Updated: Dec 21, 2020
The presence of the Holy Spirit is the keystone of all our hopes. (John Nelson Darby)
Max Harrison was overwhelmed with joy at what his dad offered—an all expenses paid trip to Bristol, England where his brother attended Redeemer College. This graduation gift was just what the recent graduate from the University of Florida needed; time away to have fun with his brother and ponder the future. After arriving at JFK in New York City he learned that his flight to London had been delayed twelve hours. He refused, even after spending a sleepless night in the airport, to be discouraged. He was tired but undaunted when the DC-8 took off. Seven hours later he received a rainy wet welcome in Europe. Now he faced a big challenge: how he was going to drag a ton of luggage, Christmas gifts and a guitar through a foreign airport, find the right bus going to the train station and purchase a ticket to Bristol—the whole process was dreadful but in spite of the madness he made it to the train station. He was greeted with bad news at the gate—he missed the train. So, Max spent several hours at the train station waiting in the passenger lounge. Finally, the exhausting frustrating trip ended, he arrived at his brother’s John’s house.
After several hours rest Max woke up refreshed. He hung out with his brother between classes and attended a student service at Redeemer. Mark Goodwin, the Teen Challenge Director, told some amazing stories about the miracles he experienced in his street ministry. Max approached Mark after service and asked, “Do you have a place on your team for a guy from Florida with a funny accent?” “Sure,” Mark said, “There’s a flood of American students backpacking around Europe. Sooner or later many of them come through London.” Fifteen European students gathered, and prayed enthusiastically, seeking God’s favor for the mission. People from all over the world congregated in the pubs and restaurants lining the streets in an area of Bristol where people gather in a five square block area of town. Mark challenged the team, “Allow the Holy Spirit to guide you to someone who is willing to talk with you and share Jesus, pray with them, and meet back here at 9:00 P.M.”
Max walked, listened and prayed all to no avail; he did not meet one person who would give him the time of day. At 8:45 he turned down a side street and headed back to the meeting place totally discouraged. As he rounded the corner, he ran into a big guy wearing an army jacket. The big guy said hello with a southern accent. Max returned the greeting and asked, “Where are you from?” “From a place you probably never heard of—Gainesville, Florida.” “Are you kidding me; I just graduated from University of Florida a few weeks ago.” “What about you?” Max asked. “Yep, I’m a Florida State graduate.” He replied. The big guy asked, “And what are you doing here?” “I’m visiting my brother who attends college here but tonight I’m here with a Teen Challenge group talking to people about Jesus.” Then something unexpected happened. Tears began to flow down the big guys cheeks, “You know I came here to get away from all those crazy Florida Jesus people who keep bugging me about getting saved. And now, twenty minutes after getting off the plane, I run into you, a guy from my own backyard talking to me about Jesus.” Max said, “Hey man it is no coincidence we met.… Are you ready to accept Jesus as your savior?” The Man from Florida State—Gator Land knelt with his Florida Gator brother right there on the sidewalk and accepted Jesus as his Savior.