I had noticed him reading his newspaper when I brought my clothes to put in the washer, but being the introvert that I am, I hadn’t spoken to the middle-aged Mexican gentleman. To my surprise, when I came back to move my clothes to the dryer, he spoke to me.
“Are your clothes still in there?” he asked me in Spanish. I replied that they were, ready for drying, and then he said “So you speak Spanish?” I told him yes, and from there a (mostly one sided) conversation started, in which he asked me if I go to church, asked me about my job, lamented his lack of ability in English, talked about his daughter in Mexico who has been studying nursing, and told me about three manifestations of the Holy Spirit that he said he had had. I listened politely with interest, and after telling all that in detail, he said “My faith used to be really strong after all that–now it’s not so much any more. My wife has been sick for twelve years, and as much as I pray to God, he hasn’t answered me.” I told him how for us humans, our perspective is so small, but God is in control, and in His omniscience He knows what he’s doing. We mustn’t lose faith in Him when things don’t go the way we think they should.
At the end of our conversation, he said “I’ve seen you around, and thought about talking to you, but I thought you might not know Spanish. I’m really glad we talked!” I was glad too, and while I could have said more on this occasion to see about studying the Bible with him, hopefully this will be the start of a friendship that I can continue.
So why do I share this? Well, this encounter was kind of unexpected, but it shouldn’t have been. You see, for several months now I’ve been thinking “I need to be talking to my neighbors about Jesus,” all the while neglecting the opportunities I had, and not looking for new ones. I had already decided 2014 is going to be the year I really make an effort, and lo and behold, it’s almost as if God had an opportunity in His hand and He just threw it in my face!
So keep an eye out for those opportunities. Seek them, yes, but also be ready for the times when you least expect them. To God be the glory forever!