Savanah and I sit at 998 miles of walking/running for our time so far in Europe. We decided to not walk as much tonight so we could save our last miles of reaching our goal of a thousand miles for tomorrow night (our last night here), on our favorite street-Shop Street (the street we started our first miles here on), and to be with our friends here. And though reaching 1000 miles will be an enjoyable accomplishment for us while here, it is not why we came. We came to introduce people to Jesus.
On our first day of work at the cafe, I met this young man who my heart was pulled to get to know better. The first few weeks proved to be a slow process (which made sense when I came to find out he thought of me as “the awkward American fellow” as we joke about now). However, in the middle of February, I was working at the front counter when he came in one day after school. That afternoon we had a great conversation of “why Christianity.” That conversation led us into long conversations about the truth of Christianity over the next couple of weeks, with his heart getting softer over time.
Finally one afternoon, the two of us got into a deep conversation about the love of Christ and that love coming into a person and flowing out of that person to others. I could sense the longing for this love from my friend, and I felt as if the Lord was saying today was the day for my friend to come find that love. I asked him if he wanted to make today the day he found that love on a personal heart-felt level. When he said yes, I went to get two other co-workers who have been his friends for the past 2 years and who really did most of the seed planting. That evening my friend asked Jesus to be his Lord and Savior (February 29th- an even more special day beyond leap year).
It has been a joy watching him grow daily in the Lord. I love his enthusiasm as he comes to me almost daily with new questions he has from the previous night’s reading of the Bible. I love seeing him every Sunday at church too. I love his courage to tell others about Jesus. Yes, he’s had growing pains since coming into the faith, but growing pains that have made his faith stronger. And, most importantly, my friend is growing and becoming a wonderful man of God.
This is why we came to Ireland. Was one enough to come for? In Matthew 18, it tells us that a good shepherd will leave the 99 sheep to go after the one lost sheep, and when he finds it, there will be great rejoicing. I am so happy God gave me this friend to be my one sheep here. He has become not only my friend, but my brother in Christ. We can leave Ireland with great rejoicing!