This summer I (Nick) went on the Falls Creek A trip to Cardiff, Wales. While there, my trek served in the “B” area, which is predominantly Somalian Muslim. Our all-guys trek spent the week in that neighborhood, prayer walking, playing “football” (American Soccer) with people in the park, and trying to have spiritual conversations.
There is one tiny little hole-in-the-wall Somalian restaurant near the park where our group would go. This was the “hang out” spot for the men of the neighborhood. They would sit in the back area of the restaurant and play dominos for hours. We were allowed to watch them play but never invited to join. We got to know the owner and his sons, and even tried to share the gospel with him, but he wasn’t interested.
Everywhere we turned we were hitting walls. No one was interested in hearing the gospel. No one wanted to stop and talk with us. So we prayed. A lot. We prayer walked an average of 5 miles every day. We plowed, asking God to move in that neighborhood, to break up the hardness of the people’s hearts so they would be receptive to the good news.
However, we were frustrated. We hadn’t really gotten to have any great spiritual conversations with anyone. I returned to my room the last night, disappointed. I’d been asking God all week for an opportunity to share the gospel and it felt like God hadn’t answered my prayer.
That night I noticed one of the security guards at the place we were staying had a guitar. I love music, and so I approached him and asked if he had been playing long.
“I’m just learning,” he replied.
We began a conversation about our love for music and I taught him a few new chords. While we were talking, it hit me. I’d been asking God all week for an opportunity to share and here was my chance! I kept trying to turn the conversation to spiritual things, but the guard seemed more interested in the guitar and music. I kept praying, “God, help me turn this conversation toward you.”
Soon, my friend Regan came over and began talking with us. Regan began playing “The Power of the Cross.” The guard was instantly captivated. As soon as Regan finished, he began asking questions: “Who were you singing to?” “What were you singing about?” “There’s something different about you guys, what is it?”
“Well, we have a hope that won’t die or fade away.” Excited, we began explaining the gospel – who Jesus is, the issue of sin, the penalty Jesus took on our behalf, and more. It was obvious that this guy wanted to know more. When we asked him what he thought about all that, he said, “I need to know more, but I don’t have a Bible.”
I instantly thought of the extra Bible I had brought. For some reason, while I was packing I sensed that I needed to bring along my old pocket Bible. It was a well-worn; I used to carry with me everywhere. I’d made notes in it and underlined things. What an incredible and exciting moment it was to hand this Bible to my new friend! I showed him passages I’d underlined that he could read to learn more about Jesus. God had answered my prayer – I’d gotten to sit down and share the gospel while in Cardiff!
Two weeks after I returned, I was serving at Falls Creek on their decision team after evening worship. Another guy on the decision team, Jesse, approached me and asked if I’d like to pray for the students. As he set his Bible down, I noticed he had an iGo notebook just like the one I’d gotten at Base Camp!
“Did you go with iGo this summer?” I asked.
“Yeah,” he said. “Let’s pray first and then talk about our trips.”
After we prayed I found out that he had just returned the day before from the second Falls Creek trip to Cardiff. Not only that, but his trek had served in “B” area, the very same area I’d been two weeks earlier!
“So, did you guys do a lot of plowing (prayer walking)?” I asked.
“Man, EVERYONE was wanting to hear about Jesus while we were there” he exclaimed!
He proceeded to tell me how the men in the restaurant had invited them to play dominoes AND how they’d gotten to share with them! They’d even gotten to know the restaurant owner and his son really well and share with them too!
I was shocked. While I was there, we had done miles of prayer walking without really getting to share with anyone. Then I realized we had done tons of plowing – asking God to break up the hardness of the people’s hearts so they would be receptive to the gospel. While there, I felt like God wasn’t really answering my prayers. Instead, he answered them in a bigger way than I had even dreamed!
That night I was so excited to call the other guys on my trek and share the news with them. We were almost in tears as we celebrated the joy of the plower and God’s amazing plan! I was so thankful that God sent Jesse to me, to share how our prayers were ultimately answered and to reveal to us His greatness!