Downtown Minneapolis. Night time. The thunder exploded in the cloudy sky as lighting flashed and rain bombarded the noisy streets. I stood under a skyway with my arms folded as I leaned against a wall. People passed by on foot, on bikes, by car, and by bus. Suddenly I hear a loud “Hey!”
The situation was this: while on my mission trip to downtown Minneapolis my team and I were able to witness to people on the streets. We gathered together at a nearby church where a ministry called Street Level was organizing our dispersion into Minneapolis with Bibles, literature, and tracts. The team I was with, coupled with another youth group and some Street Level people, split up and headed into the city as the storm clouds were rolling in.
A guy named Highland, myself, and about four girls went to a bus stop bustling with city folk. The bus stop was situated under a skyway, giving shelter from the incipient raindrops. From imams to business men, all kinds of people were there. There was even a guy sitting on a bench with his tiny black puppy next to him curled up and snoozing away.
Our job was to engage people in conversation and talk to them about the Gospel. Several times I tried, but I could never get very far in the conversation before they were snatched up by their bus. Slightly discouraged, I leaned up against the wall and folded my arms. Suddenly I hear someone shout “Hey!” over the heavy patter of rain. I looked up to see a man of Native American descent pull up on a bike. He seemed to be around 50, sporting long gray hair and tough facial features, yet his tone was pleasant. “Did you hear about the four terrorists?”
“Excuse me?”, I asked, still a little puzzled at his sudden approach. “No.”
“Well they caught Bin Laden”, he began. “Now they’re just lookin for Bin Smokin, Bin Drinkin, and Bin Sleepin!”
I smiled politely.
“Ya get it?”, he asked.
“Funny”, I responded briefly with arms still folded. I really didn’t feel like talking to this guy. I was hoping he would leave me alone.
“You guys must be Christians”, he said, much to my surprise.
“Why would you think that?”, I asked with piqued interest.
He glanced over at two of the girls who were talking with some Somali women. “I can tell.”
“How can you tell?”
He shrugged. “I just can. I’ve been livin on the streets for years now. I can just tell.”
“Well, it’s true. We’re Christians.”
He nodded. “Spreadin the word.”
“…Yep, spreading the word.”
He told me a few other things before turning the bike to start making his way down the sidewalk. “Well I’m gonna go and take up space somewhere.”
At this point I actually wanted him to stay. As he mounted the pedals I quickly said, “I have to know your name. You’re such an interesting person.”
“Last name’s Warmwater. First name’s Luke.”
“Luke-warm-water”, I repeated with humor.
I watched him bike away, understanding a bit more the validity of the very familiar saying, “Preach the Gospel and when necessary use words.”
Remember that the unsaved are watching us, and they can tell a fake when they see one. They can also be deeply impressed by the real deal.