Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Sitting by freed prisoners on a train (journal entries from day 1 of this Hong Kong adventure)

8:30 a.m. On the train to Chicago 

June 10 has arrived and the journey has finally begun.

Becky and I are surrounded by prisoners on this train. Like literally, surrounded by prisoners. They all have on light gray jogging pants, white shirts, white shoes. 

It seems fitting that God is starting this adventure off for us by placing us right smack dab in the middle of a bunch of prisoners. He's setting the tone for this journey -- freedom for those in prison. 

The spirit of the Lord Jehovah is upon me; because Jehovah hath anointed me to preach Good Tidings unto the meek; He hath sent me to bind up the broken-hearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound.
-Isaiah 61:1-2

There's quite a bit of rough language flying around this train. We don't mind, we know the One who sets prisoners free.

"People look at me, they don't want to sit by me," one man in gray jogging pants just said, talking about new passengers getting on the train. I want to sit by him, but also want to make wise decisions. We'll see what the next five hours hold.

9:14 a.m.
I just bought the prisoners donut holes. 

And as it turns out, they're actually not prisoners anymore, they just got released today. Even better, God. 

Jesus, may freedom be the theme of this journey. And may it be the theme of my life.

12:53 p.m.
I just politely asked one of the free men to read the story of Zacchaeus and handed him my Bible, opened to Luke 19. He read it. 

"What do you think about that?" I asked. 

"It's aight," he said. 

It turns out that my new friend doesn't believe so much in things he "can't see."

I preached his leg off. 

First, I gave him my in-depth re-telling of the story of Zac (Jesus' pursuit of his sinful heart, His ability to transform a heart in a matter of minutes, His unchanging nature which means He's still in pursuit of sinful hearts, etc.) 

I told him that all the visible things we're surrounded by are telling us there is an invisible God. His favorite kind of car is a 1967 GTO. I told him that I've never met the man who designed the GTO, but when I see a GTO's rims and doors and tires and steering wheel (I know a lot about cars), I can know, without a doubt, that someone put a lot of thought into the design--a designer. 

"It's kind of the same when I look at your face, man. I see your nose and your eyebrows and your forehead and your ears and your eyes that are seeing and I know that Someone put a whole lot of thought into that face. I can't see a designer, but I sure can look at His design and I'm lookin at it right now."

My sermon went on for awhile. In the end, he let us pray for him. God's going to supply him with faith and turn everything around. That's what He does.

9:01 p.m.
I'm less than 24 hours into this journey and God has already opened up doors for the Gospel to be preached. He sure does want to have companions. From men on trains in Illinois to children on streets in Nepal, He is after companions.