There’s another dear lady praying too. Mrs. Pearline Snell.
She bought printed copy of my photograph when her church had a mission banquet and his picture was on her table.
And every morning she prayed for someone…
to share with him about Jesus Christ. The One who came to seek and save all of us…who were lost.
Millions still are.
It’s up to us to do His seeking–He did commission us after all. Remember?
What are we actively doing about the lost? I hang my head with shame at the lost years–I did nothing.
World Missions was not on my brain. Neither was my closest neighbor.
It’s sad that here I am at almost 54–and now I urgently feel compelled to sell all I have and go.
It’s sad only because it took me so long to pray beyond my own self. But it’s good that I finally woke up.
When I first saw this man and took his picture–he was sleeping. My artist friend, +Betty Shoopman painted the most amazing gallery size portrait. It’s huge. The tag on it when I stood underneath it at Quayside Art Gallery, was $4000. I wasn’t taken aback–it was an absolutely AMAZING painting. It captured the attention of every single individual that came in the gallery. People would stand and stare…mesmerized by the image on canvas. “Who Do You Say That I Am?” was the title of her painting.
This man was a nameless, homeless soul…waiting to be found. That’s what captured me about his image leaning against the brick wall-sleeping in the sunshine.
Just like you and me. His status in society means nothing. The fact he has no home–nothing.
I had a prayer in 2014 when we returned to Bolivia. That I would be able to speak to this man–unknown to me….about One who gave His Life for him to be saved.
I wanted to tell him about his painting that hung in a gallery with a price tag of $4000, but that he was worth so much more.
So every day I looked. I searched the faces of people walking, selling, sitting and standing. I looked into the eyes of everyone I passed hoping to catch a glimpse of this man.
My day and opportunity came. I was more nervous than I have ever been before getting up to speak in a church! My butterflies had had babies and they were fluttering to get out. I think I even woke that morning feeling that “today” might be the day. I had no idea…
As my translator, her fiance and I returned to the village around lunch, they treated me to a filling meal at a local sandwich place–we have the same ones here in USA, but the meat there was a tad bit different 🙂
We ate and I had previously shared my story. I took my matted print copy of Betty’s original painting from my bag–I had carried it everyday in hopes of seeing him, and showed it to them. They were amazed, but couldn’t recall seeing him before.
After our meal, Daniel had half of his foot long sandwich left, an unopened bag of chips and a bottle of water. As we were driving back to the hotel I spotted him. I felt the excitement stir as never before. I mean this was seeing a prayer come to pass before it actually arrives at your doorstep…. All the “are you crazy”? thoughts came tumbling to my head–I pushed them aside with the thought–what if today is meant to be HIS DAY? What if God brought me all the way from Florida to Bolivia with this one job…to bring Christ to this man…
I felt like my feet weren’t even touching the ground. As we approached him, I smelled him. I knew I was about to have nostrils full of a very recognizable stench. The cardboard sign holding men on the corners at the intersections and at the Walmart parking lot don’t have this smell. I think the majority of them are out for what they can get from you. But this man….he was holding no sign. If anything, his expression was a sign. Do not enter.
I ignored it.
I squatted down with Daniel and started speaking and Daniel translated. I told him when I first saw him–how God had used him in my life and others. I told him that God had answered my prayer in letting me find him today–and that I had been praying for him to know the Jesus that died on the cross. I told him about the picture, the painting, my friend who prayed–and this was before I knew that that very morning, as with every single morning for more than a year, Mrs. Pearline Snell had prayed that prayer–for God to send someone to share Christ with him. Today was his day.
I felt from the fact that he wouldn’t look in my direction that I needed to let Daniel do all the talking. I just began talking to Daniel. Soon I stood up and asked Fabyata, “what what Daniel saying”?
She said he’s telling him about Jesus–the plan of salvation. I quickly asked Fabyata, does he even know who Jesus is?
The man uttered something to Daniel and I asked Fabyata what he said. “I know who Jesus is” was his reply. Without emotion.
Then I remembered, every single time I had seen him he had been around this church. How could he not know? Perhaps he heard? Perhaps the singing reached his ears… then I realized– I wasn’t sure what kind of songs they sang at the particular church that he was leaning against. Maybe none.
I felt pretty confident–they didn’t sing Jesus Loves Me…for this religion was more about Mary–than God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost. My heart broke that I couldn’t communicate with him personally and tell him in “Angie words”…. but perhaps…this was best.
Daniel offered him his food. It took some doing–this man without a home–and without a cardboard sign–he was no beggar. He finally and reluctantly took the food offered but would not accept the 5 x 7 picture I offered with extended hand. He told Daniel something to tell me– “keep it to remember me by”.
As if I would ever forget my first encounter–the prayers prayed–or this day. No, friend. I would not forget you. I will talk about this day–and about you –to anyone who will listen.
And Betty gave me on loan, the painting to share this story when we are invited to go speak as we begin our own missionary journey.
On our way to church–after meeting Denny and Betty to accept the painting– we thought that the church we were attending that night for their special mission service might like to have it displayed–just to represent a place that several of their men had gone with us…the deacon I called was very glad to display it. After being seated, the pastor came and asked would I share a bit about the painting…wow. First opportunity–and I couldn’t possibly share it all. But I said yes… actually, Jeff said “yes she will” for me.
As I shared brief points of the story, I saw a woman out of the corner of my eye, wiping her eyes. After the service I was able to speak with her and her story you now know– it was an every-single-morning prayer she prayed. In faith. Believing that one day–God would send someone to him. And–God did. Me.
God answered Pearline’s prayer–and He answered mine…and used me.
I didn’t get the “response” I had hoped for–my hope was to lead him in the sinners prayer…but as I left, still feeling the flutter of the butterflies, I confessed my feelings to Fabyata. Her response to me was, “You did your job. You did what you were supposed to do”.
She was right. God has a plan already set in motion. Perhaps I will still play a part–but if not, I am okay with that. I know there are others who are now praying for his salvation. He has been brought to the attention of the artist when she painted him–and The Artist who created him, never lets him out of His sight.
Now, when I see him in my mind–I know what to do. Pray. He’s not forgotten–by God, nor us. He has become known to us as “Angie’s Bolivian Man”. When Jeff traveled to Bolivia in December of 2013 without me– he spied him on the side of the church one night coming back into the city. He called me–with excitement said, “I just saw your Bolivian Man”. My heart leapt –praying, hoping for the day I actually experienced in 2014.
From 2011 to 2015–God has been stirring our hearts for Bolivia, and not just because of this man. But because of the millions who don’t know. Not just Bolivia–but to the uttermost –furtherest place where people dwell. They are lost….they need to know.
Pray. Beyond yourself.
(The original painting is not pictured here–but is available to travel for weekend services)
© 2015 Angie Knight- The Knightly News. All rights reserved. Photography copyright protected. All rights reserved.