I woke before the alarm at 4:15am in my Singapore hotel room. A 7:00am flight would carry me to Indonesia and Jakarta, home of 15 million people. I didn’t know a soul in Jakarta. That would be enough to make me fret a bit. Usually I know many people where I go to speak and consult. Then, there was the reality that I was going to the largest Islamic country in the world. I am not a specialist at bringing the gospel to Muslim people. We have a whole department devoted to that. Roy or Mike, the Director’s of that division should’ve been the ones to go to Jakarta, not me. Yet despite my fears, I would very quickly see God show up forcefully and compassionately.
I was already tired as I sat in seat 16C. I’d be preaching twice in the next few hours, with translators, and meeting with elders and leaders of the Abba-Love network in between the services, so it would be best to rest on the flight. My neck-pillow combined with ear plugs usually put me in slumber-land- but not on this morning. Why Lord? Can’t I just go to sleep for an hour? Apparently the answer was no. Then came the reason.
Sitting in seat 16A was a young Indonesian Muslim woman named Nora. Nora wanted to talk, and with relatively good English, told me she was returning home after 10 years away because her mother requested her return. She asked why I was going to Indonesia. I responded with something like, “because I am a Christian minister, and I travel the world to tell people about Jesus, God’s Son”. The lights in Nora’s eyes became expressive. She smiled fully, and started telling me how she was coming to know Jesus as God’s Son. A friend had two months earlier taken her to a Christian service and she liked it. And, less than 24 hours before this flight, two Chinese women had knocked on her door (missionaries from China) to ask if she wanted to learn about Jesus. “Yes”, she said. They stayed for 3 ½ hours! Now she was placed next to me in seat 16A. She told me she felt Jesus was in her heart, and she could talk with him all the time. She told me she believed he was God’s Son and that yes, he did die on the cross to forgive her sins. God was at work. I listened, laughed, opened the
Scriptures and prayed with Nora, and told her of a good network of churches she could visit as she returned home.
Oh my- God is the evangelist and can get his Word through any ethnic, gender, cultural barrier we can imagine. Everyone who calls upon Him will be saved (Rom. 10:13). He called her to Himself, and also, called a friend, a church, two Chinese missionaries, and a reluctant, tired, and somewhat anxious, American evangelist to watch.
By the way, I WAS NO LONGER TIRED-----------
Gladly with you for the Kingdom of now and yet to be,
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