Friday, November 30, 2007

I am lazy... Thanksgiving continued

So I am mildly lazy... I say this because I dont want to write a lot more about Thanksgiving. I am sure your imaginations can fill in a lot of the details. Sure you might not think about the juggling in the hall, hand-turkeys plastered all over the wall, or genuine amazement at "Everything is so sweet. No wonder American's eat too much" (sweet potatoes, sweet carrots, sweet rolls, pie, jello... I guess there was a lot of sweet stuff.) But if you want more, check out one of my teammates blogs at http://saraneumann.wordpress.com/. She was a little more diligent than I at describing the night.

In other exciting news, this week was pretty good on campus. I got into a conversation with a guy Monday (he was reading an English book... I had to strike up a conversation, right?) that was great. It was actually quite amusing. I sat down next to him on a bench (sound familiar, Lindsey?) and noticed his english book and asked him in Italian what book he was reading. He was a little surprised that I was talking to him but he showed me anyway. I explained (still in Italian) that I was American and didn't often see students reading english books... and then didn't say anything more, but pulled out my journal to write a little (I was too scared to continue, cause I didn't know what else to talk about). He started reading again but then stopped after a minute or so. Seemed to be thinking. Then turned to me and asked, "Why are you here at Villa Mira Fiori?" So we began to talk and probably one of the most encouraging things he said was "I would like to be as sure as you are someday about my faith. Maybe someday but I am not now." So we are going to meet again this coming week.

On Wednesday I had probably the most encouraging conversation of my year so far. No joke, this was amazing. I had already been shot down by two different guys (me: "Parli inglese?" them: "No. Perque." me: "lavoro per un organizazione...." them: "ok. ciao") when I walked up to this guy eating his lunch and asked him if he spoke english. He said he spoke a little and asked why did I want to know. I more or less gave him the spiel about working for an organization of americans and italians and how we want to speak to students about what they think about spiritual things. At this point, I was a little discouraged and thought I would get shot down again (oh me of little faith), so he surprised me when he said, "Questa e una bella cosa (this is a beautiful thing)." So I sat and began to chat with him.

Turns out he is 'believer' but doesn't really know what that means in it's entirety. He just knows that he has a relationship with God. I asked him who he thought Jesus was and he said, "My brother, my friend. Because of Jesus I can have a relationship with God." We covered the four basic points of the gospel (God loves us, we mess up and the penalty for our sin is separation from God, Jesus died to pay this penalty and then rose to conquer death, we must accept this and follow him) and he agreed with all points but didn't really know a whole lot (these are his words, not mine). It was so encouraging to listen to how God has brought him to this point, how he had searched for God and despite not really having anyone teach him, he had figured out these basic points. He did think that the Bible had two Gods (Old and New Testament: Judging God vs. Loving God). It was good to talk about how the God of the Old Testament is the same as the God of the new, but he punishes because he wants to draw us back to him. He said "Oh ok, so he must punish us if he loves us because he doesnt want us to be hurting ourselves." The last thing he said to me before we exchanged numbers was "I have had a lot of coincidences in my life that I know were not coincidences, that were God. I think you are maybe one of these, that God sent you to talk to me." So praise God for these two guys, for how God is working in the hearts of Italians, and for how God loves us enough to not give up on us, to send his Son to die to pay our penalty and make a way to have a relationship with Him. Thanks for reading.

1 comment:

greg said...

Hey Chris!

This story reminds me of the eunich that Peter (Paul? Someone) met along the road. The eunich was reading the scriptures but said, "how can I understand this unless someone explains it to me?" After an extended time of conversation, he asks, "what's keeping me from being baptized right now? There's the water; hook me up!"

Sometime we let the pressure of a PC world encourage us to keep our Jesus talk to ourselves. Instead, we need to remember that it is a fact that every person in this world wants to know about Jesus. Many, of course, don't know that that's what they're seeking, but there is that void in our soul that will not be met by friends or material gain or sex or popularity. We need to know Jesus. Only He can ever make us whole.

Maybe this realization is enough to keep us from carrying the gospel apologetically. In church the other evening, we sang the carol "O Come all ye faithful, joyful and TRIUMPHANT..." Come joyfully, come victoriously. We are the children of triumph! It encouraged me to carry the Truth of Jesus boldly. I actually thought about the way Buckeye fans exit the 'shoe after an Ohio State victory. There is an energy and an attitude that reflects the joy of backing the winner.

In your encounters with the people of Italy--in my encounters with the people of UA and Cowtown--I need to remember (1) I have what others are looking for and (2) I am in the corner of the champions. Let's strive to carry the powerful Truth of Jesus Christ boldly into ever setting.

Thanks for reminding me again of what my life is for. (more than just eliminating dangling prepositions). Peace on your soul, little brother...