We were joining together with an evangelism team and went into a mall in a town in Germany in order to talk to people about Jesus. There was a German man in a little seating area in the center of the mall. As we walked past him, Matthias, one of the team members, noticed the man had a small cross-shaped tattoo on his arm. He said, “Hey is that a cross?” To which the man replied. “Actually it’s a knife. It’s an old gang tat from when I was 15. Some day I’ll get around to getting it removed.”
A misconception or not, it was enough of an open door for Matthias to begin sharing his story of how the cross of Christ changed his life. We didn’t realize it at the time, but two seats away a Thai woman (the man’s wife, though we didn’t realize it until then) was listening to the conversation as well. She jumped into the conversation sharing about growing up Buddhist and asking questions about Jesus.
After a few minutes of conversation, Matthias prayed for them. As his prayer ended, this woman looked at her husband with tears pouring down her cheeks and said, “I wish that our son had such positive energy like these young men. He needs that.” They went on to share that their son has been in a mental health institution for some time. Matthias told her that what she saw as positive energy in us is really Jesus.
We ended our time with them after a few minutes, and it was clear that Jesus was working in her heart. As we said goodbye, they both said, “You’ll be sure to see us here again. We are here all the time for the free internet.” With that sentence, I knew that this journey has just begun for them.
Matthias won’t be here next week, because he’s busy all across Europe. But I will be here, and I’ll be looking for them. That’s why this pastor/teacher is so thankful for the evangelist. Where I struggle to start the conversation with people I don’t know, Matthias had no problem opening that door for me. Where he struggles knowing he can’t stay to train new disciples, I’ll be here to continue the work. That’s the beauty of the body of Christ.
This post was featured in the missions newsletter of Mike and Cara Tyler, missionaries to Germany