Park Bench Moments
Our wonderful co-founder Mr. Frank Summers once sat me down and said, “Brother Phillip, if you want to go to a land where no one knows about Jesus, you better be willing to go all the way over there only to sit on a park bench and speak to just one person about Jesus. You have to forget about the crowds, and be willing to find just one person, because that’s what Jesus did. He was willing to go and find that one lost sheep!” I can still hear his peaceful yet booming voice in my head.
The Asian country where we live is roughly 2.5 percent Christian, and Christians here are often scrambling to figure out new and innovative ways to reach the unreached with the Good News of Jesus Christ. There is more than just one lost sheep out here; there are lost sheep everywhere. Government restrictions make sharing the Gospel seem impossible, but our God is on the throne.
The capital city boasts of a dense population booming with constant action. The daily traffic, noises, and horn-honking are the soundtrack as buses and tuk-tuks on the dusty roads spill over with people piled into them, racing all over the place. It’s a zoo.
At the center of all of this madness rests a park, a small and surprisingly quiet refuge from all the city’s noise and action. Large, green, shady trees line the fences. Beautiful flowers abound, and park benches provide a great place to sit and rest from the day’s activity.
One Monday afternoon, I felt the Holy Spirit inviting me to sit in the park—as I sensed God had someone He wanted me to speak with there that day. I sat on a bench and prayed as I waited for this unknown person to show up.
Eventually, I met a man in his thirties named Santosh, married with two children. He was sitting there alone on a bench, soaking up some sunshine and stewing in the fact that he had no job to provide for his family. We spoke for a while, he helped me with words in his language, and we discussed family life, fatherhood, and his Hindu faith. Hindus believe in many gods that provide for their various needs in life.
Finally, Santosh turned to me and said, “What god is your favorite god?” I replied with joy and hope, “Jesus Christ is my favorite!” I then began to explain to him the beauty, mystery, and humility of the Incarnation—the fact that God chose to become man so that He could fully reveal Himself to us, His beloved.
I explained that, because of Jesus, we don’t need any other god or gods. He is everything, and He longs to provide for our every single need. This was certainly new news for Santosh, and he thought about what I had said to him long and hard. “Let’s exchange numbers,” he said. “I have more questions for you.”
Indeed, Mr. Frank, sometimes all we need to do is sit on a park bench and wait for the one.
Phillip Douglas serves in Asia with his wife and children.
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