Was back in Penang recently to spend time with mum. Of course I had to have Penang char kway teow. One evening I went to a coffee shop nearby to have char kway teow for dinner. While I was ordering, I felt a tap on my shoulder and someone called out, “Pastor!” I turned and saw an old friend whom I had first met when I was serving as pastor of a church in Penang more than 30 years ago. He was in high school then. He was in his forties now and working as a general manager. He was still the kind humble boy I knew three decades ago.
He was also having dinner and asked me to join him and his friend. His friend was visiting from Australia and was originally from Penang. My friend said that I probably didn’t recognise his friend and indeed I didn’t. Excitedly, my friend told me how his friend had become a follower of Jesus. He said that when I was pastor, I had opened a room in the church premise for students who needed a quiet place to study. He and his friend, a non-Christian then, had taken advantage of the offer. They confessed that they usually studied for about an hour then would sneak off to the movies. But it was that experience with the church that had led to his friend deciding to follow Jesus.
I was delighted to hear the story of his friend’s conversion. Of course it is God who converts and it was my friend who had done the hard work of reaching out to his friend. Still, it was good to know that a simple act like opening a room for students to study helped lead a person to the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ.
Sometimes, God makes it very clear what He wants us to do. Often we wing it doing what we hope is according to His will, and often that feels like hit and miss. But I tell folks and I tell myself not to be too quick to decide if a ministry has succeeded or failed. Sometimes we will only know the impact of what we have done for the Lord when we see Him face to face. Often, there is a long time between the sowing and the harvesting. I need to remember this because I am very impatient and often tempted to give up when I can’t seem to make any headway in some ministry initiative.
Still, by my standards, 30 years is a long time to learn about how something panned out. Glad it happened, though. Was feeling a bit discouraged for various reasons. The Lord knew and arranged this meeting at the char kway teow store. The guys also paid for my dinner. The kway teow was delicious.
*Image courtesy of Naypong / FreeDigitalPhotos.net