FIRST-PERSON: Red Hair Harbor
TIGERVILLE, S.C. (BP) -- Red Hair Harbor is a place I will never forget. I was on a mission trip in southern Taiwan in the city of Kaohsiung with a team from South Carolina. We spent our days walking the streets looking for opportunities to share the Good News about Jesus, praying earnestly for open doors to shine the light.
As we were meandering the streets one afternoon, we spotted two elderly men sitting under a portico. We said hello and they quickly invited us to sit down and have tea with them.
The green tea they had freshly brewed cast a pleasant aroma in the air. However, none more pleasant than the aroma of Christ that was to fill the place.
I had been doing all the sharing about Christ to that point. This time, I turned to one of our teammates on her first mission trip and said, "I'm going to let you share this time."
She looked back at me in horror because she had never shared the Gospel before. However, I insisted and she did her best. She was clear and straightforward as she relayed the story of Jesus. She spoke about sin and the death of Christ on the cross. When she came to the resurrection, I looked at the two elderly men and saw that their faces were filled with childlike wonder as they sat motionless, captivated by the message of the Gospel.
When the team member finished her presentation of the Gospel, one of the men uttered a statement that still reverberates through my mind and heart. He said simply, "We've never heard that story before!"
Although I knew then and know now that many billions in the world have never heard the story of Christ, I still remember the stunning jolt his words gave me. We were surrounded by restaurants and convenience stores filled with products from all over the world, but the story of Jesus had just reached these men.
When we left, one of our missionaries told us the men were from Red Hair Harbor. They had lived in that seaport community most of their lives. It was called Red Hair Harbor because of the Western sailors who came to port delivering their cargo. The light hair appeared red to the locals and they began calling it Red Hair Harbor.
No doubt many Christian Westerners had passed through Red Hair Harbor. Perhaps they had crossed paths with these two men but had never taken the initiative to share the Good News about Christ with them.
The two men from Red Hair Harbor have served as a constant reminder to me. By God's grace and our obedience, may fewer and fewer men and women ever be able to say, "I've never heard that story before." Acts 1:8 is not just a command to pastors and missionaries to be Christ's witnesses locally and globally. All believers are tasked with speeding the Gospel to the darkest corners and deepest crevices of the globe. Teachers and sailors and lawyers are to proclaim Christ as well. When I am growing indifferent in evangelism, I often hear the words of the men from Red Hair Harbor echoing in my ears. I pray we will all hear them.