Taxi Driver Confessions (by Edwin Samson)
Posted: December 30, 2010
October 13, 2010
Many times I jump into a taxicab, quickly spout off my destination and take a breather from the crowded streets, horrendous pollution and uncomfortable heat of Manila. And many times I remain quiet, highly aware of my inability to properly communicate like the rest of the Filipinos in this country. And who could blame me? Getting made fun of, enduring awkward stares or sometimes feeling the indignation of a patriotic national assuming my English is merely a way to assert some sort of power over him can be rather disheartening.
But I’ve been becoming more and more confident with Tagalog. So recently I have made it a custom to ask taxi drivers how they are doing (Kumusta po kayo?). Usually, they smile and shoot a quick glance at me wondering if I am actually talking to them. So I repeat myself 3 or 4 times before I get a response. A couple of weeks ago, one of the drivers asked, “Do you really want to know?” And after I assured him that I wasn’t just being polite, he unloaded everything that was bothering him and in the end a ten minute ride turned into a half hour conversation that blocked traffic.
Today was no different. Except maybe for one thing. I guess the driver assumed that I was safe to talk to because I told him I was a missionary who taught the Bible. He proceeded to tell me that he was seeking something but he didn’t know what it was. He was missing something in life. Something was drawing him. There was an aching in his heart and he wasn’t sure if it was from God or not. At first I thought he was kidding around…testing me. Why? Because those are text book questions right out of an evangelism class. Those are the questions every evangelist wants people to ask…but in reality, it takes a lot of probing before something of the sort could emerge. Also, one day a few years back a man at the beach came up to me asking about Jesus Christ. He tested me to see if I were truly spreading the Gospel and legitimately loving people. I passed and that man gave me 500 bucks.
Anyways, I asked the driver if he felt like he had a hole in his heart. After affirming that he did, I nearly leapt for joy, startling the man. Obviously the hole in his heart (sorry to get all cliché on you) was “God-shaped.” I allowed my new friend to tell me his story. How his wife died leaving him to take care of their four kids. How he felt all alone, how nobody cared about him and how he had recently been contemplating suicide.
His eyes started to tear up at the prospect of a God who loved and valued him and it almost seemed like he stopped paying attention to the road. Finally we made it to our destination but Amy and I decided to sit with him in the cab for a few more minutes. He asked me to help him find a new life. He wanted to know what he needed to do to be joyful again. He wanted that hole in his heart to be filled. We briefly discussed the validity of the Bible and the existence of an enemy…THE enemy who was doing everything in his power to keep this man from walking with Jesus. In fact, he admitted that every time he tried to take steps toward God by going to church or praying, a wall would slowly but surely surround his heart like a fortress…and he’d stop.
By the end of our talk his eyes were glossy enough to see the reflection of the brake lights of the car in front of us. We closed our eyes, Amy in the back seat, and we prayed. Ray asked God to enter his life. He confessed that his faith was lacking but that he wanted to take a leap and believe that God was real and that He loved him. He boldly confessed that Jesus was his Lord and Savior.
We exchanged numbers and are planning to meet to discuss what it means to walk with Jesus. I’ve got a Bible for him…this will be the first time he’s ever gone through Scripture. I’m excited for him. So pray…pray for Ray, our new brother, and his exciting journey with God.