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Two Experiences

Two experiences in two days:

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I pulled my computer out of my backpack and onto the small table in front of the large picture windows overlooking the main mall area of the campus. I sat reading my hospital handbook and looking over some emails when a tall guy passed behind me and said hello to another student who was sitting and reading about ten feet from me. They shot the breeze for a few minutes when the new arrival asked the other guy if he went to church.

"Nah. Not really. I'm not into that.... I don't think someone should need to go to church. I'm from LA and Las Vegas where its not super-Christian like here. I'm only here for tennis. I think it's important to be moral, and I live by the Ten Commandments."

In all of my experience with all stripes of people at state schools and on the mission field, I had never actually heard someone give the stereotypical answer that many Christians say "unbelievers" give. But here it was.

But there's more. With an obvious set of good intentions, the "evangelizer" then embarked into a twenty minute long discourse that included statements about the provability of the Bible, his journey to becoming a Christian, and several attempts to show how there are statements made in popular colloquial speech today that are actually demonstrated in the Bible. (?)

What was interesting to me is that after his initial statements, our tennis-playing friend never got a word in edgewise, except for some glances at his watch and a "I need to be at class in five minutes."

As I sat eavesdropping, I silently prayed for both men. I then imagined another scene - one of a girl inviting another into her dorm room after they both had hung paper on a bulletin board. The invited girl began sharing her life with her new friend, who took in every word and wrapped it in the love and interest of Jesus Christ. That invited girl, years later, is now leading her fifth six week mission across the world to share the same love she discovered that day.

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I knocked on the hospital room door and poked my head around. Her name was Deborah, and I introduced myself as a student with the hospital chaplaincy. She was glad to see me and immediately began telling me about herself and the journey of life that had led her to Abilene and eventually to this hospital bed in the skilled nursing unit. The Daily Scriptures book and the Bible next to her bed made it obvious that her faith was strong and fed. The Watchtower magazines prominently displayed all over the room also indicated her particular brand of belief. Her life was a sad series of unfortunate events, though, both medically and relationally. However, her attitude and spirit was strong and I made sure she knew how inspiring that was. We spent half an hour sharing scriptures, imagining the eventual greatness we will have with God, relating to society and the obstacles of life, and expounding on some of the great teachings of Jesus. It was a wonderful visit. It was time for me to go, and I asked if she would like me to pray for her.

Her response: "I'm sorry. We're not the same faith."


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