A Conversation With Someone Different

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The large dealership service center waiting room was filled to capacity. I took one of the few available seats and pulled paperwork from my canvas bag, hoping to “redeem the time” while repairs were made on our car.

A woman sitting in the far corner rattled on and on, oblivious to the fact that the slick finish on the hard-surface walls was broadcasting her cell-phone conversation to everyone else in the room.

With a sigh, I put away my pen and papers. The noisy distractions simply made it impossible for me to concentrate.

That’s when I noticed a brown-skinned young man with straight, black hair entering the room. He wore regular American-style clothing, but the woman with him wore a full, brightly colored, floor-length dress and a long scarf covering her head and shoulders.

Based on their appearance, I guessed that they were from Southeast Asia. Immediately I recalled the application assignment from a Bible study class. Based on Peter’s experience with Cornelius (Acts 10), we were challenged to pray for a divine opportunity to speak with someone who was seeking spiritual truth, especially someone who we perceived to be different from us.

Well, this man and woman were definitely different from me, but how could I approach them in this crowded room? When they turned aside and sat down at a table in the empty adjacent children’s playroom, I quickly followed them, said hello, and asked if I could sit and chat with them.

The young man spoke good English, though his accent necessitated careful listening on my part. His mother, visiting for only a couple of months, did not understand our conversation, but a children’s TV program in that room kept her occupied for the next hour while I spoke with her son.

He was very respectful, courteous and open to answering my questions and sharing about himself and his family. He explained that he, his wife, and their two children emigrated to the U.S. legally about two years ago. Together with several other families from their country, they live in an apartment complex.

He said their son was learning about the big upcoming holiday in December, and he had already persuaded his dad to buy a Christmas tree for their small apartment. I felt sad that this Hindu family was learning about our American Christmas traditions but not about the Christ.

After explaining the Christian meaning of the holiday, I asked if I could send him a video about the life of Jesus. He agreed and gave me his mailing address.

I mailed it right away … and prayed.

Foreign-born residents and their domestically born children make up a quarter of the U.S. population-about 80 million people. This represents a considerable mission field and an opportunity for sharing the gospel.

There is a greater need than ever before for American Christians to reach out culturally, connect, build relationships with these neighbors, and share the story of Jesus.

The People’s Connection, an initiative of Jesus Film Project®, has partnered with hundreds of churches and ministries to provide training, DVDs, and resources to Christians who see their neighborhoods and communities as a mission field where they can share the love of Christ.

You too can reach the world with the gospel, and you never need to update your passport! It’s as easy as building relationships with the people around you and giving them the “JESUS” film in their language. To learn how to approach members of your own diverse community with the gospel, check out this free booklet.