I'd like to set up "Holy Week" by sharing a holy moment. This time last Saturday I opened my email to read the remarkable letter reproduced below. The writer gave me permission to use the email, but I'll just use his first name - Christopher. It was a holy moment for me because it was one more slice of compelling evidence that the power that raised Christ from the dead is active in this world today, and that we -as Jesus-followers - are invited to participate in ongoing redemption.
One clarification up front: Christopher believed he met my son, Andrew, in the cafe; but it turns out it was someone else... only making the story more wonderful still...
Read, and enjoy:
- Derek: You don't know me. And yet, you probably do. About a month ago, I was sitting in a cafe in Italy. The purpose of my visit to the area was to set up outreach camps for youth for the summer. I have been in the ministry overseas now for a little over three years. There I was sitting there in a crowded cafe, but feeling all alone. Maybe it was the fact that everyone else spoke Italian and I only know one language, American. Maybe it had to do with the really difficult last six months that I had been through that included losing a child and having someone make false accusations about me. Or, maybe it was because deep down, I knew that the stories I had been telling were getting older and older.
- So, as I sat there, sipping on my fresh cappuccino (the best in the world), I heard two gentlemen talking in English. I can't remember everything that was said, but I remember thinking that what the one guy was talking about was piercing me to the core. I had not had this feeling in such a long time.
- The one guy sort of ends the conversation with "trust me, just read this book." As I watched him hand the book to the other gentlemen, I kind of laughed to myself inside. "Great", I thought, "just what this guy needs, another Christian book." "How about handing him some Jesus." I thought. And yet, I had an urge that had escaped me for some months. I actually wanted to read.
- See, the prior six years I had spent working on and finishing a Ph.D. in Organizational Leadership. I can't even begin to tell you how many books I read over that period of time. So, as the guy, began to pass by me, I said, "Do you have another one of those books?" He reached into his bag and handed me one. We didn't carry on any conversation, he just simply walked on out the door, but after reading your book, I now realize it was your son.
- The Lord has lead me on an incredible spiritual renewal using your book, "Get Real." The experience has been so enriching and transformational that I just had to Google your name and find your email address. It is so cool how God works. A Brit from Tampa writes a book and his son hands a copy to a missionary serving in Germany in Italy.
- Anyway, I just wanted you to know. I have also been praying for the "Men's Room" group. I don't know what God has for me and my family next, but I am ready to step out of the boat again and let him have control. Thanks for being faithful to what God has required of you, including writing that wonderful book. If I am ever in Tampa, I would love to get together for a cup of coffee.
- Grace and peace from Germany - Chris.