I made my way to my seat on the flight from Boston. I had just experienced 3 days with my friends who spoiled me with time, love and money.
Now I was headed home and looking forward to unwinding in preparation for work the next day. I was disappointed my airplane seat was a middle seat. We all know middle seats are the hardest to take a nap in which is what I felt in desperate need of. But God consistently has divine assignments for me when flying and so even though I was annoyed by the seating I was keeping my eyes peered for the assignment.
I ended up between an overweight, talkative Caucasian woman and a quiet, tall and lanky brown-skinned man. They couldn’t have been more different. When the woman kept talking to me I figured she was probably my assignment. But I was wrong. The guy who I thought was a young teenager was struggling with his seat belt. Being the natural introvert that I am I made no move to assist and so he was forced to ask for my help. I realized he was trying to insert the belt into the wrong end, which further confirmed to me that he was a young kid (though I was wrong, he was actually a foreigner). After assisting him he got the courage to initiate conversation. He asked me about my trip, where I had been, where I was headed. He kept his eyes averted and would not look at me directly (I found out later this was due to shyness). I responded and engaged in conversation, noticing his accent and seeing his attempts to connect. I could discern that he was in need of human interaction and God was softening my heart towards him. Then he asked me the most random question of all.
“Are you a Christian?”
I was shocked as at this point we had just been making small talk and I hadn’t alluded to anything about my personal faith. I scanned my items quickly to see if I had some type of “Jesus” apparel sticking out that he was seeing but I found nothing. “Yes I am. How did you know???” He said that he knew as soon as he looked into my eyes. He then shared that he was a Muslim from Gambia, Africa and that he had come to the States for school. He didn’t know anyone here except his siblings and he was having a hard time adjusting to the culture. The flight attendants advised there were spare seats in the back and we would be able to move in the back if we wanted. I knew without a doubt I was supposed to stay exactly where I was and engage in conversation with this young man, who I learned was actually 21. He of course thought I was his age as it seems every 20-something I meet does these days LOL. So I decided to forgo my desired nap to expand the kingdom of God (oh the sacrifices we believers make 😉).
We talked about the differences in our faith and I allowed Holy Spirit to lead me in my responses and questions. I let him talk freely about his faith and he offered me the same respect, though I think it was more difficult for him. He was convinced he had the truth and maybe I could have been swayed except that from what he shared Muslim’s do not believe in a sinful nature. He believes that when he dies he will be judged based on his works. I shared that when I die I will only be judged by the blood of Jesus.
All throughout the conversation I was so excited. I knew God had set this up and I felt honored to be His representative to my new friend Ebrima. I was actually Ebrima’s first American friend and I’m sure he never would have guessed his first friend would be a Christian. I shared that he was actually seeing the Holy Spirit in my eyes and that is how he knew I was a Christian. Of course he did not receive this but I have a feeling that someday in the future he will understand.
For about an hour the plane was delayed and the passengers were highly upset. But I kind of think that was a part of God’s plan as well. The flight was short and having that extra hour with Ebrima was pivotal in sharing the gospel with him. By the end of our conversation he was making more eye contact with me and even let me talk him into taking a selfie with me. “It’s the American way” I said. He was so sad that we would never meet again but I told him maybe we will in eternity.
I really do believe that. I know there will be others that will come after me who will plant more seeds and he will come to know Yeshua for himself. I believe God will use him to bring many into his kingdom. Once we are face to face with our sinfulness, we can not deny that we need a Savior. And only God Himself could have possibly saved us. Isaiah 59:1.
My friend Ebrima 😊
Fun with the girls 😉