I like to be part of events when there is time to mingle with people and see what conversations can turn into. The Holy Spirit is a wonderful guide in these situations.
One such situation happened in Klaipeda, Lithuania, during the visit of the world leader of The Salvation Army, General André Cox and Commissioner Silvia Cox. (You can read a report from that weekend here in English and German.)
On Sunday afternoon we all took part in the family fun and fellowship that the corps holds on their premises. This was the second time. The whole meeting hall is made into a play area, with quieter games in a smaller room. Refreshments are served and adults can sit around and talk or take part in the games. Invitations to these days are shared with and through people who come to the second-hand clothes store, which is held in the same place every month.
All local leaders and visiting officers (including the General and Commissioner Cox) wore yellow T-shirts with a big logo and were very active in the games and conversations.
I roamed around joining in games and tried some small talk with parents and kids in a language in which we could both manage to say a few sentences. I was especially encouraged by two short exchanges with dads which I will share with you. The conversations were different but both situations were clearly led by God.
With one father I had a general conversation. He had been to England to learn English, he liked to go sailing and I shared a little about who I am, etc. That was as far as we got. But after a while I found he had started to read a book that was displayed. It was the book “Words of Life”, which has short, daily thoughts on living with God. I would have guessed he has a good life but obviously he was looking for more than “good” and only God knows all.
The other man also spoke some English. He worked as a lorry driver in Germany. When he mentioned the city he lived in, I said that we have a Salvation Army fellowship in that city. But then I caught some sadness, almost worry in his expression when he said he is in Klaipeda now because he can’t work due to problem with his back.
Instantly the thought came to my mind and I asked him without thinking twice: “Will you let me pray to God for your back?” His answer was also instant and without hesitation: “Yes.” So there we stood among the bouncing balls and happy children’s voices and I just simply prayed to God to heal his back so that he could go back to work.
It can be tempting in a situation like this not to dare taking the risk of praying because it might not turn out as we hope. But I have learned from Jesus that it is my duty only to obey the guidance of God and the rest is his responsibility. God always uses prayers that come out of love and in Spirit and truth for something good.
God knows fully the situation of every person. His presence always makes a difference for the good, whether it is exposing hidden sins, increasing our joy or leading us as we bring his presence, his Kingdom, his righteousness into this world.
During the two hours of fun in Klaipeda I was reminded of how a joyful fellowship is one of God’s best methods to let people taste the goodness of being his Child.