We got to Seatac early and through security quickly. Nancy and I grabbed breakfast and did some concourse walking before boarding. I looked forward to some time to study on the flight to LA to see our son Ezra and family.
Nancy and I were seated in different areas with no chance of swapping. After I squeezed into my seat, I greeted the young lady on one side and the Asian man by the window. As I pulled my book out the fellow said something I couldn't understand. He was telling me he had just arrived on a connecting flight from China. He was excited about this first visit to America and seeing friends in California. We visited and soon he showed me a picture of his wife and child, so I showed him our family photo with all 26 grand-kids in it. This really opened the door. He said he wished they could have a large family too; not an easy thing to do with the laws restricting many births there.
He had many questions that I strained to understand over the roar of the engines. He asked about my occupation. I said, "I am a Bible teacher." and he knew that meant I was a pastor. He mentioned that his mother in China had a Bible and had read it often. But he didn't have one.
"Do you believe Jesus was a myth or a real person?" he asked. I sensed this was an honest question. I responded that Christ was no fable but instead was probably the most well know person in history. There is plenty of evidence for his existence from the Bible, history, and the existence of his church 2,000 years later. He didn't challenge me but went on to say in China people worship money. "Do they do that in America, too?" "Yes," I responded. He implied he had everything he needed on the outside but there was an emptiness on the inside. Wow! What an opportunity tell him of the Good News that could fill that God-shaped hole.
I remembered Philip when on a desert road, he met the Ethiopian official reading Isaiah while on the way to Gaza (Acts 8:26 ff). This is likely how the gospel got to Africa. In a similar way I felt I was placed in the middle seat on a desert road through the sky for such a time as this. So I put my book down and continued to answer his questions knowing the truth might get back to Beijing.
In my bag was copy of the little evangelism booklet we give out, Ultimate Questions. I explained each page briefly as it presented Christ. He knew enough English to understand and was taking it all in. He promised to email me questions after he had translated and studied the book more. I explained that he could buy a Chinese Bible easily while in the U.S. He was amazed.
We became good friends. Before parting we took a selfie with him holding his passport. Pray he will be able to get a Bible of his own, come to understand salvation and find a church there. China is a place where the church is growing rapidly in the new openness that is now there. Pray for my new friend Mr. Yang from China. And...be ready always to give an answer even on a desert road in the sky.