The large Toyota service center waiting room was filled to capacity on Monday morning, November 12. I took one of the few available seats and pulled paper work from my canvass bag, hoping to “redeem the time” while repairs were made on our car.
A woman sitting in the far corner rattled on and on, oblivious to the fact that the slick finish on the hard surface walls was broadcasting her cell phone conversation to everyone else in the room.
On the large screen TV situated in the middle of the room, several “Monday morning quarterbacks” loudly analyzed the previous day’s big games.
With a sigh, I put away my pen, papers, and portable lap desk. The noisy distractions simply made it impossible for me to concentrate.
That’s when I noticed a brown-skinned young man with straight, black hair entering the room. He wore regular American-style clothing, but the woman with him wore a full, brightly colored, floor-length dress and a long scarf covering her head and shoulders. Based on their appearance, I guessed that they were from Southeast Asia (just the day before I had used maps to highlight seven countries in that part of the world during the “Missions Moment” in the children’s Sunday School class I teach).
Immediately I recalled the application assignment from my Friday morning women’s Bible study class. Based on Peter’s experience with Cornelius (Acts 10) we were challenged to pray for a divine opportunity to speak with someone who was seeking spiritual truth, especially someone who we perceived to be different from us.
Well, this man and woman definitely were different from me, but how could I approach them in this crowded room? When they turned aside and sat down at a table in the empty adjacent children’s play room, I quickly followed them, said hello, and asked if I could sit and chat with them.
The young man spoke good English, though his accent necessitated careful listening on my part. His mother, visiting for only a couple of months, did not understand our conversation, but a children’s TV program in that room kept her occupied for the next hour while I spoke with her son.
He was very respectful, courteous, and open to answer my questions and to share about himself and his family. He explained that he, his wife, and their two children emigrated to the U.S. legally about two years ago. Surrounded by several other “brothers” (families from their country), they live in an apartment complex near a college in west Georgia.
The young man drives an Uber car and works part time at a convenience store across the street from the college. He mentioned being amazed at how much money the young men from the college spend on alcohol and cigarettes. And he has been surprised at how many young American married couples split up.
His wife works in a nail salon. They arrange their work schedules so that they can care for their 6-year-old daughter who is severely handicapped due to complications from an early childhood disease.
Their 8-year-old son is enrolled in school and appears to be doing well. At school, the boy was learning about the big upcoming holiday in December, and he had already persuaded his dad to buy a Christmas tree for their small apartment. I felt sad that this Hindu family was learning about American Christmas traditions but not about the CHRIST of Christmas.
After explaining the Christian meaning of the holiday, I asked if I could send him a video about the life of JESUS. He agreed and gave me his mailing address!
I had in mind, of course, the special edition JESUS films we mentioned in our November newsletter. We had already ordered a box of 100 films, mainly to share with the ESL ministry at our church. This young man’s native tongue was not included on that version, but it was included, on the children’s version. At home I found one copy of that DVD left over from last year. I mailed it right away.
Please join us in praying that this family and other “brothers” in their apartment complex would view the film again and again; that God would arrange additional “divine appointments” for them to learn about God’s love and plan, and that by next Christmas they will know and worship Christ.