A Day in the Life
Beep, beep, beep. The alarm sounds and you awake. You can tell right away something is different. There are strange sounds outside your window. Unrecognizable chatter, and taxi horns sounding in the distance.
Suddenly it strikes you, “Oh, yeah, I’m in Asia!”
You scramble out of bed in time to see your towel-clad housemate returning to his bedroom from the shower. You clean up, and say a quick prayer of thanks that you have a Western toilet in your fourth floor apartment. It’s 8:00am.
After spending some personal time with God, you and your roommate get together and pray for a few minutes. Just as you are finishing up there is a knock on your door. It’s Monday and your language tutor has arrived. He teaches you both for one or two hours and then leaves. He’ll be back on Wednesday and Friday.
Tomorrow morning you’ll work on those personal projects. You’re learning to play guitar, and you are practicing a worship song in Mandarin. You also like to write, so you are trying to keep a journal of your cross-cultural experiences that you hope to publish later. Some mornings you practice making traditional Oriental meals so that you can throw parties at your apartment.
You want to check the baseball playoffs. You and your buddy head about a block down the street to the internet cafe. You write home, then write a short note to your prayer team. Then you check the sports scores before lunch.
“Hurry up,” your buddy says, “We’ve gotta be at the University in 10 minutes.” You finish on the computer and race to catch a bus. In 7 minutes you are standing at the South Gate of the University waiting for your new friend.
Your buddy met him three nights ago at an English corner and they really got along. So now the three of you are going to have some traditional dishes. When the new local friend arrives, he’s very excited that you both came. You don’t know him that well, so your buddy does the talking at first.
Your new friend knows just where to go. He leads you through the bustling college to a quaint campus restaurant. He says that here they make the best local food, because it’s the spiciest. You wince. When he asks you what you want, you eagerly say the two dishes that you already know that you like. He laughs, and explains that his English teacher said that was what all Americans would order.
The meal is a blast. You like most of the food, but try to avoid one of the dishes. Your new friend keeps offering it to you. You realize that it?s the Oriental way, and smile nervously while you take a very small bite. The conversation is great. He is insecure about his English, but the three of you are able to communicate fairly well. In fact, he is so curious about you Americans, that he asks many interesting questions. As soon as you mention that you believe in God, his interest is piqued. You can’t tell what he thinks at first, but you have a long conversation. You notice that a couple of the things you said clicked with him. He has to leave for a class, but you both promise to see him again very soon. “Maybe on Thursday,” you ask. He smiles and nods. You promise to call.
You leave the conversation feeling excited. In half an hour you promised to meet another guy on the basketball courts. You think to yourself, what other opportunities will God bring your way before the day is over?
The basketball courts are exploding with people. There are 12 full courts, each with a half-court game in progress. Lining the basketball area are dozens of ping-pong tables with the small white ball whizzing back and forth. You guess that there are probably 500 people in all.
Finally, you find your friend. He’s already in the middle of a game, but he stops the game to introduce you to the others. Everyone seems excited that they are going to play basketball with a foreigner. You try to explain that you aren’t very good, but they don’t believe you.
Two hours and ten games later, you are hungry and thirsty again. So you ask three of your new basketball buddies if they want to try some Western food. Two of them say yes, and one hurries off to an evening class. You meander slowly through the campus with your sweaty friends, chatting all the way to the restaurant.
At dinner you ask them all kinds of questions about their studies, their hometowns, and their favorite food. You can tell that these guys are very excited to be spending time with you. But when you mention God, they both snicker. When you ask them why, they explain that they believe that there is no God, and that they believe in themselves.
You smile and ask if they want to play basketball again in two days! They nod their heads “yes” emphatically.
On the way home, you and your partner talk about dinner. Both of you are happy, because you’ll have plenty of opportunities to talk more with those guys about Jesus. You also noticed that your buddy connected well with one of the guys, while you really liked the other. Maybe next week you’ll get to spend time with them individually. You wonder if they might feel more comfortable talking honestly about God if they are alone.
You stop again at the Internet cafe and read a long letter from home. It’s fun to stay connected by email. Being so far away is not as lonely as you expected.
When you get home, you take a long hot shower and then settle down to prepare for tomorrow evening. There is going to be a Bible study at your house, and you’re speaking. You are excited because your two friends that accepted Jesus last week are going to get baptized in your bathtub! You can’t wait!
The long-term worker is going to interpret for your talk, and you are going to have a dinner celebration after he baptizes them! You can’t wait to give them a brand new English/Mandarin Bible. They will love it!
You lay down in your bed knowing that sleep will come quickly. You are worn out! But inside you couldn’t be happier. You’ve never felt so useful, never been so fulfilled! At every turn you are making friends, and at every turn your friends are meeting Jesus.
As the weeks pass, you can see Jesus’ transforming love having dramatic effects on their lives. You are delighted that you get to share life with these people and help them become mature in their faith.
You can’t wait for tomorrow!