As the waitress returned one last time to our table, thanking us for our visit, she stood beside me for a moment. I looked up at her as I handed her a tract, and I said my stock phrase, “Here’s something for your break. It’s fun, and it’s got a good message in there.” “I could use a good message,” she responded. Her vulnerability to me, a stranger, took me by surprise, and caused me to look into her eyes more deeply. She was young, maybe mid 20’s, black, small-framed, with short black hair. Pretty. Her features were soft and there was a wistfulness in her deep brown eyes as she met my gaze. “Did you have a hard day?” I found myself asking. Something about her made me want to make things better. “Yeah,” but you’re the second good thing that’s happened,” she said, reaching in her work apron and pulling out a piece of paper. “Someone gave me this,” she said, her eyes brightening as she handed the piece of paper to me to read. It was just a small folded piece of lined paper, torn from a notebook. I unfolded it, wondering at her openness, and read a handwritten note of encouragement to the waitress obviously written by a believer. I looked her in the eyes, with tears pushing behind my eyelids at the God-moment we were experiencing, as I handed the slip of paper back to her. I told her that God was doing something important, He was behind this, and had a plan for her. She thanked me again, left the table, and I sat, moved by watching God’s Hand at work, as I turned around to meet one or two questioning glances from the more observant of our group.
Handing out Gospel tracts is the norm for me now, but it hasn’t always been the case. My daughter gets the credit for initiating the practice. When she was younger, she would stand behind me and unobtrusively slip a tract into my hand or purse at the checkout. What could I do? She would order tracts in bulk from Ray Comfort/Way of the Master and Chick Tracts. It was she who wanted to go to stores on Halloween and hand out tracts to the store employees and “trick and treaters”. Now I hand out tracts to the pizza delivery guy, the drivethrough people at fast food restaurants (both windows), the cashiers at grocery stores and restaurants, waitresses, and I leave them on restaurant tables and deposit them in bathroom stalls. Our favorite two tracts are the “(101 of the World’s Funniest) One-Liners” and “(The World’s Best) Optical Illusions” both from Living Waters Publications.
As I headed for the restroom, I noticed “my” waitress at the cashier’s counter and stopped by her side. I put my hand on her shoulder, as I asked, “What’s your name? I want to pray for you.” “I’d really appreciate that!” she answered with feeling. As I turned to leave, she jerked around and with an urgency that surprised me, added, “You’d better not forget!” I promised her, “I won’t!”
I’m still praying, Janie!
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