I would like to share an experience my family and I had over the 4th of July holiday. Rev. Wiesenauer of Christian Friends of China had an opportunity to host a number of Chinese people for a barbeque on the 4th of July, many of whom would be undergoing their first taste of American culture. He suggested that we hold the barbeque in the backyard of the parsonage. We would provide the meat and drinks and the people would bring the side dishes. No problem. He hinted there may be up to 30 people… well, it may be a little tight but we’ll make it work. As the event grew closer, Rev. Wiesenauer came by with enough meat to feed an army! He hinted that the party may grow to about 50 people. Apprehension grew, but we just resolved to be prepared. The day of the party came and we set up the yard for a barbeque. The coals were lit and ready when the first guests arrived. The sizzle of bratwurst on the grill signaled that feast was about to begin. Unfortunately for me, the sizzle was too loud and the brats were burning! As I frantically handled the brats on the grill, I looked up and there were 100 hungry, happy people in my backyard… and most didn’t bring side dishes to share. The Americans at the party jumped to action with two visits to Cub. From the parsonage cupboards Ruth sacrificed watermelons and bananas, fruit cocktail, beans and corn to the snake of people lined up in our backyard who instantly devoured it. Everyone was having a great time. The party was a “huge” success!
As the craziness subsided, it was obvious that our guests were curious about the church situated next door. It was suggested that I host a tour of the church for our guests. I took two tours through the church with 15 wide-eyed people apiece. While in the sanctuary, I used the window depicting the resurrected Jesus to witness to them about Jesus’ death and resurrection and how forgiveness is ours through Him, by faith. It was an awesome moment. I offered them some New Testaments and Gospels of John that we had on hand which they nearly cleaned out.
Moments later, they were off to the fireworks. The yard which moments ago bustled with Chinese people was now remarkably normal, as if nothing happened at all. Empty bowls and crumpled chip bags lay on the table with three hot dogs left to spare. I sat there, exhausted and amazed with a hot dog in one hand, a soda in the other and a bag of Doritos crumbs in my lap. At that moment I realized that God was in the unexpected that day. He used our little patch of grass in an unexpected way. He provided a feast in an unexpected way. He allowed for 30 people to hear about His Son Jesus in an unexpected way.
But it wasn’t unexpected for God. He knew what He was doing. I am thankful that God gave me the words to say and the courage to say them. I write this little story to illustrate how God provides opportunities for all of us to share about Jesus in unexpected times and places. My prayer for you is that in those unexpected times and places you will expect that God will give you the words to say and the courage to say them.
“Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who
asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have.” 1 Peter 3:15