Out in front of the student union, there are always a few people set up to advertise for an event or promote their organizations. I only walk in front of the Union once or twice a week, but today was one of those days. Last week, I noticed a man sitting in a purple camping chair wearing a shirt that said “Jesus Talk.” He also had two metal chairs, one with a sign inviting people to tell him prayer requests or ask him questions.
(Buy one here. I won’t get any money, but it could help you prevent a sunburn.)
Today, I was unexpectedly a few minutes early to class. I passed the man in the chair again, but I kept heading toward Coates, where my class is. There’s stuff I could talk to him about, but I was feeling a little too prideful to put myself in a chair in front of a bunch of strangers and ask a different stranger to pray for my family and me. That lasted about thirty seconds before I decided to turn around and talk to the Jesus Talk guy. My heart is still hurting from the loss of Kathy, and I know my loved ones are hurting, so I thought it would be good to ask him to pray for us. I sat down in one of his metal chairs, we talked for a moment, I briefly recapped my situation, and we exchanged names. (His name is Ivan.)
While dozens of people passed us by on the sidewalk, Ivan said a lovely prayer for my family and me, and we talked a little more before I went to class. It’s amazing how private this interaction seemed in the middle of the daily campus chaos. Ivan is there almost every day to answer questions, pray, or just talk. I’ve decided I want to check in with him regularly, perhaps even bring him lunch sometime. Maybe one day we will even take a selfie.
Nobody asked me, but I think this was a much better way to share Jesus with people than those outrageous protestors who used to come to NSU to tell the students that all of the gay people were going to go to hell. Being willing to talk and open to questions creates a better foundation than yelling and carrying signs about who is going to hell.
Something that made today great: submitting my first paper!