Wednesday, September 22, 2010


We are currently enjoying some mild and sunny days here in Brussels. During late summer/early fall this is quite common here, and of course I like it. Last weekend, there was the annual car-free Sunday taking place again, i. e. no vehicle with an engine was allowed to be driven (except with special permission) in the 19 communes of Brussels. It was nice to see only bikers and roller bladers on the streets, and it was a great feeling to walk along that road near my place which is normally so busy and even breathe kind of fresh air.

I've had some interesting witnessing opportunities lately - well, at least I made some prospective contacts. A couple of weeks ago, there was a gathering of some people residing in my quarter. This was organized by a few dedicated neighbours who invited everyone to come out to get acquainted with the other neighbours. I had never attended such an encounter before, but I realized that this was a great opportunity for me to get in touch with unchurched, common people. At first, I wasn't feeling quite comfortable going there. My French is not too great after all, and I'm a little bit shy when it comes to meeting a whole bunch of people I have never met before. But I overcame my bashfulness, and it actually turned out quite pleasant. There was even a young couple who both work as translators for the European Commission. And there were others that I had greeted before but never talked to. So next time when I see them on the street, I can at least say more than only "Bonjour". And this already worked out! The President of this small neighbours association is a widowed man in his 60's. Last Sabbath, I was on my way for a short walk at the nearby university premises, and there he was walking his dog, so we got to talk for a little while. He shared with me that it wasn't easy for him to live alone. So what do we have to offer to those people who obviously feel some sort of emptiness in their lives? Well, there is a lot we can offer, but how can we make it attractive and interesting for them?

Another encounter also happened on Sabbath. When I was on my way home from church, I walked by one of these sightseeing buses which was stationed near the city center. Suddenly, I heard someone calling me. It was the driver of the bus that I had taken together with the Campos last week. He was very nice letting us on the tour at the student rate. So he asked me if I was taking a walk, and I said I was on my way home from church. He said he liked it if people go pray, but then he went a bit too far by asking me whether I lived alone and if I could give him my number. Basically, he wanted to invite me on a free tour on his bus (is this all he wanted, I wonder?). Too bad that I didn't have any literature to give him. But now, I'm trying to be always prepared. So this morning, I gave a health flyer to my hairdresser. She said "oh, I smoke!" So maybe that was the right candidate!

Anyway, by God's grace I'm still hoping to accomplish more than I have so far. Where are the big fish? Maybe I need to make this a real matter of prayer. It's quite humbling to realize that there are some opportunities in life that may come along only once. Are you prepared to witness or share a piece of literature wherever you go?

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