I was in Lubbock, Texas at Connect (the National Campus Ministry Seminar). Before the seminar started, I met with my good friends Paul Smith and Jim Barnett to play golf at the Rawls golf course on Texas Tech campus. Barbie dropped us off at the course, and we decided to eat breakfast at the little café in the clubhouse.
As we ordered, a very friendly cook named Wilson greeted us. Barbie thought that he looked African. So she started up a conversation. Indeed, he was African.
But to make this story come alive, you have to go back in time a little bit. About a year ago, some students from a campus ministry at Texas Tech led by David Pounds and Marcia Crabtree decided that they wanted to reach out in a mission effort in some poor place where they could make a difference. We talked about places all over the world but finally landed on the second poorest country in the world—Liberia. I told them about a lot of orphans and destitute children in Liberia who had been victimized by the war. Then I also shared with them about a group of outcasts who had virtually nothing and were squatting on some church property in Monrovia. Their problems were increased because they not only were victims of poverty, but they were also deaf. We decided together to take care of them and also ensure that they had a school where they could learn with sign language. The students at Tech made a commitment to visit them, sponsor them, and provide an education for them. They even raised money for them by parking cars at Tech football games.
Wilson told Barbie that he was from Liberia. He also told us about his daughter Puju there. He said that he was trying to get her into school in Monrovia and how he simply couldn’t get it done. Barbie then told him how I had been to Liberia and helped poor children go to schools. Then Wilson thanked Barbie but told her that there was an additional problem. His daughter was deaf.
So I told him about our deaf school. I told him about the college students in the very city where we were golfing who supported deaf students in Monrovia. I told him about Emmanuel Jacobson who runs our school on Smythe Road. Wilson even knew where it was. Hopefully, his daughter will be in school soon.
A coincidence? Hardly. A divine appointment? Certainly.
God puts people in our lives. But here is what I have learned about them. First of all, you need to have open eyes to see them. And be bold enough like Barbie to start a conversation. But secondly, we need to be prepared. We need to be discerning and doing the good works God has set before us before the appointment time. We were ready to talk to Wilson on that day. How sad it would have been to say to Wilson after hearing of his need—“I’m sorry.” But God had been preparing us for quite some time so we would be more than ready to put in a good word for Jesus on the day we met him.
Divine appointments are coming. Get ready.