FIRST LOOK, THEN START TALKING
Seeing the World Through the Eyes of Jesus
Donna S. Thomas
AuthorHouse, 2006, 175 pp., ISBN 1-4259-6637-3
Donna is the retired founder of Project Partner with
Christ, an organization that supports indigenous mission organizations around
the world. She writes, speaks,
consults, and reaches out to internationals around her. Donna is the author of three other
books. She lives in
First Look, Then Start Talking, simplifies and illustrates the process of developing friendships with internationals.
“In previous years, we American Christians had to go
thousands of miles to share the gospel with the people of
“How many people of different color or dress do you think you encounter when you are out and about shopping during any given week? Where do you think they come from?” (17)
“Can you picture yourself talking to a Muslim or a Hindu? Pray about it. Write down how you feel.” (26)
“These peoples of different cultures and languages who have left their familiar lands to live among us are often lonely, curious, and in need of an ‘American friend.’ They are ready to relate to us, to try to communicate with us, and, if we are open, to become our friends.” (40)
“Your influence over people of other nationalities is stronger than you may realize. People living in a new environment are much more ready to hear about and accept Christ into their lives than they might be in their homeland.” (42)
“Take a neighborhood walk and count the different nationalities you recognize. How many did you see?” (46) “Your new neighbor could be a good place to begin.” (51)
“Look. Watch. Learn to see. Stand in the mall or a large department store and see, as Jesus did, the multitude.” (52)
“Servers (in restaurants) are real people. They have names and feelings. They usually have a purpose in their lives besides waiting on tables.” (53) “Analyze who they might be, what problems they might have, and what you could talk to them about. What nonverbal gestures do they have? Just use your eyes. …pray for them.” (58) “Just be yourself. Act natural. Be friendly and polite.” (63)
Build a relationship. “As you develop a relationship with someone, you learn to trust each other. When someone trust you and sees what’s in your heart and your life, that person can ask you questions. You can ask that person questions too. You can listen to stories, and you can tell some of your own.” (64)
“You have one of the most precious stories every heard.” “This story is the one about you and God.” “As you listen to the story of your new friends, you earn the right to tell yours. It’s all part of building relationships.” (79)
Write your story. (79) The first part is who you were before you met Christ. The second part is how Christ found you. The third part are the “transformation details – how he actually did change your life.” (80) “Your story is unique. It’s undeniable and irrefutable. It’s what happened to you in your life, and it’s awe inspiring. Cherish it. Memorize the details. And get ready to share….” (81)
Are you fearful? In baseball, the way to overcome fear is to swing the bat. “Every time you swing the bat, you get better at it.” (96) “What is your greatest fear? Write it out and pray about it.” (97)
“The first thing you do is smile. It will give you a good start. If you’re not in the habit of smiling, start now.” “Work on it.” “Flash your smile wherever you go….” “Everyone can use a smile. Give it to them.” (101)
“The next step…is a bit of conversation.” “If the person happens to have a name badge, start there.” (102)
“The first door opener is, ‘Have you been here in (name
your city) very long?’ Then you can
ask, ‘What country are you from?’”
“What is it like there? What is
school like for the children? How are grocery stores different? “Ask what the predominant religion is. And don’t miss asking what the person’s
religion preference is.” “What brought
If the door is still open ask more questions and then suggest meeting again later at a coffee shop. Give them your phone number if they need something or someone to talk to. (104-5)
“Most people are willing to talk, if only for a few minutes. They are willing to talk if we are willing to listen.” (107)
“You will need to be with people to make connections. But you are not there to ‘sell’ them on Christianity. You are there to develop a friendship. As your friendship grows, the people you encounter will discover quite naturally that Christ is the center of your life.” “You are there to be their friend and answer their questions about Christ when the right time comes.” “You do the listening. Listen to what your new friends are saying. Don’t’ be in a hurry. Learn about them. Ask engaging questions. Listen to their answers. Hear their excitement. Relate to their disappointments. Find out what is important to them.” (108)
“Relationships are the key.” (111) “Relationships are built on meeting needs, developing trust, working on understanding, and learning to communicate with each other.” (113)
“Bringing new friends into your home, into your comfort zone, will start the process of moving anew friendship into a relationship. Inviting people into your home communicates that they are special, and they are.” (114)
“You can start your Culture 101 education by visiting different ethnic restaurants.” “Are you aware that Muslims don’t eat port? That bit of information is essential when you invite them to your home.” (118)
“Witnessing is so much more than trying to bring someone to a decision for Christ. As we build our relationships with our new friends, we are witnessing through our life and actions, which show love and compassion. When the time is right, we can also witness through our words.” “Study your friends. See what their needs are. Their needs will open the door for you, and meeting their needs will earn you the right to be heard when you talk to them about Jesus.” (125)
“It is appropriate for you to assume that your new friends may know nothing about Jesus except his name.” (125) “Could you communicate what sin is in a conversation with your new friends? A simple ‘I wonder’ statement about the root cause of the wars going on in the world could lead you into an explanation of your understanding of sin.” (127)
“Who is Jesus?” “Having your thought together in words that someone from another culture can understand is important.” (129) “We Christians have picked up a ‘church’ vocabulary. It won’t work here. We have to explain….” “This time of sharing what the gospel is and what it means to you needs to be a conversation between the two of you, not you doing all the talking. Make it a normal conversation and not a lecture. Check your listening skills.” (134)
“At some point you may be able to pray with your new friends. Before you do, ask them if you may pray. Ask them what they would like to ask God in your prayer. Use their names as you are praying. Simple, honest prayers are needed.” (135)
“As an ambassador, you want people to start asking you questions, not pound them with answers to questions they haven’t asked.” “Don’t be afraid to direct your conversation to things of eternal value.” (136)
“When people make a decision to become a Christian, they need coaching. This is a critical time in their growth in the Lord. Ask them if they would like to read the Bible with you. Nurture them.” (138)
“I look forward to strangers sitting next to me on planes. I look forward to sales people coming to my house. Some of these people are very easy to lead into a conversation about their purpose in life.” (142)
“If you have a university nearby, you have foreign students in your city.” (161) “International students are here to learn.” “They need to learn the right things about us.” “When you connect with international students and they know you are a friend, they will be consumed with questions.” (162)
347 current leaders of foreign countries were educated
at a university in the
Summary of how to get started: (175-75)
1. Pray each morning that God will use you and show you how to see people through his eyes.
2. Purposely greet everyone you encounter.
3. Notice each person’s name and comment on it. ‘That’s an interesting name. Where are you from?”
4. When you hear an accent that is not the same as yours simply ask, ‘How long have you lived here?”
about the persons’ family and whether they are living in your state or the
2. Ask what the person does in his or her free time or when not working.
3. Whether the person is from another country or not, there is a time to ask what his or her purpose in life is.
4. When you leave a place where you’ve just met someone, write down the person’s name and the day’s date so you can be in contact soon.
5. Pray for your new friends daily.
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