In case you missed it, from the archives.
The last time we Americans took a nation-wide census, the Garfias family packed up and moved across the country. We were technically “homeless” for a short while as we searched for apartment and job near the ministry God had called us to on the East Coast. But there is no hiding from Big Brother. One day, he came knocking on the door of our newly-rented basement apartment. I opened the door with a toddler on one hip and a laundry basket on the other.
“Yes …” I answered, hesitantly, aware I did not look my dazzling best.
“I am from the US Census. Were you aware you had not filled out your form?”
I laughed aloud. “We’ve been busy moving around. You must have had a time tracking us!”
“Well, ma’am,” the college student shuffled shyly through his papers, unsure how to respond. “I just need to ask you a few questions.”
“Ok. You can ask me the questions on two conditions. Accompany me to the laundry room, then let me ask you a couple of questions!” Without waiting for a response, I dragged my toddler and the laundry down the hallway, certain of an agreeable outcome.
As I sorted my underwear and t-shirts, the young man asked me questions about our demographics. I shared with him about the love of my life, who was a Peruvian
immigrant (check Caucasian, ethnic Hispanic, South American). He asked if we were married (yes), and I told the story of how we met in Bible college. He asked about our children (one at that time), and I pointed to Baby Gian and told the story of how God gave him to us on our first anniversary.
Each question the stranger asked offered more opportunity to share more of my life story, and I had a captive audience. As he stood with open mouth and poised pencil, I talked on and on of God’s grace in our life, miraculous provision, and unmistakable leading. By the time the “short survey” was over, more than an hour had passed.
“Now it is my turn,” I continued. “Do you have a personal relationship with God, yourself?”
“Nothing like yours,” he admitted. So while we leaned against the washer and dryer, I shared the entire plan of salvation with him.
For my second question, I asked him if he would visit church with my husband and I the following Sunday.
Sometimes, we get one chance in a decade to make a difference. Let’s keep taking it.