Tuesday, March 12, 2013
Today I was supposed to go to a seminar in Belville. On my way there I realised that my motorbike needed gas urgently. It was on reserve and can only go 20km on the 1litre reserve gas. I took the off ramp to Kuilsrivier hoping to find a Petrol station. I was relieved as I pulled into the station and in a bit of a hurry, not wanting to be late for the seminar. The attendant helping me was a man with the name “Happy”. Trying to make small talk I commented on his name, saying," Happy are you happy?" He looked straight into my eyes and I was shocked as I saw the sorrow staring back at me. He softly said “Nee meneer”( No sir) I could not help but to ask what was wrong. Tears started whelming up in his eyes and he said even more softly “hulle het my kind doodgemaak laas maand”(they killed my son last month).
We were staring at each another and as the tears rolled down his face I could feel my own tears starting to roll down my cheeks. At that moment I was so aware of God’s love for this guy that I got off my motorcycle and gave him a real bear hug. The sobs seemed to force themselves out of his body as he was trying to hold back. I took him by the arm and we walked to the station office. We found the owner and as I started to explain what had just happened and the fact that I am a Pastor, he interrupted with relief telling me that he was a Christian and how worried he was about Happy. He asked me to talk to Happy and said we could use his office.
Thus we ended up in the office, Happy and I, with the owner serving us coffee and biscuits. Happy told me about the pain of his loss. How his whole life was brought to a sudden stop. He also told me about his mother and her devotion to God. How she always prayed for him and his brothers. He was the only one who had never given his heart to the Lord, his older brother who died in Taxi crash knew the Lord. His brother just younger than himself died at the age of 24 in hospital of an illness, also knew the Lord. Their youngest brother who died at the age of 12 of an illness, knew the Lord. His only living brother, two years elder than him, knew Christ. He told me that his son did not know Christ and then he started to sob uncontrollably. I was dumbstrucked by his story, a story of pain and suffering which is not unlike the story of many Africans. We sat there for an hour and a half as he spoke. My amazement was growing as I realised that he was building up his story to a point where he wanted to give his heart to the Lord. I said nothing,(and this is very difficult for a pastor) he just kept on talking and talking. It was as if the pain was draining through his mouth and the best I could do was to keep my mouth shut.
Then suddenly he said “Pastoor ek moet regmaak met God”(Pastor I must sort out my life with God.) At that moment the Owner of the station stuck his head around the door to ask if we needed anything. I said yes he must join us for a moment. I told him that Happy wanted to give his heart to the Lord. Johan the owner was very excited until I told him that he must help Happy to give his heart to the Lord. Johan said he didn’t know how. I told him and Happy to kneel with me and then told him to lead Happy in the sinners prayer. I explained to them the sinners prayer and then Johan prayed the sinners prayer with Happy. All three of us were overwhelmed ending up embracing each other. I also explained to Johan that he needed to take Happy under his wing and start a process of discipleship with him.
I now have an appointment with Johan and Happy once a month for an hour and a half to help them on the way ahead in their ministry at the Petrol Station. Johan insisted that I do not pay for my tank of petrol and said that each month when I visit I must make sure the tank is empty. If I help fill their tanks he would fill my bike’s tank.
As I drove off I realised that I met Jesus at the Petrol station He was waiting for me, Happy and Johan. How many times had I missed Him before because I was in just to great a hurry to to talk to people around me.