The Gospel clearly speaks for itself. But honestly, it can be hard to find different angles from which to share the Gospel when it comes to friends who have been shared with many, many times. I’m so thankful, though, that the Lord continues to open doors, windows, even cracks for His Word to come through.
I have this friend. She’s from the Dongxiang people group. She runs a small veggie shop with her husband, sister, and brother-in-law, and she was the first local friend I made when my family moved here. Now granted, on the day we met, she was probably just fascinated because I’m a foreigner and she had never met one before. But I needed friends and vegetables that day, so a friendship was born.
I’ve visited her shop more times than I can count, had endless glasses of boiling water and bowls of noodles, munched on bread, literally bandaged her family’s wounds, listened to their woes about business being bad, and walked away with bags full of free veggies – All this for two reasons: Yu and her family’s hospitality, and their need for the Gospel.
I’ve shared with Yu many times. She’s heard the Gospel in several forms, from parables to explanations of prayer. Recently, as I realized our time in this city is quickly coming to an end, I felt the need to go plant myself at her shop for a morning and seek yet again to share with her.
I showed up at her shop, pulled up a stool, and sat beside her and her sister as they peeled garlic. I began asking questions with the hope of getting to spiritual things. That hope was fulfilled pretty quickly as she expressed her exhaustion from working so many long days. I explained the need for Sabbath rest and how, throughout the Bible, God uses the idea of and commands that we rest.
As that conversation died down, I asked where her sons were, and the following conversation ensued:
Yu: They are at the mosque studying.
Me: Are they learning to read Arabic?
Me: Can you read Arabic? How do you study your scriptures?
Yu: I can’t read, but I can follow along and listen when the Imam reads them. How do you read your scriptures?
Me: Well, I can read my scriptures in English or Chinese. I keep them on my phone so I have them all the time.
Yu: You can read them in Chinese? Can you read them to me?
Knowing that she can read Chinese and that my reading is very poor, I asked if she would like to read them herself. She eagerly agreed, so we sat in the doorway of her shop and read John 1, aloud, from the Bible app on my phone.
The next hour and a half were somewhat of a blur as we discussed the many questions that formed in her mind. I thought the door for the Gospel was pushed wide open when she looked at me and asked (translated from Chinese and paraphrased as well as I can), “So the cross is your forgiveness, right?”
At that, I sat and shared with her the significance of the cross. She heard Who died, why He died, and what happened after His death, and she asked many questions about sin and forgiveness. When I had said about all I knew how to say, and as the conversation was naturally drawing to a close, she asked me, “Do you believe that God is the greatest god?”
I said yes, and she responded, “I do, too. But you believe Jesus. I’m a Muslim, and I believe Muhammad.”
While I have to admit my heart sank a little at that point, I later left her shop confident that she had really heard the Gospel. She had actually read it aloud to herself! But she responded to that Gospel by sticking to her trained response of belief in Muhammad.
Yu is just as lost now as she was when I first showed up at her shop, but the seeds have been planted in her heart. So would you pray that the Word will take root? Ask that John 1 will pierce her heart and that she’ll believe the Word did become flesh and is worthy of her belief!