‘Chance’ Encounters During Mission Trips

Who Did God Put Beside You?

Experiences with people we interact with while travelling to and from mission trips. Languages, lost, and landing (landing in Africa) The flight was long; real long, fifteen hours long. Sitting next to me on my first trip to Africa was a very educated lady on her way back to her homeland. Knowing that the LORD more than likely had orchestrated our seating, I knew that He very possibly might have strategically put her next to me for a specific reason. As soon as we boarded the plane, she immediately put her headset on and quickly dozed off. After about 13 hours of flying; intermittent eating, and sleeping, she finally woke up. The Holy Spirit had clearly prompted me to speak to this lady, yet there never seemed to be an opportune time. I kept praying that the LORD would open up the opportunity and He did. “Finally” I thought, after she opened the window shade and the early morning light began to peak in the window. Speaking to her with small talk, I introduced myself and found out that her name was Anna. As I began to inquire about some of her interests, her work, and her life, I realized very quickly that sitting next to me was a very articulate and influential lady who spoke five languages fluently. I joked with her and told her how impressed I was; especially since I didn’t even have one language mastered. She laughed and began to loosen up. Just as Jesus gently turned the conversation from the natural realm to the spiritual realm when He spoke to the woman at the well at Sycar (John Chapter 4), I began to gently turn the conversation to the spiritual realm. In spite of her great intellect, she had many questions and questioned if there really was a God who existed at all. This precious lady began to tell me of the atrocities that she saw in her country and the tremendous pain that they had endured; especially in the lives of the millions of innocent children. “Anna”, I said, “please correct me if I’m wrong, but you’re probably wondering how could a loving God abandon so many helpless kids and leave them as orphans?” The Spirit of God hit the nail right on the head. She shook her head in affirmation and tears began to well-up in her eyes. I began to show her from the Scriptures that God’s nature is that of love and that he loved these kids and His Word says that He “is a Father to the fatherless and a protector of the widow” (Psalm 68:5). I could see her heart and disposition begin to change before my very eyes. She then quickly asked another question, and we turned to the Word of God and again found God’s answer. Question after question; answer after answer, the Holy Spirit was patiently peeling back her hardened heart like an onion, one layer at a time till He reached the inner core of her being. It was there, in the deepest recesses of her heart, He found the little girl He was looking for; the girl who was crying out in desperation for answers and longing to be loved. There He revealed Himself to her as the tender-loving Abba Father that He is, the One who was relentlessly pursuing her all along. As I began to share the Gospel with her, she became very inquisitive; the Holy Spirit was clearly working and drawing her to Himself. Just then, the captain spoke over the loud speaker, “Ladies and gentlemen, the airplane will be landing shortly; we are on our final decent.” I continued to share the Gospel and then gave Anna an opportunity to accept this God who loved her passionately. I will never forget it as long as I live; as this lady was praying; inviting Jesus Christ to into her heart and life, the sound of the engines roared loader and loader. Incredibly, at the precise moment that Anna said “amen” the tires simultaneously screeched, touching down on the continent of Africa! It’s as if the Holy Spirit was saying to me, “Dave, the harvest is so plentiful here in Africa, the moment you touched down, a person got saved. This is just the beginning of a tremendous harvest that needs to be reaped!” Anna was so excited! So was I! As we departed the plane, we walked down the tarmac, all the way to luggage carrousel, all the while telling her how to grow in her walk with Jesus. I then gave her a spiritual birth certificate that she could put in her Bible to always remind her of this special day! With jubilation, she hugged me, and we left each other with great joy knowing that we would see each other one day “on the other side.” “But when he saw the multitudes, he was moved with compassion on them, because they fainted, and were scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd. Then saith he unto his disciples, The harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few; Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth labourers into his harvest. (Matthew 9:36-38)