A Weary Traveller Shares God’s Word With A Weary Soul

I had just returned home to Nashville, Tennessee from two weeks in rural Africa where, along with other men who serve in The Gideons International, I had been sharing copies of God’s Word with the lost. Though still weary from the trip, I had to leave for Iceland in less than 24 hours. After quickly repacking and getting a short nights sleep at home, I was looking forward to sleeping on the plane from Nashville to New York and then on the overnight flight to Iceland.

People were praying for my trip and I was still in the afterglow of the experience of sharing God’s Word in Africa. God was at work.

In 32 years of flying, I had only been bumped up to first-class once. However on this particular day, I was bumped up to first-class twice. First on the flight to NY. Then on the overnight flight from NY to Iceland. I was going to get some really good sleep flying over the North Atlantic.

However, God had other plans. Someone else had just been bumped up to first-class. A woman looked to be in her thirties. She was assigned the seat next to mine.

Persisting In The Face Of Rejection

I was thinking I would get the formalities of the introductions and small talk over with quickly so I could sleep. The lady’s name was Toby, and she was a mother of an eight-year-old boy and a six-year-old girl. She said she was traveling to Iceland to meet her husband for a weeks vacation.

Anxious to end the conversation so I could sleep, I went straight into sharing my testimony–not my normal way to start a conversation. Gods presence came on me very strongly as I shared about my faith and about my family, my gardening and my travels.

Toby very quickly let me know that she and I were total opposites. She was a meat, potatoes and pasta person. She confirmed she believed in one God but she had no knowledge of the Bible, had never read it, although she said she was an avid reader. She adamantly declared, “And I’ll never read the Bible.” She had her belief and she was satisfied with it. She believed if we messed up the first time around, God would reincarnate us into something else and we would have another chance, and so on until we made it.

I gently, softly and caringly asked her a number of pointed questions in regards to spiritual matters. After a couple hours of talking, I asked one question that really got to her. “Why are you so afraid of reading the Bible?“

She thought a moment and responded, “That is a good question. I don’t know why.”

Gods presence was powerful in giving me verses, words and gentleness in dealing with her. She said, “Talking about ones spiritual beliefs was very private and personal. No one has ever talked with me about such private things.”

The Difference That Four Hours Of Witnessing Can Make

After a four-hour witness with her which included sharing Scriptures, testimonies and Gods personal intervention into my life on a daily basis, it was now the right time. I pulled out a Personal Workers Testament and offered it to her.

Smiling she accepted it and promised that she would read it. She even said, \“You have done a really nice job.\“ She had undergone a dramatic change of heart in regards to her openness to reading God’s Word since the start of our conversation four hours earlier.

Although she did not make a decision to receive Christ, she heard and learned more of the Bible in four hours than she had in her thirty some years of life. Since she knew absolutely nothing about the Bible, I showed her the \“Helps\“ in the front of the New Testament as an easy reference to help her find key answers. I then confirmed the verses I had quoted to her by reading out loud the plan of salvation printed in the back.

It was truly amazing to see God change this young lady’s mind. I ended the witness by showing her the New Testament I had received from The Gideons International in 1967 and where I had signed my name in the back in 1971 when I made my decision to accept Jesus as my Lord and Savior.

God changed my plans to sleep. What an incredible blessing. Would you pray right now for Toby and for her most precious gift to not return void?

Bill Walters

The Gideons International

Nashville, TN

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