Michael Waters: Leading an 86-Y-O North Carolina Man to God

In the spring of 2016, I learned that Harvey “Pete” Overcash was in a nursing home for rehabilitation due to an accident with a garden tiller. He did not attend our church, but his wife Norma was a faithful member for more than 40 years and had recently become homebound with declining health.

Norma was a children’s Sunday School teacher while Pete showed no desire to attend church with her, but she faithfully prayed for him.

When I walked in his room, Pete smiled and told me he was happy to see me, even though we did not know each other very well. After he recounted his accident and next steps to getting well, he began to ask questions that seemed out of character for him. I sensed God was stirring and he was under conviction.

It was a Wednesday afternoon, and I needed to return to church to lead the Wednesday night prayer service. I asked Pete if I could come back the next day to answer his questions. He nodded without hesitation and said that would be fine.

I called the former pastor, Darrell Coble, who was Norma’s pastor for 35 years, and asked if he would go with me the next day since he planted the seed of the Gospel in conversations with Pete many years earlier.

I also shared with the folks at our Wednesday evening service that Pastor Coble and I were going back the next day to talk with Pete. I said, “If you have ever prayed, please join me tonight in asking God to save this man.”

The next day I pushed Pastor Coble in a wheelchair into the nursing home, since he was recovering from recent surgery. Pastor Coble asked Pete, “Do you remember when I shared the Gospel with you about 30 years ago?” Pete said he remembered but wanted nothing to do with it at the time. This time, he was ready to listen.

Pete willingly prayed to accept Christ. I could hardly believe it. Later, as we left the room Pete thanked us for the visit and asked us to come back anytime.

The follow-up visits with Pete changed my life. His countenance changed completely. He read all of the four Gospels in a matter of weeks and asked many questions about what he was reading. Pete was 86 years old when he accepted Christ and could not get enough of reading God’s Word.

Several weeks later, Pete said that before my initial visit, he knew someone was coming to see him. God had been dealing with him. He knew he needed to get right with God but needed someone to tell him. That was the day that I walked into Pete’s room. He knew God sent me to talk about his salvation.