I Do Not Want to Buy Another Samosa

Over the past year I have been active within the Indian community of Columbus. I am getting first-hand experience at engaging unreached people groups in my city, while my heart prepares and grows to do this work overseas. Starting off that has looked like wandering into restaurants and ordering food I’ve never heard of, browsing international shops for birthday presents, buying my groceries at small Indian markets, and sharing experiences and conversation with internationals at public community areas around town.

One story that stands out to me is the day I met my friend who I will call Shira. I had been visiting an Indian market every day on the way home from work. They sell 99 cent samosas that it was a good excuse for me to become a regular customer. I was finding it difficult to engage with people the way I expected. For one, many of the people I met were men. Engaging them in intentional conversation often took a turn for awkward or unfruitful. After a few weeks of failed attempts to connect with anyone, I found myself wanting to quit. By the grace of God, my heart was moved to pray through this discouragement instead of give up. “Lord, this isn’t working. Where are the women? Why haven’t you blessed my desires and my efforts to share the Gospel with anyone? I do NOT want to go buy another samosa… I’m kind of sick of them, and I haven’t made any friends yet.”

I decided to pray for the Spirit to really move as I sat outside of the grocery store in my car. When I finally mustered up an ounce more of faith, I went inside. The first person to catch my eye was an older women shopping near the vegetables. “Wow God!” I thought. He was going to answer my prayer right here. I approached the woman and was immediately shot down. You’d think I would have given it another try, or found a different customer to greet, but in that moment I felt even more discouraged than I had in my car. I decided to quickly make my purchase and leave.

A woman I had maybe seen once or twice before was there to ring me up. “Are you Indian? I see you in here all the time” she asked me. “No, I’m not,” I said, “but I live close by and like getting my groceries from your store.” She then went on to ask me all sorts of questions about myself. We found out that she takes English classes at a church near to where I was living at the time. I told her that I was attempting to learn Hindi, but it was really hard. “You will come over to my house. I will give you lessons in Hindi and you will help me know English. Will you come? I’ll make you lunch.” At this point I couldn’t believe it. God had answered my prayers, but not through my own efforts. I had not tried to engage Shira at all. She had engaged with me. And not only that, but she had invited me into her home. I did go, and we spent several hours talking (that is, after all, how she hoped to practice English). We became good friends, and she has since shared a lot about herself and her Hindu faith. The night I shared the Gospel with Shira for the first time, she replied “I like the idea of you having only one God. We have many and it makes my home feel so crowded. One God sounds better than all the rest”. I am still praying for Shira, and her teenage daughter Taki, to make Jesus the Lord of their lives.

This story serves as an important reminder that God sees my desires, hears my prayers, and he cares about them. It also goes to show that He is bigger, still, than all of those things. In my mind, the only way I was going to connect with Indians would be if I asked the perfect questions or initiated the right conversation topics. But in the end, God moved Shira to himself and I was simply there to receive her. That takes so much pressure off my efforts and flawed strategies alone. He can be trusted with the hearts of men and “he remains faithful” (2 Timothy 2:13).

Liz Hembree

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