Push A Buddy Into Traffic

Last night I ate with our top two bringers. Between these two guys, they normally bring about half of the people at our Bible study. That doesn’t mean that all these people are their personal guests – many would come even if it wasn’t for these two guys. But there are plenty that only come because these guys convince them to, and they certainly make it easier for everyone to find their way to our location every week. They have an English corner that they run at their school, and I went to help them with that last night. I do my best to avoid that kind of stuff now that we’ve got some other people to spend time with, but it was the only time these two were both free, anyway. So at the English corner (there were probably forty-five or so students there), J. introduces me as his teacher and tells people to talk to me. At the end he gathers the group around and tells them that there’s a Bible study tomorrow night, and if they want to be a part, they should be at such-and-such a place at such-and-such a time. Pretty cool.

Well, we lost the crowd, and we went to some little restaurant near the school. The restaurant was about to close, so most of the people left in the upstairs dining room were already drunk. J. and R. began to talk in boastful terms about how many beers they can drink. (I told you, real giants of the faith) So I told them that I wanted to hear what they thought about Jesus and our Bible study.

J. professes to be a Christian. I guess I shouldn’t complain, he brings a ton of people to the study. But he still doesn’t talk very clearly about his faith in Jesus, and he definitely doesn’t feel the overwhelming singularity of the importance of Jesus that is usually a good symptom of being born again. He always talks about getting along with people, having a second chance at life, living life with happiness and excitement – yawn… Honestly, he still doesn’t get it. But he says he’s reading his Bible 30 minutes a day, so I can’t be too bummed. If he keeps that up, something’s got to give. His English is really good – not his accent so much, but his vocabulary is really impressive. My Chinese was especially bad last night…

R., on the other hand, is a little more honest – more to my liking. He tells me that he’s still not a Christian. He’s also reading the Bible everyday, but he just feels like he needs more time to make a decision. I gave him the speech that I’m sure I’ll give a million times in my life – about how taking time to think is all right as long as you do two things: 1, realize that this is an important decision and is dangerously insulting to God to put off, and 2, really take time to think, study, and consider, rather than just say you’re thinking about it, but never actually do so. He seemed to understand that. This guy is probably my biggest fan here. He attends to my every need, real or imagined, any time we’re together. He gets me water when I’m speaking, herds people to me or away from me, yea, even wipeth sweat from my brow when it waxeth sweaty (seriously). Nice guy, but he better make a decision soon.

What do both of these guys need? Contrary to popular belief, they don’t need someone to build a perfectly meaningless relationship with them over the next couple years. That wouldn’t hurt, but they can keep this act up indefinitely. They need someone in their own language to put them in a real, Holy-Spirit-driven crisis. To paint a clear picture of the world and a clearer one of their life. To drag them to the crossroads and push them at the intersection. They don’t need a buddy; they need a discipler. Seems to be the prescribed order from Jesus: disciples first, friends later. The tension I feel about learning this language is just unreal. It really feels like my whole life is on hold while I try to solve this puzzle. And the holding-music stinks.

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