Perhaps the best Bible study I had during my recent trip to Peru happened on the flight between Seattle and Houston on my way to the mission field. Underline it: The mission field is wherever you happen to be when you meet people who need to know Jesus.
Continental Flight #166E from Seattle to Houston was a full flight. I had just settled into my window seat for the four hour flight when the lady who was to occupy the middle seat arrived. After exchanging smiles she settled herself, adjusting her seat belt, and began to relax. Having learned I do better if I share my name up front I turned to her and said, “Hello, my name is Gerald.” To which she said with a decided Spanish accent, “I’m Tony.” Because she had hesitated briefly I switched to Spanish, and immediately we connected. She smiled broadly, and said, “You speak Spanish.”
I quickly discovered she had come to Tacoma to visit her daughter who was in a high school program for the year with a special emphasis on English. The daughter had experienced some homesickness so Tony had come to see her and encourage her. She would like to come home, but she will finish the year first she indicated with a smile. Then she can come back to Mexico City, and that will be fine. I immediately liked this no nonsense mother who obviously loved her daughter with a kind of tough love.
Of course she wanted to know where I was going, and I told her I was on my way to participate in a mission trip to Trujillo, Peru. I asked her if she had ever heard of Seventh-day Adventists? “No,” she said, “Who are they, and how are they different from Catholics?” Within five minutes we were already well on the way to an exciting conversation. I spoke briefly of our common belief in Jesus and that we were both Christians. But, I continued, our name really emphasizes how we are different from Catholics.
“Adventist” means we not only believe Jesus came the first time as a baby, and lived here on this earth some 2,000 years ago, but he has promised to come again, as King of Kings. Taking out my Spanish Bible I shared several Bible texts starting with John 14:1-3 then moving on the signs of His coming as mentioned in Matthew 24. As she read of the signs she turned to me several times and said, “This is already happening.” “Yes,” I said, “ That is one reason Adventists are so eager to share because Jesus really is coming back soon.” “I’ve never heard this before.” Tony responded.
We shifted to the second part of our name, “Seventh-day”, and again briefly studied the Sabbath from Genesis, Exodus, and the life of Jesus. How did the ten commandments get changed was her next question, and how can I get a Bible like you have? Our Bible study lasted for most of two hours, and before the flight ended I told her I would be happy to send her a Bible if she would leave me her contact information. She quickly wrote down her information, and I am sending off her Bible today. It contains La Fe de Jesus Bible Lessons in the back. I will also contact the local conference regarding her interest.