Every few weeks I find myself in the same dilemma. Entering a place far from my Christian upbringing right in the middle of my neighborhood. The atmosphere is different from anything I’ve ever known. A staunch golden buddha greets each guest as they enter. Adding to all this is a huge language barrier where I understand little of what is being said.
No, I’m not in a foreign country.
This is the salon where a sweet Vietnamese lady manicures my nails.
I long to share Truth while sitting in her chair, but we just don’t understand each other. It’s often frustrating and embarrassing to try to answer her questions, let alone engage in meaningful conversation. So I find myself indulging in self-inflicted condemnation that I am failing the call to preach the Gospel. And I am somehow responsible for her soul.
One day, plagued with guilt that her eternal destiny was in my hands, I asked the Lord to show me how to lead this lady to Him. It seemed to be an impossible task when our communication was difficult. He gently gave me the answer.
Use the language of My love … and pray!
So now as she polishes away, I use the time to pray for her. And I do my part by smiling, tipping well, and asking the Lord for opportunities to show her His love.
She surprised me one day as she held up a U.S. Citizen Study Guide. Motioning for me to take a look at the questions, I realized she wanted me to quiz her. It was challenging but I was able to match her broken English to the sheets in front of me. As I drilled her on the content, we finally had some meaningful interaction. She knew her stuff and I wondered if I’d be able to do as well.
Weeks later, she gave me the good news. She passed her exam and was a U.S. citizen at last. I brought her flowers and gave her a big hug. Thanking God for the closer relationship we were developing.
I’m still praying for my friend. And planting seeds of God’s love as I can. But I’m determined not to live in condemnation. Why do we stumble under heavy burdens we were not meant to carry?
While I wonder if I’ll ever see change in this lady, I know all things are possible with God. My part is to keep loving and praying.
He will do the rest.