I walked towards my gate 10 minutes before boarding time. Most of the waiting area was full as I searched for a vacant seat. Eventually I spotted one on a corner and sat down, letting out a sigh of release. In less than 2 hours I would be back in Norcal, getting ready to go to bed.
I glanced over at the middle-aged woman sitting in front of me. She was reading what was unmistakably the Bible. Should I try to preach to her? Do I have the courage to talk to her? I was scared to try, but my mind was telling me that this was an opportunity, and that when it comes to preaching, we need to go beyond our comfort zone. I also had a TJC pocket calendar on me for this very purpose.
Still, I wavered. How should I start? What about the other people sitting close by? Boarding time was approaching, and the woman closed her Bible, put it in her bag, and took out her boarding pass. Time is running out…maybe I should just forget about this time. But then I remembered the mantra my RE students came up with in a J1 class on Witnessing One to One: TJC; just preach it!
All right..here goes nothing.
“Excuse me, are you a Christian?”
“Yes! Yes, I am.”
“Oh, okay…um, what are you reading?”
“The Bible! Haha.”
“Oh, I know, but what book?”
I nodded. Hmmm….what do I say next??? This is really awk-
“Are you as well? Christian?”
“Oh! Yeah, I am.”
The small talk continued for a minute or two longer, covering when she was baptized/saved, and when my faith became my own. Then silence. Again. At that moment I decided to not worry about trying to make the conversation natural and just bring up something that could tie into introducing the church.
“Do you know about the Holy Spirit?”
“One of the things that’s unique about my church is that, you know how in Acts 2 when the disciples received the Holy Spirit, they could pray in tongues?”
“Oh, yeah! I do it too. I received it when I was baptized.”
“Oh! Wow, cool; yeah our members, when they receive the Holy Spirit, they pray in tongues like the disciples did….so…are you part of a Pentecostal church?”
“Well, yeah, but I’m actually trying to leave. I don’t really care about religion; I’m searching for the truth. I’m looking for a non-denominational church.”
No way! This is perfect! I was so amazed and knew that this was surely the guidance of God. Here was a Christian searching for the truth, and here I was in a position to introduce her to it!
There was no more need to be subtle; I began to tell her about True Jesus Church, an independent denomination with places of worship around the world. I asked her where she was heading to, and thank God, I eagerly told her we had a branch there, albeit a smaller one. I gave her the pocket calendar and pointed out the website.
Boarding announcements were being made during our conversation. We got up and walked together towards the line, and I continued to tell her more about our church.
“We really try to preach and follow the truth completely from the Bible. One of the things that makes us different from many churches is we observe Sabbath on Saturday.”
“That’s funny, I was just thinking/debating about that.”
Again, I was amazed at how perfect this situation was. Yesterday’s morning sermon was about the Sabbath so it was very fresh in my mind.
We exchanged business cards and I told her to feel free to ask any questions about my church. I encouraged her again to look up True Jesus Church when she got back to her destination, and find the one in her area. When we boarded the plane and arrived at her seat, we parted our ways (she was sitting in the front, and my seat was in the way back).
When I sat in my seat, I could only marvel at what had just happened. Surely this was the guidance of God, the beginning of a sheep’s journey to the fold. I felt joy. Joy in knowing that I had done the right thing. Joy in fulfilling God’s commission to us.
We never know who might be diligently searching for the truth. Though we may feel that these people are rare, they are out there, and God is wanting to lead them back to His fold. So when the Lord brings one of these people before us, may we muster up the courage to shine the light and show them the way.