Standing Out

We’ve been in country now for nearly 11 months. I’ve learned to ignore the stares (mostly) and turned heads from locals amazed at seeing a bule (Caucasian) way out here in Medan. We have routines of a sort, places we usually go, and after a while you stop thinking about it. This is partially necessary and partially problematic. But every now and then something happens that reminds us just how much we stand out here. How God chooses to use that hopefully unfolds next!

Gena and I were out shopping before Christmas when we were approached by a man and his teen son. Were you shooting pool the other day? the man asked. Indeed I was. My son and I were playing that day as well and he noticed you. He liked how you handled yourself at the table, so when he saw you here, he wanted me to come and make introductions.

We make introductions and sit down to talk further. It turns out the father is a pastor in the charismatic church here, and when he discovered we were Americans he was delighted. It turns out he’ll be leaving in January to come to Los Angeles at the request of a church bishop there. He’s tasked with starting Asian churches in America. His hope is to start several hundred before moving on to Europe to do the same thing before he retires. His son is headed to Australia to start university studies.

I didn’t want to come and talk with you, the man confides. But my son was insistent. ‘Maybe he’s a Christian also’, he said. We all had a laugh at how the Holy Spirit works. He would like if you could give him a few lessons in playing pool. I agreed readily. I don’t have experience teaching billiards but I could give a few basic pointers that might be helpful.

God the Holy Spirit sends us here to Indonesia to help churches on this side of the world, and the Holy Spirit sends this man almost to exactly where we left from. We know about the fruits of the Spirit and spiritual gifts, but to see how the Holy Spirit moves literally heaven and earth to place God’s people where He wants them is both humbling and a bit terrifying. What an awesome God has created us, and how comforting to know He remains with us not just as the baby in the manger but in Spirit and power as we await our Lord’s return!

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