Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Modern Day Jonah, Part 1

What a ride! thats what I would normally say all excited like after a twisting and turning roller coster at Carrowinds or Six Flags.  However, this time "What a ride" followed by a huge sigh of relief/exhaustion, and a "never felt so good to be over with" mind set. I have to confess, I think writing this blog is opening my eyes to why some of this had to take place. I know from now on, I will try to listen to the Holy Spirt and not my selfishness telling me to retreat.

It all started back in Loki a few days before our trip to Nairobi, when Holly and I went to church.  There we met a new "friend" a long talker from somewhere in Europe. He preached that day's sermon.  I twisted and cringed on every word as he was giving the worst gospel presentation of all time.  For example, I wrote it down because I couldn't believe it, "If you want to go to heaven, its simple there is one way, love your neighbor.... oh and your enemies love your enemies and your neighbors, that is what Jesus said was the way to heaven". I actually prayed, "Dear God please help the translator fix this guys mess." Maybe I should have prayed for the Holy Spirit to fix the guy.  Anyway after the sermon we found ourselves cornered looking for anyone we could find as an excuse to avoid talking for the next 2 hours.  Like good missionaries we dug deep inside for some excuse not to join him for lunch and  left, thinking we were finished...

Our very large plane

It never crossed my mind to go find him and ask him what he meant by some of the points he made? I ignored all prodding the Holy Spirit was doing to go and ask this guy his testimony. Well God had other plans... We left a few days later to go to Nairobi.  Holly and I spotted him at the airport and did everything we could to avoid sitting beside him.  God has a great sense of humor by the way.  It was a sixteen passenger plane, one seat on each side until the back where it is three across.  Yep, thats where we were, at the very back of the plane, I was in the middle with long and not to mention close talker with bad breath right beside me. For half the trip I heard in a very loud voice how horrible everything about Africa was, its food, its culture, its weather, what ever else, I pretended to be asleep after that but he just kept tapping me to wake me up....

*What I probably looked like for 3/4 of the trip

Finally in a Jonah like moment I shouted the words in my head "OK God, you win, I'll do it, please just make it stop" so I turned to him, and said, "Tell me how you became a pastor" ..... "oh thats nice, and just how did you become a Christian".... Then to my amazement he turned and said, "I've talked a while now, tell me, how did you become a Christian" I gave the clearest Gospel I could  I explained that I realized I was a sinner I thought I could be good enough to go to heaven, but realized thru God's Word, I wasn't. However, Jesus had died for my sin, so salvation is about what He has done, not what I can do.  We then talked the remainder of the flight about Theology and the importance of understanding the context of Scripture, that and how in his country churches were better then American churches, and African churches and every other place on earth.  Thats the moment I said the words, that couldn't have been better timed as we were literally feet off the runway, "You know the Turkana people in Loki, they are not like you and I, each day there is a real possibility they might be shot by an enemy. They face famine, disease, desertion, shooting, drunk men, corruption and death every day in the face.  Our God gave us a Gospel of hope, something that can be obtained, not earned by being good enough. We need to be able to face disaster and smile because we know with all certainty that our Salvation is reliable. And then chaos happened,

Hey, is that a problem with the wing?

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