WORD ON THE STREET: The Unlikeliest of Places

27 Jan

chinatown in thailand_0

Six months ago I had heart surgery in East Asia. Afterwards, my Asian cardio-therapist often asked me questions about the Bible.

“Is God fair?” he asked one day.

“What do you mean, Tim*?”

“You come from USA,” he continued. “I work in a modern hospital, but look out the window.”

Outside I saw an old Asian street-cleaner sweeping up trash — a common sight here.

“He works in the cold all day for very little money. Buddhists say he did bad things in a previous life, so he suffers now. What does the Bible say?”

My mind was racing. How could I begin to address this difficult issue in a 40-minute treadmill routine, especially with my limited fluency in his language and his limited fluency in mine?

“Hard question, Tim!” I puffed. “Firstly, Scripture says we only have one life on earth” (Hebrews 9:27). He nodded thoughtfully.

“Once Jesus’ disciples saw a blind man and asked, ‘Who sinned? This man or his parents?’ Jesus said, ‘Neither this man nor his parents sinned; he was born blind so that God’s works might be revealed in him.’” (John 9:3)

Mixing languages, I continued: “People are born into all kinds of circumstances, good and bad. But when Jesus enters our lives, he brings transformation...

“I know a woman from a poor part of this country. Her husband was very cruel and she suffered a lot. One day she became very sick. No one helped her. She almost died. Then Christians prayed for her and took care of her. She was healed and met Jesus. Today she is very cheerful, constantly helping others. She is not rich, but her life changed when she met Jesus. Christ entered human suffering on the cross. He offers to enter our lives and transform us, rich or poor. But we must say ‘Yes’ to Jesus.”

Tim sat silently, thinking. I commented, “Tim, you seem spiritually hungry for God.”

He nodded “Yes...” then shared a deeper concern of his heart.

Stepping off the treadmill, I promised to pray for him.

I had many similar conversations with Tim in the months following. I learned that other Christians were also witnessing to him. Although he had not yet accepted Christ, when my therapy ended I thanked him and gave him a Christian book. He thanked me warmly.

Please pray with us for Tim and the many others in his country who do not yet know the truth of a just and loving God.

*To protect his privacy, Tim’s name has been changed.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Mike & Katie have lived and served in East Asia since 1980. They joined CRM staff in 1998 and served as the Regional Supervisors for CRM Asia for nine years. Most recently, they have lived and served within a large, unreached Asian population since 2010.