Friday, March 25, 2011
Learning to show real love
top:Diego and Susie, special pioneer couple at our apartment; our first gathering for some friends in our hall.
bottom: me, Christine, and Elody, a sister from Belgium watching a tango show at Cafe Tortoni
As I had written in my last email, there are several Bible students that are progressing quite well in this congregation. After listening to how they gradually started learning the Bible, Christine and I came to one conclusion: SHOW LOVE.
One Bible student, who had just become a publisher when we arrived, said that she did not really understand her Bible teacher very well, but she was deeply touched by the tender love that her Bible student had for her, and her perseverance in coming to visit even though at times the student had a less than friendly attitude.
So, Christine and I are constantly praying that we will reach the hearts of Bible students by cultivating and showing deep love for them.
Coincidentally, our first chance to really practice showing love came when we met the family, who own the supermarket across the street. In the beginning, we would just pass by to chit-chat, especially to the daughter Lucia. One time, I pulled out a magazine to share, but Lucia just said she was not interested. I didn't push it. However, we would always make sure to say hi or stop by to chit-chat sometimes at the end of the day.
Yesterday, I really felt like I hit the jackpot though. I was just chit-chatting with Lucia, feeling like I was not really getting anywhere. But she started telling me how much she disliked working at the market, and how every day she felt like her life was a routine. I tried to sympathize with her, and listened for a while. Finally, I tried to help her see the positive side- that she was developing good work skills, and learning to be a responsible adult. However, most importantly, I emphasized that her situation is temporary. She had a future to look forward to. I discreetly pulled out the BT book and shared the first question on "Is this what God purposed?" She seemed really curious, but also expressed that she felt religion was just in the mind. I told her that if it really gave us the solid truth about life, it is more than just a mental illusion.
Anyway, I think the final icebreaker was when I invited her to come to our apartment for some coffee and dessert. Actually, Christine was the first to suggest that we should have her over. So, we will have her over on Monday.
This is definitely a first for me- to invite someone to my home and to really extend my friendship to them before jumping in on a Bible study. But it is definitely a way to practice the love of neighbor we should all cultivate.