We drove our bus onto a ferry and floated off across Puget Sound today. Scores of cars joined our bus and there were people, too, who gathered on the decks of the ferry to pass the time. For some, like us, this was An Event. Photos were snapped at the railing. There were re-enactments of scenes from Titanic and laughter ensued as the wind whipped our hair nearly off our heads. For others, on this blustery day, the trip was mundane--a part of their daily ritual commute to and from work. People sipped coffee, read books, checked their devices, or napped on the chairs and couches inside the covered part of the boat. And for some, the day may have proved to be more than what they were looking for.
A number of our students have recently returned from a missions trip to the Dominican Republic. Something has stirred within our student body since--a hunger to share their faith, a passion to reach the lost. Three separate students or groups of student--unbeknownst to each other--approached various commuters and struck up conversations with them. One boy from our senior class spoke with a man who had just returned from 15 years of Naval service. Though he’d been raised in a church, the sailor had no faith of his own and listened with interest while our choir member told about the purpose of our trip to Washington and of how he could come to know Jesus in a personal way. Another student sat with a man who was in a wheelchair, paralyzed from birth. He had been a 2 lb preemie that had not been expected to survive. a “miracle child.” Our HLA student asked him what he thought God might have spared his life for. He asked him to think about what purpose God might have for his life and for eternity. A group of girls spoke with still another man who professed to be an atheist and shared their faith with him. All of these teens admitted feeling prompted by the Holy Spirit to have these particular conversations. None of this was precipitated or even suggested by adult chaperones and we only heard about it once we were back on land in our bus again.
Throughout the afternoon, we heard more details and stories of our students proclaiming Christ--at the Rushmore monument to a group of Mormon students, on the waterfront in Seattle to a couple of young Vietnamese men. We marveled and the students rejoiced in the knowledge that God had given them the words to speak and that seeds of eternal consequence were planted.
Tonight our musicians exchanged their sweatshirts and jeans for white shirts and black suit coats, for long black dresses and hair pulled up from their necks. They stood in front of a congregation at Peace Lutheran Church in Olympia and sang of a God they did not just know about, but a God that they knew. An older woman who attended the service told us that she had felt like the students; singing made her feel like she’d been transported to heaven.
“How beautiful--the feet that bring
The sound of Good News and the love of a king
How beautiful, how beautiful
Is the body of Christ.”
Today, the beautiful feet that brought Good News to the Pacific Northwest wore Nikes.