Bus Tours and 85-year-old Scientists
The other day, me, Ben, Jason, and George headed over to one of our favorite places to do evangelism in Bucharest – Cismigiu Park. It’s a beautiful, quiet park in the middle of the busiest part of the city, and it’s almost always full of people relaxing, talking, and thinking about life. We’ve had a lot of fruitful times doing evangelism in Cismigiu, so it’s a lot of fun to head there.
It was George’s first time doing street evangelism, so he was a bit nervous but mostly really excited. He’s a new Christian, but God has already used him to bring at least 2 friends into the Kingdom, and he just wants to talk to all his friends, classmates, and coworkers about the Gospel all the time.
Ben and Jason only had one conversation the whole time we were out, with a young couple. They were very receptive, so they didn’t even have time to go talk to anyone else. As they described the conversation, though the guy didn’t say much, he was listening intently the whole time. The girl opened up early on, describing herself as, “Agnostic, but every time I think about eternity, I know I’m going to Hell, and that really scares me.” She was really open and it sounds like she’ll probably end up coming to church with us.
Things started out really differently for me and George. We approached a young man and woman sitting on a bench and asked if we could talk with them about Jesus. “Sure, why not?” the man said, then he began to lecture us about Romanian history. I brought it back to talking about what Jesus did for me, but then he stopped and asked, “Do you know about the tour bus? There is a bus that goes all through the city, and you can see all the famous museums and buildings, for only 15 lei! That’s a good price!” It was at this point that I decided our best option would be escape. “Hey, let me give you this,” I said as I handed him one of my tracts. “It talks about what God did in my life, how I came to know Him. Read it and it’ll change your life.” Then I quickly thanked him for talking with us and we got out of there to find someone who would actually listen.
As we walked around, we saw two young men smoking cigarettes and sitting on a bench. Looked like good people to talk to, so George and I went over.
“Do you speak English?” I asked.
“Hi, I’m Jake,” I said as I extended my hand, “and this is George. We’re Christians, we love Jesus, and we’re going around talking with people about God. Do you want to talk with us for a minute?”
“Oh, we’re Muslim,” they told us.
“That’s OK, Jesus loves Muslims too.”
Then we sat down and had a great time talking with the two young men, from Turkey but on a road trip throughout Europe. We talked about some of the differences between Islam and Christianity, we talked about Jesus being the only path to God, we talked about being forgiven and having the guilt of sin removed, etc.
After we talked for a while, an old man stopped right near us and began staring. He stared for a long time, stared some more, and then finally interrupted the conversation and asked, “Do you speak German?”
“No,” I told him.
“Aaaah, you look German.” Then he introduced himself as one of Romania’s great scientists and began to recount his entire life story and explain to me how he came to learn the German language while in school, then the French language, and later, by accident, he learned Italian, and, because the Russians came in, he was forced to learn Russian and became fluent in that as well until, finally, he learned English as an old man. And now he was almost 85 and as he passed by he thought I looked German and was excited to try out his ancient German skills on me.
While he was talking, I kept thinking, first, “What is he talking about?” and, second, “How can I get back to talking with these two young men? I want to tell them more about Jesus.”
Well, God had different plans, and apparently they included me not saying anything else. I ended up walking away and talking with the old man, who turned out to be an aerospace engineering scientist who lectured all over Europe and the United States. At least he told me he was. Meanwhile, that allowed George to continue our conversation with the two young men.
Finally, after discussing language studies and scientific principles, the old scientist stopped talking, I realized we had to go, and George and I prayed for the young men and headed out of the park.
Please pray for Halil and Emre, that God would protect them and lead them toward Himself, and pray that George and I would continue to be good witnesses to them. We exchanged contact info and I hope we can continue our friendship. To be honest, I’m not looking for “converts.” I love Muslims and want to see them restored to God, and the only way anyone can be restored is through the blood of Jesus.