Monday, February 18, 2013

Expresso Americano + French Embassy personnel = Divine Appointment

"Joel, wake up, we've got a radio interview, buddy."  Wait, last night the schedule said I had nothing till my evening conference.  Oh, that was the old version of the schedule.  "If I'm ready in 10 minutes can we still make it?"
"Probably - and I'll call the radio station to see if I can buy us more time."
Twelve minutes later we were on the road and the station said jump into the program whenever you arrive - 'no es problema.'  Gotta love Latinoamerica. My kind of countries.

But doesn't it figure, the Expresso Americano coffee shop with some of the best 'granitos' (iced coffee) in the city is busy - three cars in the drive through when we pull in - the only time this has happened in the several times we've stopped here. But Luis, my friend, trip coordinator and driver, is undaunted. He swings into a space and says, "We've got time, we'll just go to the window." As we are waiting to order, two foreign looking women walk up to the line and Luis asks them, "What language do you speak?" in English - to which they reply "French." They had walked over from the French embassy, so as we chatted is a mix of Spanish, English and bits of French and Portuguese thrown in for fun, I got asked the inevitable question - "What are you doing here?" My short answer on training pastors and investigating religions - including the Mormon religion with their temple opening got a raised eyebrow and a "So what is it with you Americans and your interest in religions?"  I explained that it was an important part of life and my job was to help evangelical pastors in the country discern the differences and recognize and respond appropriately to religious challenges from groups that use similar terminology but have different beliefs. Suddenly, one of the ladies says, "I have someone in my office who would probably love to talk to you."  I'm thinking, "Great, she works with a Mormon."  But instead, it turns out one of her staff has been assigned to research the Protestant Church movement and the growth of Christian denominations in Honduras and she thinks I will be a good resource.  So I gave her my card and said I'd be happy to help in anyway possible - thinking I may or may not hear anything back.

Less than an hour later I have an email in Spanish from an attaché of the French embassy with a whole list of questions related to a report she has been assigned to do for the embassy, including questions regarding what distinguishes the different Protestant groups like evangelicals and Mormons, and what is it that attracts people to the protestant churches, and how do they promote their faith within their group. And, would I be willing to meet personally if I have time while I'm in the country? Seriously. I think I can help with this one.

So, I wrote back that I'd be delighted to help and suggested several days this week when I had open time blocks.  How exciting to be able to be a key resource for this kind of report! And it would never have happened if the morning had gone at all like I planned. That one 10 minute window of time when our paths converged at a small coffee shop on the outskirts of the city should have never happened. But God used my sleeping in, the clogged drive through line and Luis' outgoing, make-a-connection-with-anyone-who -crosses-his-path personality to open a door of influence that will lead who knows where in the lives of some embassy personnel.  Pray God continues to orchestrate my circumstances to accomplish His will and I will rest and trust His amazing, exiting and good sovereign control.

By the way the radio interview (on a secular station) was an amazing time to talk very openly about the differences between the Mormon religion and other Christian denominations, and the masonic background of the Mormon temple ceremonies. They've also shown interest in having me back next week.

In other news, the last two church conferences on Mormonism have gone very well.  Tonight's service was standing room only (about 160 people), and the Sunday morning service was a very enthusiastic group of over 600.  People are resonating with the theme of "My Neighbor's Faith" and a call to a compassionate, respectful response that shows love for LDS people but recognizes they are in an unbiblical religion, started by a false prophet who produced a false scripture and promoted a false teaching on God, the Bible and Salvation.

One final prayer request. The TV station that I hope will record and edit the day-long conference next week came in with an estimate almost double what they charged me last time.  I've emailed them back expressing my disappointment and asking for the rationale on the significant increase.  Pray that I will have wisdom as I navigate this financial challenge to this trip and respond redemptively to the situation. Another radio interview in the morning - so its off to bed - with the alarm set this time!


shan said...

Thank you for sharing the providence of God. He makes much more of our time than we could ever imagine.

Ruby Mae said...

Exciting for sure to see how God is opening pathways for you to minister there.

Keith Walker said...

Sounds fun!You break the Word of Wisdom and God blesses you for it.

Greeter said...

That Luis guy sounds like quite a guy! You're blessed to have him! :)