It was a hot day in Constanța, Romania. Our DTS team was surrounded by protestors advocating for bike lanes in “Old Town.” But we weren’t interested in protesting. We wanted to share God’s love with people.
“I have an idea,” my teammate, Summer said. “Why don’t we ask people to tell us what they love about their city?”
“Great idea!” I said. “And after we talk for a while, I’m sure we could ask them if they have any prayer requests and we could pray with them.”
This strategy worked like a charm. People loved talking about their city and we loved hearing what they had to say. Many of them were also eager to receive prayer.
We never even felt challenged until we ran into a little elderly couple walking arm in arm through the streets.
“Hi. I’m Noelle and this is my friend Summer,” I said after approaching the couple. “We’re visiting Constanta and would love to learn more about it. Can you tell us what you love about your city?”
The old man’s eyes lit up. “Yes. Yes. Come with me. I must show you my city.”
We followed him through the streets as he showed us all the historical sites. He was so excited to tell us about this ancient town that he hardly took a breath between stories. I kept hoping for an opportunity to tell him about Jesus. But he was just too excited.
At first, I was really frustrated by this. How was I supposed to pray for him if he wouldn’t even let me get a word in? And then everything changed.
“Do you like history?” he asked with a big grin.
I was struck by this question. He asked it like a parent would ask their child about their presents on Christmas morning. I realized in that moment that he was giving us a gift.
“Yes! I love history!” I answered honestly.
After that, I chose to listen, to truly listen, to a story about a man who spent his youth sailing and eventually gave up his life of exploring when he fell in love with his wife and settled down in Constanța.
Listening to this man talk about something he loved was a way that we could also show him love. I thought about what Jesus might have done in that same situation. He wouldn’t have pushed for the chance to preach. He would have just walked with him and smiled and listened and loved.
By listening to this elderly man, we were also presenting him with a gift. One that made his day and maybe even his whole week. And we were happy to give it.
by Noelle Olsen, January Spark DTS student on outreach to Romania and France.
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