Today we spent the day taking a small group of the kids to a water park, which was conveniently attached to the beach, which was magically covered in black sand. I've been to tons of beaches, even experienced the pink sand of Bermuda, but I have never laid my eyes on black sand before. Weird! But what a great day giving these little ones an enormous dose of joy. Just watching them eat pizza at lunch was worth it. They devoured every last little crumb of crust. Amazing! But I actually want to rewind and share a story with you from our first night here.
Working our way through the straw market, my back finally had enough of standing, so I found a seat on a bench just watching people. A man came up with a note pad and a dollar bill and started asking me about the symbols on the back - you know, the creepy triangle with the eye on top of it, and the eagle gripping the arrows and olive branches. On one hand, it didn't take me long to figure out that he was not only trying to understand what in the world these subliminal messages were that the US Treasury was trying to send the world, but he was also desperate to know and understand our language and our words. The conversation was rich! His name was Matthew. But Matthew wanted more than just to know about "Annuit Coeptis" and why the Federal Reserve Bank in Chicago was represented by a "G".
After about 10-15 minutes - as I was confusedly praying in my head and heart, asking the Lord to help me to have an opportunity to share the Gospel with Matthew - he shocked me. The whole conversation began with him asking me about those olive branches the eagle was gripping, and me telling him that the eagle faces the olive branches instead of the arrows because we're always striving for peace. He came back to this issue, held up the dollar bill and let me know that "you can't find peace in this - money won't give you the peace of God!" Oh yes, he was driving the ball and now going in for the dunk! Then he very confidently shared with me that "this peace only comes from God - from knowing Jesus Christ!" I think I almost laughed out loud as I said, "That's right!" And then Matthew and I began sharing scriptures with each other, affirming the power and truth of the new life we have both found in Christ. I'm pretty sure we were both ready to stand on the bench and start preaching!
After our picture, exchange of handshakes, and swapping of emails, I realized that Matthew and I had both sat down on that bench longing to share the Gospel with each other. And much to our delight, we did! What a blessing. And I'm hoping - praying, actually - that Matthew finds his way here to my blog, sees his picture, and smiles one more time remembering our conversation.