The Wrong Direction...

The Wrong Direction...

Mike Barko's update recounts impactful Gospel-sharing experiences since the last newsletter. Downtown and Route 33 yielded 50 professions of faith. Gratitude to Paul Collins and Karen Brooks for their support. The Augusta County Fair's significance is noted, with details pending. Highlighting August 6th's cross event: BLESSED CONFIRMATION: Encounter with a transformed young man who now attends church validates the message's impact. KEVIN - THE WRONG WAY!: A Spanish-speaking man's wrong turn triggers an intervention, steering him towards salvation amidst language barriers. These stories exemplify divine guidance leading souls from a wayward path to redemption. Soli Deo Gloria!


Mike Barko

8/10/202110 min read

This newsletter should take about 10 minutes to read. Enjoy.

Since our last newsletter, we have been sharing the Gospel downtown in front of the courthouse and also holding the cross on route 33. We have seen 50 souls profess saving faith in Christ alone. Much thanks to Paul Collins and Karen Brooks for your continued help.

The biggest event in the last two weeks was the Augusta County Fair in Fishersville, Va. I am still waiting for the full report from my volunteers. Lord wiling, that will be the subject of our next newsletter.

The newsletter will focus on just two stories from holding the cross last Friday, August 6th.


As you know, we share the Gospel with many and many of those respond by professing faith in Christ alone. This is a very beautiful thing. I often wonder what is now happening with these people. Did they truly understand the message? What a joy it is when God sends confirmation.

As I was holding the cross on Friday, I noticed a young man about to cross the street. I thought he looked familiar and was pretty sure that I had previously shared with him.

As he approached me on the median, I greeted him. I told him that he looked familiar and asked if I had already shared with him. He told me, 'Yes, about a month ago, right here on the median.'

"How have you been doing?"

'Very well. I am going to church now.'

"Wonderful. Do you remember the million dollar question?"


"0-100, how sure are you that you would go to Heaven?"

'100%...because my life has changed.'

"That is beautiful. What is the one reason you get into Heaven?"

'I accepted God as my Savior.'

"Wonderful. When did you accept God as your Savior?"

'Right here, last month.'

We have a bible study on Friday night after I hold the cross. I asked him if he would like to come.

'I will be going to our church tonight for Friday night service.'

Wow. Kevin's not just going on Sunday, but on Friday's too!



We hold the cross at a very busy, four way intersection on route 33 near interstate 81, here in Harrisonburg, Virginia. Three lanes of traffic head both west and east (towards and away from the interstate), while 2-3 lanes head north and south. I stand on the center median facing west toward the interstate.

When the light changes, three lanes of cars come towards me from the other side of the intersection. There are usually also three lanes of cars parked next to me on this side of the intersection, also waiting for the light to change.

In other words, there are cars to my leftacross the intersection facing me, and cars to my rightat the intersection just next to me.

What happens when a vehicle pulls up to the intersectionon my left, right beside me?


I have witnessed two accidents in the eleven years since I first started holding the cross. Thank you God and please continue to protect everyone. I have never witnessed someone going the wrong way.

Fortunately, the three lanes of cars facing him and me on the other side of the intersection were still waiting at the light. The light had not yet changed.

He was in a white work van and was Spanish. He appeared to have no apprehension of his impending danger. At first I thought that he could pull up to the intersection and turn, but that would have created more problems. Then it came to me. He just needed to back up some and then pull over into the gas station on his left.

I began to motion to him with my hands that the other cars were coming at him and that he needed to back up. Then, I motioned for him to pull off the road to his left into the gas station. He responded by backing up, albeit entirely too slowly. I still don't know that he really understood the predicament he was facing.

He backed up a little, and then the light changed. Now, three lanes of cars were coming directly at him....

And he was still in the center lane.

If the row of cars coming at him to his left began to drive past him (inner lane next to the gas station), he would be trapped in the middle lane by that row of cars and would not be able to turn into the gas station.

I turned away from him and began to motion vigorously with both my hands to the impending rows of cars. Most of the people saw what was happening and immediately slowed down. Some didn't see it right away, but saw the problem as they came closer. Fortunately, everyone waited long enough for him to turn from the middle lane into the gas station.

Some of the people in the cars were really smiling at me and a few were giving me thumbs up.

Amen. Thank you Jesus. Problem solved.

Now I needed to get ready for the real blessing.

I turned back to waving and smiling at the cars and forgot about the whole thing. A little while later the Spanish man in the van showed up on the median with a gift...

A ten dollar bill.

He wanted to show his regards to the one who had rescued him from his earthly destruction.

He was about to meet the One who would redeem him from his eternal destruction.

Of course, I was very thankful for the money but immediately knew what I needed to do. I offered him one of our Gospel bracelets and he accepted. His name was Jose.

How sure was Jose that he would go to Heaven?

He told me that he didn't know.

Why would God let him into Heaven?

'Because I want to be there.'

I encouraged him that God also wanted him to be there, but whatrightdid he have to be there? In other words,onwhat basiswould God let him into Heaven?

Jose had no idea.

At this point, it was becoming too noisy on the median. Cars and trucks were continuing to honk in affirmation of the cross. When the light changed, a motorcyclist revved his engine as he blasted off. I suggested we go over to where his van was parked at the gas station, and continue our conversation there. He agreed.

I asked Jose if he was a good person. He indicated that he was, on some days at least. I said to him,

"Let's find outhow good you really are."

So, we went through the good person test...five of the ten commandments. Liar, thief, adulterer (lust), murderer (hate, gossip), blasphemer.

Jose's English was adequate, but not the best. I went very slowly over each commandment, making sure that he understood that he had broken that one, before we proceeded to the next one.

Jose was able to see that he had broken all five of the commandments, just like everyone else. I then shared Luke 18:19,

'No one is good, except God alone.'

I told him, "I'm not good. You're not good. Those people over there are not good. That guy is not good. No one is good, just God."

Jose got the point.

What was the punishment/penalty for our sin? I had to use hand motions like slapping my hand indicating 'penalty/punishment'.

He didn't know. I pointed down and said, "Hell".

"That is what we deserve because we have broken God's laws. We are not good. He is. Because He is good, because He is just, He must punish for our sin. That punishment is Hell. Do you understand?"

He nodded his head in agreement. I knew at this point that I needed to keep it very simple because of the language barrier. This proved fortuitous.

"How do you get out of the punishment? Can you get out of the punishment?"

Usually at this point, people come back withall of the these they are going to doto get out the punishment. These are the things they aretrusting inand must be addressed. Thankfully, Jose mentioned none of these things so I could keep it simple and move on.

To keep it even more simple, I left out my explanation of trusting self here and went directly to Christ.

"What did God do for you so He could save you?"

Jose actually said, 'Many things.' I then realized what he meant by this: this recent 'stoplight escapade' was just one of many times the Lord has rescued Jose.

I continued...

"Yes, he saved you frommany things here on this earth, but what did He do so He couldsave you from Hell?"

Surprisingly, Jose gave me no answer.

I then turned, and pointed over to where the cross was laying on it's side on the median.

"Right there,thatis what He did for you! Andwhodid that for you Jose?"

Surprisingly, Jose answered, 'God'.

Beautiful, Jose knows that Jesus is God...theperson of Christ. Now for thework of Christ. I continued...

"Yes, God the Father...God the Son...God the Holy Spirit."

Here's what God did for you...

"Jose God hates sin. God placed all your sin on Him. All of the wrath, all of the punishment that should have fallen upon you, fell upon Him at the cross. He took your Hell at the cross. He drank your Hell at the cross. He paid for your sins, past, present, and future, He paid everything that you owed at the cross."

At this point Jose's eyes began to get really big. Then, slowly, tears began to form and flow down his cheeks.

I waited a little and then he asked me to review the colors on the bracelet for him.


"Dark...Pecado...Sin...None of us are good. We have all sinned. We deserve Hell. That is the punishment for our sin."

"Red...Sangre de Jesus (Blood of Jesus)...All of the Holy wrath, anger, that should have fallen on you fell on Him at the cross. He drank your Hell and left nothing for you. It is finished."

"White. What happened three days after He died?"


"Yes, the resurrection is a receipt! (Recibo) You ever get a speeding ticket? (Yes) If I pay the ticket for you, they can give you a receipt, saying...PAID IN FULL!. God's resurrection receipt says...PAID IN FULL! God paid everything for Jose, past, present, future sins...pecados. Everything you did wrong was placed upon Him. He was crushed for you! He drank your Hell and left no Hell for you! It is done! It is finished!"

More tears began forming in Jose's eyes. It looked like the message was penetrating his heart.

For simplicity's sake, I left out the dessert story. I tried asking him who He was trusting when we started (his good, himself), but he got confused.

Then, I figured that he might have believed in his heartas I was sharing with him.

So, I just said...

"So, how sure are younowthat you would go to Heaven?"

'I'm 100%!'


'God paid everything for me on the cross. He took everything!'

"Wonderful, Amen!"

Then I explained the green bead. Again, I made it really simple...

"Green is grow...(crecimiento),, bible...(biblia), prayer...(oracion), love...(amor), and witness. Remember, those things don't save you. God is the only one who saves. Trust in Him alone to save you and then do those things. Many people in the church are trustingthose thingsto save them andnot God."

Jose replied...

'That is what I was doing.'

Wow. This spoke volumes. Jose had been trusting in himself, in his own righteousness. This is why he was unsaved.

'Nothing damns a man but his own righteousness, nothing saves a man but the righteousness of Christ.' (Charles Spurgeon)

This day, Jose had heard the Gospel and had believed. Jose saw his sin, that he wasn't good, and he couldn't save himself. Then, seeing the finished work of Christ, he had transferred his trust from his own righteousness and has trusted the perfect righteousness of Christ.

"And when He is come (Holy Spirit), He will reprove the world ofsin, and of righteousness, and of judgment:

"Ofsin, because theybelieve not on me;" (John 16:8,9) (italics mine)

Notice here, the Holy Spirit is pointing out to nonbelievers theirsin. It is not theirindividualsins, it is theirsin...thebig sin...the sin of unbelief...the sin of believing in self, self-righteousness and not Christ's righteousness.

The purpose of using the law, the ten commandments is not primarily to point outtheirsins, but to revealtheirsin...their sin of thinking that they are 'good'...their sin of thinking they can save themselves by their own righteousness instead of Christ.

"...not laying again the foundation ofrepentance from dead works..." (Hebrews 6:1 part, italics mine)

Notice here again, the nonbeliever repents, or turns from hisown dead works(his own goodness or righteousness which he thinks will save him) to Christ's finished work. Amen.

And one more...

"How much more shall the blood of Christ...purge yourconscience from dead works..." (Hebrews 9:14 part)

Many nonbelievers feel guilty in their conscience when they sin. What do they do with that guilt? Who do they turn to?

Most turn to their own dead works...their own goodness. These are the things they do to try to save themselves. These are the things they are trusting in, instead of Christ.

This was Jose's problem. He was trusting in his own dead works (his own, prayer, bible, love, witness) instead of Christ's finished work.

Thankfully the Holy Spirit showed him his sin...his sin of unbelief...his sin of trusting in himself and his own goodness.

Then the Holy Spirit showed him the finished work of Christ. God had taken the full punishment for Jose's transgressions and had paid for them in full. God had drunk Jose's Hell at the cross and not left one drop of wrath for Jose.

Judgment for the believer took place at the cross. Judgment for the nonbeliever is in Hell.

Jose had in Christ and not in Jose. The blood of Christ had purged his conscience from dead works. Amen.

We closed with John 6:47,

"He who believes has eternal life."

"Whatdo you have, Jose?"

'Eternal life.'

"Andwhendo you have it?"

'Right now and forever.'


'Because I believe God.'

"Andhowsure are you?"


"He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him." (John 3:36)


It was now time for me to leave for the day. Jose was nice enough to help me carry all my stuff back to my ministry van. I was able to give him several Spanish tracts and other follow up materials.

I didn't know if I had a Spanish bible in the van. I did have a big box of small Gideons' bibles. When I reached up for the box, one immediately fell out...

It was a Spanish one. Interestingly enough, I looked quite a bit in the box for another Spanish one and could not find one.

Jose was from Winchester and was heading back home. I prayed for him and he told me again...

'I'm 100%. I believe God!'

Jose had driven south to Roanoke for work and this was part of his return trip home to Winchester. He had to come through Harrisonburg to drop off another worker before heading home to Winchester.

Because he had never been to our city, he was unfamiliar with the roads. As a result he ended up on a street...

Heading in the wrong direction...

Both physically and spiritually...

And somehow was placed right next to a man with a cross and a message...

Who was used by God to turn him around...

both physically and spiritually...

and send him home...