Monday, August 17, 2009

Vietnam, a Honduran and a ride to church

A post over at T19 started me thinking about a conversation I had last night as I drove back to Loma Linda with some friends from Greg Laurie's Harvest Crusade in Anaheim. It was wonderful to worship with tens of thousands of other Christians at Angel Stadium as Chris Tomlin led us in song.

As we drove home one of the other guys in the car shared his testimony. All testimonies are unique and wonderful descriptions of God's sovereign and saving action but this young man's story struck me as being especially unique. His parents had come from Vietnam in 1975 as the last helicopters left Saigon. He grew up in a non-Christian household in southern California and it wouldn't be until college when he would first hear the gospel. As a college student this son of Vietnamese immigrants sublet a room to another young man from Honduras who was working on his Ph.D. in anthropology. This Honduran was a follower of Christ and without a car so when he was invited by someone on campus to a local church he needed a ride. He asked his roommate, the non-believer, for a ride to church and they both began going to church together. This part of the story kind of amazed me and I realized that in my own cynical way I usually assume that non-Christians are completely opposed to going to church. But here it was obviously not the case and it makes me wonder how many people I know whom I could have invited but never did because I just assumed that they would say "no."

As he continued to be involved in this local congregation he learned the Christian lingo and most just assumed that he was a Christian. But it wasn't until a crisis arose and he became aware of his own guilt for sin that he was ready to come to Christ an undeserving sinner, pleading for grace and receiving forgiveness and sonship from our Lord. His Honduran friend explained to him the reason for his guilt. He explained that Christ had taken upon himself our sin and received the wrath which we deserved. He led him in asking Christ to be his Lord and his Savior. He repented of his sins and has since grown in the knowledge of Jesus Christ.

I like this testimony for a couple of reasons. First, I like the interesting mix of characters and seeing how it all came together - a central American anthropology student who needed a ride and a son of immigrants who had never heard the gospel. But secondly I found the story very convicting. If I had been that Honduran and knew that my roommate was a non-believer I probably would have looked elsewhere for a ride. Or if I had gotten a ride from him I would have just assumed that he didn't even want to come into the church. Even now I can think of a number of relationships where I could have shared but I didn't because I assumed they wouldn't want to hear. But we never know where people are at and we don't know what God has already done in a person to draw them to Himself.

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