Breakfast with a Stranger

Breakfast with a Stranger

“Are you Christians?”

I stopped talking to my friend and looked over to see a young man looking at us as if waiting for an answer.

“Are you talking to us?” I said.

“Yes… are you Christians?” he asked again.

“Yes we are,” I replied.

“I knew it,” he said and then he began telling us that he had lived his whole life for God and that even though he had done that, a whole lot of bad stuff had still happened to him.

It was very obvious that he was very upset with God, the church, and Christians.

Before speaking to us he had already spoken to other people in the room and they had all told him to go away. Now even though he didn’t know us he kept rambling on and on, telling us what seemed to be his whole life story. Most of what he was saying was really uncomfortable to take and no matter what we said to try to make him feel better he still kept rambling.

The man was also very strange and he was loud. To be honest he made me feel extremely uncomfortable and also embarrassed because he was drawing the attention of others in the room. Also, I really didn’t have a clue as to what I could have to say that would have been of any help to him.  After about 10 minutes of his rambling, like the others who had sent him away, I too was wishing this guy would go away.

His stuff was hard, WAY too hard…. and the truth is this wasn’t the conversation I had envisioned myself having this morning over breakfast.

Today I was having breakfast with my best friend who had moved away last year. She had been back in town for a couple of days for family business and we had planned to get together this morning for breakfast before she went back home. I had been really looking forward to this visit with my best friend.

The plan had been girl talk over breakfast but now instead of my friend and I chit chatting about our lives there was a complete stranger telling us about his life!

A lot of what he said was uncomfortable and also very disturbing to me.  He told us that he had been to several churches in our area seeking help and answers about God. From what he told us, it looked as if instead of them sharing God’s love with him he was looked down on and given a bunch of rules of which he had been unable to follow. And now it was pretty obvious that he was coming down pretty hard on himself for his inability to be the ‘perfect’ person that he believed God expected him to be.

This all made me feel sad.

This man was hurting and when he had turned to the church for help he had been pushed away and made to believe that he was not good enough for God.

Our whole breakfast was spent talking to him, and though we tried our best to help him. unfortunately a lot of what he said we really had no answers for.

Eventually, it was time for us to leave. so we told him goodbye and went on our way, but when I got in my car to go to work suddenly this feeling came over me that I should have prayed with the man.  A few seconds later my friend called me and we began talking about our experience with the man and we both admitted that we had wanted to hang out with each other instead of talking to him  I  then mentioned to my friend how the feeling that I should have prayed with him had come over me. She said if I felt that way maybe I should go back.

When she said that suddenly I knew I had to go back.

But I didn’t want to go back! Uggh it would be so uncomfortable and what would I say??

“Just go back”  kept running through my head.

Reluctantly, I made a quick turnaround and as I did the giant tea that I had just bought tipped over and dumped all over the floor of my car.  I pulled into a parking spot wanting to clean up the mess but I knew the mess had to wait because I had a strong urgency going through me that I needed to get back inside the restaurant right then.

I know this sounds crazy but its true.

As I started walking back into the restaurant I could see him sitting by himself in the back with his head down. I felt nervous, with a feeling of how embarrassing this could be… what if he said no?… I don’t pray out loud well…what will I pray about?? Tons of things were going through my head but then suddenly a feeling of boldness came over me so kept going. As I walked through the restaurant I could hear a hush come over the room as every person around him quit talking. These were the same people who had told him to go away and now I could feel every eye on me as I walked back toward him. He still wasn’t looking up and as I began to speak it was so quiet that you could have heard a pin drop.  “Hi … um  Z__,” he looked up at me as I said, “would you mind if I prayed with you?”

He seemed a little stunned but said, “Well… I guess you could do that.”  So I reached out and took his hands and prayed.

When we were finished I opened my eyes and saw that his eyes were filled with tears and then he said this to me… “God told me to come here today and he told me you were going to be here. Thank you for coming.” 

God told him I was going to be here today???!

I really didn’t know what to say but I heard the words “your welcome” come out of my mouth.

Even though I left the man in the restaurant this morning, I somehow feel as if he has stayed with me all day.

God told the man I was going to be there today and I had almost missed it!

After I got back to my car I remembered the dumped tea.  I had thought the carpet would be ruined for sure by that time but for some strange reason, all I had to do was shake off the floor mat. The tea didn’t sink into the carpet at all but hopefully, the lesson I learned today will sink deeply into my brain.

Since today is Music Monday I want to share a song with you that I feel goes really well with this story and is also one of my favorites right now.

I hope you enjoy — Christ in Me by Jeremy Camp.

Have a great week!

Terri Siebert

Sometimes You Have to Face the Clouds

silver lining
Then they cried out to the Lord in their trouble, and he brought them out of their distress. He stilled the storm to a whisper; the waves of the sea were hushed. They were glad when it grew calm, and he guided them to their desired haven. Let them give thanks to the Lord for his unfailing love and his wonderful deeds for mankind. Psalm 107:28‭-‬31

Keep pressing on!

 

A Gang of Eleven

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Me and my sponsor child Ericka. We are reading a book that she made for me.

On a recent visit to El SalvadorI learned that gangs are a huge problem in the city of San Salvador. I also learned that children living in poverty are prime targets to be recruited into gangs and sometimes parents will send their children off to school and they never return home because they have been recruited by a gang.

Something else I learned while in El Salvador is that a gang will not recruit someone if they are a Christian. There are parents who will put their child in Compassion’s program to try to help keep them out of gangs. Gang members will even put their own children in the program to keep them safe.

Children go to the Compassion project, learn about Jesus, and bring home what they learn to their family members.  Some parents who were gang members have become Christians and left gangs.

Because of the gang problem in El SalvadorI have started a campaign to try to help children in the country who are waiting for sponsors. Wouldn’t it be awesome to see as many of them as possible to be free from the violence that could await them in a gang? Also with a sponsor to share the love of Christ with them they also will know just how truly special they are!

My new campaign can be found at this link -> A Gang of Eleven.

Please take just a few minutes of your time to check out my page and say a prayer for the children on the page.

Also, if you have a facebook, twitter or any sort of place that you can share the link, please please please share it.

Thanks so much for reading and also thank you for your prayers!

In case you missed the link here it is again – A Gang of Eleven

Have a great weekend!

Terri Siebert

 

Time Wisely Spent

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Why is it that whenever God gives me a job to do I always allow myself to get all worked up into a frenzy?


My biggest fear in the world is speaking in public.

Tomorrow is Compassion Sunday at my church and in order to present the kids waiting for sponsors I am going to have to speak in public.

Last week I was feeling excited for the opportunity to share these children with my church and was not feeling nervous at all.

But then Wednesday afternoon the child packets arrived…

Suddenly things felt different.

Suddenly I felt a huge responsibility to those children.

Within a matter of an hour of receiving the packets I began feeling nervous. By that evening, I began rethinking what I had planned to say in church on Sunday. I soon began writing down a plan and I began practicing what I was going to say over and over. Before I realized what was happening I had myself so worked up that each time I practiced, instead of getting better at what I was going to say I began to get worse.

Yesterday I thought about it some more, changed my presentation again, settled on what I thought was my finished product a few more times, and then finally ended up going to bed very late last night feeling sick to my stomach and panicky at the thought of speaking in front of the church on Sunday.

HELLO social anxiety!  

Did you forgot that you don’t live here anymore??!


After a restless night, I woke up this morning with God’s voice in my head saying, “stop worrying about what YOU can’t do and instead, remember what I CAN do!”

Suddenly I realized that I just needed to chill out and I needed to give this worry to God!  Nothing here has changed except I seemed to have forgotten God is the one who is in charge of all this.

I have already been in this place way too many times in the past so ya think I would have known the drill by now.

So like I have done every time I set out to talk in public, I took out a piece of paper and wrote on it the words, ‘I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.‘ I threw all my extra notes in the trash and put it all back into his hands.

Tomorrow instead of a bunch of notes in my hand I will hold his words as a reminder.

From this day forward when it comes to the God stuff, I have to remember not to spend my time thinking about what I should be spending my time praying about!


Update… Somehow I forgot to push publish on this post last night so figure I may as well finish the story with what happened today.

So I went to bed last night in peace and then woke up this morning with this crazy notion in my head that because we already have so many child sponsors in our church most likely we would not have many kids sponsored today.  Yep, you guessed it I was already thinking way too much again! Thankfully I caught myself and went for a drive before church and prayed.

God set me straight and I arrived at church excited and knowing in my heart that God was going to make something big happen today. Sure enough, I soon found myself with a front row seat watching as another one of his amazing stories began being played out before me!

From our worship pastor starting us off speaking his own sponsorship story to our pastor’s Compassion tailored sermon everything went great.  It wasn’t about any of us presenting the story today as much as it was about God uniting his children with one another.

27 children received new sponsors today but also at the same time 27 sponsors also received new children.

Many blessings are in the making for all those involved I’m sure.

There was never any need to be nervous or worry.

No need to second guess.

Just show up is all that was required … because just like He always does, God also showed up in a mighty big way in our church today!


If you would like more information about sponsoring a child or Compassion Sunday visit www.compassionsunday.com or contact me through the contact link at the top of this page.

Thanks for reading and have a great week!

Terri Siebert