Monica* is a cross-cultural witness with The Mission Society in Central Asia. In this story she shares a brief encounter she had with a man on a bus, and how even the simplest gestures can share Christ’s love with someone.
I was getting on a bus in the city and, as usual, seats were scarce. I had gotten on at the front of the bus and was scanning for an empty seat when I spotted the last one on the aisle just behind the door at the middle of the bus. As I was walking back toward it, I noticed the people in the back of the bus looking warily at me with a hint of warning. However, since people here are naturally a little on the wary side, I didn't really think anything of it.
As I passed the open bus door, I saw an elderly man sitting on the window-side of the seat. I smelled him before I saw him. If I had gotten on at the middle door of the bus, I would have been aware of him immediately and may have avoided the seat as others obviously had. Remembering he is also a child of God, made in His image, I sat down in the seat next to him. There was an almost palpable exhale from the other passengers, probably shocked at what I had done.
The man was quiet, but very disheveled and dirty and smelled of urine and sweat. When we got to the train station, he asked politely, "Are you exiting?" “No,” I replied, and got up to let him pass by on his way to the exit. Then I noticed his cane and gently helped him to the aisle. He slowly made his way down the steps of the exit.
I have continued to pray for this gentleman, who is probably homeless and ill, but still my brother. We can express love in so many ways, some tiny and some great, but all worthwhile in the kingdom of God.
*Pseudonym and stock photo used for security purposes.