Our Romanian team has dwindled over the past day or so. Two flew out of Timisoara, one remained at River of Life to donate his maintenance skills for three weeks. Six of us traveled by van to Budapest where three boarded a British Airways jet bound for Vancouver. And the last three – Gene, Kim, and myself – headed for Slovakia by train today.
Before doing that, however, we took a 3-hour tour of Budapest.
It was wonderful to finally see something other than the airport and train station. Then we met Mike and Nancy Elwood for dinner. They serve with Greater Europe Mission, and Nancy also helped found SHARE, a ministry to help equip missionary parents in the context of their kid’s education. I first met Nancy when she came to an IM conference to provide information and educational testing services for our staff. She later invited me to teach a couple of workshops at a SHARE conference in Hungary in 2008 – that’s where I was when I received word of my dad’s passing. It was good to touch base with them again.
We had a divine appointment on the train to Slovakia. We sat with a college-age fellow who, we learned, could speak English. John told us that he was traveling home to visit his mom, a widow. “She always worries too much about me,” he said. “That’s not good for her. She gets headaches and stomach aches and she can’t sleep at night.” Then he added, “Fear must run in the family, for I do the same thing.”
His speaking the word fear was like throwing a bone to a dog. “I happened to write a book about overcoming fear,” I said. “Did you know the Bible addresses it 366 times?” I mentioned that God’s presence in our lives is the secret to overcoming it. That’s when he said he plans to study theology in Romania after he completes his law studies. The conversation went on to other things, but minutes later he said something completely random: “I read a novel recently. It was about two brothers. The one with a family committed a crime and was sentenced to death. The other, without a family, took his death penalty. He sacrificed himself for the sake of his brother.”
I looked at Gene and he looked at me. We read each other’s minds. Without a doubt, God is seeking John. His words provided an easy and automatic lead into a brief chat about what Jesus did for us, how He sacrificed Himself when He paid our death penalty for sin. John listened and nodded. He said, “Many people don’t understand what Jesus did.” I agreed. Then I offered him my NT in the New Living Translation and explained that it told the entire story. He said, “Thank you for your offer. I will consider it and let you know before our journey ends.”
Sure enough. Minutes before we reached his destination, he said, “I will accept your offer for the Bible.” Yahoo!! I jumped from my seat and dug through my suitcase until I found it. With sheer joy I handed it to him. Now I’m praying for God to continue drawing John to His heart.
“Thank You, God, for divine appointments and for Your great love for mankind.”