Have you ever stayed overnight in a European hostel?
It functions like a hotel, but it is set up like a dormitory. There is a small receptionist desk, and then a short hallway with rooms of various sizes. In each room is at least one bed, and down the hall are bathrooms. Across the hall from the bedrooms is a large common area, with a small kitchen. This room is not just the place for meals, but the place to hang out, have conversation, and make friends with the other guests.
In this common room are banners on the walls with photos of past AIA teammates, with a description in Spanish of what Athletes in Action is. For the other guests staying in the hostel, it is no secret that they are sharing a living space with American athletes who are followers of Jesus.
Guess what? We could have stayed in our hostel most of the day and still had opportunities for spiritual conversations. Fortunately, that was the case with one woman from mainland Spain.
This woman checked in to the hostel a couple of nights before our team’s departure. She didn’t speak English, but she noticed the banners hung on the walls, which have Spanish written on them. Each banner reads, “Followers of Jesus, in every city, sport, and nation.”
This lady, who had a spiritual hunger, was curious about who our team was. But she felt bad that she couldn’t speak with us because she didn’t speak English. And we had no idea what she was feeling until Joanna, who lives and works in Tenerife, was able to have a conversation with her.
The woman shared that she had an interest in studying the Bible, but had never done so before. When Joanna finished talking with the woman, she said it was the most spiritual conversation she had had in her four years of living there. That statement helped me realize the spiritual apathy that most Spaniards and Canary Islanders posses.
But God is living and active, and He reveals Himself to those who seek Him. In His sovereignty, he placed that woman, our team, and Joanna in the right place at the right time.
“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.” (Matthew 7:7-8)