“Speak softly and carry a big stick; you will go far.” President Theodore Roosevelt
For exercise I have been walking down by the river near our house. It is a pretty popular spot where people walk and run. One of the things I used to have before deploying was a wooden staff that I prepared myself from a sapling. As I have walked down by the river, I have seen lots of trees that would work well, but of course I cannot cut them. However, even though it may be a small thing, I have prayed that, if it were God’s will, He would allow me to make a nice staff again. At the same time, while walking by the river, I have been praying for opportunities to share about Christ.
So far, I had been able to talk with a few teens, but nothing big. Just the other day I went for my usual walk by the river and prayed as usual for God to guide me to who He wanted me to pray for and give me strength for that conversation. As I walked along, I came to a spot where an excavator had been shoring up the side of the river. The dirt was still fresh. On the ground was a freshly uprooted eucalyptus sapling about 20 feet long. It was perfect for a staff. I used a sharp stone to cut off the branches and debark it. Then I starting carrying it back home.
As I walked, a man came alongside and commented that I had a very nice piece of wood. His name was Robi and that he was around 50-years old. During our conversation, Robi asked why I am here in Loja. I shared with him that I am a Christian missionary. We talked for around 20 minutes about the Gospel and God’s love. It was the longest conversation about Jesus I have had with a Catholic in pure Spanish. Robi was very friendly and, when we parted ways, we both expressed a desire to continue our conversation in the future. I pray that I will see Robi again when I walk down by the river.
I have finished preparing the staff now, and it looks beautiful. I’d say it is even better than my old one! But most of all, I will always remember the story to go with it: God answers prayers about seemingly “little” things (like walking sticks) and apparently big things (like opportunities to share about Christ).
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