It’s probably pretty clear by now that I’m obsessed with stories. I love telling good stories and living good stories, but what I love most is telling God’s stories – the ones that God writes us into in ways we never could on our own.
Let me tell you one of those stories…
I used to live in the Vancouver area where I worked for an international church planting organization. I was the reporter, meaning I was writing stories all the time. Back then I didn’t realize how significant story telling would become in my life.
One day I decided that I was going try out Abbotsford’s transportation system and take the bus to work rather than hitch a ride with my roommate. For no particular reason other than I felt like it.
As I walked toward the bus stop I saw an Asian girl standing alone under an umbrella in the drizzle, looking about as gloomy as the sky on that overcast morning. I felt an overwhelming prompting to go and talk to her…but I didn’t. But that didn’t stop the story from taking place, because she walked over to me.
“Would you like to share my umbrella?” she asked.
“Yes! Thank you.” I replied.
I noticed an accent in her voice and asked where she was from.
“Laos,” she told me.
“That’s awesome!” I said, and she looked at me skeptically as though she didn’t quite believe I had even heard of her country.
“You know Laos?” she asked.
A week prior to this divine appointment, I knew virtually nothing about Laos. I told her about the organization I was a part of and how I had recently interviewed a Laotian pastor working with the Khmu hill tribe. Because Christianity is viewed as a foreigner’s religion, the only churches permitted in Laos are those that are government approved (only 3 of which exist in Vientiane, the capital of Laos), prohibiting the congregation from sharing the gospel outside of the church. As a result, the man I had interviewed had been imprisoned several times.
My new friend La knew exactly what I was talking about. She is a christian herself, and attends one of those government churches in Vientiane.
We carried on talking about what she was doing in Canada and she revealed her loneliness and struggle to adapt to a new culture. As the bus pulled up to her stop we exchanged information and made plans to get together soon.
I never actually ended up seeing La again in Canada. Shortly after our encounter she returned to Laos because her dad became ill. Her mom had already passed away so now she had to go home and take care of her sisters.
Despite only meeting once, La and I have kept in contact during the past 2.5 years. After she returned to Laos I wrote to her saying that I believed God crossed our paths for a reason, and I believed we’d see each other again – and that next time it would be in Laos!
Well, that’s exactly what happened last week! As the plane touched down in Vientiane I found myself thinking, As if I’m actually here! As if I’m actually reuniting with a girl I met “randomly” at a bus stop nearly 3 years ago!
Yep, these are certainly the kind of stories I love.
I had the opportunity to attend La’s church, Anou Evangelical Church. It was incredible.
Author of Life
I have lots of God-written stories similar to this one. Like the time I interviewed a videographer about Pikangikum – an Aboriginal Reserve with the highest suicide rate in the world – who travelled there to capture stories of hope. A year and a half later I found myself in Pikangikum with Beautiful Unique Girl to share my own stories of hope…
And then there’s the time I read a book called Chasing Daylight by a pastor called Erwin McManus. I remembered that the book was all about seizing divine moments, so I decided to take a risk and come to Thailand. And then on an average evening here in Bangkok I just so happened to run into a group from Erwin’s church in Los Angeles, befriend his wife and daughter, and meet a Thai girl named Jolie who decided to seize her divine moment and say Yes to God…
And then of course, there’s the story of how I came to Thailand. This is a story I began writing in a book one year ago with the belief that all of those major milestones in the past 6 years were leading me to Bangkok…a book I planned to finish when I actually got here. (Guess I should get started). At the “end” of this journey (I actually think it’s just the beginning…) it’s crazy to think that I almost said No because of fear.
As I leave Bangkok on Sunday night and begin yet another adventure, I continue to remind myself that God is an amazing storyteller. As long as I’m faithful to pull out my pen and paper and write stories with my life each and everyday, God is faithful to take my scrawlings and turn them into a beautiful masterpiece that brings Him glory.