Approached by a Stranger

Tags: Canada, Central Asia, Story

By Merla Gogel, SEND Canada Mobilizer

As Ashley* was walking home from preschool, she was approached by a man who asked if she would like a bicycle for one of her children. Ashley thought it odd that a man, unknown to her would speak to her, so she politely declined and continued on her way.

That very day, the same stranger approached Garrett* asking him the same question. Garrett thought, "why not?" since it would afford him an opportunity to get to know someone in the neighborhood.

Upon engaging Garrett in a conversation, the man recognized that Garrett was a foreigner which sparked many questions about what he and his wife, Ashley, were doing in this community in Central Asia. Garrett also inquired about the stranger’s family and work. Soon Garrett came to the realization that he is a close relative of the director of the language school where Garrett teaches. This director has already shown some spiritual interest. Garrett recognized that this is a wonderful opportunity to have two contacts from the same family!

Not Individually

Garrett and Ashley work with a national pastor who has a vision to evangelize people, not individually, but in groups of people who already have a relationship with each other and have shown a spiritual hunger. Studying the teachings of Jesus together allows people to benefit from group interaction. Additionally, meeting individually with a foreigner would raise many questions, but meeting in a group where the members already know each other provides a safe environment for study and learning. Also, when someone makes a decision to follow Christ, hopefully it will not be a shock to their friends or family since Scripture is studied together.

Growing Friendship

Garrett continued to have contact with this man each day as he passed his shop to and from work. At first the conversations were about the weather, family, and about their respective countries.

However, after one of these chats, the man, no longer a stranger, invited Garrett to have tea with him. Garrett readily agreed and had the privilege of speaking with him for about two hours — careful to bring up spiritual things when they fit the context.


At the end of the conversation, it was clear that the man was open to a deeper friendship and that he was not closed to speaking about spiritual matters. Garrett continues to pray for the man to see if spiritual hunger develops. When it does, Garrett will invite him to study God’s word. The study starts with Creation and goes chronologically through Scripture showing that Jesus is the fulfillment of prophecy, the giver of salvation, and the One through whom there can be renewed relationship with God.

*This is a true story, but some names have been changed for security reasons.

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Merla Gogel serves as a mobilizer for SEND Canada. She served in Japan for 12.5 years as a church planter and now serves in the Canadian office.

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