It is quite amazing what can happen when one is intentional. I will hide the identities of the 5 people involved in these 5 conversations. I've just realised afresh how intentionality, prior to knowing the outcome, can help inspire a positive outcome even if not intended.
How could I have imagined that I would talk to an unbeliever on campus, who did not have a Bible...
Monday Morning at Breakfast:
I saw a stranger sitting alone, and decided to join her table. I did not know, but she is not a YWAMer. She is volunteering with a "special group of very skilled people" (required by law) to do what they need to do in the next few weeks. Our conversation suddenly turned to serious-mode and she allowed me to give some 2 cents into her life. (Of course I enjoyed that!)
While we were in semi-deep conversation, a young man I have not seen before approached us. He still had his earphones in his ears, was covered with sweat from jogging or something, and with the most beautiful smile asked us if he could join us. In a split second thoughts rushed through my mind: "I should say yes to him because he most likely also don't know other people on base, and good for him for going out of his way to join us"
That is what I had to do in the beginning. You make an active choice and join strangers... who might later as time goes by, become both meaningful friends.
In the very beginning, young people kinda shunned my older face away, and fair enough! (though I did not expect it.) It was during this process, when I first came to this massive base, that I decided to join all the much older faces that came for breakfast. It worked! I would just strike up conversations and in the end, I got to know many lovely people! I also got to know a much older lady, Gunilla Baumann. What a God-fearing person she was. She took me for breakfast after church one Sunday and we just had such a good time of fellowship. She is the only person I will highlight by name, and this is my shout-out thank you to her.
Back to the Young Man with the earphones...
The girl with whom I was having this semi-deep conversation, basically told him no in a nice way, before I could say a word. I did not know that she knew him. After at least another 20 minutes I told her that the young man was still sitting alone, and that I was going to go over to him, and just "say hi!" (I refuse to be intimidated by my own age!) That's when she told me that he was with their group, but that he was not a Believer. I could not believe what I was hearing!
With even more reason to show him that we include people, I walked over to him, and introduced myself. I did not let on that I knew he was an unbeliever. I managed to steer the conversation to the place where he would tell me that he was not a believer. It worked. Then he told me he could not understand how people on this base was "sad" about the whole Lesbian Gay thing and he really did not like it when Christians "pushed the conversation, trying to make others people believe" I first said sorry, and then told him that I would not do that. I went ahead and asked if I could ask him some questions. I said I want to learn how he thinks. He was very open with me.
It lead to a 90 minute conversation.
(I feel quite emotional as I even type this now) God opened a door for me to share about Jesus and the Character of God. He also did not know why Jesus died and what happened to him when He rose! His worldview of God was so squeed. I told him the basic of basics and he just kept saying "I did not know that... I did not that" I told him why I had no fear of death and the reason why I do not believe that my spirit will come back to earth in some other form.
So... I said: "Can I assume by now, that you do not have a Bible?"
He said "No, I do not have one" I asked: " Would you like to have one and read the book of John and Acts yourself" (just because our conversation somehow lead me to tell him stories in the book of Acts about the outpouring of Holy Spirit, and Baptism, and Paul who use to be Saul...
He said YES. I had a new YWAM 50th Bible with me, just sitting on my table. I ran to get it and gave it to him. What an incredible conversation... that will hopefully lead this young man to both accept Jesus and do DTS!!
Tuesday Breakfast with an old YWAMer...
I became quite good friends with two men on base, and we had some lovely times together. Both much older than me and still single, both secure enough in their identies as to not shy away from another single lady! That was nice! Tuesday morning I saw one of them sitting alone and thought... why is he sitting alone? So I walked over, and walked into pretty much a God-ordained hour.
I asked a few questions (which I have not done to this degree with this person) and was quite surprised that it did not shut him up. It actually made him think. In the end the conversation went to a place where he could see that he was not too happy with the Lord (he was oblivious to this fact before and it did not even enter his mind)
I challenged him to go back to the Last Word of the Lord to him. It was something he has put on the shelf for a long time, and God just came to show him why he was actually doing it. I stood up after an hour... looked into a face that said: "Thank you for stopping by and asking me some hard questions" That made my day!
Wednesday Breakfast with a couple...
I've rubbed shoulders with a couple on base, but have never had a meal with them. I saw them sitting alone, and decided to join them. We started to talk about so many things... but I soon realised that the man had a bit of a strategic hat on. When he got up to get water, I asked his wife: "is he always asking questions like this" She said NO! I kinda figured that but just wanted to make sure about what I was sensing.
When he came back, he kept asking me all these various questions of how I saw things. I was able to share a bit of my heart, and what I strategically could see as some potential answers. He said: "These are really good ideas!" I guess I needed to hear that. They basically just blessed me and when I walked away... I thought about the fact that I felt so encouraged by them. If I say too much I will give their identity away but needless to say, I am so happy I went to sit with them.
The same thing happened last week with me. This time I was sitting alone having my quiet time. I had a much older person walk over to me. He has been with Frontier Missions for many years. He started asking me the same type of questions. I would give my answeres and the same response happened. We talked for 3 hours!! We both knew it was God. I will most likely not see this person again but I was DEEPLY encouraged both by him, but really, by God, who came to confirm things that was hidden in my heart.
Thursday Breakfast with girl from... a hot climate culture
I saw her sitting far away in the corner. I had quite a few conversations with this person in the past. God just gave me a heart for her. I see the struggle of someone from a hot culture, trying to make it on a base that is typically more cold climate culture.
I will admit, we joked a lot about this specific fact around our "African-table" My skin the only white one, and I apologised for it! We all had "green African passports" and it somehow united us. Most of these people are now gone, or on outreach, but I LOVED our African lunches and political incorrect jokes. We had so much fun but I am sure if we had world A people at our table they would have been horrified at our jokes. Oh, those were the good meals...
Back to this girl... I walked over to her and she said: "I need to be alone to think" The quiver in her voice gave her away and I thought... I am not the one being rejected here. I kept standing and just said: "you know, I am leaving... I want to have one last breakfast with you" In my heart I knew that I was to stay. Yes, sometimes we need our alone space, but sometimes we create that alone space when we actually need people.
She came from a very hot culture climate and "I just need to be alone right now" was not a sentence I was going to fall for. So I sat down. We talked nonsense for the first 10 minutes (and I will admit, in my heart I was nervous and nearly got up to leave) but then she opened up.
And you know what! When we finally, after 90 minutes got up to leave, she looked at me with a changed countenance, saying: "Thank you for not leaving me this morning."
I am not a rescuer... but if we are in tune with Holy Spirit, we might just discover how He continually reaches out to those who need a word, a hug, or even kind rebuke
(Proverbs 27:6 Wounds from a friend can be trusted, but an enemy multiplies kisses.)