The night started off great! We had just finished going through a bible study with the young adults group and right after I had to run and meet up with a buddy. So jumped in the car and headed over to his place and although I am still getting to know Auckland, I thought I would just give it a shot by memory to see if I could make the journey. Plus my phone was totally dead so I couldn’t use my GPS if I wanted to. I GOT THIS!!! (Ladies, go ahead and cringe at this very guyish decision!)
As I pulled up to what I thought was his street, I come to realize I was in the wrong place. I looked around for familiar roads but nothing looked familiar. I WAS LOST!!! To make it worse, my phone was dead and the charger wasn’t working. And if THAT wasn’t enough, it was really late so I couldn’t go to the store and get a charger. So I did what any male would do, drive around until I found something familiar and then try to back track to his house. So for about 45 minutes I drove around looking for something, but the problem was that the sign at the entry of his house was a standard sign for the city, so they were all over the place.
At this point I didn’t know what to do; I was turned around and couldn’t even find the direction back home. So I just drove and drove until I came to a shopping center that seemed like it was opened. And to my surprise there was a Dominoes Pizza with the flashing sign that said open. So I thought hey, I have the USB chord, maybe they had a plug for my phone so that I could charge it up enough to pull all the information off the phone and get to my destination.
I tampered with the car charger one last time before going in and embarrassing myself. NO LUCK! So jumped out of the car, walked up to the door to open it and thunk, the door was locked. The lights were on but nobody was there. I looked over to my right and there was a little Asian girl that kept looking at me, I don’t know if she was scared that I was going to do something or she was laughing at the lost look on my face. I was going to approach her to ask for directions but then a car pulled up, she jumped in the car and took off. Those scary tall white guys!!!
It was getting late and I really didn’t know what to do… So I started praying and decided to give it one more shot at finding the place. So I back tracked a bit and ended up finding a street name that looked familiar so I took it. After that, nothing! I was lost again but as I looked over to my right there was a really cool lookout spot with some cars. So I felt this little tug to stop there and see if anybody had a car charger.
I pulled up, parked a little crooked and looked over to my left. Sitting in the car, there were two guys in the front and a girl in the back with the window down. The guys looked kinda thuggish and they were just hanging out while eating some food. I thought “Ok, I am going to get jumped!” But I got out of the driver side, walked around the car and approached them to see if they had a charger for a usb phone. He looked at me like “Who is this guy walking up to us like this?” They paused for a minute and one of the guys said, “You can leave your phone with me in here and we will charge it for a bit.” I knew that couldn’t be good if I wanted to keep my phone. But then he cracked the straight face, smiled and said “Naw, just messing, let me check.”
Score!! They had one, the guy let me try it out in the van to see if it would charge. But my phone still wouldn’t turn on. The guy asked “is it working?” I said “Not yet” and he proceeded with “just give it about 5-10 minutes.” So not really having a choice because the phone had all the information I sat there waiting. They all got out of the car and started talking, smoking and drinking. One asked me where I was from because of my accent. “LA” and they all got excited like I was a celebrity or something. He said “Really? Why are you out in New Zealand?”
DING! DOOR OPEN! So I explained how I was in the ministry and came out here to help with a church. He stopped and said, “Man I have to shake your hand.” Not knowing why, I flipped the questions on him. “So do you go to church out here?” He said he use to go to a Mormon Church but didn’t like it so he stopped going. He felt like he was judged and they made him feel like we wasn’t good enough to go to church so he really wanted nothing to do with the people.
That allowed me to tell him my testimony and how I ended up in the ministry. He was just blown away that somebody my age would be doing what I was doing. So was I 🙂 He seemed really interested in what we were talking about so I had to ask him, “So has anybody ever told you the gospel?” He said “No.” I explained to him the whole gospel and told him why we needed Jesus. His entire moral changed and you could see something click in him that caused him realize his need for a savior.
He looked at me and said “I don’t believe in coincidences, God has been telling me for a while now that the life I am living isn’t good and need to turn to Him.” I looked at him, smiled and said “You don’t know what I went through tonight, and God put me here at this appointed time to talk with you about how amazing He is.” You could just see him sigh and say “Your right.”
After that, my phone turned back on and I was able to get the address. It had been late so had to run. I gave him my number and told him if there is anything that he needed do not hesitate to call. I have never seen somebody so thankful in my life to hear the Gospel. All because of a little detour.
So I jumped in the car and headed over to my buddies house. As I drove up, it was the same place I first came to, just on the other side of the road. It was like God blinded me so that I would get lost and talk to these guys about Jesus. The crazy part about all this was, as I pulled up to my buddies house, he was sleeping so we didn’t even get to meet up.
So this detour was all about giving the gospel to this thuggish looking guy, who would receive it. This really made my night even better! There is something about sharing the gift of salvation to somebody ready to hear it! When we are willing to preach the good news, God is willing to take us on a few detours to reach those people that are ready to hear it. Don’t let anything get in the way of a willingness to give people the Gospel. Be willing to go where God leads and your journey will be full of changing peoples lives for Christ. You never know where God is taking you so trust Him with the bigger picture. 🙂
If this has inspired you to share your faith, please share it with others.