Know from Experience

Know from Experience

About the time I realized that this was a book I knew well, a young man, in his early twenties, came up and asked me “Do you experience Jesus?

During a recent trip to Tanzania, Tammy and I got to visit a local market in Arusha. It was interesting to see the locals going about their daily activities. Tammy and I were the only visitors in this huge market. It was interesting to me that so many people would come up and talk to us just so they could practice their English. They were friendly and polite but very eager to engage us in any conversation. Some specifically asked me about certain words in English.

After about twenty minutes or so, we came to a booth where they were selling beans, coffee, teas, and other similar items. What struck me about this booth was a book stacked on top of some boxes. I didn’t see anyone around so I decided to take a closer look. This book was open, weathered and the binding was worn out. It was written in Swahili but I recognized the format. About the time I realized that this was a book I knew well, a young man, in his early twenties, came up and asked me “Do you experience Jesus?”

It was great to lock eyes with someone who was so excited about our Savior. He explained to me that the Bible he was reading belonged to his family for several generations. He was very active in his church and spent the day at the Market telling everyone he could about Jesus. He seemed a bit disappointed when I told him that I knew Jesus too. I really thought he wanted to share the gospel with me and was disappointed that I was already saved. We spent a few minutes talking as I encouraged him to share his faith story. I wish you could have seen his eyes- they literally sparkled and teared up as he told of his encounters with Jesus. It was incredible for two brothers in Christ, from across the world, can bond so quickly because of our shared Spirit.

When he asked me, “Do you experience Jesus?” I thought he was like many others who were speaking in their second or third language and using a word that was close- surely, he meant to ask me if I “know” Jesus. In fact, my response was a bit arrogant and I was trying to help him, so I responded, “Yes I know Jesus.”

It wasn’t until a few days later that I had a chance to really process our encounter. It was then that I realized why he seemed disappointed in my response. It dawned on me that during the entire time we spoke, his English was impeccable. Every verb tense and every word that he spoke was carefully selected. He knew exactly what he was asking me. He wasn’t just interested in whether I know Jesus, he was specifically asking me if I experience Him. He didn’t want to share the good news with me, he wanted to share the experience.

So, I guess I will ask you the same question that he asked me. “Do you experience Jesus?”


  1. Carol Lubaski

    What a great, divinely-appointed encounter Frank! I find it both very thought-provoking and convicting, in a positive way. Perhaps even life changing…at least in perspective of what I’ve always been taught growing up in the church. It seemed to always be about acquiring knowledge, not so much “experience”, as that, could be perceived as shallow….emotionally based….and many times erroneous doctrine to avoid. I am challenged to be more, pursue more, like this man does every day and I know, that his experiencing Jesus is so very real, as evidenced by his passion for others. I would love to hear HIS story. I wish he knew the far reaching impact he had on my life, this day, a world and ocean apart. Very cool!

  2. Frank Burns

    I love that God can reach across the world and touch our hearts through others in Christ. It is incredible that you are experiencing Him and not just learning about Him through something as simple as a blog. You are correct. The Spirit is using this story to change our lives. Blessings Carol and thanks for the kind words.

  3. Gary Bores

    Frank, thank you for sharing of your encounter with the young man. What a terrific story. I can visualize the disappointment in his eyes as you described. I can only hope and aspire to reach that level of excitement in telling someone of my experience with Jesus.
    As Carol wrote, I would love to hear his story as I am sure it would be inspiring.

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