Friday, November 28, 2008

Pizza, Security, Bus, Taxi & Standers-by.

Good evening from the northern Bahamas. I am still amazed here by the freedom to approach people & discuss death, eternity and the Gospel of Jesus Christ….quite refreshing really, also heartbreaking to see so many religious people who don’t know the Gospel.

While I’ve planned to spend extensive time here, dedicated to preach on the streets, my plans have been thwarted. It seems that every day, something comes up that required a trip uptown or some other place. Some of you may not be familiar, but we live on a boat, one of the most fantastic places to live on earth…and staggeringly mechanically unreliable. The maintenance required (even though I’m not new to it) blows my mind. So…this means that often I’m off to some place or another for some fuse, bolt, screw, belt or something. The long and short of this, is that instead of having time to go to specific places to hand out tracts, start conversations of the Gospel & preach, I have been running all over the place….and hence talking to folks all over the place (not where I’d planned) of the Gospel….hmmm….maybe my God is allowing my boat to break, so I can meet these folks. J

Today I had to run uptown for four 5/16 stainless steel lag bolts. Sue and the kids decided to come along and do some Christmas shopping (thankfully, quite a challenge on this island). Along the way, I met a lot of people….some of which I remembered to make notes about, so I can tell you about them (I have the memory of an elephant….good, but short!). Just five-minutes after leaving our boat, we got out to the main road and were walking to a bus stop….looking out for a bus (i.e. local buses are mini-vans privately operated with official sanction). I saw what looked like a ‘bus’ and waved it down. When it slowed, I saw it had ‘taxi’ emblazoned on the side. I apologized and called out that we’re looking for a bus and waved him on. The driver, undeterred, asked where we were going. I explained that we were heading up (down) town. The driver pragmatically explained that we’d have much better luck catching a bus by Port Lucaya (the direction we were walking) & offered us a ride. I asked how much to which he replied that he wouldn’t charge us for the ride….we quickly hopped in.

Neil had a King James Bible on his dashboard (not uncommon at ALL here). I asked if he knew the author (I think he was originally confused with ‘King James’). Trying to become more clear, I become more specific “Almighty God”. He said he believed in God. I asked whether he was a Christian, he said he couldn’t say he was, but believed in God. We talked about God, sin, righteousness and judgment but arrived at the bus stop in Port Lucaya before we could get to the Good News. I asked if he knew what God had done, so he would not have to go to Hell….he wasn’t really clear. I gave him an “Are You Good Enough To Go To Heaven” tract, asked him to consider and left him.

As we ran across to the bus stop, a ‘bus’ pulled in, in front of the other couple sitting at the stop. I had been heading for the front bus at the stop, but as this bus pulled in, I saw the word “Downtown” labeled on the side….we hopped in. As we pulled away, the other bus driver came running onside yelling at our driver. As we drove downtown, at several stops or red lights, this driver (in his ‘bus’) pulled alongside and yelled threats to our driver; threatening to register a complaint (turns out his nickname is “Snake”)….seems he should have pulled in behind and not accepted passengers until the others were full and left the stop.

As we went, I was able to give tracts to a couple from the USA who were in the back of the bus and a couple locals heading home from work. Our bus driver, took us directly to the store we’d been heading for (beyond his usual route) and as I was paying our fare outside after my family and I’d disembarked, I walked to the front of the bus and asked about a pamphlet I’d seen the reflection of in the windscreen….something about how to be “Born Again”. It turns out that our driver….think his name was Michael Glenn Thompson (note middle name) is a fervent believer and disciple of Jesus Christ. He and I talked for quite a while. Initially, I questioned him of the Gospel; asking how to be saved. Eventually, he asked me to critique his answer (a mark of a humble believer). I was humbled at the opportunity to help instruct a faithful believer on presenting the Gospel. We talked for some time on the Gospel, doctrine and living as a Christian man, father and husband. Please pray for Michael, he seems to be a real brother, with a heart to serve our Lord!

Tonight, much of the rest of the day is a blur, though I talked to others, handed out tracts all over the place (even Sue was handing out tracts….Jacquie was handing out tracts to school girls in the seat behind her on one bus). One bus driver downtown (we rode his bus two times that day) talked with me for some time. We were at the main bus stop downtown, lots of people around & a rousing game of dominos echoing the background. I asked him about death & judgment…..coming to what was the standard God would judge him by, he was stumped. Another driver behind him began to quickly (& in thick island accent) quote the Ten Commandments. I was able to talk with this man for some time (with a big interruption in the middle) and explain the Gospel at length.

Tonight, my family must’ve been feeling both lazy flush….nobody wanted to cook (I sort of volunteered) and everyone seemed to want pizza. I remembered that there was a Dominos Pizza location nearby at Port Lucaya. I looked them up online and called to see about having a pizza, or two, delivered. The only phone we have here is via Skype (internet phone… I called on Skype and attempted or order pizza. I was asked for phone number….being my number was not Bahamian, it would not fit into their computer….they would NOT take my order, as they could not call me back on a local number. I later learned that they routinely call back and order to confirm and then the drivers call to confirm before delivery. Some of this is to eliminate prank calls, while it is also to minimize the risk of robbery (a real hazard).

My family protested at me traveling at night via bicycle to pickup pizza, but I protested and went (wearing a headband light…set on red, backwards and a flashlight in my hand) by bicycle to Port Lucaya. It must’ve been an hour and half ‘till my return. I arrived at Dominos, ordered my pizza (MUCH cheaper for pickup) and had to wait 15 or 20 minutes for cooking. I rode my bike around the corner and encountered a group of rather muscular men (plain clothes) with badges around their necks. One of them took me aside and told me that riding my bike on the market area was not allowed. I smiled and enlightened him that I was simply ordering a pizza for my family and picking it up….through this I ended up talking with one of the other men from the group, Sergio. The others walked off, while I talked with Sergio.

Sergio freely admitted that he was not a Christian, but believes in God…his face….not sure how to explain….some softening…a wince maybe when talking of God & the Day of Judgment. He and I talked for quite a long time….for a time he companions were calling after him….one came back to bring him a drink (the bag was leaking….I teased him a bit and found later it was Sergio’s boss). I was privileged to have had the opportunity to explain, at length, the Gospel of Jesus Christ to Sergio. Please pray for Sergio…he seems to be really concerned about his eternal destiny.

Initially I had asked Sergio whether it would be a problem if I Open Air preached in front of the market place. It seems that if no one complains loudly, I will be allowed to preach.

Leaving the marketplace, I passed by the taxi stand & found a lone-man standing where I’d seen him a half-hour before. I turned back and gave him a tract and talked with him of the Gospel…he was appreciative and took the tract.

I know not all of you can be here, but ALL of you are going about your daily lives, encountering people wherever you go…do you care that most of them are going to HELL without Jesus Christ?! You can warn them of the coming day of wrath. If you don’t know how, email me!

Your Brother-In-Christ,


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