9/7/10 Ernesto, about 40
I began a conversation today by asking a Latino man at the park, who couldn't speak any English, if he would help me practice Spanish. He was glad to, and we talked for an hour in a wide-ranging conversation. After some time I told him of my Christian faith and asked about his beliefs. The problem with an informal "shooting the breeze" conversation like this is that it can be very awkward to try to keep the conversation focused in a spiritual direction, since this wasn't the agreed upon topic of conversation in the first place. I find it better to intentionally begin a conversation with a stranger by talking about spiritual things up front, usually by asking for permission to do so or by giving a tract as a conversation starter. Then when the conversation drifts off-topic it is only naturally to get back to what we started out with. Ernesto was open to talking about his religious beliefs, which were very minimal as a child and even less important to him now, but he is passionate when talking about politics. I did give him a Spanish Bible and circled some key passages in it for him to focus on. I pray God's Word in printed form will do for Ernesto what I didn't do so well verbally - share the hope we have of eternal life in Christ.