Ocean City, Maryland Part 3

Ocean City, Maryland Part 3

In this blog post by Mike Barko, he recounts the final day of his impactful journey, emphasizing a meaningful encounter with a young man named Donovan. Through patient and thoughtful conversation, Mike shares the gospel, leading Donovan to a profound understanding of God's grace and love. Their conversation transforms Donovan's perspective, filling him with confidence and joy. The post also highlights the serendipitous moments and divine guidance that marked Mike's trip, including a chance meeting with fellow believers and a heartwarming dinner with a new friend, Rodolpho. It's a testament to the transformative power of faith and the unexpected blessings that come from sharing the message of Christ.


Mike Barko

7/8/20198 min read



A young man was leaning against the railing at the top of the ramp, about seven feet off to my right. Having just shared with several groups, the thought of sharing with just one was pleasing.

"Would you like a free bracelet?"

Donovan came over. Yes, he wanted a bracelet and yes he wanted to hear what the colors represented. Donovan was unsure of going to Heaven, saying he had a lot of changes to make.

As I began to share the law with him, Donovan sat down on the pavement to my right, leaning against the wall. At this point, I knew I could go really slowly with him and make sure he really understood.

I would make a point, and then allow Donovan to ponder what I said. As he would ponder, the Holy Spirit would speak truth to his heart. It was truly a glorious experience as I watched step by step, as the Holy Spirit, little by little, began to drive truth home to his heart.

After hearing the law, Donovan knew he deserved hell. We tarried in God's courtroom for quite some time, making sure that he really understood the truth. I even was able to help him get all the way down to 0% sure that he was going to Heaven.

Donovan knew that he was headed to hell...100% sure. Did that concern him? Yes. Was he concerned enough about this that he was 'willing to change?' Yes. (Changing does not save. I just wanted to test the condition of his heart at this point. In other words, does he really want this?)

There was an electric chair in God's courtroom and Donovan was sitting in it...heading to hell. He was very concerned. Again, I tarried hear for a while before I gave him grace.

At what appeared to be the right time, I held up a picture of Jesus, God the Son. I simply told him that his judge, God, removed him from the chair and sat in it in his place...

I paused...

We were quiet for some time. It was a holy moment. I wanted to stay out of it as much as possible, allowing the Holy Spirit to do the work. At some point he spoke up...

"God died for me. He took my place. He really loves me. You changed my whole perspective."

Donovan's entire countenance changed as he took all of this in...

He was glowing. "...the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ." (2 Cor. 4:6)

I explained the resurrection receipt and then asked how sure he was that he would go to Heaven. He told me 90% telling me that he needed to now accept Christ to close the deal.

I prayed for Donovan and then he wanted to pray what was on his heart to accept Christ as his Savior...


It was such a glorious experience that I decided to interview him at this point, to see what the Holy Spirit was telling him.

Mike: "What did He do for you?"

Donovan: "He connected with me."

Mike: "How does your heart feel?"

Donovan: "Wholesome and complete."

Mike: "What did your heart feel before?"

Donovan: "Unsure, doubtful, and guilty."

Mike: "What does your heart feel now?"

Donovan: "Certain, I believe, and forgiven."

Donovan: "Regardless of what I do, how imperfect I am, I'm still perfect in God's eyes. He will take the hit for me. I feel like I could conquer anything. This was the reason for most, if not all of my problems."

Mike: "Do you feel you need to go back to your bad habit?"

Donovan: "Now I know that I don't need to, but I am still a work in progress. I am still perfect. That is the one thing that held me back. (Performance and people's opinions) That is what keeps me from doing what I want to do, and from being who I am. Now I know the opinion of the only one who matters...God...I am perfect in His eyes."

Mike: "Where is the fear?"

Donovan: "Gone."

Mike: "Where is the anxiety?"

Donovan: "Gone."

Mike: "What is God saying to you right now?"

Donovan: "Like I'm on the right track."

Mike: "What is God telling your heart right now?"

Donovan: "I love you."

Mike: "How does that make your heart feel?"

Donovan: "It makes me feel perfect."

Mike: "So, His love for you makes you feel perfect."

Donovan: "Yes."

Donovan: "Everyone else's opinion of me is just human. It's like having the top chef in the world tell you that you are the best cook he has ever seen and I love that."

Mike: "What were you thinking before?"

Donovan: "I don't know where I am. I'm lost. I don't know what to do."

Mike: "What are you thinking now?"

Donovan: "I don't have to know what to do. He will tell me and let me know when the time is right. He's got my back. I'm still lost about certain things but I don't feel bad about it. He will make the decision for me at the proper time."

Mike: "Where are you now?"

Donovan: "I know where I stand and I know what I believe."

Mike: "Where do you stand?"

Donovan: "God is my Savior."

Mike: "What do you believe?"

Donovan: "I am believing in Him and what He did for me." (Person and work of Christ)

Donovan: "He died for me so I can be imperfect."

Mike: "How does that make your heart feel?"

Donovan: "It makes me feel accepted."

Mike: "How did your heart feel before?"

Donovan: "Like I was not in the right shoes...Like I was living someone else's life...Like something needed to change."

Mike: "What changed?"

Donovan: "My belief system and what I think. He just changed my perspective." (This is repentance...metanoia...change the mind)

Mike: "Anything else?"

Donovan: "Thank you God!"

I had probably spent around an hour with Donovan. Our encounters are usually just 10 - 15 minutes long. I felt like this young man was my son and I really loved him.

He told me he had to go to the bathroom, but assured me he would be back. Yes, he came back. We said our goodbyes. We must have hugged several times. Neither of us wanted to go.

Then, Donovan volunteered to help carry my stuff back to my car. Because I wanted to spend more time with my spiritual son, I agreed.

I decided to walk back to my car on the main street. I knew that if I went back on the boardwalk, it would be awhile for me to make it to my car, since I probably would stop and share the gospel.

This decision proved to be fortuitous...

As we were walking back on the main street, Bill and Donna, a couple from Erik's team from Baltimore, spotted us on the sidewalk. They pulled over in a parking lot to greet us.

I got to introduce Donovan to Bill and Donna. Our fellowship was sweet. Donovan was grinning ear to ear. Bill actually pulled his tablet out, placed it on the hood of his car, and we all proceeded to watch the four minute video at www.fallingplates.com

Bill commented later that evening that Donovan's eyes were riveted to the video the whole time. We fellow shipped some more, prayed together, and then I headed out to find my car.

5th street, 6th street, 7th street..."I know I parked around here...nothing looks familiar...where is my car?" I kept apologizing to Donovan, but he kept encouraging me that he was not in a hurry to get home.

Finally up around 9th street I told him that we needed to get our bearings. I knew that I had parked by the sand sculptures. I spotted two police officers and asked directions.

They assured us that the sand sculptures were around 2nd street. Somehow I had missed our turn and gone too far.

At that point, I realized that I should make the most of the situation and began passing out Erik's blue bracelets with the four minute video. I must have passed out 30 or 40 of them.

Most people were very happy to receive a free bracelet. In fact, I spotted a group of about 15-20 teens walking together. Most were very excited to get a free bracelet. One guy held his wrist out and exclaimed, "I've already got three!" (I should have told him to watch the video three times! lol)

Guess who I ran into on the way back to my car. Naryan, the parking attendant that I had shared with the day before! Do you think he knew the directions to my car? Thank you Jesus. Plus, his girlfriend was with him and I got to give her a bracelet as well.

Donovan and I finally made it back to my car. Because of my 'wrong turn', we had run into Bill and Donna and been able to watch the video together. After having watched the video, Donovan was able to watch me pass out all of the bracelets directing people to the video.

Donovan had received Christ, and then been discipled on how to witness for Christ. Donovan was so moved by the whole experience that he wanted his own bag of blue bracelets to pass out!


Donovan kept hugging me in the parking lot. I am usually the hugger, but I don't hug like I used to because of the times that we are living in. All of his hugs really blessed me.

Back at the house, Bill told me that he had passed me after 2nd street. It was at that point that I realized that if I had made the 'right turn', then they would not have seen me and none of the discipleship with Donovan would have happened.

Thank you Lord for directing our steps...even our wrong ones.

One more story and I'll close...

On the way home late Friday night, I stopped at a truck/rest stop on 81. In the bathroom, I stood next to a man who was at the sink washing his face.

After all the days of wonderful sharing, I thought about sharing with him, but I thought, "Sharing the gospel in the bathroom is not something I am comfortable with."

It was time for me to get out of my comfort zone...

Rodolpho accepted the five-colored bracelet and allowed me to share. He was already 100% sure of his eternal destination because of Christ alone.

We had a great time connecting in the Lord right there in the bathroom. He asked that I pray for him.

God anointed me to pray for my brother, and then we said our goodbyes...or so I thought...

Once outside the bathroom, I still needed to get something to eat. Instead of going left to the convenience store to get something, I decided to go right to the Subway...

Guess who was in line at the Subway? Rodolpho. Guess who invited me to have dinner with him? Rodolpho. Guess who bought my dinner? Rodolpho? Guess who bought me a foot long sub with chips and drink to boot? Rodolpho?


I am glad I got out of my comfort zone to share with my brother. I got a free meal out of it and I really enjoyed our time eating together.

God had really blessed my trip to Ocean City. I am so thankful for the opportunity and really look forward to going again.