Train rides aren’t normally interesting. Today though, halfway towards Perth a man got up, an open bible in his hand, and stood in at the front of a row of seats. He spoke out, calling to us that he had something important to say. That’s when he began preaching about the good word of Jesus Christ and how we should all accept him into our lives. The young teens standing behind him scoffed and quietly mocked him before going back to their conversation. He ignored them as if they weren’t there and continued to speak to us. He told us about how he is a Noongar and grew up near drugs and alcohol and how Jesus improved his life.
There was a passion to how he spoke. He was not a ranting lunatic; he did not rave or appear incoherent. This was not a hellfire and brimstone sermon like a preacher spreading the fear of God into those before him. All he wanted was to share the good word of the Lord to those who would listen and the thing is people did. There were only a few I saw before him (though I did not turn back) who turned their heads to ignore him. I was really worried that people would get offended and tell him with disdain to stop shoving his beliefs on others (though he did say he did not condemn us for our lives, but wished that we would consider how we dealt with sin) but no one did. A man who stood beside him shook his hand before leaving and he carried on. To be honest he was far more interesting of a preacher than the people at Church. He wasn’t telling people what they came here to listen to, he was there to win over hearts of non-believers and see the way he did, to see that there was glory in things through God.
As far as ways to convert people over, randomly starting to preach to a train cart is a bit unusual but I’m sure you could probably think of a stranger example. I was worried at first that people would jeer at him and try and boo him into sitting down but they didn’t. I didn’t hear any mutters of him being crazy or annoying, if people didn’t care they just didn’t listen.
I admired the man’s faith and commitment even though I didn’t agree that this was the best platform to spread his message. Although I disagreed with him as he moved through the seats I reached out to shake his hand.
As we reached Perth he told us all that if they wanted to accept Jesus they could talk to him and he’d give them a simple prayer to accept him into their lives. My journey continued on towards Murdoch station so I did not get off with him but I saw out the window that he was standing there waiting for passengers to pass him. A few that had been sitting not far from him stopped to talk to him and I was still worried he would be met with harsh words or criticism, but they seemed interested and shook his hand to congratulate him.
If you had asked me before today if anyone could start preaching on a train during the middle of the day and not got told to shut up by those around him I would’ve thought it absurd.