His answer?

'I believe He is all powerful, good, the creator, and He loves me.'

"Good Montavius, what is the one thing you need to 'believe about the Lord' to get into Heaven?"


So I shared. Montavius acknowledged his sin. The red flag came when I asked him if he deserved Heaven or Hell.


You would be shocked how many professing Christians really don't understand the simple gospel. Criminals (sinners) don't deserve mercy. We deserve punishment. (Romans 6:23)

Yes, God offers us mercy, but mercy 'deserved' is mercy forfeited. There is no such thing as mercy 'deserved'.

In Christ, we don't get what we deserve (punishment, Hell), and we get what we don't deserve (Heaven). To understand this is to understand the essence of the gospel.

"But God, who is rich in mercy, for His great love wherewith He loved us, even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)" (Eph 2:4,5)

After acknowledging the truth of the gospel, Montavius wanted to put all of his trust in Him and be saved.



This first story led into the second. Montavius left the median, and was replaced by his 'ole woman' Lecritia. Shortly thereafter, a college student came with a few bags of groceries for Lecritia.

I texted Montavius to let him know, so he returned to help Lecritia carry the groceries off the median. About that time I had the thought, "I am leaving in a few minutes, I can drive Montavius and Lecritia to their home so they don't have to carry the groceries."

Well, I walked over to the Shell gas station and never located them. However, I ran into Kayla, who is the subject of my next story...


Kayla actually had just purchased a bottle of water for yours truly, and was planning on coming to the median to bless me with it. I received it there right by the gas pumps.

We spoke some and I offered her a bracelet. It was a great joy to share with this precious lady. She was 70% sure of Heaven because 'she had made some changes, was praying, attending church and heading in the right direction.'

Many we speak with are trusting in their 'change' instead of trusting in Christ. Many have turned from sin but haven't yet trusted Him. They have 'repented for their sins' but not yet 'repented for their unbelief'. They need to repent for their 'dead works', that is, the works they are trusting in to get to Heaven. (Hebrews 6:1...'repentance from dead works')

Thankfully, Kayla understood her sin and what she deserved. She was hoping that by 'asking forgiveness and doing better', she would be justified with God. The dessert illustration opened her eyes.

If I bought her favorite dessert (tiramisu), and gave it to her as a gift (receipt says 'paid-in-full'), would she try to pay for it again? If she did, what would she be saying about my initial payment? (not enough, didn't trust it)

Kayla got the point, and understood that her justification with God was not based upon her 'asking forgiveness and doing better'. It was based upon the finished work of Christ. His blood paid and the resurrection receipt said, 'Paid-in-full'

Kayla told me that she was ready to place all of her faith in Christ as her Savior and prayed accordingly. Her response blessed me...

"HE SAVED ME. (I AM NOW) 1000%!" (Kayla actually told me that she had been baptized several months ago at a local church. I explained that baptism was an outward sign ordained by God, but that we must not trust in that to get to Heaven. We must trust in Christ alone.)



Kayla actually had three children in her vehicle and was very agreeable (even excited) for me to share with them.

Jordan, Jayden, and little Alex were waiting in the car. None were sure of going to Heaven, but seemed eager to want to know how they could go.

They actually told me about sin...cussing, yelling at mom, and telling lies. They understood the concept of punishment, mom having grounded them before.

What would get them out of mom's punishment? 'Please forgive me! I will do better! I will prove myself!'

We all laughed as they understood that would not work with mom, or get them out of God's punishment of hell.

Amazingly, the two older ones understood that the 'I' in their answers indicated that they weretrusting in themselvesas savior, instead of God. The younger one, Alex, seemed to be in a world all of his own.

The boys already understood that Jesus was the Son of God, but they needed some clarification about him being God...God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit. After a few go-a-rounds, it seemed like they understood.

The boys acknowledged that Christ had already taken their punishment, and that it was 'paid-in-full' because He rose again. They understood that by placing all of their trust in Him they would be 100% sure. They understood that initially they had been trusting in themselves, and that would eventually mean going to Hell.

The boys wanted to trust in Him 'today' as Savior. We prayed.

Jordan and Jayden said...


They told me they had eternal life and had trusted God...'TODAY'.

We closed with a prayer of thanks. I asked each of them to pray what was on their heart...

Jordan...'WE TRUST GOD'


Little Alex, whom I thought was in his own little world...'THANK YOU FOR SAVING ME.'


Wednesday turned out to be a good day for sharing the gospel. That evening, I got to share again.


You remember last week how my ministry truck was towed to the mechanic? Well, I went their Wednesday evening to pick up my truck, and got to share the gospel, not once, but twice.

I first shared with a 13 year old boy named Jacob. He told me that his grandma and grandpa owned the shop and he helped them there. I usually don't share with minors without their parents permission, but I had already met Mike and Tammy (grandparents), and I had a peace in my heart.

Little Jordan was 98% sure of Heaven because he was a 'good person'. He acknowledged that he was 'good' in the eyes of man, but was he 'good enough' in the eyes of God?

He wanted to find out, so we took the 'good person' test. We went through three or four of the commandments and he understood that he was 'not good' in the eyes of God.

'No one is good except for God alone'. (Mark 18:10)

I shared the punishment for our sins (hell), and then the person and work of Christ with Jacob. He initially, like many, did not know that Jesus is God in the flesh.

We got to the end and Mike came over. Again, there was an openness there that was special. I explained that I had just shared the gospel with Jacob, and Mike seemed agreeable.

Jacob wanted to transfer his trust from himself to Christ. I asked if he was ready. He actually turned to grandpa (Mike) twice looking for advice.

Mike blessed me with his response, 'This is your decision son.'

Jacob prayed with me and said...


Then, at the end, when he prayed on this own, he said...


I gave little Jacob some follow up materials from the van and even a matchbox car that my nephews had donated to the ministry.


Everyone had left the shop by this time, so I then spent 15 or 20 minutes talking with Mike and Tammy, getting to know them some. I really sensed that I had earned their favor by sharing with their grandson and I was very thankful for this.

Not wanting to 'mess this up', I wasn't planning on sharing with them. However, at the end. something was said, and I just threw it out there...

'Would you guys want a bracelet too?"

Tammy made a bee-line over to me, obviously very interested. Mike was a little more hesitant, but he followed suit.

Both gave standard answers about 'trying to be good'. Both understood at the end that they were trusting themselves and not Christ. Both wanted to trust in Christ alone. We prayed...


We offered a prayer of thanks at the end...




Probably the neatest part of this story happened the next day. My friend Dwight Miller called me. You remember from last week, he was the one who had the van towed to Mike and Tammy's shop.

Well, Mike called Dwight the morning after I shared the gospel with him. Dwight told me that Mike was extremely moved by the whole experience, and he really loved how I shared with his grandson Jacob. Dwight said that this was something he would not expect Mike to normally say.



The very next day, as I was exiting my van, a car pulled up next to me. It was a little bit awkward getting out, and I don't remember who exited their vehicle first, but I thought...

'Sure, give it a shot, here's someone the Lord may have dropped right into your lap.'

Surprisingly this young man, Chris, accepted a bracelet and agreed to hear the message. Chris told me that he was 100% sure of going to Heaven because...

'He sent me here and He wants me back. I walk with Him.'

Wanting to clarify, to make sure he was trusting Christ alone, I said...

"Okay. That's good, but 'Why would He let you in?'...'Does everyone get in?"

Chris was speechless.

"...Friend, how camest thou in hither not having a wedding garment on? And he was speechless." (Matthew 22:12)

Chris really needed to know why, because, look at the result of not knowing...

"Then said said the king to the servants, Bind him hand and foot, and take him away, and cast him into outer darkness; there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth." (Matthew 22:13)

Thankfully, Chris heard the gospel, and understood why God would let him in. Chris told me he was ready to trust in Christ alone and prayed accordingly.

I was moved by the number of times Chris thanked me.


Later that evening, as I was driving through the post office parking lot, I noticed a young man walking. and I thought again...

'Sure, give it a shot. It worked well earlier.'

I quickly stopped the van, put the brakes on, slipped it in park, and slid open the van door...

Yes, he took a bracelet and wanted to hear the message. Even though he told me that he had already accepted Christ, Sebastian was only 90% of going to Heaven.


He was adding his works to Christ's work as the ground of his justification. He added, 'I also try to do my best.' We do our best not as a condition for our justification, but as a result.

Sebastian understood this as I shared the gospel with him. He wanted to repent of his dead works and trust in Christ alone...


Then he prayed at the end...



While holding the cross the next day, a young man approached me with a handful of change. I accepted with thanks and then Jeffrey opened up...

'About 5 months ago I stopped drinking. The Lord took my taste buds away for 2 weeks, and then gave them back to me. He removed all my desire for alcohol.'

Evidently, I had given him a bracelet downtown right before that. So, I decided to review with him...

Jeffrey was 70% sure of going to Heaven because he 'helped people'. I also think he was trusting some in the fact that he had 'changed'.

As I have said before, we don't trust in our change, we trust in Christ alone. When we do, He produces the change. Just like 'doing our best', 'change' is a result of our justification, not a cause of it.

I shared the gospel contrasting 'our righteousness' with 'Christ's righteousness.' Jeffrey understood and wanted to trust in Christ alone...


Then, he offered up a prayer...