Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Just when you're feeling pretty good about yourself ...

... there's someone who wants to bring you down.

That's usually how it goes.

My time in El Salvador was powerful as evidenced by the stats I put up yesterday. Who wouldn't be moved by seeing 226 decisions for Christ? Who wouldn't be moved by a people that so long for love and hope? Who wouldn't be moved by children who just want you to hug them or hold them on your lap? We had tremendous times of prayer within our team, not only for the people of El Salvador and the programs we did, but for each other, and even for ourselves.

We really had a great team.

The girls!

The boys!

However, one of the most powerful moments for me happened in the airport on the way home.

The camp we stayed at was about 2 hours from the airport and we had to be at the airport 3 hours before our flight. This resulted in a little less than 2 hours of sleep. Sleep for me is a necessity. I don't do well without enough of it.

We went through customs and all the massive security (I got pulled aside for a pat-down right before entering the plane due to my suspicious athletic shorts, flip-flops, Christian t-shirt, ponytail, and glasses.). Don't get me wrong. I'm thankful for massive security when entering into the U.S. They can pat me down anytime if that's gonna make our country a safer place. Pat away!

As we waited for our plane to arrive, the seating area was quite full. Many people were standing. The person who was sitting by me decided to give up his seat to an older gentleman, which was a very nice thing to do. I didn't think anything of it.

Then, the man started to strike up a conversation with me. (A - I'm not a big conversationalist with strangers. It's something I'm working on. But, mostly I read and keep to myself. & B - I had only 2 hours of sleep. I was a bit cranky.)

He asked what we were doing in El Salvador. I was friendly and answered that we were returning home after a mission trip.

He asked what we did on this mission trip. I answered that we basically did children's programs on the streets and in some schools where we loved on the children and told them about Jesus.

He seemed content with that answer and there was silence for a few minutes or so.

Then he asked me if we were affiliated with any denomination.

To which I answered, "Yes. Assemblies of God."

He said, "And, what do the Assemblies of God believe?"

Geez Louise. I didn't have our 16 tenets of faith with me so I couldn't pull them out.

I hesitated and said, " Well ... first of all, like most Christian denominations we believe in Jesus and that He is the only way to God and to heaven. There are many other things that we could go into. What specifically are you wanting to know?"

I started to get an uneasy feeling here.

He said, "Well, do you believe in heaven?"

I said, "Yes."

He said, "Where does it say in the Bible that there is a heaven?"

My mind went blank and all I could recall was John 3:16. Ridiculous. Two hours of sleep kickin' in! I was irritated that I didn't have an arsenal of Scriptures to pull out, but I knew they were there.

So, I said, "John 3:16 says that if we believe in Jesus we will have everlasting life. Jesus also spoke of being with Him in heaven when He was on earth. And, Revelation describes heaven in detail."

Then he began to explain, very intellectually I might add, how there was no heaven. He spoke eloquently, quoted multiple Scriptures, and barely took a breath for me to have even a moment to speak up about anything. 

Actually, I couldn't even tell you right now what all he said because I kinda checked out halfway through his explanation. Something about blood and water flowing from Jesus' side and God never saying we would be with Him in heaven and about the new heaven and new earth. Blah. Blah. Blah.

As he was speaking, I was thinking ... I did not come off of this incredible mission trip to get into a theological debate with this guy. I came to share the love of Jesus, not talk to Mr. There-Is-No-Heaven. I honestly just wanted him to stop talking and I would politely try to get myself out of the conversation.

Finally, he breathed and I simply said, "Well, I disagree with you."

He said, in a very ugly manner, "Well, you need to read your Bible."

I smiled, got up and walked away. I was shaken. I felt attacked.

Really? Is this how fellow "Christians" act toward each other when we disagree over an issue. I put quotations because I honestly don't know if he was a Christian. Why he was trying to sway me with his belief boggles my mind. 

Then I realized he was there with other men who were preaching the same thing he was. He was on a mission trip too. 

Simply stated: Just as we are trying to win the lost, so are they ... people with false doctrines. It broke my heart. They are trying just as hard as we are. We must try even harder to reach the lost with the TRUTH.

Jesus is out only hope. Heaven is our promise. I think I'll have to put these to verses to memory.

Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. In my Father's house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also.

But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself.


Penny said...

I was thinking of that John verse but would not have been able to quote it or tell where it was other than in the Gospels.

That gave me the chills. You're so right. We're fighting a battle...and we forget some times that we're not the only ones fighting.

Sarah@Life in the Parsonage said...

You're so right, they are all over the place preaching false hope. I needed this reminder to get my butt out there and share Jesus.

Patrice said...

Wow, I am speechless. Makes me want to fight harder to get out there and to share. So sad.