Thursday, December 17, 2015

An Afternoon on the Coromandel

One day when I lived in India, I was traveling down the East Coast by train. I often made that trip. It took 27 hours including an overnight, on the “Coromandel Express” passenger train.

I was in the state of Andhra Pradesh heading south. The Coromandel used to stop along the way to drop passengers and pick up waiting ones. On this day I was almost alone in my small 8 person section of the coach. About mid-day we stopped at one of the typical stations. Hawkers sold coffee, tea, snacks, and numerous other things. There was a din of voices as they shouted, “Chai, chai, chaiya, kofee, kofee, kofeeeee!”

A young boy entered my compartment, looked at the seat numbers, and sat down opposite me. We nodded to each other and said no more. We were both by the window, and no one else was in our section. After a few minutes, the long train began to roll forward toward south India and my destination of Chennai.

We rode for a while in silence.

At some point I started up a conversation with him. The boy, about 12 years old, spoke very good English. He was a Muslim. He was heading somewhere to do something, I don’t really remember. He was not going too far, relatively speaking for an Indian train. I think he was going to be traveling for 3-4 hours and would be getting off in another town in the same state of Andhra Pradesh.

I asked him questions about his family, his school, and other things. He asked me where I was from, what I was doing in India, how did I like India.

At some point, I asked him about his religion. He answered my questions about his Islamic beliefs and practices. He was very articulate.

Then it came my turn. I spoke to him about Jesus and how he had changed my life after I began to read the Bible in college.

To be honest, I don’t remember a lot of the conversation details. There was nothing said that stands out in my memory.

What I do remember vividly, is that this 12 year old was captivated by what I said about Jesus. It was magical. I believe the Holy Spirit was in that compartment. It was natural, not forced, not striving in any way. Just a relaxed, friendly exchange of ideas. We both talked. We both listened. Oh my, he listened! He was absorbing it! That is my outstanding memory of this event. I knew that what I was saying was piercing into his soul and mind. Light from above! I did not attempt to “lead him in a sinner’s prayer.”

Finally the train rolled to a stop. He gathered his things and got up. We shook hands and he got out. I encouraged him to learn more about Jesus if he got a chance. On the platform he looked up and we waved and realized how cool those moments had been.

The train moved ahead. I never saw him again.

I’ll never forget the magic of that conversation.

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Quotes of Note ... The Invisible World

“Spiritual warfare is learning to recognize the strategies, refusing to cooperate with them, and aggressively cutting off the schemes of the devil in Jesus’ name.” Dean Sherman

“those who protest that God cannot exist because there is too much evil evident in life… Evil exists; therefore, the Creator does not. That is categorically stated… If evil exists, one must assume that good exists in order to know the difference. If good exists, one must assume that a moral law exists by which to measure good and evil. But if a moral law exists, must not one posit an ultimate source of moral law, or at least an objective basis for a moral law? By an objective basis, I mean something that is transcendingly true at all times, regardless of whether I believed it or not.” Ravi Zacharias

“But the Devil is no big threat to God’s purposes; he is not even remotely comparable in power. He has been given a limited time before his final judgment to try to prove his case, just as all other moral beings who have chosen to live in rebellion against heaven.” W.A. Pratney

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I've served as a life-long missionary in Samoa, the Pacific region, India, and now in Pennsylvania. The Christian faith is reasonable and works in real life. It is true to the facts. Hope you enjoy some of the thoughts. I appreciate feedback.

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