Wednesday, July 6, 2011
Right Place - Right Time
Now, I am not big on striking up conversations with strangers, mostly because I have never really been very good at it (working on getting better). I can begin a conversation but after awhile you start hearing crickets. This lovely lady walked up where we were standing. There was a line already forming behind us and she was standing near the entrance, in front of us, outside of the line. Something was stirring on the inside of me about her so after a few minutes, we began speaking with one another. As the conversation start going, I thought to myself, "today was going to be the day." I invited her to sit with us inside; she agreed. I was excited!
The doors opened and people began rushing in. We moved towards the front of the church to find seats and noticed our friend was gone. OH NO! The place was not well lit and there were a lot of people moving about. Rich was looking for seats and I was looking for her - I thought, "GREAT, we lost her!" The chairs near the stage were all saved, so we were forced to move back. Turning around and heading back, we ran into our friend! She already had seats saved for us! We were so relieved to have connected back with her!
I looked over at Rich and said, "be praying for her during service, I don't believe she knows the Lord." Rich was more than happy to, afterall, he has such a heart for people finding Jesus.
Service began and they were giving away Hillsong CDs. They asked who were visitors and we all raised our hands. Our friend got a CD and Rich did as well. I looked to see what he got and thought, "we already have these songs on iTunes, lets give it to her." Rich agreed. I handed her the CD and immediately, her face lit up! Seeing her so happy, just filled my heart with joy. This was truly exciting.
When service was almost over, the pastor wanted to give people an opportunity to receive Jesus. I thought, "this is it! She is going to do it! PRAY!" Rich and I both interceding as the pastor spoke, and she raised her hand to respond to the call. My eyes were suppose to be closed during this time, but I had to know if she raised her hand, so I peaked. I squeezed Rich's leg to let him know what she just did. On the inside, my heart was doing flips. I wanted to jump out of my seat, I was so excited because I knew, her life from this day forward will never be the same.
After we were dismissed, I turned to our friend and asked if I could pray for her since they didn't have an altar for her to go and receive prayer. Delighted I asked, she accepted my offer and the Holy Spirit took over. I don't remember what I said and I never got a chance to hear her story and what brought her to this place but God knew and He spoke through me as I sat next to her with my hand on hers. And although it was my hand, and my voice speaking - it was His comfort and His words tailored to what she needed to hear. Tears streaming down her face, His presence in that moment is when God became real to her.
I always make it a point to keep in contact with people I meet so I asked her if she had a Facebook account or an email address. I wanted to keep in contact to check on her periodically to hear how she's doing on her walk. We exchanged information and I told her, "we are family now, so if you ever need anything, to PLEASE contact me." I may be on the other side of the world but I wanted her to know I was still available. We embraced as we said our goodbyes - it was one of those really GOOD hugs! She decided to get a second helping and stay for the next service!
Leaving Hillsong church, Rich and I just started putting the pieces together on how we ended up at the right place, at the right time and all the details following. One spot away, arriving a minute later would have put us further away from where our friend was standing. If those front seats weren't saved, would we have met back up with her? God was specific and He placed us strategically. And even when we weren't honoring one another, almost getting in the way of His plan for our friend with our spat, God's grace covered us and He still used us in a mighty way. We thought how our own feelings, pride and selfishness could have ruined what He had in store. We thought about God intervening not only in our friend's life, but our own. Dispatching what we believe to have been an angel to show up right when we were on the verge of hanging it up. That stranger who graced us with her kindness in a place where we experienced very little of on the streets of NYC, encouraging us to "keep going because you are headed in the right direction". Wow.
Our new friend is growing in her faith now. We get little glimpses of what God is currently doing in her life. We've seen her excitement grow to share what has been imparted on her, with others! God has been drawing her to Himself and she is responding. This is all still a process for her. The journey won't be easy but she has God and we are here to help encourage her along the way and tell her, "keep going, you are headed in the right direction."