We met at 4 A.M. for our shuttle to the airport… Little did we know what God had in store for us that day.
I traveled with Dr. Paul Ariga (pictured above) from our A2 Vision Council from Malaysia back to Japan following our Global Leaders' Summit and Vision Council meetings. Our shuttle was a Tamil Taxi driver who grew up in Kuala Lumpur. I noticed he had several Manchester United buttons hanging from his rear view mirror so began a delightful conversation. He told me all about his favorite sport and team and was surprised to hear that I knew a World Cup teammate of the renown soccer star Maradona. I also noticed that he had two idols and a statue of Dr. Strange on his dashboard.
So, I asked him, “Why do you have a statue of Dr. Strange?” He said he liked the show and appreciated the colors of the statue. Of course, that gave me a bridge to ask about the idols which he said were two of the 1.5 Million Hindu gods. I asked, “How do you know which gods to pray to or protect you?” He said, “I don’t really know.”
So began quite a conversation about faith. You see, he’s from Malaysia which is predominantly a nation of Islam. I asked how he got along in a majority Muslim nation given that he was a Hindu and he talked about how the education system in Malaysia prepared everyone to be tolerant and peaceful. I followed with, “How do you know which is true? The Muslims claim only one god but the Hindu’s have 1.5 Million.” He said, “I respect everyone’s religion.” He then talked about going to church with his friends because he enjoyed the messages.
Of course, that propelled me forward,
“What do you make of Jesus?” I inquired. The taxi driver responded, “I like him. His teachings are good.”
I shared how a famous Oxford professor said that Jesus cannot be a good teacher because of his claims. C.S. Lewis surmises that Jesus can only be “A liar. A lunatic. Or, Lord.” The taxi driver understood.
Then I said, my friend Dr. Ariga from Japan serves in a Shinto/Buddhist world and our driver seemed intrigued. So, I asked Paul to share his story. He said, we have 8 million gods but he ended up finding Jesus.
The more we shared, the more intrigued our driver became. He said...
“I have never heard such things, even from my Christian friends.”
We encouraged him that when he faced difficulties like the ones Paul shared about that he could approach Jesus and ask for wisdom or help. He was so delighted and said that he would try this. And, we offered to pray for him which he appreciated. He asked us to pray for his finances.
After our shuttle to the airport was over, he suggested that we had a divine encounter. Who would’ve thought that a question about Dr. Strange could lead to such a dynamic conversation about Jesus! Some might call it a strange encounter but I believe this Tamil Hindu was right: We had a Divine Encounter!
Would you pray for this taxi driver’s finances? Would you pray that God would speak to him and lead him to others who can share more about Jesus? I have a feeling this guy could be a significant person of influence should he come to know Jesus so I’d appreciate your prayers.
Hopefully, too, Dr. Ariga and I have modeled something simple to try in making a bridge to a conversation about Jesus. It’s just one small way to practice one of our core curricular topics of Asian Access: Expanding the Kingdom via Evangelism. I hope you’ll give it a try.
May God bless you with Divine Encounters this month!
Joe Handley, President