“Why don’t you follow the law of prioritizing the disabled and senior citizens in seating? Don’t you know it’s inconvenient for us to climb at the back?”
The irate, demanding voice of a female passenger jolted us out of our drowsiness as we waited for the van headed for Naga City to fill up. The woman, who had polio, and her older companion continued their lecture about abiding by the law, even if their intended pupil, the ‘conductor’, already disappeared. Reuben and I got an earful of complaints about the injustices and discrimination against disabled and elderly people. We decided to chat with them.
They were both teachers. We found out that the younger woman who launched the tirade was the regional supervisor for research in a local government office. She and her friend were scheduled to visit Naga City schools that day.
They asked us where we’re from (since we didn’t speak Bicolano) and what we plan to do in Naga. After disclosing that we were missionaries from Phil. Campus Crusade for Christ and were helping conduct outreaches in various areas of Bicol province, the older woman asked what the religion of CCC is. We said that CCC is an international, interdenominational Christian mission organization. The younger woman said, “Oh my American husband is a Christian. He’s a Baptist from Florida. But I’m still a Catholic.”
The van started moving and we settled for a quiet ride. Upon nearing their destination, our acquaintances succeeded in making themselves unforgettable—and irritating to the driver and other passengers—when they kept changing their minds about where to disembark. Finally, they made up their minds and got off the van.
We spent our day in Naga City observing a church expansion training and getting to know pastors and lay workers. At the end of the training, our group committed to follow through on the application of principles and plans made by church leaders and promised to visit them again in the near future.
At our ride going back to Legazpi City, Reuben decided to sit in front because his legs were too long for the back seating. Normally I would want to always sit beside him but on that ride, I chose to stay at the back. As the van began filling up, I saw from a distance the two teachers from our morning ride coming toward our van. The woman who had polio was surprised to find Reuben in front, the place where she insisted should be reserved for people like her. Reuben explained that he couldn’t sit properly at the back. They came to a compromise—her senior companion took a back seat while the lady sat between Reuben and the driver. Since they were already acquainted and had something in common as education graduates, they decided to chat for the next two hours.
Reuben took the opportunity to share his testimony and the gospel. He explained that though he pursued excellence as a student, he felt a void in his heart. The void was only filled by having a personal and eternal relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ. Reuben shared that his gratitude for what Christ did on the cross moved him to give up his own professional license to teach in order to pursue a lifetime call of serving God as a missionary. Then he explained how one can be saved from their sins and gain eternal life through Christ. At the back, I kept praying silently that the Lord would use my husband to cause the lady to think about her spiritual life.
From striking a conversation in the morning with this woman, to Reuben moving to the front of the van in the afternoon to get comfortable seating space for his legs, and to the point where she chose to sit beside him and had a 2-hour chat about the spiritual life,… every part of this incident reeked of a divine appointment.
The Lord is awakening the lady’s heart to the knowledge that He is alive and is actively pursuing her. This Easter Sunday, our prayer is that more people will feel the power of our Risen Saviour as He works to spiritually awaken them to receive real, abundant and eternal life in Him!
Watch this video to gain a renewed appreciation of how much God loves you!