Saturday, June 5, 2010

16th street wonders

One thing that I have been aware of and am continuing to discover for the past year or so is the undeniable fact that my life is chained in fear. I am uncertain about how well you know me, but let me clue you in. First of all, I have been called a snob occasionally. This is due to shyness. I tend to be quiet. I claim that I don’t talk unless I have something to say (that could be snobby). Basically, I’m the tentative quiet person that you might find curled up in the corner of the library with a book nestled in my lap. Knowing this, you’ll understand the fear that gripped my stomach when before the first afternoon teaching today Adrian Despres says, “We’ll be dropping you off later today and you’ll be evangelizing.”

Everything within me shut down. If you were to have looked into the windows of my soul, you would have been frozen by the icy fear that stared out. Randomly starting a conversation about Jesus scares me so badly that I want to pee my pants. Although I didn’t pee my pants, I’m not exaggerating my fear. As the Adrian taught us about sharing our faith and apologetics, my brain was circling around and around the fact that I was expected to share the gospel. Adrian is one of those super-human evangelism guys. He reads people and he knows what to say. I am so NOT that. Perhaps I can read people, but to know what to say – you’ve got to be kidding me. When I say fear gripped my stomach, I’m not lying. From that moment of knowing what we were to do till the moment that my friend and I sat down in the little Mexican restaurant, I felt sick to my stomach.

Let me just say that as annoying texting can be, I was so thankful for it. As we road in the van towards downtown Denver, I had my cell phone out. I love prayer and how it connects one to God. Therefore, I was texting every person that I could think of asking for prayer. It was a blessing knowing that others were praying for me.

Blessing number two came in the form of our waitress, Claudia. This woman was undoubtedly of Hispanic descent. I, being my shy self, was petrified of asking if she spoke Spanish. My friend, Sarah, nudged me along. Basically, she demanded that I ask. Claudia came to ask us what we wanted to eat and I squeak out, “Hablas Espanol?” The glow of happiness and her immediate affirmative response in Spanish warmed my soul and banished the lion of fear in my stomach. From then on, we had long conversations in Spanish and English. It was wonderful. It surprised me again to realize how much of Spanish I actually knew. It turned out that Claudia went to church with her husband and son occasionally. One thing that stood out to me that she said was that even though she forgets God a lot, He never forgets her. It was beautiful. By the end of the meal, we were great friends and she brought us a dessert as “un regalo” (a gift).

Most of the other people that Sarah and I met claimed to know Jesus. One, a Matthew Saunders, was to be going to Haiti in a couple of weeks with another organization for an extended amount of time. He has an open ticket and is unsure of when he will return to the states. Sarah and I prayed for him. His friendly face is emblazoned in my mind. Another man that Sarah and I chatted with was Romi. He was a sweet old man who was homeless. He initiated the conversation and after talking with him for a bit, we prayed with him as well and he walked away with the leftover half of my dinner.

These slight moments where our paths crossed may seem very inconsequential, but they are bright moments in my life. They remind me of God’s goodness and faithfulness. I cannot open my mouth alone. All that occurred tonight was Him because I know without a doubt that I am incapable of sharing about Jesus by myself. My fear is too great. Yet, these people will live in my mind, heart, and prayers for many days to come. Te quiero, Jesus.