This morning my friend Devendra joined the Christ Journey community in our worship gathering (you can find links to the podcast on the Christ Journey Life blog). After a powerful morning of sharing his life and faith story (which I thought was highlighted by his prayer and singing in the Nepalese language in preparation for our time around the Table) a group went to Royal Pizza to continue the conversation. Conner and Micah got to ride in the truck with Devendra and I - and they decided that this funny talking guy was pretty cool!
I think Devendra had already won Conner over by spending a few minutes before worship helping him with his Where’s Waldo book.
But during the car ride to lunch, Micah definitely got on the bandwagon. Devendra told them all about Nepal and the mountains and how different it is from Burleson. Both boys decided that they want to visit Mr. Devendra’s country, and ESPECIALLY Mr. Devendra’s little hill called Mt. Everest.
When we arrived at Royal Pizza the wellsbrothers insisted that they get to walk through the parking lot with Mr. Devendra and they were both going to sit by him at lunch (sorry guys, the kids’ table was a better place for you to enjoy your cheesy deliciousness).
This evening at dinner Conner began asking about Nepal. “Did Mr. Devendra say that there are bad people in his country?”
“Well,” I replied, “it isn’t that they are necessarily BAD, but they worship pretend gods instead of following Jesus and they don’t like for people to worship our God.”
Conner: “Oh, you mean they worship statue gods?”
Me: “...uh, yeah, actually.”
Conner: “And they don’t like people who follow Jesus? What do they do to Christians?”
Me: “Well, sometimes they are just mean to them and take away their stuff. But sometimes they hurt them or even put them in jail...just for being a Christian.”
Conner: “Oh...then I changed my mind, I don’t think I want to go to Nepal anymore.”
Me: “Well, Mr. Devendra said that the Hindu people in Nepal are actually very nice to people from other countries, even if they are Christians. But even if they weren’t, it is important for those of us who follow Jesus to be brave so that other people have a chance to know about Jesus. We should be careful and smart, but we have to be brave. Do you remember the story of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego?”
Conner: “Yeah, they wouldn’t worship the statue god.”
Me: “That’s right. Do you remember what they told the king who wanted them to?”
Conner: “They told him that they will only worship God. And they said that God could save them from his fiery furnace.”
Me: “Yep, and do remember what they said they would do if God DIDN’T save them from the furnace?”
Conner: “Um...they would still worship God?”
Me: “That’s right. We have to trust Jesus for protection when things look pretty scary, but we also know that other people might hurt us if we love Jesus...God might not always keep us from getting hurt. But we will be brave and follow him anyway.
Do you know what is the best thing to do though? We treat everyone like Jesus would treat them. We are respectful and helpful - we love them like Jesus loves us, and that means we do good for everybody. I think there are a lot of people who don’t like Christians because we haven’t always acted very much like Jesus.”
Conner: “Dad, I want to be a preacher like you some day. I will tell people about Jesus and I will be brave even if they say they are going to put me in jail.”
(This is the first time that Conner has said that to me...)
That’s when Micah chimed in for the first time - he had been sitting there listening quietly the whole time. “And do you know what I will do when the bad guys worship the statue gods?”
Micah: “I’ll kick them in the face.”
...Baby steps I guess.