Last week was Esther’s 60th birthday (yes, we have both now reached that illustrius age, even though neither of us look a day over 59!) and we celebrated with a party in our backyard. It was a great party with a roaring fire, a couple of excellent musicians, a feast of delicious curries and a wonderful turn out of friends. But what topped it off for me was Josh’s chai van – in our back yard. It was a prophetic sign.
To put you in the picture, Josh is the guy who normally runs the chai ‘peace’ van on a Saturday morning at the local produce market, where he serves up his freshly brewed organic Indian chai tea to a happy and chatty clientel, which includes a fair gathering of the local ‘alternative’ community. The van was built by his dad twenty years or so ago as part of the ‘year of peace’ and Josh has inherited the business (and the passion!).
A few months back Esther, an avid early morning market person, came home and said, “Josh wants to catch up with you”. Well, Josh and I had had some dealings a few years back when he was going through a rather dramatic time and so I dropped down to the market to find him packing up but eager for a chat. Some events of the last few months had brought him to a stage where he seriously wanted to make some changes and get his life together. We had a great conversation, I prayed with him and left him to think about it. Well, the result is that it was God’s time for him, he started getting involved in our house church, which he loved, and a few weeks ago I baptised him.
Good story, you may say, but what is prophetic about a chai van? Well simply that the van represented for me a whole alternative crowd out there that will probably never be comfortable in a church building – and it was in our backyard. And Josh was as happy and enthusiastic as I’d ever seen him, serving up his brew with an evangelistic zeal and a life changing story to go with it. The party included believers and not-yet believers, friends from across the whole Yeppoon church community and the unchurched community as well – all gathered around the ‘peace’ van. Backyard believers. It’s a prophetic sign.