Dear God, Are you still here?
We were involved in The World Race. It is an 11-month Christian mission trip to 11 different countries around the world, and it’s not your typical missions experience. Country number four and we’re now in Kenya. We had just left the hospital heading back to our contact’s house. Five of us decided to stop at the grocery store to grab a Fanta before heading home. Four twenty-somethings approached us from the side.
His name was Charles. I would have missed him if he hadn’t been wearing a Cobi Jones jersey – my favorite U.S. soccer player growing up.
I think it was God’s sense of humor putting a Cobi Jones jersey on Charles that day. I was over doing ministry. We had just encountered a possessed lady at the hospital. I was tired and quite frankly a little selfish with my time at that point. I just wanted to grab a fanta and not be called mzungu for a few hours.
Charles asked what were we doing here and I began to tell him a little about The World Race. Within the first minute he told me that someday he would be a Christian and preach the Word but has never fully chosen to rely on Jesus.
I pressed the subject, “Today’s the day Charles. What are you waiting for?”
He began telling me all the angst that was in his heart, confessing that he doesn’t know why but feels like he is going to cry. He tells me all the holes he feels in his life. He asks me what I think.
I tell him about suffering and where God is in it. The Holy Spirit brought to mind analogies I’ve never used before. By the end of our ten-minute walk, Charles and his friend Leon stopped me.
Charles told me that something told him to stop and talk to me when he first saw me, but he didn’t have a desire to. He said that when we started the conversation, he was completely drunk. By the end, he was completely sober. I laughed – not because I didn’t believe him – but because the Lord really wanted Charles to hear what he needed to hear. He told me that I had changed his life.
I stopped him there. I told him the Lord has pursued him fiercely, and that feeling he was feeling right then, was the Holy Spirit beginning to fill those holes in his life.
I could have missed the point of walking to the grocery store without the rest of the group that day. If you think about it, we do that all the time. I mean maybe going to the grocery store has little to do with grabbing a soda and everything to do with who or what God puts in front of you. There are always people we miss. Let’s not miss out on our days going places, let’s go places with the intent of sharing Jesus. Going to work no longer becomes going to work. Going to work becomes dying to your agenda and listening to what the Lord wants to do with you. I think that you will find that your days become much more memorable.
Ministry would mean nothing to me if I can’t give details of how it affects me. So I tell stories. True ones. Stories of hope and redemption. And I hope this blog post is an encouragement to those that read it.
Nathan Salley, 26, Denver, Colorado