My name is James. My wife, Cammie, and I have one son, Ethan, who is 15. Almost 5 years ago, we moved back to the states after living in SE Asia for 12 years among an unengaged, unreached people group. Believe it or not, there are similarities to living on a remote, rural island that is 100% Muslim and living in Huntington Beach.
The enormity of God’s command to make disciples is just as overwhelming there as it is here. One of the most comforting and reassuring truths that I have learned over time is that it is not my job to soften people’s hearts and turn them towards God; it is God’s. The Spirit is working and drawing hearts to the Savior everywhere and all the time. My role in this whole process is to be a witness of God’s handiwork.
One of the practices that we do as a family is when we meet and interact with people throughout the day is to try and think about culturally appropriate things we can say and/or do that would let people know we are spiritual and like to discuss spiritual things. You would think that after all my experience and practice that I would be great at doing this, but, trust me, I still suck at it. I am fearful of rejection, get tongue tied, and miss opportunities because I am too focused on myself.
Most recently, I was at my son's basketball game, and one of his teammates fell and thought he broke his leg. The kid's dad started freaking out and no one was really doing anything, so I got up and went over to help calm both of them down and to help carry his son to his car. My dad was there and tagged along as we carried the kid to the car. We loaded him up and was about to send them off when my dad said and did the thing that I should have done. He asked if we could pray for the kid's leg. They said sure and he did. Both of them started crying and were really touched that my dad would do that. At the next game, the kid's dad came up to my dad and said thank you again for praying. Then my dad and I were able to learn more about his and his son’s faith journey and share a little bit about ours.
I share this story because, one, it has been a great motivator/reminder that I need to be a better listener to God and to be more diligent and brave when opportunities like this present themselves. It also was a great reminder that we need people around us, like my dad, who encourage us and model for us how to actively engage others in meaningful, spiritual conversations. This is why we are excited to be a part of this collective called the Union. We look forward to being challenged and encouraged by you to be better disciple makers.