by Bryan CribbBlind Student Leads Others to Spiritual Sight
I don't have time." "I'm too busy." "I'm scared of rejection." "I don't know what to say." The excuses not to evangelize are abundant. But "excuse" is not in Roger Brannon's vocabulary. And of all people, the 42-year-old Southern Baptist Theological Seminary student might have reason to remain uninvolved. Congenital glaucoma left Brannon blind at age 25. But he doesn't allow his visual impairment to keep him from his passion-sharing the gospel with the spiritually blind.
"I myself am physically blind. But worse than that, there are people who are spiritually blind and who don't know the gospel, don't know Jesus Christ," said Brannon, a Tallahassee, Fla., native.
Each week, Brannon puts this passion into practice. "Roger consistently is involved in our weekly outreaches," said Mark Swan, a student leader of Southern Evangelistic Teams (SET) at the seminry in Louisville, Kentucky. "Roger just has a real zeal to share the gospel. And the testimony of losing his eyesight through the glaucoma and just God's faithfulness of being there with him through that is a great narrative to share with people."
While witnessing door-to-door earlier this year, Brannon and his SET team partner encountered three people sitting on their front porch. Using the FAITH evangelism presentation, Brannon asked the individuals what they believed to be "the way to heaven." After sharing how the Bible answered that question, he asked them if they would like to receive Jesus as Savior.
"God brought three people into His kingdom that day through what I would consider to be an inadequate ... vessel," Brannon said. "I was just overjoyed." That same day, a second team led a fourth person to Christ. "Heaven is rejoicing fourfold," a beaming Brannon said.
Indeed, Brannon's joyous smiles and enthusiasm serve to inspire the other team members as well. "Roger always has a smile," said Swan. "He's always in a great mood. Roger is just a real encouragement for everybody on the team."
Swan remembers mornings when he hasn't felt well and wanted to stay in bed rather than go out with the SET teams. "But I might roll over and think about Roger," Swan said. "... [And I think], ‘Hey, Roger's going to be there. Should I allow this to keep me from going out and sharing the gospel?'"
"What we're trying to do is fulfill the Great Commission," said SET director Randy Hommel. "Being in agreement with Matthew 28:19-20 does not equal compliance....Roger epitomizes this in that regard...by going. He's making himself available. I think that's the biggest sin that most people do-we don't make ourselves available."
A recent event demonstrates Brannon's willingness to go. Swan had met an elderly man during a SET outreach who was losing his sight because of diabetes. "This man was very, very upset," Swan said. "He was very bitter towards God."
Brannon volunteered to write the man a letter, in which he shared his testimony, and told how God's grace had proved sufficient. Later, Brannon and Swan visited the man-only to have the door in their faces. Despite this rejection, Brannon and Swan believe God is working on the man's heart. "We're still praying for him," Swan said.
The event also illustrates Brannon's special calling-to reach the visually impaired. "If I find out that there is somebody who is visually impaired who doesn't know Jesus Christ, I want to be able to reach that person especially," Brannon said. "... My calling is now to seek to pioneer the concept of missions to the blind."
He also hopes his ministry will encourage other Christians to not allow anything to keep them from the Great Commission task. "I would like people to say, ‘If God can use somebody who's blind to be a witness, who am I to say he can't use me?'"