Sunday, August 23, 2009
You can know all the right words and miss the point entirely…
It’s interesting how I meet people here in Loja. I met Jason, a fellow American through a series of Peace Core volunteers and English teachers. He loves coming into the café for a good chicken quesadilla and tiramisu. I think it makes him feel at home. Because Jason likes coming in, he also brings in a lot of friends, new peace core people and people just passing through. Last week he brought in Lucy and Claude. They are also Peace Core workers working with an indigenous community outside of Riobamba. When they came in, they asked about the café and I told them it was mission run, which seemed to satisfy their curiosity. They ordered pie and chocolate cake, which Susi, one of our employees brought out to them. They began to ask her questions about El Sendero and us as Evangelicals.
She excitedly came up to me to tell me about the conversation and suggest me talking to them since they are native English speakers. I left the kitchen excited and wondering about what to say. I sat down with them and did what I thought Jesus would do… I asked questions. Who were they, what did they do, and what they believe. I got a charade of answers including their interest in Christianity because of the community they work with. This indigenous community used to be Catholic, but because of some slightly greedy priests, they were turned off to Catholicism and turned on to Jesus by a group of Christians who came to their village. They told me how Jesus changed these people’s lives… from the way they treated their families to their work ethic. THESE PEOPLE are what peaked the interest of these two! Who would have guessed that the Lord would bring 2 people all the way from the States to be ministered to by a community of Christians living in the middle of nowhere in Ecuador!
They went on to say that they used to be Lutherans, but then some 10-20 years ago had a spiritual awakening and became Buddhists. They pray to Buda or any other person that they look up to that could possibly help them on their journey. They believe that all paths are correct. Claude told me, “We believe in Jesus, but not that accepting him as your Savior is the only way to God. He was a good man that we should model life after.” It intrigued me that these two knew the “right words,” and yet it did little to penetrate their hearts and lives.
They continually said to me, “As a Christian you believe… but as Buddhists we believe…” After they had finished telling me their story and I had finished asking my parade of questions, I said “You keep saying, ‘As a Christian you believe…’ so can I share with you what I actually believe?” They agreed and the Lord proceeded to use my mouth to speak the truth of His Word. I tried to agree with them on any point I could, and yet not shy away from Jesus being the Only way.
Remember Jason? Yeah, he was sitting there this entire time pretending to read a magazine, but I know that he heard every word. I was trembling, more out of fear than the cold that pours over Loja every night. One thing I didn’t share about Jason… he is gay and really has no desire for things of the Lord. So as I shared the truth with these two Buddhists, I prayed that the Lord would also move in Jason’s life.
After I had finished, they thanked me for the food, said they would come back if ever through Loja and left. I know the Spirit of God was there. I know that this was a God-ordained moment… whether for Lucy, Claude or Jason I don’t know… we’ll just have to wait and see!