Pocket Full of Change Ministries

This blog needed a name. Somehow, Divine Encounters While Living In a Hotel didn’t work. Besides, the Bible word for hotel is Inn. I asked Facebook friends for help. I narrowed 40 amazing suggestions to 7 and gave it back to Facebook for a vote. INNCounters, submitted by my best friend, Nancy Edwards, won by a landslide. Join the INNCounters God sends my way.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Room Encounters

By Cheryle M. Touchton
Director – Pocket Full of Change Ministries

The Teacher asks: Where is my guest room. Mark 14:14 NIV

I’d said I wasn’t going to have any more room encounters and here I was evangelizing to a stranger inside my hotel room. One unnerving thing about living in a hotel is how many strangers come inside the room. Maintenance and housekeeping staff thinks nothing of using their passkey to enter and do their jobs. I’m an evangelist and when I meet people, I have to do my job. I’d decided not to have any more room encounters after a maintenance man grew agitated and I grew frightened when I had trouble getting him leave the room. My resolve lasted a week when I found myself praying with a hotel staff person inside my room. Yesterday, I had yet another room encounter.

Someone knocked and Belle barked. When I opened the door, Belle saw an evil vacuum cleaner and charged. The poor woman behind the vacuum screamed and backed up.

“Belle,” I commanded. “Stop!” She did but she carefully stood between me and the vacuum cleaner.

“Leah, Belle won’t hurt you,” I said, reading her name tag. “She doesn’t like vacuums. She loves people. Are you afraid of dogs?”

“Yes,” she said is a shaky voice. “I’m not coming in unless you promise she won’t bite.”

“She’s Belle the Missionary Dog and she helps me tell people about Jesus,” I said. “Belle, say Jesus.” Belle dutifully barked.

“Now,” I said. “Show this nice lady how to take Jesus’ hand.” Belle held out her paw. Leah didn’t take her hand.

“Show her how to lie at the feet of Jesus.” Again, Belle was obedient.

Leah relaxed and came inside. “Are you from here?” I asked.

“Yes,” she said, cleaning as we talked.

“Do you go to a church in the area?”

“No. I took my children to church when they were little but I haven’t been in years.”

“Leah, I’m a Christian. If something were to happen to you today, do you know where you will go in the next life?” I asked. There it was - startling question. There is simply no way to ease into it.

“I don’t,” she said, acting as if she got asked that question every day. “It would be nice to come back as a dog or a bird.”

I ignored the irony of her wanting to come back as an animal she was afraid of. Instead, I said, “Being a bird would be fun. I would enjoy flying.”

Leah went into the bedroom to clean so I assumed we were done. I’d sowed seeds and knew I’d probably see her again so I didn’t push. I went back to work and after a while, I heard her walk back into the living room.

“No,” she said, as if we’d never stopped talking. “I don’t have a clue about the next life.”

“Do you believe in Jesus?” I asked. “That He came to earth, died on a cross, and rose from the dead?”

She tilted her head as if to think. After a second, she hesitantly said, “I think so.”

“Think is enough,” I encouraged. “The Bible says you only need faith the size of a mustard seed. A mustard seed is tiny. The Bible also says we all have sinned and fallen short. Sin is why most of us worry about the next life. The wages of sin is death and at some level, we all know that.” I stopped and smiled and she smiled back her agreement.

“The Bible also says the gift of God is eternal life. Who knows – it is heaven after all and God is God. Maybe He would even let you be a bird for a little while. My favorite line in the entire Bible is that all who call on the name of the name of the Lord Jesus will be saved. Leah, all you have to do for eternity is call on the name of the Lord Jesus. Would you like to do that?”

“Yes,” she said quietly. “I really would.”

“Pray after me,” I encouraged. “Dear God.” She solemnly repeated each line, confessing her belief in Jesus, admitting she was a sinner, and asking for forgiveness. When she invited Jesus into her life to be her Lord and Savior, her look of relief left me breathless.

“If anyone ever asks you again about the next life, tell them you are going to heaven because you called on the name of Jesus,” I whispered. Leah beamed.

Another housekeeping staff member walked up and our time together ended. I’ll eventually get her full name and address, give her a study book, and invite her to church. I suppose God will continue to send room encounters and I suppose I’ll keep accepting them. After all, my room is really Jesus’ room.

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