Make the Most of Every Opportunity

She spoke so fast that I could only catch a word here and there.  We have a new teacher in language school and she is challenging language learning on a whole new level.  She is energetic and calls everyone “darling” in her language, but I still feel the surge of butterflies each time she looks in my direction and starts a conversation with me in front of the class.  Our teacher, who has grown up in this country where Christmas is not celebrated, thought it would be fun to have a Christmas party in class on Friday! So, after a couple hours of learning, we closed our books and the festivities began! Our class is made up of fellow missionaries from different organizations, as well as people from different countries in Europe.  Our language school is not a Christian school, but merely a national school that we chose to enroll in.

Our Christmas party was perfect.  Our teacher set up a small Christmas tree, complete with ornaments and blinking lights, and our classmates brought baked goods to share.  As we put our lessons away and piled treats on our plates, our teacher looked around the room and asked what everyone would be doing for Christmas.  A variety of answers were given, but when it was our turn, my husband decided to shift the conversation to one of Christ.

He briefly explained how we have been opening a small gift (an ornament) everyday with our children and that each ornament represents a small part of God’s story, leading up to the birth of Jesus on Christmas.  She smiled and nodded her head as she listened to him speak.  After he finished she looked around the room and asked if anyone had a story they would like to tell.  I looked over at my husband…

“You could tell her the story of the first Christmas…” I suggested quietly.

After a couple seconds, he decided to take the challenge.  Our teacher was excited to hear and enthusiastically encouraged him to share this story with the class.

I could tell he was nervous.  There were 11 pairs of eyes on him and we were in a school in the middle of a country that is over 99% Muslim.  He didn’t have a Bible in front of him and he wasn’t given any time to prepare.  This was spur of the moment and this was the Lord creating a way for His story of redemption to be told in a school where we do not know if it has ever been told before.

He started with creation and the story of Adam and Eve.  He worked his way through some stories through in the Old Testament, finally reaching the birth, life, death, and resurrection of Jesus.  My husband told the greatest love story of all time and as I listened to him, I was so thankful for the gift of watching him live out his calling. My husband will tell you that he didn’t do a very good job, but that’s why I only see beauty.  He did do a good job, because he spoke. God can use mouths that stutter and God can use shaky voices, but what He can’t use is silence. In my husband’s obedient weakness, I saw God’s radiant strength. I saw the strongest man I know as one who stepped out in faith, accepting the challenge of telling the Bible in a short story form, and I saw the warrior God showing up in glory as the redemption story of mankind was remembered and shared. I was inspired by his courage and I was reminded how important it is to have the Word of God planted in our hearts, so that when He opens the door, we are ready to share.

“Live wisely among those who are not believers, and make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be gracious and attractive so that you will have the right response for everyone.” ~Colossians 4:5-6

“…And if someone asks about your Christian hope, always be ready to explain it.” ~1 Peter 3:15

My husband ended on the resurrection story and as I looked at our teacher and asked if she had heard that story, she immediately started telling us that as a child her family was given a movie about the death of Jesus.  After asking some questions, we believe it was The Passion of the Christ that she saw!  She explained with great emotion just how heart wrenching it was to watch and how much she loved it.  She didn’t seem to understand the differences between Muslims and Christians completely, but it seems as though the Lord is at work!! We hear stories of how a Muslim will have little seeds sown here and there – a movie given to them, a dream from God, a Bible or a portion of scripture given to them, crossing paths with a believer – and at some point, they will come to accept Jesus as the only Way. We are praying that the hearing of the story of salvation will stay with her and that the Holy Spirit will draw her to Himself!

As class time was coming to an end, some fellow workers played a couple Christmas songs on the instruments they brought.  As I sang the words of Joy to the World with my fellow brothers and sisters in Christ, and with our lost friends looking on, I was filled with joy knowing that God is with us and that even in the darkest of places, His story will continue to be told.