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Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Encounters of a Thai Waitress & A Palestinian...

Since moving to Chicago, every Friday at 2pm I go to lunch at Thai Classic restaurant in the Lakeview neighborhood. I meet with the staff & leadership of Chicagoland Community Church, who is the local church helping us plant and encouraging Ashly and I. In so doing, I have met the waitress there that serves us every week. She is from Thailand and is one of the nicest people I have met in Chicago. She knows we are Christians and that there are two pastors there every week and she loves serving us and talking with us. Some weeks we ask her what we can be praying for her about and she'll tell us. Jon, the pastor of C3, has even given her a book to read based upon one of the requests that she made. God has been using us and the conversations so far, but nothing like what happened recently.

About a month ago, she came up to us and the first words out of her mouth were, "I met one of your kind here yesterday!" She was very excited to tell us the story of a Christian man named Sami Awad ( and how this man from Palestine talked to her about Jesus and what He had done for him and how now he was promoting peace in Israel & Palestine. This blew her away, not only because she couldn't believe someone would give up so much just to follow Jesus, but also because the number one request she always had us pray for was for "peace." Sami was in town to show a documentary and speak at DePaul University. He invited her to come to it after their conversation at the restaurant and she went. This opened a door for more spiritual conversation with her and gave me an opportunity to pray for her in a different way. I also found Sami's blog and began reading his story to know more about the man she had encountered.

Fast forward to this past weekend, where I was attending and leading a breakout session at Global Faith Forum ( in Keller Tx. One of my mentors, Pastor Bob Roberts, Jr ( and the church he pastors where I received my training for church planting, was putting this conference on. I was to lead breakout session on friday, so on thursday night I was just attending and hanging out/meeting all the other speakers in the green room.

Bob comes in right before the night is to begin and begins introducing people. He says a name that I couldn't get out of my head as he introduces, "Sami Awad." For about five minutes I was trying to figure out how I knew that name when it finally clicked: Thai Classic!

So I went over to Sami and asked him if he had been in Chicago in the past month. He had said he had been and I proceeded to ask if he remembers eating at a Thai restaurant, to which he answers yes he had, and "We had a wonderful, crazy waitress who was very interested in our story. So I invited her to come to the movie presentation that night at DePaul and she came. She was extremely nice."

It blew my mind that this was him. I proceeded to tell him that Thai restaurant was my Thai Classic and I eat there every Friday and i know that waitress and she couldn't stop talking about your story!

So, yesterday, I went back to Thai Classic because I had to tell our waitress this story and who i had met. I took a picture with Sami that night I had met him, and after talking with her for awhile yesterday I got my iphone out and asked her if she recognized this man? She said, "Oh my gosh," and she began to flip out. She couldn't believe that I had met him and spent the weekend with him talking to him, and that I was going to Palestine in January. We proceeded to talk more about this "coincidence" for awhile and that I didn't believe it was a coincidence and that I believe God was moving and that I would love to talk with her more about that!

I learned in 7th grade going through a book entitled, "Experiencing God" that God is always moving, and we must just join in where He is. That's exactly what I am doing here. God was moving in Chicago way before I was here and now I am just looking to join in. There are no coincidences here, He is advancing His kingdom. When we finally grasp this and began seeing all things as opportunities to join God in His work, we will see His kingdom advance, churches planted, and cities transformed. Where do you see God moving?

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