I met one of my favorite lunch partners, Josh, at an Ethiopian restaurant. He is very energetic and always comes with fresh stories from his world travels.
He comes along side missionaries and helps capture their ministry by video and photography. At the same time, I always have some local ministry that I am equally passionate about. As a result our conversations are usually loud and nonstop. I often wonder as we are talking how annoying we must be, especially in a tiny little restaurant like the one we were in on this day.
Josh went to wash up. I started to go to the buffet, but I decided to wait for Josh to come back. I sat and waited. Frankly, I usually just start stuffing my face.
The restaurant was empty except for me and Josh and a woman sitting by herself. Josh struck up a conversation with the owner. And of course, Josh had traveled to this man’s home town somewhere in Ethiopia. The restaurant was really struggling and he and his wife were barely making it. He was concerned that his faith as a Muslim was hurting his business.
I asked if we could pray for his business and his family. He accepted. We prayed for new customers and blessings for his family. He thanked us graciously and went back to work.
After a moment or two, the woman, the only other customer in the place, approached us. She said, “I knew you were Christians when you waited for your friend to come back from the bathroom. You rarely see manners like that anymore.” My mother would be so proud.
She continued, “I was really touched when you prayed for the restaurant owner. I work for a retirement home and it is often depressing to me. Today has been a particularly tough day. Your conversation with each other and the way you prayed for that man really made my day!”
Josh jumped up out of his seat and said, “I’ll be right back!” He left the building and went to his car. He came back with a stack of styrofoam-backed posters. The picture was of a beautiful scene in South Africa near the by the sea. On the poster were words of hope.
One of Josh’s many little ministries is to widows and widowers. He turns his own photographs into posters and puts scripture on them to give to widows. They are truly inspiring. He always keeps a stack in his trunk.
He said, “Take these back with you and give them to whoever needs them the most.” She was touched. She took her posters and went to pay her bill. We watched as she showed them to the restaurant owner. He exclaimed, “I have been there! That is my home my Africa! Where did you get this?”
She explained and gave one to him. He needed it.