I was sitting in a twelve passenger van beside a hitchhiker who I met only a few hours ago. We were rolling down a country road in the pitch dark to a location that we`d never been to and were talking about Jesus like we knew each other forever.
I laughed at the impromptu situation that only Jesus could arrange and wondered how we got into this situation…
Earlier that day, our team hit the streets of Byron Bay and invited people to a free concert and BBQ. One of our team members saw a backpacker walking down the street and felt like she should invite him.However, she brushed off the thought because he looked slightly intimidating and she didn’t want to bother him. As the day went on, she couldn’t get him off her mind and prayed that she would get a second opportunity to invite him. It was very unlikely to encounter him again because Byron Bay was bustling with tourists who had come for New Years. Though despite the slim chances, God brought the two together.
Two hours later, our team member noticed him sitting on a beach and approached him just as it started to rain. He was resting under a tree and was thinking about how he was going to have another cold, rainy night on the beach. He didn’t have any money left after seven months of hitchhiking and backpacking across Australia. When he heard that there was a free concert with free food and a free ride, his face lit up with joy.
He thought that some good food and music would make the cold beach a bit more bearable that night.
Throughout the concert and BBQ many of the people on our team began to introduce themselves and show a bit of who Jesus was to him. I remember making him a cup of steaming hot earl grey tea and was astounded at the lessons he learnt and wisdom he gained during his seven month backpacking expedition. The dude was searching for truth and
I was astounded to find out that a lot of the lessons he learnt seemed to be straight out of the Bible.
His conversations with our team lasted hours after the concert finished and by the end of the evening he felt like a brother. By the time the sun disappeared, our team decided that we needed to give him a better bed than wet sand. We compiled our money and tried to find him a hostel for the night and drove around town for quite some time but every bed was full. After stopping at a few hostels, we asked God where He wanted the backpacker to sleep and we knew it wasn’t on the beach.
Then a door opened for our friend to stay with the local YWAM team in Byron Bay. I was astounded by how God provided for our hitchhiking friend that was searching for truth. We spent countless hours talking about what God had done in our lives and the truth that He revealed to us. Our friend shared that he was blown away by the hospitality, encouragement and generosity that He saw within our team.
He was so attracted to the characteristics Jesus cultivated in our lives that he wanted to know more.
The next day we picked him up for work and we couldn’t help but notice the huge grin across his face.
“I couldn’t sleep last night because I was overwhelmed by the love poured out into me last night,” he told us. Once again, we were encouraged by our great Father’s love in knowing that He pursues the ones who don’t think they will be pursued. He notices His children even when they don’t believe they should be.
Please pray that God would continue to stir up our backpacker friend’s heart and continue to pursue him because God so desperately longs for a relationship with him.