Tuesday, May 30, 2006

An awkward learning opportunity. Tues, May 30, 2006.

05/30/2006. This was more of a bungled opportunity than a missed opportunity. I need to be more open to spiritual guidance after an encounter starts instead of thinking I have to do things entirely on my own.

I was just about to get into my car after a workout at the gym when a man walked by my car. He was returning to his car, carrying his purchases from a nearby store.

He "stood out." My attention was drawn to him. At the time I thought he might have been an African immigrant. He was wearing a conservative black suit on a hot and humid day. I thought he might be a minister. After I got home, I thought that he might have been a member of the Nation of Islam. I've seen people wear similar suits as they stand on traffic islands near intersections.

I asked if he spoke French, and he said no. He was taken aback slightly that I started a conversation, but he was not angry or afraid. I asked what languages he spoke other than English, and I said that my church has books in many foreign languages. He took a long time to formulate his reply. He was very soft-spoken, when he said he didn't speak anything other than English. He spoke in a low voice, so I couldn't really make out if he was speaking with an accent. He was at a loss for words as was I.

My first thought was that by "no", he really meant "no languages that you would know of." But his hesitancy made me wonder if he was uncomfortable with the enouncter, or if he was just searching for the right response.

I didn't think fast enough to come up with more so our conversation ended. Later, in the car I thought I could have asked where he was from. And if he wasn't an immigrant I could have asked what church he went to, or if he was a minister.

I think I was motivated by the Spirit to speak with him. But the Spirit doesn't always give us conversation starters. We have to start talking, and after we get the ball rolling, then the Spirit fills our mouth. I didn't keep the ball rolling long enough to cross that threshhold where the Spirit provides words. Or else I was not listening to or not seeking for the Spirit.

More ideas of what to say came after I got home. It occurred to me I could have just asked what church he went to. And if he went to a Christian church I could have asked if he believed in the Holy Spirit, and if so, I could have admitted that the Spirit indicated I was to speak to him. And then I could have just offered to be of assistance.

I carry material in English, too. Bibles, Gospel Principles, True to the Faith, Our Heritage, hymn books, DVDs.

This was definitely a learning opportunity. The Spirit was trying to teach me a new approach.

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