Gospel on the GO Bus

Late night on the GO

Recently, I was travelling from Toronto to Guelph on the GO bus. The trip was late at night. By the time we were getting close to the Guelph there was only one other passenger on the bus (sitting near the back). I was sitting right at the front . . . in a great spot for a conversation with the bus driver.

I did not feel like talking, BUT . . . 

I did not feel like talking. However, I sensed that it would be best to try to talk to the driver and hopefully spread the Gospel to him. Yet, I found a war being waged within myself, “Just read your Bible instead, it’s too awkward to say something to this guy.” But on the other hand, “Have faith in God, just say something; who knows what the Lord may do?” “No, he is going think you are weird; just read, that makes more sense.” Yet, “Why wouldn’t you try to evangelize; be bold, open your mouth and speak?” The war continued, but finally, by the grace of God, I spoke (praying much).

I opened my mouth

“So how long you been driving bus?” I forget the exact amount of years, but he said something like, “Ten years.” I said, “How do you like it?” He replied, “It’s good.” I said, “Do you always do this route or do they switch it up?” He responded, “They switch it up.” The small continued for a bit and that was it. Silence. Attempt made. Good little chat, no Gospel, but at least I tried. A little discouraging that the conversation ended so soon. But, I cannot force things – I guess the Lord was not opening the door. Or was He?

I sat in silence for a little while, wanting to say something, but having no idea what would be suitable to say. No longer we went without speaking the more weird I felt resuming the conversation. Finally, he passed a truck and said to me, “This truck was holding us up and all the traffic behind us, now we can go faster.”

I thought, “Wow, he said something! This is an open door to respond . . . somehow . . . in someway.” I said, “I notice you have an accent. Where are you from?” He said, “Sri Lanka.” “Really!” I replied. Then I went on to explain how I have friends from Sri Lanka. He found this interesting. I learned that has been in Canada for over twenty years now. I went on to ask him about his religion. He told me that he is Hindu though Sri Lanka is largely Buddhist.  

Talking about Jesus

I told him that I was a Christian and asked, “What do you believe about Jesus?” He did not really answer my question but assured me that he is not very religious and that religion has been the cause of great problems in the world, especially war. I agreed to this sad reality but told him that Jesus Christ came to give peace, to reconcile people to God. He seemed quite intrigued. [Now for those of you NT scholars, I know it is also true, in another sense, that Jesus also came “not to bring peace, but a sword” (Matt 10:34), BUT this is in reference to personal relationships with family . . . on the cost of following Jesus.]

I asked him, “Do you know the Gospel of Jesus Christ?” “No.” I asked, “Can I tell you what it is?” He said, “sure.” I started by explaining Genesis 1-3 (in summary fashion). I focused on how God is the Creator and that He created all things good. I told him how God created us to be with him. God was to be our God, we were to be his people and He was to dwell in our midst. But Adam and Eve rebelled against God, and this rebellion had deadly repercussions. I stopped and asked him if he understood what I was saying. He affirmed that he did. So I went on.

Romans 5 with people from the East

From this point I basically explained Romans 5:12-21. We talked about the difference between the individualistic culture of the West as opposed to the East. He agreed that the culture of Sri Lanka is much more familial. He seemed to have a clear understand of how the SIN of one family member serious affects the rest of the family. So, I explained Adam and Jesus as the two representative heads of mankind. If my memory is correct, I think I talked about the consequence for sinning against God, which is everlasting punishment. I talked about the guilt of our sin and how the entire human race is unable to somehow undo our guilt. It is too late.

Thus, I explained how God has shown his great love toward us in providing a way to be saved from our sin, guilt and punishment. He sent Jesus to be our representative in two ways. He came on our behalf, acting as a substitute, both in his (1) life=representative righteousness for us, and (2) death=representative bearing punishment for us.

From this point I explained how the only way to benefit from the work the Jesus has done on our behalf is being stopping to live our lives our way, and to turn to Jesus, putting all of our trust in Him and the WORK that HE HAS DONE on our behalf.

If my memory is correct, I think I stopped and asked him if he understood what I saying. Again, he said that he did. Sometimes I ask this often because it gives the person a chance to ask questions and to gain clarification on anything I said that may be unclear to them. Whatever the case, he really seemed to be listening and understanding (at least on an intellectual level). I asked him, “Have you ever heard this message before?” He said, “No, but it is good to hear this teaching.”

The Gospel is a message of command

I continued, “There is one more thing you need to know. This message is not just an option. The Bible says that God is commanding all people everywhere repent, that is, to turn to Christ (Acts 17:30-31), even you and me – all people. Everyone will face the judgement.”

A weighty feeling of intensity and awkwardness

At this point I could feel the intensity of our conversation. This was not a light conversation. I was telling him that God is commanding him to turn to Jesus Christ. There was a weight that I could feel in the air. I was uncomfortable. I was tempted to say something to lighten things up a bit. Possibly I could say, “Well that’s Gospel. Thanks for listening,” or “So, how many kids do you have?” or “Do you have a place where you meet with other Hindu’s for worship?” I often make the mistake of saying something to lighten things up at these really intense moments. This time God gave me the grace to let it sit. I endured the awkwardness and said nothing. Neither did he. I wondered what he was thinking – only God knows. That was it.

Eventually, we had some brief small chat when he dropped me off in Guelph. He was very friendly. I gave him a copy of the NT and a Gospel tract inserted. He was thankful for it. This is the ministry of planting. You never know what kind of ground you are planting on AND who God may send to water.

Praise God for His Grace

Praise God for shaking off my fears and giving me boldness. This evangelistic break through was because of God’s grace. I am thankful to God for this grace. I was filled with joy after sharing. People come to faith by hearing the Gospel (Rom 10:17). May the Lord give us the grace to keep spreading it!

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22 responses to “Gospel on the GO Bus

  1. Thank you so much for this!!! I pray that I could be like this with people I meet. I am praying for the bus driver and that God will send someone to water.

  2. Paul, thanks for your wonderful, encouraging and motivational posts… I just discovered your blog through Tim Challies post. I have been trying to do exactly what you are doing in my own city and what I’ve read so far is vastly encouraging. Keep it up 🙂
    Blessings to you and your wife.

    • Thanks for the encouragement! Yes, I am very thankful to Tim for directing people to this blog. It amazes me how much traffic increases when Tim sends a link.

      That is great that you are spreading the Gospel in your city! Which city is it? May Christ receive great glory there. Keep pressing on brother!
      Merry Christmas

  3. Paul,

    Thank you for continuing to post your experiences in evangelism. It is quite instructive for me and a big encouragement. I wish it were not such a battle to penetrate the isolationism or trivial conversation that I and so many others feel so often trapped in. The awkwardness surely stems from the need for the profound to break into the mundane and the urgent to assert itself against indifference. I feel certain that I most often simply lack an adequate love for people and passion for the great gospel work of God.

    Continuing to fight…

    Paul

    • Paul, great name. Brother, thanks for the encouragement! I too often lack an adequate love for people and passion for the great gospel work of God . . . may the Lord help us.

      Merry Christmas,
      Paul

  4. Paul, that was a very encouraging testimony. I am always amazed how many people have truly never heard the gospel in Canada.

    Jim

    • Jim, thanks for the encouragement. I also find myself amazed sometimes by how many people I meet who have never heard the Gospel. Though there are mass numbers of people who have heard the Gospel, there are many who have not. There is much work to be done. The fields are ripe for harvest.

  5. Thanks for the encouragement. I came by way of Challies.com

    God Bless

  6. Thank you for this testimony of true Gospel sharing. It was very encouraging.

    I found you through a link on Challies.com.

  7. Paul,

    Thank you for a few things:
    – taking the time to type this out to share and encourage your readers (I blog occasionally myself and it can be draining at times)
    – sharing how specifically you shared with this bus driver
    – the acknowledgment of the fear of sharing the Gospel

    On that last note, I was thinking about that last night and the fear of sharing the Gospel (at least for me) seems completely irrational and frustrating. It is good to prayerfully open our mouths and speak though! : )

    Thanks & Merry Christmas.

    – Trevor

    • Trevor, thanks for the encouragement brother. I heard a quote from Ed Welch. He said, “fears expose allegiances.” I know this is often the case for me. For me, I often fear that people will not like me when I attempt to share the Gospel with them. When I get fearful in this manner, it shows that my ultimate allegiance is to myself . . . that is, my own image. This is idolatry. This is not a light thing. This is serious sin. May the Lord help me and may the Lord help all of us who are paralyzed by fear. We need to tap into the power of the Spirit. He gives the boldness that good evangelism requires. Thanks for taking the time to comment.

      Merry Christmas,
      Paul

  8. Paul,
    Great story. I struggle mightily with my social awkwardness, to see others fighting through is a good thing. Found your post from Challies, keep it up!

  9. Paul,

    Thanks for your blog! I just came across it recently. I’m over in Calgary working with a church planting project called NewCityChurch.ca. It is encouraging to read about your efforts and risks and doubts as you seek to be faithful to our Lord’s command to preach the Gospel. May the Lord prosper you in your work! And keep up the posts. Maybe I should create a similar blog called “good news for calgary!”

    John

    • Thanks for the encouragement brother! I checked out the new city website . . . was encouraged to see you guys doing Christianity explored and especially all the work overseas . . . that is great!!!

      As for good news for Calgary, go for it brother . . . it appears as though the Lord has really used this blog in many peoples lives, at least for encouragement if not for instruction and edification. PS. if you go ahead with it, please let me know, I’d like to learn from you.

      Grace and peace to you,
      Paul

  10. Paul,

    Coming also through the Challies blog — thanks for your story. Very encouraging and reminds me that Francis Schaeffer said he also started with Genesis when he had the opportunity. Personally recently shared using the napkin and bridge and Rom. 6:23 with a 30 yr old guy, who like your bus driver, had no clue since he had only been in a church maybe a half dozen times. And this in the Bible Belt south US. Blessing, David

    • David, praise the Lord for open doors! Thanks for the encouragement . . . where are you in the South? I lived in Lynchburg, VA for a bit and then Roanoke, VA . . . I am aware of the unique difficulties of evangelism in the Bible Belt . . . keep pressing on brother!

      Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
      Paul

  11. Paul,

    Great to hear back from you! We’re in Fayetteville, GA which is 10 miles south of the Atl airport. I’m in a PCA church, came to Christ in my hometown, Memphis, at the age of 30. My 25 yr old daughter actually began planting the seed with the guy who is a suitor and I just followed up with a clear gospel presentation. We also have a 29 year old son who is in campus ministry with Crusade in Atl.

    I don’t consider myself an evangelist, but a student of evangelism; the Lord won’t let me forget it.

    Thanks again for touching base,

    David

    “A man’s conversion is nothing, his believing is nothing, his profession is nothing unless he is made to be a new creature in Christ Jesus… If our faith has not brought with it the Holy Spirit, if, indeed, it is not the fruit of the Spirit, and we are not changed in nature and in life, then our faith is presumption, and our profession is a lie.” – C.H. Spurgeon

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