Things have been tottling along. Going to meetings, attending services, trips to ASDA...that's the grocery store, and then more meetings with the occasional super fun and awesome game night. It's this super fun and awesome game night that was much much more than that for me. The 45 minute trip to Donpatrick was great craic and I really connected with my driver, a 32 year old woman from Kitty's Road. I'm not sure whether or not to put her name in, so I'll call her...Kitty. The folks on Kitty's Road are an interesting bunch. Their accent is very strong, and they are very reliable when it comes to speaking their mind. It's this part that made a difference on the way back.
Bottom line: Kitty asked me if I thought she was going to Hell. She knows she's done bad things (Catholic background) and yet she doesn't want to call herself a bad person. I was completely stunned that she'd asked me right out, but I also knew that God had given me this opportunity and I wasn't about to shrink back like one who has no confidence in what they're talking about. So I asked her a question: are you trusting in Jesus Christ alone for the forgiveness of your sins? She replied: do I believe in Jesus? I countered: no, do you believe that Jesus can save you from your sins? Now I wish I could tell you that she answered me straight which would have pushed for the acceptance/denial of salvation, but she didn't and the conversation swerved back to whether or not she's a good person.
I'm glad she asked the question straight...I'm sorry she thinks I'm the one to judge her. She seems to think I'm a good person. Well I shot that balloon right out of the air, but struggled to keep from flaunting my sin. Note: humbly talking about your own sin is hard! What pushed me to keep going was in recalling my former life-I could only remember it vaguely-I could see so clearly that Jesus had done a radical thing in my life that changed everything. The thought of seeing the face of God was so keen in that car...I had to proclaim him in as many ways as I could. So many promises and truths of Jesus were swirling around in my head and I wanted to grab them all and make them fit in one single sentence that would show her a fraction of what life in Christ is and how it redefines your very existence...but then I remembered there are 66 books in the Bible with many much sentences and besides: God is bigger than all those words. Our language can't hold him and neither can our heads!
"Oh the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments
and how inscrutable are his ways! 'For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who has been his
counselor? And who has ever given a gift to him that he might be repaid?' For from him and through
him and to him are all things. To him be the glory forever. Amen." Romans 11: 32-36
Upon closer examination I found that I need to be rehearsing the gospel to myself more often. I didn't see that conversation coming, though I certainly had been praying for it, and when it did come I couldn't order my thoughts as well as I would've liked. Later that evening I found myself saying "That's what I should've said! Rats!" But that's not to suggest that I'm ashamed of what I said. It was all true, to the best of my knowledge, and I said it from my heart. Now I'm resting in God's promise that his word does not go out void. I don't know if what I said that was what Kitty needed to hear, but our conversation ended with her saying: "I'm going to start saying my prayers again Alli...because of you." I find that very unsettling as I don't think that means she's expecting to encounter God in those prayers but still encouraging as at least she's going to try. Please be praying for Kitty as she struggles to understand her life in the context of the gospel. And for me as I continue to love on her and pray with/for her.
More thoughts and experiences are sure to come: please keep praying and be encouraged that God is at work in these hearts, both young and old-er!