San Francisco International Airport is right near me. I can look out my back windows and see the planes coming in for a landing every minute or so. I can see which airlines they are. We live, not just in a multi-ethnic, multi-cultural community, but in an International community. In my hometown of Burlingame, I did not know anyone of a different ethnic background, until I was in high school at Mills. In college, I started meeting people from many different countries who had come to America to study. Now, the San Francisco Bay Area is home to tens of thousands of people who have relocated here from other countries. There are also thousands of international students as well as tourists, just here for a visit to see our “famous” San Francisco.
As I stated before, for a while I grumbled about the influx of all these people! Things were getting too crowded and stressed here on the Peninsula. But God woke me up and made me realize that the reason they are here is to hear the gospel. They just do not know that yet. The reason we are here is to share it with them. Friends, this place is strategic. Think about it. If and when they go back home to visit friends and relatives, or if they move back to their country of origin, if they have received the gospel, they will be taking it back with them to that country. The Kingdom of God can be growing more, somewhere in the eastern hemisphere, because you once shared the gospel with an international person here. Many internationals who come here are already believers. But many are not, and they have never yet heard the gospel at all. They are waiting for someone to tell them.
Another great thing about all this immigration, is that the vast majority of people who come here from the eastern hemisphere already know English. They studied it in school back home, and in many cases, it is easy to communicate with them in English. You can share the gospel with people from 25 different countries, and you do not have to learn 25 different languages. How convenient is that?
There are many different types of people who have just arrived here. Some are refugees from Afghanistan, and they are working at Taco Bell. Others are Ph.D.’s from India who are scientists or professors at local Universities or who work at big High Tech corporations. And there is everyone in between. I know because I’ve met them and talked to them. I love asking where people are from or trying to guess. Since every other person I meet now (it seems) is from somewhere else, I just go ahead and ask, if I detect an accent.
Being friendly and asking about their home country is a good way to make a friend, even if you only talk for two minutes. Making friends and starting conversations with people you meet during your everyday errands and outings is a wonderful way that God provides for us an opportunity to share the gospel. For me, I’ve learned to listen to what the other person talks about, and use that as an opportunity to transition from a natural topic, of interest to them (that they bring up), to a spiritual topic. Before you know it, you could be talking to them about Jesus. These chance meetings with people are divine appointments that God has arranged.
Over the last several years, I’ve met people (who were not Christians) from Palestine(Bethlehem), Israel, Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt, Greece, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Belarus, France, Belgium, Mexico, Honduras, India, China, Japan, Russia, Iran, Iraq, Madagascar, and many others.
That’s who that guy is in my header photo. He has just arrived from somewhere on the globe. God is sending him to you and he’s the person God is leading you, by His Holy Spirit, to share Christ with.
So, next time you are waiting for your sandwich at Noah’s Bagels, or grabbing a quick taco, or standing in line at Costco, or waiting for your colleagues at the restaurant du jour, (or anywhere else out in the community) and happen to find yourself chatting with someone who recently arrived in the Bay Area from 10,000 miles away, consider that you are a missionary, and the Lord has sent the nations to you.
Go, therefore and make disciples of all the nations… Matt.28:19.
All nations whom Thou hast made shall come and worship before Thee, O Lord;
and they shall glorify Thy name. Ps.86:9.