|Run, a Siamese crocodile (can you see it?), and Huy|
We sat down under a tent to enjoy our popsicles and lime soda, and happened to notice a fun family sitting next to us. We overheard the (obviously) foreign guy speaking French to his (very) Thai son, who was conversing back beautifully in his father's native language. The woman next to them was Thai and was stirring up her Mama instant noodles. Treavor commented on the man's French and our conversation had begun...
This scene is quite common to observe here in our new city. There are more Thai/Western couples here than we've seen over the past few years in the South! Everywhere we turn, we see these beautiful and intriguing couples.
But today was a bit different and much more intriguing. The husband here was French, married to a Thai, and their son didn't speak Thai or English! We later learned that they were on holiday from France and were here for a bit.
If you know my husband and me well, we have had a heart for French people even before we started dating. It is (almost) even the reason we started dating in the first place. One day, we hope to move to France to share about the God that changed our lives for ever. That is another story...
But, today, at the zoo, we encountered a national of the country we love married to a Thai woman - a people that we currently are hoping and dreaming for to encounter Jesus! I was thrilled!
The rain started to fall as we conversed and finished our snacks...and though I was anxious to get on to the next section of the zoo (snakes and crocodiles! seriously, my boys are in love)...God kept tugging at my heart. I wanted to move on because the afternoon was already late, but He brought the rain. The only retreat for all of us was to sit and continue our conversation under the refuge of the picnic table's tent.
As the rain fell and my plans were washing away, God reminded me about a book I've been reading, One Thing You Can't Do In Heaven by Mark Cahill. Cahill states that although we're going to get to enjoy lots of things in Heaven, one thing we won't be able to do is invite anyone else to the party! That is what now is about - inviting others to encounter God in a real way. Once we're there, our chance is gone. Jesus was speaking to me to this afternoon about how we got caught in the rain with two nations that we wildly desire to enter into Heaven. Here was my chance to invite them to the party!
Jesus even set it up for me: a while back, the Thai woman was going to a church to study French. I love it when churches meet practical needs like that - to bring in so many to have an opportunity to hear! She wasn't going there any more, though, because her husband forbade her to. She said that because he doesn't believe, that he wanted her to stay away from there. Like the church is really a threat! We chatted some more about her language study and then I asked her about what she thought of Jesus. About what she knew of Him.
We talked for a while about Truth, sin, perfection, Heaven, religion and such. Our kids were right there with us. I don't have to be alone to witness, I can do it with my family. At the zoo. In the rain. (On a boat...on a train...with a house...or a mouse...Sorry - went a little Dr. Seuss on you there!)
I was surprised for how willing she was to talk about her beliefs for such a short encounter. I challenged her with the truth that even though we all try to be good, that we really can't. Really. And even if we could attain perfection, or enlightenment, that when we meet God one day, we have to account for all the sin we've already committed against Him. She still has her Bible from the church she was studying at, and is (she says) still reading it. I shared with her again about the reality of God and about how He has spoken to us through His word. Kyla was on my lap, squirming. Kids were loud, and we were all getting a little wet from the downpour. But, why let that ruin a good chance to invite them to the party in Heaven!
I no longer have any excuses for not sharing.
My Thai isn't great - but it is good enough.
I have kids, but hey - that's reality! People like to see us living life - it is what makes me more relate-able.
Even if God is rejected, which He was this afternoon, I did my part. God can take care of His reputation.
And all it took was a little time. And a lot of smiles. And, a risk to go deeper.
And a trip to the zoo!