Have you ever had those seemingly random encounters with a stranger where God opens up an unexpected conversation and uses you to minister and encourage someone in the Lord? I sure have. Whether it’s entering into a discussion with someone sitting next to me in an airplane, or at a coffee shop, you never know what God has in-store.
Recently I was handling routine business with our bank manager when one comment led to another and before you knew it, I was doing marriage counseling and praying with the branch manager. Two days later I received a letter thanking me for my timely words and prayer. Last night I received a phone call from a landlord who was inquiring about renting to someone who had stayed in our home. The conversation moved to sharing her fears and past hurts. God led me to share from the Bible and to pray with her. The next day I received a follow up e-mail thanking me for my prayer & words of comfort. I wish I could say I experience these moments more often, but it made me think of a divine appointment I had in 2010 that tops my list.
An Amazing Divine ENCOUNTER
Luis worked for a Restoration company and because we had water damage, he had been working in our home for nearly two weeks. On the last day, he cautiously approached me and said, “I see from the pictures on your wall that you have a beautiful family and I know that you are a minister, is it okay if I ask you a question?” I put down what I was doing and said, “Sure.” With a pained but inquisitive expression Luis asked, “Is it normal to have second thoughts before getting married?
One discussion led to another. His fiancé from Boston came down the next month and Lorna and I counseled them. It became apparent that marriage wasn’t wise. I helped Luis through the break-up and soon after he asked if I would disciple him. We began to meet regularly for a year walking through the Scriptures and reading a book on practicing spiritual disciplines for spiritual growth. During this time, Luis shared his story . . .
Luis’ amazing spiritual journey began in prison where he was given a 10 year sentence for dealing drugs. Shortly after arriving he found a Bible with the front cover torn off and a few pages missing. He began reading and attending the prison chapel. He met several men who began to help him better understand what he was reading and told him when he was ready, to pray the prayer of salvation. In June 2006, Luis became a Christian. His sentence was reduced to two years. Luis now wanted to please God, not only from his heart but with his body. Shortly before going into prison he weighed 281 lbs. When he was released, he had become a buff 195 lbs. His old neighborhood didn’t recognize him. Luis decided to come to Orlando, FL to work in his brother’s Restoration Company which led to our encounter.
But the story becomes even more amazing. After a year of our meeting, Luis sensed the Lord wanted him to attend a Bible college in Oklahoma. During his first year he meets Latoya, and they become engaged. As Luis is sharing with LaToya he happens to mention my name. To Luis’ surprise, LaToya says, “Dirke? Dirke & Lorna? I know them.” Latoya had been a student with the Impact Movement at Ohio University. While attending a conference in 2002 that Lorna & I spoke at, she rededicated her life to Christ and credits her Impact experience as being a major factor in her decision to go to Bible College & enter the ministry.
Luis is finishing his last year in Bible college and they just had their first child. Only God arranges these encounters. So be ready, God has divine appointments planned for you!
Dirke has his doctorate in Church Leadership and is a professor for the Ministry Degree program at Palm Beach Atlantic University. He also teaches at Cru’s Institute of Biblical Studies. He specializes in Leader Development, creating high performing teams and has years of experience at ministering in urban cross-cultural and international contexts.